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Cruisers of the 1st Rank: Avrora, Diana, Pallada

Cruisers of the 1st Rank: Avrora, Diana, Pallada Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review February 2016 Title Cruisers of the 1st Rank: Avrora, Diana, Pallada
Author Aleksiey V Skvorcov Publisher Mushroom Model Publications
Published 2015 ISBN 9788363678562
Format 208 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $69.00

Review

A single blank shot from Russian cruiser Aurora supposedly signaled the start of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution – profoundly changing human history.

Now the legendary warship and her sisters are subjects of a sumptuous study from MMP – Cruisers of the 1st Rank: Avrora, Diana, Pallada, part of the publisher’s “Maritime Series”.

And yes, that’s “Avrora”. Author Aleksiey V Skvorcov helpfully includes illuminating instruction on key names and terms – including the correct transliteration of “Aurora”.

Six substantial sections tell the total tale. Design. Development. And deployment – from the Russo-Japanese War through World War I to the Great Patriotic War and, in Aurora’s case, preservation. A final seventh recaps “sources and literature”. And annotations and extended captions supplement the study.

Originally available in Russian from publisher Gangut Ltd, MMP’s copiously illustrated volume includes dozens of rare, detailed images – many from Russian State Naval Archives and other authoritative sources.

Drawings, for instance, appear everywhere. General arrangement. Longitudinal. Cross-sections. Equipment. Launches and lifeboats. Even masts and rigging. You name it.

Contents also include four separate, loose sheets – eight pages more – of additional plan- and profile-view drawings to unspecified scales. And top views charting changes in Aurora armament proved intensely informative.

Dozens of photos did, too. Armament. Interiors. Powerplants. Storage. Crew accommodations. And historical shots. Lots and lots of them.

And minutiae – metaphorical mountains of it – effectively dominate everything. Seeking the storage location for officers’ perishable food? Or an isometric of a refrigerator therein? They’re here. Combat chronicles likewise disburse detail in heaping helpings.

Oh, and if you search for Internet histories of this Russian cruiser class, you'll find it called “Pallada” on Wikipedia and other sites. But Imperial Russia officially named the class for the second ship launched – “Diana”.

My relatively few nitpicks frankly pander to pedantry. You’ll find two different sets of metric conversions, for instance, from identical English measurements on page 22. What distance is “25 cables”? Brackets – not parentheses – are proper punctuation for editorial addenda. And this volume really needs an index. You get the picture: pretty minor gripes.

Wow. Among English-language histories of Imperial Russian warships, this terrific tome takes pride of place. Let’s hope it’s the first of many more from MMP-Gangut.

Seeking to trick-out Heller’s classic 1:400 Aurora? This brilliant book is all you need!

Rabidly recommend!

With thanks to Casemate for the review copy.

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