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Commonwealth Cruisers 1939–45

Commonwealth Cruisers 1939–45 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review November 2015 Title Commonwealth Cruisers 1939–45
Author Angus Konstam Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2015 ISBN 9781472805010
Format 48 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $17.95


Angus Konstam surveys World War II warships of three Dominion navies in Commonwealth Cruisers 1939–45 – no. 266 in Osprey’s extensive “New Vanguard” range.

Concentrating on Canadian, Australian and New Zealand vessels, coverage commences with notes on the formation of all three navies.

Largely “dependent on maritime trade”, each relied on a core cruiser force to defend seaborne commerce and home territories. But with British naval resources “thinly stretched” at the beginning of WWII, “the Royal Navy relied on the naval support of its Commonwealth partners”. And as a result, the navies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand “played a significant role in the conflict”.

Osprey’s slim little study then segues, country-by-country, through seven cruiser classes – before succinctly summarizing “the Dominion fleets at war”. Contents conveniently conclude with tabular details of the warships themselves:

  • HMAS Adelaide
  • HMAS Australia and Canberra
  • HMAS Shropshire
  • HMAS Sydney, Perth and Hobart
  • HMNZS Leander and Achilles
  • HMNZS Gambia
  • HMCS Uganda
  • HMCS Ontario

Entries showcase, for instance, dimensions, performance, armament, service and fates. Photos, extended captions, color plates, action paintings, selected bibliography and index augment the overall experience.

Osprey packs much into 48 pithy pages. “While their contribution is largely forgotten be on the shores of their home countries, the wartime efforts of these Commonwealth chips and men is well worth celebrating,” author Konstam observes. “If this small book goes someway to achieving this, but it will have fulfilled its purpose.”

It certainly has. And I recommend it!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!