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Innovating Victory: Naval Technology in Three Wars

Innovating Victory: Naval Technology in Three Wars Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2022 Title Innovating Victory: Naval Technology in Three Wars
Author Vincent P. O'Hara and Leonard R. Heinz Publisher U.S. Naval Institute Press
Published 2022 ISBN 9781682477328
Format 336 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $36.95


Vincent P. O’Hara and Leonard R. Heinz expertly illumine “Naval Technology in Three Wars” in Innovating Victory from U.S. Naval Institute Press.

Authors shoehorn six central subjects, two each across 336 admirably annotated pages, into three broad categories – basic “weapons”, electronic “tools”, and delivery “platforms”:

  • Mines
  • Torpedoes
  • Radio
  • Radar
  • Submarines
  • Aircraft

“History shows,” authors persuasively maintain, “that a successful technology undergoes a process: invention, development, acceptance, deployment, and then a cycle of discovery, evolution, and exploitation.”

Chapter-by-chapter, O’Hara and Heinz leverage that template largely to trace, where applicable, their subjects across key conflicts: the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, and World War II.

Authors, though, adduce events from other clashes to confirm contentions. And notes occasionally reference relevant 19th-century and post-WWII examples.

The study succinctly surveys technology development and exploitation by Britain, Germany, the United States, France, Italy, Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire.

Photos, figures, and tables augment text. And a useful conclusion, endnotes, selected bibliography, and index complete contents.

“Technology,” authors ultimately contend, “is not the weapon, the tool, or the platform; it is the application of knowledge [my emphasis] expressed through the use of that weapon, that tool, that platform.”

Judge for yourself. Grab this entertaining, enlightening little book.


My sincere thanks to U.S Naval Institute Press for this review sample!