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U.S. Navy Airships and the U-Boat War
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591140108
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Era: WWII
  • Number of Pages: 436
  • Subject: History
  • Date Available: July 2009
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$49.95 List Price
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Full Description:

• William Althoff, author of Forgotten Weapon (NIP, 2009) and Arctic Mission (NIP, 2011) ~ Recipient of the Vice Adm. Edwin B. Hooper Research Grant, named in honor of a former Director of Naval History, for his great contributions to U. S. naval history, was awarded to William F. Althoff, for a history of lighter-than-air aircraft in the U.S. Navy during the early Cold War (1945-1962).  Althoff's study proposes to examine the research and development of the aircraft in the nuclear age, as well as the challenges of operation and command experienced by Navy personnel. An understanding of why the Navy abandoned this technology during the Cold War could be useful to Navy planners considering its future potential.  Althoff will be paid up to $2,500 by Naval History & Heritage Command after commencement of research. (6/18/13)

Advance Praise—

“In today’s world, non-rigid airships, or blimps, are associated almost entirely with sporting events.  The achievements of the 15 U.S. Navy squadrons during the Second World War were little recorded at the time, and have been little narrated since.  Bill Althoff has now rectified this omission.  Forgotten Weapon will take its place as the authentic record of some 200 blimps that patrolled the war zones in the both the North and South Atlantic, in the Western Mediterranean, and along the U.S. West Coast.  The book necessarily contains many facts, figures, and statistics, but Bill’s easy writing style is also most welcome to the non-technical reader as well as to the aviation specialist.”

—R.E.G. Davies, Air Transport Historian and Curator, National Air and Space Museum, author of A History of the World’s Airlines

“Bill Althoff has hit another home run.  Forgotten Weapon will stand for many years as the definitive history of the blimp in U.S. naval service during WWII.”

—Tom D. Crouch, Senior Curator, National Air and Space Museum, author of Lighter Than Air: An Illustrated History of Balloons and Airships

“The most authoritative account yet authored of the antisubmarine operations of U.S. Navy blimps in World War II.  Describing the airships, their missions and crews, their operational results, and the service politics, it is a genuine contribution to the written history of naval aviation.”

—J. Gordon Vaeth, author of They Sailed the Skies:  U.S. Navy Balloons and the Airship Program

“Bill Althoff has provided a well written and well documented account of U.S. Navy blimps in World War II.  He has uncovered new information and, although a blimp proponent himself, he is objective….  This account of their development and operations will stand as the definitive record.”

—Norman Polmar, author of Naval Institute Guide to Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

“This well-written book contains carefully annotated photos, footnotes and an excellent index.” — The Ensign

Airships played an important but overlooked role in World War II, and with this study their contributions to antisubmarine warfare are examined in depth for the first time. Aviation historian William F. Althoff takes a close look at the U.S. naval airship's admirable wartime record. In analyzing its development and use, he credits the collaboration between the naval aviators and scientists from such government-sponsored institutions as the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) for the urgent evolution of the modern anti-submarine airship. He explains key NDRC projects that exploited lighter-than-air platforms for airborne tests and special devices and that were hurried into production in the race against the Germans to gain a technological advantage in the Battle of the Atlantic. These efforts, he argues, helped turn the tide against the U-boat menace and saved countless lives, ships, and cargoes.

William F. Althoff is the author of USS Los Angeles: The Navy's Venerable Airship and Aviation Technology, among other books. A former Ramsey Fellow in naval aviation history at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, he has conducted research on polar aeronautics during several visits to the Arctic. He resides in New Jersey.
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