Warship Pictorial #12
U.S.N. Benson / Gleaves 
Class Destroyers

By: Steve Wiper
Classic Warships Publishing

Reviewed by John Sheridan

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Classic Warships has released the twelfth book in its series of Naval Monographs of Warships. Book #12 covers the Benson / Gleaves Class Destroyers built at the eve of WWII.  106 ships of this class were built by various naval yards between the years 1938 through 1943.

The book is one of their "Photo Album" series that covers an entire class of warships instead of focusing on one particular ship. The book is in the same format of all of the previous books and is 72 pages long. . There is a brief narrative at the beginning of the book that describes the development of the Benson / Gleaves Class and a table that lists the Hull Number, Ship's Name, Builder, Date Laid, Date Launched, Commissioning Date, and Ultimate Fate. for each ship in class. 

The front and rear covers display color photos of USS Buchanan performing underway replenishment. The photographs inside this book are of exceptional quality and clarity. Inside you will find 170 photographs of this class of ship arranged in chronological order. Steve Wiper goes out of his way in order to find some interesting shots of the more unusual camouflage patterns that this class of ship carried. Notable are some of the MS 12 revised patterns that were either freelanced by the naval yard or heavily influenced by British camouflage patterns. Since the photos are all arranged by date, you can follow the history of how these ships were modified throughout the war with new guns, radars, etc.

The book has a good number of roster shots and quite a few dockside photographs sprinkled throughout the book. I really enjoy the dockside photos since they provide a wealth of info for modeling purposes.  These photos are the shots showing each ship undergoing refit at various times.  These particular shots are extremely crisp and will provide a wealth of information to those who wish to model a ship of this class. Many of the refit photos show the weapons layout and superstructure which underwent the most changes during their careers.  

It is interesting to note, that there are drawings in this book. This is surprising since this is a "photo album" type book and Steve likes to fill these books with as many photos as possible and not waste space with drawings or sketches.  This time, Steve has included profile, top-down, Bow & Stern drawings of the USS McCalla and USS Aaron Ward as they appeared in 1942. These drawings in 1:400th scale and were done by Timothy Dike of Modelwarships.com.  His drawings are very well done and I feel enhance the contents of the book. Good job Tim !

These books are designed to tell the story of the subject with pictures instead of words. Steve Wiper has become the master of this craft with his series of naval warship books. He is providing a source of information that few of us have access to and giving it to us at a reasonable cost. I would highly recommend this book, or any of Classic Warships publications, to anyone who has a love of ships.

Other Books Published by Classic Warships

Book #1: USS Indianapolis Book #2: USS Minneapolis Book #3: USS Louisville Book #4: USS Texas
Book #5: USS San Francisco Book #6: USN Omaha Class
Light Cruisers
Book #7: USN New Orleans
Class Heavy Cruisers
Book #8: USS Salem
Book #9: USN Yorktown 
Class Aircraft Carriers
Book #10:USN Portland Class
Heavy Cruisers
Book #11: Lexington Class
Aircraft Carriers
Book #12 Benson/Gleaves
Class Destroyers
Book #13 IJN Kongo Class
Book #14 USS Wichita
Book #15 KM Schnellboote
(Due Fall 2001)
Book #16 USS New Jersey
BB-62 (Due Fall 2001)
Book #17 IJN Myoko Class Heavy Cruisers (Due Winter 2001/2002) Book #18 Arleigh Burke Class DDs (Due Winter 2001/2002)