Schepen van de Koninklijke Marine in W.O.II

Title The Fourth Ally: The Dutch forces in Australia in WWII.
Rating Good
Author Chris Mark
Publisher De Alk B.V., Alkmaar
Year first published 1997
Series -
Binding Hardcover
Content 177 pages, many black & white photos, index, bibliography.

This book by Chris Mark is the most recent on the subject of Dutch warships from the World War II-era. In comparison to its predecessors, it goes into more detail regarding the histories of the various warships, while other features such as construction details and specifications are also complete. The well-organized data is supported by a wealth of photos, showing the ships, from cruisers to the smallest auxiliary craft, in great detail. Chapters about the naming of ships, the design history of the Java-class cruisers and fleetpolitics have also been included.
However, there are downsides that will become evident to the more critical reader. It seems a well-researched book at first glance, but a closer look will reveal that there are a number of mistakes, omissions and typos which could have been avoided.

Personally, I also found that there are still elements missing. For example, the specifications listed for ships are listed as completed, leaving the interesting modifications made during their careers (such as the addition of radar, ASW-gear and AA-armament) unmentioned. Armour details and other interesting notes regarding the designs have also been left out. The more inquisitive readers would also have appreciated more information regarding the type of guns and other equipment carried. Mr. Mark only briefly mentions details about these elements, that remain elusive up to this day.

Although Mr. Mark's work is a handy overview, and currently the best on the subject, it will not meet the needs of the more inquisitive reader. The latter will have to resort to the study of raw data from the Navy's archives to get answers to the many questions that the study of naval history raises.

Review by the webmaster, October 4 2001

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