NAVIRES & HISTOIRE Le Magazine d’Histoire Maritime is a quarterly magazine covering ships and naval history. The magazine has been published for little over a year with the sixth issue expected in May 2001. Published in Outreau, France and naturally entirely written in French, Navires & Histoire is a superb publication in every respect. With 98 pages, excluding covers, the magazine exhibits the highest production values that I have seen in any naval related magazine and is the equal in physical quality to almost any fine arts magazine available. Printed on heavyweight glossy paper and crammed with excellent photographs, plates and art work, this publication is a joy to view. This review is on Issue #5, which is dated December 2000, and contains 190 photographs and illustrations, excluding those in advertisements.
The issue starts with five pages of questions and answers, which in keeping with the remainder of the issue, is beautifully illustrated. Even this Q&A section has four very fine artwork profiles on the ex-German cruiser, Strasburg; Gustave Zede, formerly naval aviation tender, Marcel le Bihan; and two on VTB.1, 55 foot patrol boat of the French Navy. This section was followed by four pages on current world naval developments.
The first major article covered the loss of the Kursk, Oscar II Class
Russian submarine. Twelve pages long, with 23 photos, the article covers the
significant daily events surrounding the loss of the submarine. A rough
translation of the start of the section covering the events of Saturday August
12, 2000 is;
"At 11:29 and 34 seconds, Moscow time, the Norwegian seismographs of the ‘NORSAR Institution’ detected an explosion of 1.5 magnitude on the Richter scale at 69 degrees 38 minutes North and 37 degrees 19 minutes East. Two minutes later at 11:31 and 41 seconds, the seismographs revealed a second explosion, much more powerful (magnitude 3.5 corresponding to the explosion of one to two tons of TNT). These two explosions were observed by the submarines, U.S.S. Memphis, U.S.S. Toledo and H.M.S. Splendid presently in the Barents Sea to observe the movements of Russian units."
The Toledo was less than 100 miles from the site and was engaged in following the Petr Velikiy, large Russian Missile Cruiser. This small excerpt gives you some idea of the excellent coverage of the writing in Navires & Histoire. In addition to the photographic and artistic coverage, the article comes with two tables, one covering the twelve Oscar II submarines, their names, code numbers, service date and location of assignment. The second table details the characteristics of the Oscar II Class.
The second major article is entitled, "La Plus Grande Victoire de la Kriegsmarine", (The Greatest Victory of the Kriegsmarine). Also twelve pages in length, with 19 illustrations and one table, it covers the sinking of the H.M.S. Glorious, H.M.S. Ardent, H.M.S. Acasta, Orama, Oil Pioneer, and Juniper by the sortie of Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Admiral Hipper, four destroyers and two torpedo boats. Of special interest are the photos, some of which, I have never seen before.
The next topic is on the Warships and History of the French Revolution and First Empire. This issue has eleven pages devoted to the first part of this topic, devoted to the French Navy during the Revolution. It includes 15 black and white photographs of paintings, museum builder’s models, topical miniatures and busts of French naval personalities.
This is followed by a section devoted to Losses of the US Navy and Coast Guard in World War Two. This is part four in the series and the second of two on destroyer and destroyer escort losses. Four pages in length with two photos per page, it catalogs the loss of 17 USN DDs and DEs.
The next article jumps back to the present with beautiful photographic coverage of the Tripartite type, Eridon Class minehunters/minesweepers, built in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Twelve are in service with the French Navy, ten with the Belgium Navy, fifteen with the Dutch Navy, two with the Indonesian Navy and two with the Pakistan Navy. Fifteen pages long, the article has 33 photographs and profiles, almost all of which are in color and six tables on these vessels and minesweepers throughout the world. Since the French company, l"Arsenal is going to release a model of this class, this article provides extraordinary coverage for super-detailing and painting.
There is an historical article on the Battle of Tsushima (First part in the series). Twelve pages long with 14 photographs and three maps. Additionally the inside back cover has a full page color plate of the Russian battleship Orel on May 28, 1905 after the battle and the back cover one of Russian flagship, Kniaz Suverov as of October 1904.
Merchant ships are not neglected. The history of the packetboats/liners Flandre and Antilles is detailed in a seven page article with 18 photographs and plates, a cutaway profile and plan, and a table of ships’ statistics.
Towards the end of the magazine are two pages of book reviews with color photographs of the cover artwork. Lastly there are reviews of resin and plastic kits and the accessories for them. This issue contains reviews for the Radetzky and WWI German destroyer SMS A-80 by NNT, DDG-78 USS Porter by Skywave, CG-10 USS Albany by JAG-Collective, Shikishima, Yashima, Itsukushima, and Miyako by Modelkrak, Iridio Mantovani, Poeti Class Italian DD, Raimondo Montecuccoli by Regia Marina, HMS Jervis, HMS Kashmir, MTB 379, and MTB 532 by White Ensign Models, and SMS Konig and SMS Grosser Kurfurst by ICM. Accessories covered are WWII Imperial Japanese Army aircraft set #1 (Tony, Frank, Tojo, Dinah and Helen), Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft set #2 (Emily & Mavis flying boats) by Pit Road, photo-etched brass frets of USN floater net baskets in 1:350 and cable and hose reel frets in 1:350 and 1:700 by Gold Medal Models, and the 1:400 model of "Rafale Marine" French jet fighter by l’Arsenal. The final column covers the production program for NNT for 2001-2002, which includes among other items, HMS Furious, battle cruiser/aircraft carrier; aircraft carriers, HMS Glorious and HMS Courageous; battle cruisers, HMS Lion and HMS Tiger; IJN Kongo and IJN Fuso, date of fit not listed. Navires & Histoire, includes as a bonus, a full page color plate of the French destroyer, Tigre in May 1945 and the French destroyer escort, l’Algerien as of February 1945.
A single issue costs 69 Francs ($9.05)plus 10 F for shipping, one year subscription (four issues) in France is 210 Francs ($27.55) , in Europe 230 Francs ($30.18) , and in other countries 290 Francs ($38.05). Two year subscriptions (eight issues) are respectively, 380 F ($49.87), 420 F ($55.11) and 540 Francs ($70.85) . Navires & Histoire accepts VISA and can be contacted at 29, rue Paul Bert, 62230, Outreau, France. Single issues may also be available from l'Arsenal, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org but I am unsure if they do have a back stock on this excellent publication.
My photos of the coverage from this issue cannot capture the outstanding qualities of this publication. Try as I might, I could not keep the gloss of the high quality pages from reflecting in some of the photos that I took. Since the magazine is in French, a knowledge of the language is necessary to benefit from the bulk of the text. However, French is not necessary to be able to utilize most of the information contained in the numerous tables. The quality and number of the photographs and color plates alone, is worth more than the cost of the magazine. In the final analysis, all I can say about Navires & Histoire is "C’est Magnifique!!"