The Floating Drydock
Fletcher Class Destroyer Plan Book

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Reviewed by
Ken Durling

The Floating Drydock Fletcher Class Plan Book is, quite simply, a paragon of the genre. There are few references for any subject as complete and well-executed as this one, making it a bargain even at $43.95.

The book is 11" x 17", end-bound (on the 11" edge") so that it opens out to an impressive (and hard-to-find-space-on-the-workbench-for!) 11 x 34 inch presentation. The plastic comb binding makes it possible to isolate any of the 11 x 17 drawings by folding the book backward. Also included at the back of the book are four 1/96 scale line drawings, two of each of the two ships covered in detail in the book, at different points in their history.

The two ships covered are DD445, the name ship of the class, USS Fletcher, an early round-bridge ship; and DD537, USS The Sullivans, a square-bridge Fletcher.

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Histories are provided for both the Class and the two ships . Both ships underwent periodic refits, and it is during these that many of the books hundreds of photos were taken. Other Fletchers are also shown in various detail shots. The photographs are of uniformly high quality, many featuring the familiar white circles of official U.S.N. refit records.

Especially noteworthy are the book's drawings, executed by Tom Walkowiak, proprietor of The Floating Drydock, and Al Zygler. In his introduction, Mr. Zygler says   ". . . almost nothing was traced from existing prints, everything was plotted from dimensions given on blueprints and microfilm." Most of the drawings are in 1/8" scale (1/96), with smaller details being depicted in even larger scale. The quality of the drawings is beautiful, and everything externally visible has been covered. It really must be seen to be appreciated.

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In the back, along with the fold-out side-views, are pages devoted to the hull number and marking dimensions, hull sections, and camouflage schemes (dapple and dazzle/ measure 32 2C). There are tables showing the folowing date for each Fletcher destroyer: hull no., yard, commissioning and and de-commissioning dates, and fate. Yet another table lists the camouflage scheme(s) carried by each hull number.  And finally there is an index listing the ships shown in the book,  45 in all.

I give this book my highest possible recommendation.

(Editor's note: The Fletcher Plan Book is available either   from Floating Drydock or Pacific Front)

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