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HMNZS Achilles, by Jack S. Harker
Auckland: Collins, 1981
HB, 264 pages with 53 b&w photos.

D/j sunned at spine, minor edge bumps; otherwise book excellent.

HMNZS Achilles was a WW2 era light cruiser launched in 1932 and transferred from the Royal Navy to the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1936. In 1939, along with the Exeter and the Ajax, she took on the German Pocket Battleship Graf Spee and drove her in to Montevideo, following which the Graf Spee's captain chose to scuttle her rather than fight to the death. HMNZS Achilles went on to fight at Guadalcanal in 1943, was prevented from taking part in D-Day by an internal explosion while refitting, but was back in the Pacific in 1945, taking part in the final phases of the Pacific War against Japan. In 1946, she was handed back to the Admiralty and in 1948 she was acquired by the Indian Navy, renamed the Delhi, and continued in service through to 1978, when she was broken up. The author, Jack Harper, was one of the Royal New Zealand Navy men who served in the Achilles. In this book, he chronicles her life with the Royal New Zealand Navy. The book covers the birth of the Royal New Zealand Navy, peacetime training and Pacific Islands cruising, escort duties in early WW2, the hunting of the German commerce raiders at the start of the war, the drama of the Battle of the River Plate, where the Graf Spee met her fate, early actions in the Pacific War and the final closing months. Please click here to ask a question
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