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Thread: "Small Arms of the Sea Services," by Robert H. Rankin

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    142

    "Small Arms of the Sea Services," by Robert H. Rankin

    Title: Small Arms of the Sea Services
    Author: Robert H. Rankin (Colonel, USMC)
    ISBN: 0-910598-10-X
    Publisher: N. Flayderman & Co., Inc. New Milford, CT, 1972 (1st edition)
    Subject: Firearms and edged weapons of the US Navy, Coast Guard and Marines
    Years covered: Mid 1700's to late 1960's
    Pictures: Many Black&White photos and some illustrations
    Pages: 225 including bibliography and index

    I picked this book up on an eBay auction, a little outdated, old (not to mention musty smelling), but astonishing in its depth of information. This book is a general, but surprisingly thorough, overview of small arms and edged weapons of the United States Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. Topics covered (straight from the table of contents) include, "Navy Swords, Navy Dirks and Knives, Navy Hand Guns, Navy Long Arms, Marine Corps Swords, Marine Corps Knives, Marine Corps Hand Guns, Long Arms of the Leathernecks, Military Shot Guns, Signal Pistols, Small Arms of the Coast Guard and its Predecessors." Although there are no color photographs, it is lavishly illustrated with B&W photos and drawings of Sailors and Marines in uniforms of the periods covered. Even though its intended to be a general overview, Col Rankin does manage to cover specific examples with very detailed descriptions, and he even manages to cover a few rare examples (Elgin "cutlass pistol"). His coverage of US Navy edged weapons is impressive and his section on Marine Corps Swords is the best I've come across so far. Overall, I would describe this book as a must for any collector of US Naval weapons, and despite its age, there are very few books out there (that I know of) that can match its detail.

    Side Note: Apparently I'm not the only one impressed with this book... its has forwards written by the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Commandant of the Coast Guard

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nipmuc USA
    Posts
    12,015
    I have been favorably impressed with this as well. I picked up a musty copy at the Hartford Show this year. They did have two, maybe it was the same source. I have been alternately pressing and airing mine but it still has the wet basement smell. Very good condition other than that. The pages on the Plymouth and Dahlgren came in handy just the other day.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; a great deal of information in a narrow package

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    142
    This is such an outstanding reference book, yet it has been out of print for years... I consider myself pretty damn lucky to have found a copy in good condition (except for the smell). Too bad, some of the better reference materials don't seem to motivate publishers to reprint...

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