Serious enthusiasts and professionals tend to buy every well-written book in the genre of their interest, but for other readers it can be a challenge as book shelves fill up. This new book should appeal to ever reader who has any interest in the development of naval technology and the evolution of the line of battle ship, Essential Reading.
NAME: Battleships of the World, Struggle for Naval Supremacy 1820-1945 FILE: R2397 AUTHOR: John Fidler PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 145 PRICE: £19.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Wooden Walls, Revenge, Square rigged, armoured warships, steam power, barbette guns, turret guns, oil fuel, coal fuel, spotter aircraft, radar, mechanical computers, radio, steam turbines, battle fleet, line of battle ISBN: 1-47387-146-8 IMAGE: B2397.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/gwodg5t LINKS:Special discount for our readers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/catalogues/aid/1170#catalogue-15 Other Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale DESCRIPTION: Serious enthusiasts and professionals tend to buy every well-written book in the genre of their interest, but for other readers it can be a challenge as book shelves fill up. This new book should appeal to ever reader who has any interest in the development of naval technology and the evolution of the line of battle ship, Essential Reading. There have been so many good books published on the subject of capital ships, but those that provide insight into how four hundred years of wooden warship design changed into steam powered steel ships are very rare. The author has provided a very easy to follow account of the process and much can be learned. It is particularly important because it reflects across the evolution and revolution of naval warfare. It is generally accepted that the world's navies designed and built ships that were directly descended from the Revenge of 1577. Some will also argue that the Revenge was directly descended from the race-built galleons that were designed by French Huguenots and readily copied by English and Scottish corsairs. During the period from the 1530s to 1577, very few nations commissioned warships in any numbers and those that did, notably Spain, clung to the great castle ships which made the break from galleys that might have carried a growing number of guns. The design initiative lay with the corsairs because they needed vessels that carried a formidable gun armament for their size but were excellent sailers, with a need for a modest crew and an ability to outrun the State-owned great castle ship. The privateer and auxiliary warship continued to be a part of most nations' naval capability, but the State-owned Standing Fleet progressively came to represent naval power. By 1577, that process had started and it introduced a more formal design process and funding that was driven by a desire to achieve national supremacy, rather than produce profitable raiders. From the Revenge, the line-of-battle ship developed with more and heavier guns, but the basic design remained broadly similar. In the following century, there were ships that carried up to one hundred guns, mounted on four wheel trucks, breech loaded and in sizes up to 32 pounder with long barrels. The iron gun began to take over from the bronze cannon and this increased gun weight, but greatly reduced the cost of guns, made possible by industrial processes that replaced the blacksmith in the construction of iron barrels. Capital ships grew in size but were limited by the constraints of building in wood. First rate battleships from the start of the 18th Century were remarkably similar to HMS Victory and the ships still being built in 1820. By 1820, several navies were already using steam-powered paddle wheel tugs. The first experiments in using steel plates to clad warships had begun and experiments in manufacturing steel breech-loading guns were already underway. This led to greater variety in ship design and the promise of being able to design much larger warships, with more powerful guns, that could be powered by steam, to free the commander from slavery to the wind. It did not happen all at the same pace and there were more than a few disasters along the way, but the American Civil War was to see the use of submarines and a duel between two ironclads. The Confederate CSS Virginia was the more conventional vessel, having been a conversion of the frigate Merrimack. The hull was given a new superstructure of uniform section from bow to stern, with iron plating, but the muzzle-loading cannon were still truck mounted and arranged in broadside. The major innovation was a complete lack of sails and power provided by a steam engine driving a screw. The Union Navy fielded USS Monitor which looked more like a submarine sailing on the surface with tanks part blown. She had a flat deck with minimal freeboard and a central drum-like turret that mounted two large muzzle-loading cannon. There were no masts and no real superstructure, the dominant feature being the powerful turret that could traverse to find the enemy. The dual between these two ground-breaking designs was inconclusive, both being able to shrug off the shells that hit them, but they were limited by the sea conditions and the duration of their fuel bunkers. Capital ship design flowed around these two ships. Towards the end of the Century, battleships were dispensing with masts, to rely on steam power and screw propulsion, Turret-mounted guns were becoming the norm, but barbettes continued to be used, often together with turrets for the most powerful guns. Steel was used for framing and cladding, but designs were increasingly using all-steel construction and introducing armour at critical points. The screw was now standard and the first experiments were being made with turbines to replace the triple expansion chamber engine that was to continue on in merchant marine use. HMS Dreadnought brought the major revolution in battleship design that was a complete break for the evolutionary process and was to provide the pattern for all future gun-armed battleships. She combined steam turbines with single calibre, turret-mounted, breech-loaded, rifled cannon in a very clean steel hull and superstructure. Overnight she made all other battleships obsolete and from that point there were dreadnoughts and pre-dreadnoughts. The author has presented these changes in design and construction very well and continued the story through to the point where aircraft carriers superseded the gun-armed battleships. The clear presentation is supported by an excellent selection of images through the body of the book, with a coloured photo-plate section on gloss paper. With the range of design development, even the highly experienced enthusiast will find something to learn, but the great strength of the book is that it provides a full account of how the wooden warship of Nelson came to be followed by designs that evolved into the steam-powered steel capital ship and how the Dreadnought revolutionized the battleship design into a form that effectively lasted to the end of the big-gun battleships.