Battleships of the World, Struggle for Naval Supremacy 1820-1945

b2397

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.

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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
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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.