British Warship Recognition, The Perkins Identification Albums, Volume VI: Submarines, Gunboats, Gun Vessels and Sloops, 1860-1939

This volume covers reflects the views of the time and is really Part 2 following Vol V. – This is a reproduction of the set of eight volumes held by the British National Maritime Museum where it has provided an unparalleled source of information for the Museum’s staff – Most Highly Recommended.


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NAME: British Warship Recognition, The Perkins Identification Albums, Volume VI: 
Submarines, Gunboats, Gun Vessels and Sloops, 1860-1939
FILE: R2708
AUTHOR: Richard Perkins
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Seaforth
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  264
PRICE: £70.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Royal Navy, submarines, Coastal Forces, Gun Boats, Gun 
Vessels, Sloops, petrol engined, steam, armoured

ISBN: 978-1-5267-1116-8

IMAGE: B2708.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ybdvj4xt
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This volume covers reflects the views of the time and is really Part 2 
following Vol V.  - This is a reproduction of the set of eight volumes held by the 
British National Maritime Museum where it has provided an unparalleled source of 
information for the Museum's staff  – Most Highly Recommended.

The author was a photographer of note who collected a unique photographic resource, 
in its field one of the most extensive in the world. He became the acknowledged expert 
in the identifying and dating of warship photographs and his project to provide a truly 
comprehensive recognition manual of Royal Navy warships from the 1860s to the 
Second World War is a visual record that cannot be excelled.

Until Pen and Sword began a facsimile project with the National Maritime Museum,
 Perkins' work was not easily accessible to anyone beyond Museum staff and was a 
remarkable national treasure in its own right. By producing a full set of these 
recognition volumes in quality facsimile form as a large format book, the publishers 
have provided a commendable service to all enthusiasts, ship modellers, professionals, 
historians, and museums. Inevitably, a volume of this size and quality cannot be 
offered at a budget price, even though the publishers have set a very aggressive RRP. 
The reduction in lending library services in many countries will make that form of 
access difficult for many readers. Readers who might not normally stretch their 
budgets to this cover price may well make a special effort and find the money to 
acquire the full eight volume set as the only way to access the astonishing expertise 
displayed by Perkins in his fantastic work.

The Royal Navy before 1939 was seen as a Fleet of Battleships and Cruisers, the steel 
successors to the Line of Battle Ships and Frigates of the wooden sailing Navy. From 
1876, the new breeds of Torpedo Boats and Torpedo Destroyers emerged, powered by
 steam or by petrol, but there was also an earlier continuation, from 1860, of the many 
classes of minor war vessels that were so vital to the efficient operation of Fleets and 
Squadrons, also filling the multitude of reconnaissance and communications duties 
that did not require a larger warships. From them developed the Destroyers and 
Coastal Forces vessels that were so important and numerous during WWI and then 
during WWII. These vessels operated in groups and individually, as the workhorses
 of the Royal Navy, most likely to engage the enemy with frequency and closely.

The exception to this coverage is the inclusion of submarines which were potent 
weapons that were soon able to operate as blue water warships, far from their home 
bases. Perkins has produced a memorial review of this new class of warship and 
demonstrates the huge potential and innovation of British submarines which at least 
rivaled the German U-Boats and, in several areas, led. However it also demonstrates 
the very different attitude to submarines of the Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine. To 
the Germans, the U-Boat was seen as a blockading raider that was primarily intended 
to interdict the crucial British sea lanes and Merchant Marine. Although capable of
 attacking major warships, this was not the primary purpose of the U-Boats. The Royal 
Navy however took a different view because it was able to operate freely across the 
oceans against any enemy surface vessels and did not perceive the same value for its 
submarines. However, this did not hamper the creative British designs that grew from 
the experiences with the first handful of license-built Holland Boats. Not every 
development was a great success. The K-Class were generally deemed a serious 
failure and the concept of a submarine with an oil-fired steam engine, for high speed 
surface running, seriously hampered its ability to quickly submerge. It was also prone 
to disasters where sisters collided with each other and with surface vessels. Against 
that high cost, their benefits as a design that could keep up with a battle group were 
very limited and the concept had to wait until nuclear power could be employed as a 
submarine steam power source. The approach of trying to match surface vessel 
classes was also a disaster. The battleship/aircraft carrier M-Class was a costly waste. 
The big-gun M1 was equipped with a gun that was common to pre-Dreadnought 
battleships, hard to handle and of very limited value. The M2 could only carry a single 
special small seaplane and the complexity of closing doors before diving was to cause 
her loss. The M3, as a mine layer, was a more productive vessel but smaller craft were 
to fill this slot. The X1 Cruiser submarine, with its two twin 5in gun barbettes, was also 
less than successful, experiencing reliability problems, again without offering any great 
benefits. With these exceptions, British submarine development was pretty solid, 
leading to the reliable T-Class in the late 1930s. What is often neglected, but not by 
Perkins, is the R-Class which was a revolution that is a clear forebear of the nuclear 
attack submarine. A hull designed to operate primarily underwater, with low 
submerged noise and improved battery capacity, should have been developed further 
and the concept was to await the Type 21 U-Boats in closing stage of WWII to see a 
similar approach in a diesel/electric submarine.

As with all the sister volumes in this redoubtable recognition series, there are 
hundreds of the most beautifully delineated warship profile drawings , arranged by 
class and type, and reproduced in the original colours of Perkin's masters. This 
volume is again a treasure trove of information with not only a profile of each vessel 
included, but also providing analysis of the most minute differences between sister 
ships. In addition, the many detailed changes for individual vessels, during their 
periods of service, are included and the author has added a series of hand-written 
notes that are a welcome and important addition to the 
drawings.

This is a book that is very difficult to do full justice to in a book review, even by 
including many of the images in the review. Every reader of naval history and 
technology should make special effort to acquire or view each volume in the 
collection.