RHNS Averof, Thunder in the Aegean

B2008

The story of the Averof must be one of the least known from naval warfare during the Twentieth Century, if not the least known. This warship was from a class that was dominant in naval forces from the late 19th Century, until WWI. A few were modernized after WWI but most navies tried to replace the class as rapidly as possible. To the Greek Navy, the Averof was a capital ship, the largest in their fleet. Built in Livorno in 1910, she was soon in battle against the Turks, before the outbreak of WWI. She then served on with modifications, through WWII, to be laid up in 1945. Then against all odds, she was resurrected in 1984 to become a floating museum.

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NAME: RHNS Averof, Thunder in the Aegean
DATE: 020814
FILE: R2008
AUTHOR: John Carr
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 171
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, World War Two, First World War, Second World War, war at sea, naval technology, single ships, naval aviation, submarine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, armoured cruisers, post WWII, naval heritage, Greek navy, Royal Hellenic Navy, Battle of Cape Helles, Turkish Fleet, Balkan Wars.
ISBN: 1-78303-021-6
IMAGE: B2008.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/nvftvy8
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The story of the Averof must be one of the least known from naval warfare during the Twentieth Century, if not the least known. This warship was from a class that was dominant in naval forces from the late 19th Century, until WWI. A few were modernized after WWI but most navies tried to replace the class as rapidly as possible. To the Greek Navy, the Averof was a capital ship, the largest in their fleet. Built in Livorno in 1910, she was soon in battle against the Turks, before the outbreak of WWI. She then served on with modifications, through WWII, to be laid up in 1945. Then against all odds, she was resurrected in 1984 to become a floating museum.

When the armoured cruiser first appeared it was very close to being a battleship. At that time, the Dreadnought was still to be launched and make battleships and armoured cruisers obsolete at a stroke. Battleships usually carried a mixture of gun sizes, all intended for use against other battleships and cruisers. Many had yet to be fitted with gun turrets and their weapons were mounted in barbettes or sponsons, with limited arcs of fire. This meant that the smaller battleships were often smaller than the largest armoured cruisers, very similar in appearance and with little advantage of heavier weapons.

The Averof was built for the Italian Navy but was bought for Greece and soon sent into battle against the Turks, causing them serious damage a the Battle of Cape Helles and then following this, little more than a month later in January 1913, with a stunning victory over the Turks at the Battle of Limnos.

In the 1920s, the Averof was subject of a major refit in a French yard, her torpedo tubes being replaced with more and better anti-aircraft guns. As the Germans overran Greece in WWII, the Averof made a courageous dash for Alexandria, dodging German air attacks to reach the British naval base in Egypt. She was then used to escort a convoy to India and became the first Greek warship to sail the Indian Ocean since the time of Alexander the Great.

At the end of WWII, the Averof was fully obsolete and laid up on the island of Poros. Happily she became the subject of a restoration program in 1984 and is now one of only three surviving armoured cruisers.

The author has provided a comprehensive review of the Averof and her history, including her slow and thorough restoration. There are a number of rare and interesting photographs in a plate section and the story of Averof is more than the story of one ship. Of the large numbers of armoured cruiser built by or for the world’s navies, the three surviving examples are all that has been left to explain the place this class once held. An impressive and valuable account.

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