Another well-crafted book from a leading author in his field. An entertaining and informative review of the evolution of one of the most important classes of warship, from the technology of WWII, into the missile age – Most Highly Recommended
NAME: The Modern Cruiser, The evolution of the ships that fought the Second World War FILE: R3219 AUTHOR: Robert C Stern PUBLISHER: Seaforth Publishing, Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £35.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWI, World War I, World War 1, First World War, The Great War, WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, war at sea, naval technology, naval architecture, surrender, spoils of war ISBN: 978-1-5267-3791-5 PAGES: 288 IMAGE: B3219.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yyqah4pt LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Another well-crafted book from a leading author in his field. An entertaining and informative review of the evolution of one of the most important classes of warship, from the technology of WWII, into the missile age – Most Highly Recommended
The cruiser has always been one of the most important classes of warship because of its power and versatility but, as with most class names, ‘cruiser’ covers a multitude of functionality. There has always been some debate about the meaning and origins of the ‘cruiser’. In the days of sail, there were ‘line-of-battle’ ships and frigates. There was also a multitude of smaller warships, often described by their sail rig. As navies moved into the steel warship age and sail gave way to steam and coal-fired steam gave way to oil-fired steam and diesel, many innovations were tried out which often produced some confusing use of class descriptions.
The ‘line-of-battle’ ship became the ‘battleship’ which was sensible and logical, being the most powerful vessel in the fleet and where each fleet was expected to take part in set piece fleet actions to attempt to sink or capture the opposing fleet. Then the advantages of faster battleships, with armour being reduced to achieve speed led to the ‘battlecruiser’, impinging on the cruiser but really still being a battleship, a vessel of prime investment and reputation.
Destroyers were logically named because their original mission was to deal with small torpedo boats that suddenly presented a new and significant threat to the battleship. As time went on, destroyers slipped neatly into the roles originally performed by frigates in the days of sail. That ate into the roles of the cruiser from the other end. In the days of sail, larger and more heavily armed frigates were sometimes referred to as ‘cruisers’ and sometimes as ‘heavy frigates’ or by the number of guns. Where a typical frigate would form part of a fleet battle, and a multitude of other roles, usually providing reconnaissance, a heavy frigate/cruiser would be used independently operating out on the shipping lanes as an escort and as a commerce raider.
The result is that modern cruisers vary more than any other class of warship. The smallest is larger and more powerful than WWII light cruisers that are now matched or exceeded by modern destroyers. The largest is more akin to the battleship. The introduction of missiles and anti-submarine helicopters adds capability to many classes, including cruisers.
The author has provided a very navigable text through the variations and capabilities of modern cruisers.