The Ship of the Line, a History in Ship Models

B2208

The author is one of the foremost naval historians of his generation with special skill and knowledge of sailing warships of the 18th and 19th Centuries. He has been widely published for many years and his knowledge sought by period film companies. This book therefore needs little introduction. What it does very well is provide full colour illustration of ships that have long since ceased to exist. Traditionally, books covering the history and technology of these wooden warships have required drawings and sketches, with a few colour photographs of rare survivors, such as HMS Victory, USS Constitution, and the Swedish Vasa. What the author has done is use colour photographs of models held in the great maritime museums and originally built mostly for training or sales purposes.

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NAME: The Ship of the Line, a History in Ship Models
DATE: 140815
FILE: R2208
AUTHOR: Brian Lavery
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Seaforth
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 128
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Line-of-battle-ships, capital ships, wooden warships, Ship of the Line, Napoleonic Wars, Revolutionary War, British Empire, trade routes, sailing ships, ship rig, square rig, naval guns, black powder, ships boats
ISBN: 978-1-84832-214-1
IMAGE: B2208.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/pmuoknp
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The author is one of the foremost naval historians of his generation with special skill and knowledge of sailing warships of the 18th and 19th Centuries. He has been widely published for many years and his knowledge sought by period film companies. This book therefore needs little introduction. What it does very well is provide full colour illustration of ships that have long since ceased to exist. Traditionally, books covering the history and technology of these wooden warships have required drawings and sketches, with a few colour photographs of rare survivors, such as HMS Victory, USS Constitution, and the Swedish Vasa. What the author has done is use colour photographs of models held in the great maritime museums and originally built mostly for training or sales purposes.

There are a great many models held in museums, some having been specifically built to complete a collecting policy of a museum. The selection of models on which to base a book is therefore very important, selecting examples that tell the story of the evolution of the design of the line-of-battle ship to the ultimate contest of 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The popular image of a Ship of the Line is of the vessel during the life of Nelson and many may be surprised to find that the origins go back to the 16th Century when the Great Castle ship, of which the preserved Mary Rose is an example, was being built by the major maritime nations of the period. The Huguenot and Cornish corsairs created the much more nimble race-built galleons that formed a major part of the English fleet that successfully drove off the Spanish Armada in 1588. Whether these vessels could be described as Ships of the Line has been debated. The ‘race-built ‘ description comes from the ‘razored’ description of the Huguenots, the design featuring significantly cut down fore and aft castles. These vessels were fast, nimble and carried a smaller number of more effective canon, able to ‘hit and run’ against Great Castle Ships that may have bristled with guns, but were essentially carrying soldiers as boarding crew. Their object was to catch and board, rather than to depend on accurate naval artillery.

Through the 17th Century, maritime nations built ships that may have had similar lines to the race-built galleon, but were built ever larger and carried more and heavier guns mounted on four wheel trucks. These were usually handsome and highly decorated vessels that were capable of long sea voyages and able to stand the storms of the open oceans.

By the 18th Century the Line-of-Battle ship was close to the end of its development. The first class vessels were typified by HMS Victory, with around 100 guns, the lower gun deck carrying the heaviest long guns of 32 pounder size. These vessels were weakest in the stern and the objective of fleet commanders was to form a line and cross the enemy ‘T’, firing directly through the stern windows and wrecking the internal spaces as the canon balls carried through to the bows. However, most larger warships, by Nelson’s time, carried heavy short range Carronades that were intended to smash the sides of ships prior to the vessels grappling and boarders crossing to take the enemy ship in much the same way that the early Great Castle ships would have done.

Beyond 1805, most maritime nations continued on with little enhancement of their major warships, other than the progressive adoption of steam power during the mid 19th Century to augment the sails.

The author has selected models to illustrate the progressive development of the Ship of the Line and beautifully shot images complement text that demonstrates the breadth and depth of the author’s knowledge, built up through a lifetime of study. Ship enthusiasts will want their own copy of this book, but it is also a work of art that will appeal to those with a peripheral interest in the subject but will enjoy the high quality full colour images.

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