Warships of the Great War Era, a History in Ship Models

B2185

The author followed an RN career as a pilot, then with a period as Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, before becoming a successful author of many highly regarded books. Naturally, he started with books covering aspects of naval aviation, but this new book provides a valuable review of warships of the Great War Era. Surprisingly, there have been very few books published on the same topic and those that have appeared have tended towards a narrow selection of classes and relied on drawings and photographs. This book follows a different path and features the history of warships through professional models. It is incredible that Britain has failed so spectacularly to preserve vintage warships that have not only been important to the Royal Navy, but marked a new standard in warship design. It is necessary to travel to the US to see a preserved battleship of the Great War Era. In Britain there is no Dreadnought or pre-Dreadnought or post-Dreadnought to view. The revolutionary early aircraft carriers all died in the breakers yard. Cruisers, destroyers and submarines have faired equally badly. There are many photographs and drawings, but these do not convey all of the character of warships that broke boundaries and took naval warfare to a new level. So strange when Britain literally led the World. However, there are many surviving models that all too often lurk in the recesses of museums or in the rarely viewed reserve collections that are hidden away because the museum lacks space to present them to visitors. This book is therefore not only very informative but it reminds us that these highly detailed models exist and provide a presentation of the character of the real warships that have sadly passed to scrap. An enjoyable and recommended book.

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NAME: Warships of the Great War Era, a History in Ship Models
DATE: 180315
FILE: R2185
AUTHOR: David Hobbs
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Seaforth
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 128
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, The Great War, 1914-1918, war at sea, tactics, naval architecture, naval engineering, strategy, technology, warships, Royal Navy, models, shipyard models, museum exhibits
ISBN: 978-1-84832-212-7
IMAGE: B2185.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/pggb396
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The author followed an RN career as a pilot with a period as Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum before becoming a successful author of many highly regarded books. Naturally, he started with books covering aspects of naval aviation, but this new book provides a valuable review of warships of the Great War Era. Surprisingly, there have been very few books published on the same topic and those that have appeared have tended towards a narrow selection of classes and relied on drawings and photographs. This book follows a different path and features the history of warships through professional models. It is incredible that Britain has failed so spectacularly to preserve vintage warships that have not only been important to the Royal Navy, but marked a new standard in warship design. It is necessary to travel to the US to see a preserved battleship of the Great War Era. In Britain there is no Dreadnought or pre-Dreadnought or post-Dreadnought to view. The revolutionary early aircraft carriers all died in the breakers yard. Cruisers, destroyers and submarines have faired equally badly. There are many photographs and drawings, but these do not convey all of the character of warships that broke boundaries and took naval warfare to a new level. So strange when Britain literally led the World. However, there are many surviving models that all too often lurk in the recesses of museums or in the rarely viewed reserve collections that are hidden away because the museum lacks space to present them to visitors. This book is therefore not only very informative but it reminds us that these highly detailed models exist and provide a presentation of the character of the real warships that have sadly passed to scrap. An enjoyable and recommended book.

Most detailed warship models were constructed with the same care and attention as was applied to their full size facsimiles. Very often, they were marketing aids to present a 3D impression of a warship that was at least state-of-the-art, or frequently a revolutionary design that significantly advanced the technology of marine warfare. In the closing decades of the 19th Century, the major navies were all moving to steel and armoured warships that were designed from the start to be powered by coal-fired steam. They featured gunnery direction, long range and increased firepower that was mainly mounted in barbets or turrets that were trained and elevated by powered controls, with their guns fed through the breech. This was a major advance over the previous designs that had continued to employ many of the materials and technologies that would have been familiar to Nelson, albeit with the inclusion of steam power, along with a full sailing rig. It was to be expected that the largest navies would move rapidly to replace the earlier designs with these new vessels and their greater capabilities. As it took time to build a ship, and the cost was not insignificant, Britain, Germany and their allies would enter WWI with many of these early steam-powered steel ships.

However, Britain started the 20th Century with a major advance in the form of HMS Dreadnought. Not only was Dreadnought a very powerful addition to the RN, it was so advanced that navies around the World began to describe capital ships as ‘pre-dreadnought’ and ‘dreadnought’. As Britain and Germany engaged in an arms race, the Dreadnought design was further enhanced to produce what some refer to as super dreadnought and others as post-dreadnought, these being in effect the final classes of battleship that were made obsolescent by the equally dramatic introduction by Britain of the purpose-designed aircraft carrier.

Many tend to focus so intently on battleship and carrier design that all the other equally important classes of warships receive far less coverage than they deserve.

In the years leading into the Great War, a number of new ship types and weapons were coming into service. The submarine and the smaller warships depended more on the locomotive torpedo than on the gun. However, one of the most dangerous weapons was to prove to be the relatively cheap and simple sea mine. During the Great War, huge minefields were laid in an attempt to apply blockades. They proved highly effective and added danger because those mines that broke their moorings drifted unpredictably and continued to be lethal even after the end of hostilities.

As a result, further new classes of warship were introduced to fight submarines and minefields. There were also attempts to enhance battle-fleets and the use of battle cruisers and heavy cruisers introduced a new form of capital ship, fast, heavily armed and, to some degree armoured, but intended to be faster than battleships and suitable as an advanced screen ahead of the main fleet.

At the other end of the scale were the new Fast Torpedo Boats. These vessels carried a torpedo and a light gun armament depending on their speed to attack the great warships and escape before they could be sunk. These relatively inexpensive vessels with their tiny crews could seriously damage or sink a capital ship. They were powered by petrol engines and mostly built of wood.

The author has done an excellent job of using full colour images of detailed warship models to present this period of incredible change in the nature of war at sea. He has also included Q-Ships, Auxillary warships, river gunboats, merchantmen at war and hospital ships. He has included boats and boat stowage which is a combination of old and new. The open rowing boat was still carried by warships, but steam pinnaces and petrol/parafin-powered boats were being added to warships and the Carley raft was being added as a simple but effective escape system for warships of all sizes. One strength of the Carley raft was that it could survive damage that would fatally damage a wooden, oar, or engine-powered, ship’s boat.

A great book and very informative.

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