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Battleships - Royal Navy (up to 1918): books

A book on battleships of the Royal Navy? Here are books on the history, types and technology of battleships of the Royal Navy up to 1918.

British Battleships 1890-1905 : Victoria's steel battlefleet and the road to Dreadnought (Osprey)

The term 'pre-dreadnought' was applied in retrospect, to describe the capital ships built during the decade and a half before the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906. At that moment these once great warships were rendered obsolete. However, until then, they were simply called 'battleships' and were unquestionably the most powerful warships of their day.
These mighty warships represented the cutting edge of naval technology. The ugly ducklings of the ironclad era had been transformed into beautiful swans, albeit deadly ones. In Britain, this period was dominated by Sir William White, the Navy's Chief Constructor. Under his guidance the mastless battleships of the 1880s gave way to an altogether more elegant type of capital ship.

The period of trial and error which marked the ironclad era ushered in a more scientific style of naval architecture. As a result, these battleships were among the most powerful warships in the world during the late Victorian era, and set a benchmark for the new battle fleets produced by navies such as Japan, Russia and the United States.

Illustrated throughout with full-colour artwork, this fascinating study offers a detailed and definitive guide to the design, development and legacy of the Royal Navy's battleships at the turn of the 20th century as they paved the way for the coming of the Dreadnought.

Author:Angus Konstam
Specs:48 pages, 24.5 x 18.5 x 1.2 cm / 9.7 x 7.3 x 0.47 in, paperback
Illustrations:40 b&w photographs, 8 pages drawings in colour
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2021)
Series:New Vanguard
Book: British Battleships 1890-1905 : Victoria's steel battlefleet and the road to Dreadnought (Osprey)

British Battleships 1890-1905 : Victoria's steel battlefleet and the road to Dreadnought

Language: English

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The British Battleship : 1906 - 1946

Covers the development of Royal Navy capital ships, including battlecruisers, from the pre-history of the revolutionary Dreadnought of 1906 to the last of the line, HMS Vanguard in 1946.
Replete with original insights, the story that emerges will enlighten and surprise even the most knowledgeable.

The attraction of the book is enhanced by sets of specially commissioned plans of the important classes by John Roberts and A D Baker III, both renowned experts in their own right, plus a colour section featuring the original Admiralty draughts, including a spectacular double gatefold.

Norman Friedman is one of the most highly regarded of all naval writers, with an avid following for his work.

Author:Norman Friedman
Specs:400 pages, 29 x 24.5 cm / 11.4 x 9.7 in, hardback
Illustrations:350 photographs and drawings
Publisher:Seaforth Publishing (GB, 2015)
Book: The British Battleship : 1906 - 1946

The British Battleship : 1906 - 1946

Language: English

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Schlachtschiffe der Royal Navy - Großkampfschiffe 1895-1945 (Typenkompass)

Ce livre de référence présente tous les types de cuirrassiers utilisés par la Royal Navy entre 1895 et 1945.

Pages of the book [TK] Schlachtschiffe der Royal Navy 1895-1945 (1)

Chaque type est présenté à l'aide d'une photo, d'une description historique et d'une fiche technique.

Author:Ingo Bauernfeind
Specs:128 pages, 20.5 x 14 cm / 8.1 x 5.5 in, paperback
Illustrations:112 b&w photographs, 17 drawings
Publisher:Motorbuch Verlag (D, 2014)
Series:Typenkompass
Book: Schlachtschiffe der Royal Navy - Großkampfschiffe 1895-1945 (Typenkompass)

Schlachtschiffe der Royal Navy - Großkampfschiffe 1895-1945

Language: German

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Dreadnought - The Ship that Changed the World

The years before World War I were the 'Age of the Dreadnought'. The monumental battleship design, first introduced by Admiral Fisher to the Royal Navy in 1906, was quickly adopted around the world and led to a new era of maritime warfare.

In this book, Roger Parkinson provides a re-writing of the naval history of Britain and the other leading naval powers - Germany, America and Japan - from the 1880s to the early years of World War I. He shows how the dreadnought enabled the Royal Navy to develop from being primarily the navy of the 'Pax Britannica' in the Victorian era to being a war-ready fighting force in the early years of the twentieth century. The ensuing era of intensifying naval competition rapidly became a full-blooded naval arms race, leading to the development of super-dreadnoughts and escalating tensions between the European powers.
Providing a truly international perspective on the dreadnought phenomenon, this book will be essential reading for all naval history enthusiasts and anyone interested in World War I.

Author:Roger Parkinson
Specs:304 pages, 23.5 x 15.5 cm / 9.25 x 6.1 in, hardback
Illustrations:30 b&w photographs
Publisher:I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd (GB, 2014)
Book: Dreadnought - The Ship that Changed the World

Dreadnought - The Ship that Changed the World

Language: English

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The Battleship Dreadnought (Anatomy of the Ship) (Anatomy of the Ship)

Launched in 1906, HMS Dreadnought was the first 'all-big-gun' battleship and as such revolutionised battleship design for more than a generation. She was built at Portsmouth in 14 months, a record which has never been equalled, and when she was launched she was superior in both firepower and speed to anything then afloat. Perhaps even more radical than her design was the proposal to adopt Parsons turbines which at the time had been hardly tested. Though she saw little action during her career, her influence was profound and she gave her name to a class of ship that dominated the high seas for more than a generation.

The 'Anatomy of the Ship' series aims to provide the finest documentation of individual ships and ship types ever published. What makes the series unique is a complete set of superbly executed line drawings, both the conventional type of plan as well as explanatory views, with fully descriptive keys. These are supported by technical details and a record of the ship's service history.

Author:John Roberts
Specs:256 pages, 25.5 x 24 x 1.6 cm / 10 x 9 x 0.63 in, paperback
Illustrations:650 drawings, 20 photographs
Publisher:Conway Books (GB, 2020)
Series:Anatomy of the Ship
Book: The Battleship Dreadnought (Anatomy of the Ship) (Anatomy of the Ship)

The Battleship Dreadnought (Anatomy of the Ship)

Language: English

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British Battleships of World War One

This superb reference book achieved the status of 'classic' soon after its first publication in 1986; it was soon out of print and is now one of the most sought-after naval reference books on the secondhand market.
It presents, in one superb volume, the complete technical history of British capital ship design and construction during the dreadnought era. One hundred years ago at Jutland, Dogger Bank, Heligoland Bight and the first battle for the Falklands, might squadrons of these great armoured ships fought their German counterparts for command of the seas. Beginning with Dreadnought, the book continues to the end of the First World War, and all of the fifty dreadnoughts, 'super-dreadnoughts' and battlecruisers that served the Royal Navy during this era are described and superbly illustrated with photographs and line drawings.

Each class of ship is described in detail so that design origins, and technical and operational factors, are discussed alongside characteristics, with special emphasis on armament, armour and machinery. Fully detailed data tables are included for every class, and more than 500 photographs and line drawings illustrate the text.
A delight for the historian, enthusiast and ship modeller, it is a volume that is already regarded as an essential reference work for this most significant era in naval history and ship design.

Author:R. A. Burt
Specs:344 pages, 29.5 x 25.5 x 2.6 cm / 11.6 x 10 x 1.02 in, hardback
Illustrations:350 b&w photographs, over 150 drawings
Publisher:Seaforth Publishing (GB, 2012)
Book: British Battleships of World War One

British Battleships of World War One

Language: English

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British Battleships, 1914-18 (1) - The Early Dreadnoughts (Osprey)

The launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 changed the face of naval warfare. The first half-dozen dreadnoughts were all improvements of the basic Dreadnought design, all carrying ten 12-inch guns. It was only in 1911, with the launch of HMS Neptune that the layout of this powerful armament was altered as a result of practical experience. Two more versions of the Neptune entered service later that same year.
These nine improved dreadnoughts formed the core of the British High Seas Fleet. They would soon, however, be outclassed by a new breed of "super dreadnoughts", the subject of the second volume in this two-part story.
While these new battleships carried larger 13.5-inch guns, they proved less successful as all-round battleships than their more lightly-armed predecessors. One last 12-inch gun dreadnought entered service in 1914, when a seven turret battleship being built for the Turks was commandeered by the Royal Navy, and re-named HMS Agincourt.

This New Vanguard title, the first of two covering these famous warships uncovers the full story of the British battleships of World War I. The book looks at their revolutionary design, the 12-inch guns that provided them with their firepower, and the way these guns were fired in anger.

Author:Angus Konstam
Specs:48 pages, 21 x 18.5 x 0.3 cm / 8.25 x 7.3 x 0.12 in, paperback
Illustrations:photographs and drawings (in b&w and colour)
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2013)
Series:New Vanguard (200)
Book: British Battleships, 1914-18 (1) - The Early Dreadnoughts (Osprey)

British Battleships, 1914-18 (1) - The Early Dreadnoughts

Language: English

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British Battleships 1914-18 (2) : The Super Dreadnoughts (Osprey)

In 1906, the Germans began building their own dreadnought fleet armed with larger guns, word of which soon reached the British Admiralty. This raised the spectre that the British dreadnought fleet would be outgunned, and prompted the Admiralty to order the building of their own "super dreadnoughts". The first of these new dreadnoughts were laid down in 1909, and entered service three years later.

The British public supported this programme, and the slogan "we want eight and cannot wait" became popular, a reference to the building of eight of these super dreadnoughts. Four more super dreadnoughts entered service in 1914. By then the Admiralty had developed a new programme of "fast battleships", armed with 15-inch guns.

These powerful warships entered service in time to play a part in the battle of Jutland in 1916. World War I broke out before the Royal Navy had fully evaluated these new warships, and so lessons had to be learned through experience - often the hard way.

Although none of these super dreadnoughts were lost in battle, their performance at the battle of Jutland led to a re-evaluation of the way they were operated.
Still, for four years they denied control of the sea to the enemy, and so played a major part in the final collapse of Imperial Germany.

Author:Angus Konstam
Specs:48 pages, 25 x 19 x 0.3 cm / 9.8 x 7.5 x 0.12 in, paperback
Illustrations:30 b&w and 7 colour photographs
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2013)
Series:New Vanguard (204)
Book: British Battleships 1914-18 (2) : The Super Dreadnoughts (Osprey)

British Battleships 1914-18 (2) : The Super Dreadnoughts

Language: English

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British Dreadnought vs German Dreadnought - Jutland 1916 (Osprey)

In 1916, in the seas near Jutland, two fleets of armoured dreadnoughts met in open battle.

This book tells the story of the British and German battleships of these two great fleets - from their development as the first generation of fully- armoured warships - to their combat experiences. The differing weapon systems and crew training of the British and German fleets are examined in detail, as is the titanic struggle of Jutland, through an hour-by-hour, shot-by-shot, reconstruction. Finally, it analyzes the outcome of the struggle, explaining the successes and failures of these great battleships.

Author:Mark Stille
Specs:80 pages, 24.5 x 17.5 x 0.7 cm / 9.7 x 6.9 x 0.28 in, paperback
Illustrations:photographs and drawings (in b&w and colour)
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2010)
Series:Duel (31)
Book: British Dreadnought vs German Dreadnought - Jutland 1916 (Osprey)

British Dreadnought vs German Dreadnought - Jutland 1916

Language: English

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Battleship Warspite - Detailed in the Original Builders' Plans

The technical details of British warships were recorded in a set of plans produced by the builders on completion of every ship. Known as the as fitted general arrangements, these drawings documented the exact appearance and fitting of the ship as it entered service.
They were very large more than 12 feet long for capital ships highly detailed, annotated and labelled, and drawn with exquisite skill in multi-coloured inks and washes. Intended to provide a permanent reference for the Admiralty and the dockyards, they represent the acme of the draughtsman's art.
Today these plans form part of the incomparable collection of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, which is using the latest scanning technology to make digital copies of the highest quality.

This book is the first of a series based entirely on these draughts which will depict famous warships in an unprecedented degree of detail complete sets in full colour, with many close-ups and enlargements that make every aspect clear and comprehensible.
Extensive captions point the reader to important features to be found in the plans, and an introduction covers the background to the design. The celebrated battleship "Warspite" is an ideal introduction to this new series an apparently familiar subject, but given this treatment the result is an anatomy that will fascinate every warship enthusiast and ship modeller.

Author:Robert Brown
Specs:128 pages, 29 x 24.5 cm / 11.4 x 9.7 in, hardback
Illustrations:128 drawings in colour
Publisher:Seaforth Publishing (GB, 2017)
Book: Battleship Warspite - Detailed in the Original Builders' Plans

Battleship Warspite - Detailed in the Original Builders' Plans

Language: English

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Related titles:

HMS Royal Sovereign & Her Sister Ships

HMS Royal Sovereign & Her Sister Ships - Battleships at War

Peter C. Smith

English | hardback | 224 p. | 2009

[NVG] British Battleships 1939-45 (2)

British Battleships 1939-45 (2) - Nelson and King George V Classes

Angus Konstam

English | paperback | 48 p. | 2009

HMS Rodney - Slayer of the Bismarck and D-Day

HMS Rodney - Slayer of the Bismarck and D-Day Saviour

Ian Ballantyne

English | paperback | 320 p. | 2012

King George V Class Battleships (ShipCraft 2)

King George V Class Battleships

Roger Chesneau

English | paperback | 64 p. | 2011

The Last British Battleship: HMS Vanguard 1946-1960

The Last British Battleship : HMS Vanguard 1946-1960

Ray Burt

English | hardback | 128 p. | 2019

[TK] Alliierte Schlachtschiffe - GB, F und USSR 39-45

Alliierte Schlachtschiffe - England, Frankreich und UdSSR 1939-1945

Ingo Bauernfeind

German | paperback | 128 p. | 2012

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Last update:05-04-2024