Friday 18 August 2017

Victorian Era Navies

For those who want to get bogged down in detail for their Victorian Era naval wargames, I've just bought (don't tell MrsJ, she thinks I have too many books already) a book reprinted from the period.

The title is self-explanatory, and the author was in the United States Navy from 1844 and served in practically all the early steamers. Eventually becoming chief engineer of the New York Navy Yard and later of the North Atlantic Fleet. He saw action in the Mexican War and the Civil War.

As the blurb states, the book "...contains a complete and concise description of the construction, motive power, and armaments of the modern warships of all the navies of the world; naval artillery, marine engines, boilers, torpedoes and torpedo-boats.

In order it covers the French, (5 chapters), British (14 chapters), Italian , German, Russian, Turkish and Austrian, Holland and Spain, Denmark ,Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Greece, Egypt, Brazil, Chili (sic), Peru, the Argentine Republic, Japan and China. Mostly in single chapters but sometimes combined. I find it odd that the United States Navy only warrants a single chapter. Perhaps he was security conscious about his own national force?.

As well as going into depth about the various ships, many described in minute detail, he also covers personnel and dockyards with their operations. There are five chapters on the naval ordnance of the various nations, comparing the differences between them.

Al in all a very long book (613 pages) and not one to be read in one go, but ideal for checking facts on rate of fire (one Royal Navy example being given as a shot every eleven minutes) speeds, tactics, etc. Worth hunting out through your local library.

Note, the pale stripe down the left of the cover is due to sun-bleaching of the jacket while on someones bookshelf.

I've a new book on warships coming soon, a coffee-table book so probably only good for appearances. I'll put up a description when I get it.


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