The Royal Navy
100 Years of Maritime Warfare in the Modern Age
Produced in association with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, this exploration of the service’s campaigns since 1914 also features removable facsimile documents and ephemera including pages from a sketchbook showing the action at the Battle of Jutland, a report from the captain of one of the destroyers involved in the evacuation of Dunkirk and the commanding officer’s ‘design for battle’ notes for the amphibious landing at San Carlos in the Falkland Islands in 1982.
Securing the Narrow Sea
The Dover Patrol, 1914–1918
The men of the Dover Patrol, including many citizen volunteers, fought the longest continuous naval campaign of the First World War. It brought together a ramshackle assortment of vessels including trawlers, drifters, yachts and riverboats, and even airships, under controversial commanders who were often hampered by Admiralty infighting. This is a detailed account of their duties, from shore bombardment and barrage building to antisubmarine and escort tasks, culminating in the infamous Zeebrugge and Ostend raids.
The Great War at Sea
A Naval Atlas 1914–1919
Establishing control of the seas was a significant factor in eventually forcing the Central Powers to surrender in 1918. The complex struggle all over the world is traced in this naval analysis through 125 maps. Identifying the vessels involved, their courses, manoeuvres and engagements, the charts describe key operations such as the Battle of Jutland and the Dardanelles campaign as well as skirmishes, raids and U-boat activities up to the scuttling of the German fleet in 1919.
The Life and Death of Germany's Last Great Battleship
Sister ship to the Bismarck, the Tirpitz spent most of the Second World War in the Norwegian fjords but remained a looming threat to the important Arctic convoy routes. This examination of Hitler’s mightiest ship describes how it came to be built, its wartime service and the repeated Allied efforts to destroy it, including the famous midget submarine raid and the successful ‘Tallboy’ bombing mission of 1944.
Bismarck and Hood
The Battle of the Denmark Strait: A Technical Analysis for a New Perspective
HMS Hood was instantly destroyed by the Bismarck in May 1941, sinking rapidly after an explosion in its magazine. This detailed examination of the famous engagement is written by a gunnery expert and rear admiral of the Italian Navy who, through a ballistic analysis of Bismarck’s fire and assessment of the two commanders’ actions, questions some of the long-held assumptions about the battle.
The Last Voyage of the Lusitania
The sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat in 1915 was a historic event, not just because it was the most famous ship afloat and 1,200 people died, but because it was instrumental in bringing the United States into the war. First published in the 1950s, this analysis of the disaster draws on survivors' accounts and naval records to reconstruct the last days of the luxury liner.
X-Craft, Agents and Dambusters - The Epic Quest to Destroy Hitler's Mightiest Warship
The mere presence of the German battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord was enough to haunt Allied war planners and keep a significant part of Britain's fleet tied to home waters. Consequently, repeated attempts were made throughout the Second World War to sink the ship, including mini submarine raids and many bomber attacks. Patrick Bishop's book is a tale of technology, ingenuity and daring, culminating in the final, successful assault of Autumn 1944, using Barnes Wallis's 'Tallboy' bombs.
The Seasick Admiral
Nelson and the Health of the Navy
Nelson never enjoyed robust health, and was even seasick when he first set sail. As this book demonstrates, it was his experience of illness and the serious injuries he suffered that made him uniquely aware of the importance of health and fitness to the Navy, using his fame and influence to improve the welfare of his men through better diet, shipboard hygiene, more modern surgical practices and greater attention to convalescence and aftercare.
Master and Madman
The Surprising Rise and Disastrous Fall of the Hon Anthony Lockwood RN
Although press-ganged into the Navy, and prone to bouts of lunacy, Lockwood (c.1775–1855) enjoyed a successful career and became Surveyor General of New Brunswick. Driven by a desire to instil democracy, he attempted to stage a coup, but his subsequent imprisonment and state of mind saw him ending his days in a London asylum.
In Pursuit of the Essex
A Tale of Heroism and Hubris in the War of 1812
In the 1812 war between Britain and America, USS Essex destroyed a British whaling fleet. The ship’s pursuit by HMS Phoebe, and their deadly confrontation at Valparaiso, are explained here using official reports, newspaper articles, letters and a sailor’s newly discovered memoir.
The Life and Death of Hitler's Spymaster
Wilhelm Canaris remains one of the most mysterious and contradictory members of the Nazi regime. As head of military intelligence, he played a vital role in Hitler’s plans, while at the same time encouraging and protecting the Führer’s opponents. This biography assesses his career in the navy and in espionage, his part in the right-wing coups of 1919–20, and his feelings about the party he served, which eventually claimed his life.
British Campaigns in the South Atlantic 1805–1807
Operations in the Cape and River Plate and their Consequences
Overshadowed by the events of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, British military campaigns in the South Atlantic in 1805–7 nevertheless had a profound effect in shaping the destiny of the Cape Colony and Spanish possessions in South America. Describing the capture of Cape Town and the ultimately unsuccessful attacks on Buenos Aires and Montevideo, this analysis also assesses the longer-term repercussions in encouraging independence movements in South America and shaping the population and politics of South Africa.
The so-called 'Dreadnought Revolution' was a modernization plan, instigated by First Sea Lord Jacky Fisher, which replaced all frontline ships of the Royal Navy with 'all big gun' designs driven by faster, more efficient steam turbine engines. This review of the battlecruiser class vessels of this period features original plans and drawings and an analysis of the design, construction, armament and machinery of the 15 ships built, including Invincible and Indefatigable.
Support for the Fleet
Architecture and Engineering of the Royal Navy's Bases 1700–1914
The culmination of years of painstaking research by Jonathan Coad, the foremost architectural historian of the royal dockyards, this English Heritage volume charts the history of the construction, establishment and evolution of the Royal Navy’s bases – including dockyards, ordnance yards, naval hospitals, barracks and associated buildings – during the periods of expansion after the Napoleonic wars and global dominance during the 19th century.
The Untold Story
During the Battle of Crete in 1941, HMS Gloucester was attacked by dive bombers and sunk; 83 of the 810 crew were rescued by German vessels the following day. Including first-hand accounts from survivors, this volume tells the ship’s story from its launch in 1937, investigating in particular the controversial circumstances of its sinking and the failure of any British ship to search for survivors.
The Last Big Gun
At War and at Sea with HMS Belfast
The Battle of the North Cape off the coast of Norway was one of the last ship-to-ship engagements fought and HMS Belfast was among the British contingent that sunk the German battleship Scharnhorst. This history of the cruiser tells its story in the context of the wider role of the Royal Navy in the Second World War as well as reviewing its post-war duties before it assumed its present role as a museum ship.
Gibraltar in the Age of Napoleon
After a long history as a site of strategic importance, Gibraltar, the lone British stronghold in the Mediterranean, played a vital role in the Napoleonic Wars (1793–1815). This history examines how the military and naval offensive potential of the hitherto defensive fortress was realized; the part Gibraltar played as the site of British and Spanish negotiations during the Peninsular War; and how its garrison and dockyard contributed to Nelson’s victories in the battles of the Nile and Trafalgar.
Charts of War
The Maps and Charts That Have Informed and Illustrated War at Sea
Information is power, and sea charts, with their details of harbour approaches, coastal hazards, tides and currents, have often been closely guarded secrets. Handsomely illustrated with historic maps drawn from maritime archives around the world, this book explains how sea charts developed in response to changing military techniques and technology, and describes their role in planning, preventing, conducting and recording wars at sea, from the Battle of Lepanto to the D-Day landings.
Firing on Fortress Europe
HMS Belfast at D-Day
The Royal Navy took the lead in the highly complex task of delivering the largest invasion force in history to the Normandy beaches, supporting the attack with thousands of vessels and building temporary harbours to keep them supplied long after the first landings. This lesser-known side of the D-Day story is told through a collection of first-hand accounts of sailors aboard HMS Belfast and illustrated with contemporary photographs, sketches and paintings.
Memoirs of Naval Secret Service
In the years before the First World War, British journalist Hector Bywater used his role as naval correspondent for the New York Herald to bluff his way into dockyards and naval installations across Germany. He would memorize important details then report his findings back to MI6 in London. First published in 1931, these remarkable memoirs recount Bywater’s years as an active secret service agent for the Royal Navy.
The Story of the War from the Battlefront, 1939–45
Following a tradition dating back to 1545, naval commanders would write an official despatch to the Admiralty to explain their actions during significant naval operations. This collection of despatches, published in association with the National Archives, covers events which impacted hugely on the Second World War, including the convoys in the Mediterranean and Russia, amphibious operations such as Dieppe, the evacuation of Crete, and the assault phase of the Normandy landings.
The Gathering Storm
The Naval War in Northern Europe: September 1939–April 1940
From the fall of Poland in September 1939, to the invasion of Norway in April 1940, the Norwegian historian Geirr Haarr describes fierce naval struggles, including the sinking of Courageous, the German mining of the British East Coast and the Altmark incident. In this meticulously detailed study, Haarr shows that there was no ‘phoney war’ at sea in those early months of the Second World War.
The Cultural History of a Catastrophe
The sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 by a German U-boat, drowning nearly 1,200 civilian passengers, including 128 Americans, was greeted with jubilation by the German establishment and press. Although it resulted in America’s entry into the First World War, it also marked the beginning of a new kind of brutality in German warfare which, Willi Jasper argues in this erudite study, precipitated the totalitarian violence for which Germany became notorious.
Rank and Rate
Royal Naval Officers' Insignia Since 1856
Uniforms were first sanctioned for officers in the Royal Navy in the 18th century, with the stripes on the cuff of captains' blue coats and lace adornment for admirals being the only insignia of rank. The uniform regulations of 1856 introduced a more complex system, with differences across rank and service distinguished by buttons, badges, epaulettes, cuff stripes, swords and styles of hat. This book catalogues all these variations with comprehensive illustrations and historical photographs of naval officers in uniform.
Nelson's Right Hand Man
The Life and Times of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Fremantle
The 42-year naval career of Sir Thomas Fremantle (1765–1819) spanned a period when British naval power was crucial; his first experience of war was the American War of Independence, and he fought alongside his friend Nelson at Bastia, Tenerife, Copenhagen and, as captain of HMS Neptune, at Trafalgar. Drawing on personal letters and diaries, this biography paints a vivid picture of one of the Georgian navy’s greatest sea captains.
Fuehrer Conferences on Naval Affairs 1939-1945
Facing defeat in 1945, Hitler ordered the destruction of official military documents. Admiral Dönitz defied the order, believing that the German navy had fought an honourable war and had nothing to hide. The result was the survival of these first-hand accounts, written without hindsight, of Hitler's meetings with his naval commanders-in-chief, Raeder and Dönitz, and other high-ranking officers. This edition contains the original Anthony Martienssen translation made for the British Admiralty and first published in 1947.
The Battle of the River Plate
The First Naval Battle of the Second World War
The first encounter at sea of the Second World War took place along the South American coast when three British ships inflicted enough damage on the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee to corner it in Montevideo harbour. The captain, encouraged by British misinformation, chose to scuttle his ship rather than face destruction. This account of the famous episode was first published in 1956 and also contains the official despatch from the British commander.
The Battle of Jutland
Voices from the Past
Both Britain and Germany claimed victory in the Battle of Jutland in May 1916; the Royal Navy losing more ships and men but successfully containing the German fleet for the duration of the war. The outcome, its significance and the performance of the commanders during the battle has been debated ever since, and this book provides a picture of how events unfolded and what people thought at the time through official records and despatches, newspaper reports and detailed personal accounts.
A Brief History of Fighting Ships
This illustrated introduction to Napoleonic naval history describes the ships that fought at sea, providing details of their construction and armaments; accounts of daily life on board and the problems faced by commanders; and an outline of the battles in which they took part.
Maritime Power and the Struggle for Freedom
Naval Campaigns that Shaped the Modern World 1788–1851
In this follow-up to his much-acclaimed Maritime Supremacy, Padfield continues to trace the role of naval power in world history, here analysing the factors that led Britain to global dominance in the 19th century.
The location, strength and operational status of enemy ships was of primary concern to the belligerent nations during the Second World War, with the threat of powerful vessels such as Tirpitz significantly affecting military planning. Aerial and surface reconnaissance photographs were acquired whenever possible and this book presents a collection of such images, drawn from contemporary intelligence files, assessing the vessels of the German, Italian, French and Japanese navies. Former USAF photo interpreter Roy Stanley provides expert commentary.
The Real Hornblower
The Life and Times of Admiral Sir James Gordon GCB
It was while researching the Chesapeake Bay Campaign of 1814 that Bryan Perrett came across 'Captain Gordon RN' in CS Forester's Naval War of 1812 and began to see parallels between Gordon, who had commanded a diversionary force on the Potomac, and Forester's later fictional character, Horatio Hornblower. In this book, Perrett presents a full biography of Admiral Gordon and his long and extraordinarily distinguished career.
The Life of Captain Woodes Rogers
Having proved himself a remarkable fighting seaman during a circumnavigation of the globe attacking Spanish shipping, Woodes Rogers was appointed Governor of the Bahamas by George I and tasked with the job of ridding the colony of pirates. Drawing on his own memoir as well as other contemporary sources, including notes from the trials of notorious pirates, this book recounts Rogers's adventures, which include rescuing the marooned Alexander Selkirk, the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe.
Caricature and the Navy 1756–1815
From the mid 18th century to the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy was the nation's greatest expense and biggest employer. The ensuing public interest made household names of its commanders and established the 'Jack Tar' as an ideal of no-nonsense British pluck. This book explores the period through the lens of contemporary caricaturists such as Gillray, Rowlandson and Cruikshank; its selection of satirical and sometimes bawdy prints is drawn from the National Maritime Museum collection.
The Sword of Albion
Strong-minded yet vulnerable, ambitious yet insecure, Britain's greatest naval hero was a man in need of constant reassurance. Wellington thought him 'so vain and silly as to surprise and almost disgust me'. This second volume of Sugden's authoritative biography charts Nelson's life from 1797 to his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Drawing on letters and diaries, it interweaves his victories at the Nile and Copenhagen with his stormy relations with colleagues and his scandalous private life.
Godfather to British Naval Aviation
Frank McClean's inherited wealth allowed him to indulge his passion for flying in the early years of the 20th century, and his provision of training planes and a site for a Royal Navy flying school were crucial in establishing a British military aviation capability before the First World War. This illustrated biography examines McClean's influence as well as his own pioneering exploits, which included a headline-grabbing flight up the Thames, passing under the bridges, and an expedition up the Nile.
A Biographical Dictionary of the Twentieth-Century Royal Navy
The 20th century was a time of unprecedented change and action for the Royal Navy. The service's senior officers during this period included celebrated figures such as Jackie Fisher and Louis Mountbatten, and hundreds more whose names are not so well remembered. This reference work contains nearly 1,500 pages of biographical accounts of more than 300 admirals, in PDF format on a CD-Rom. The accompanying book provides background information on terminology, rank structure and career progression in the Navy.
Sailors in the Dock
Naval Courts Martial Down the Centuries
Some embarrassing cowardice displayed by the captains of several British ships at the Battle of Dungeness in 1652 led to the formulation of the 'Articles of War', establishing a strict code of conduct for the Navy and empowering officers to apply it. This collection of significant legal cases in the history of the Royal Navy ranges from a mutiny at the Battle of Cadiz in 1587 to a captain's decision to scuttle HMS Manchester in the Mediterranean in 1942.