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 book 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 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 large-format book explains how sea charts developed in response to changing military techniques and technology. Informative captions set the charts in context, and describe their function in planning, preventing, conducting and recording war at sea, from Francis Drake 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.
Ending the African Slave Trade
After the Acts of 1807 and 1833 that abolished slavery across the British Empire, the Royal Navy patrolled the African coast to enforce the law; yet there were still slave markets around the Indian Ocean in the 1860s. This book tells of four British naval officers who took direct action – against Admiralty guidelines which advised adjudication rather than violence – to free captives and disrupt the slave trade along the coasts of Africa and Arabia.
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 British 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.
Privateering, Piracy and British Policy in Spanish America
The privateers deployed by both colonists and Spain during the Spanish-American Wars of Independence, and the rise in unauthorized prize-taking amid the turbulence, posed a threat to neutral Britain’s commercial and political interests. McCarthy’s analysis of the British response to this problem makes a significant contribution to the study of privateering, the development of international law and the character of early 19th-century British imperialism.
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.
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.
Celebrating a Century of Naval Flying
Where once the battleship was the key symbol of international power, the aircraft carrier has taken its place, able to project military capability anywhere in the world. This history of naval aviation investigates its origins in early carriers and reviews developments in aircraft and vessels up to the latest ships and the use of helicopters. There are also chapters on the leading aces of naval aviation and the developing role of women in the service.
Germany's High Sea Fleet in the First World War
Admiral Reinhard Scheer (1863–1928) commanded the German High Seas Fleet during the First World War, and was the first frontline officer to publish his account of the naval conflict. Reprinted here with a new introduction, it provides a rare insight into the attitudes of German naval officers, and a unique first-hand account of the controversial Jutland operation of 1916, the unrestricted submarine warfare that brought the USA into the war, and the Zeppelin raids on Britain.
Langsdorff and the Battle of the River Plate
The scuttling of the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in Montevideo harbour in 1939 was the culmination of one of the first engagements of the war and resulted in the German captain's suicide two days later. This study analyses the events from Langsdorff's point of view, considering the choices available to him, given the imperfect information he possessed, and also examines his, and the British officers', notably honourable behaviour.
The Monitor, The Merrimack, and the Sea Battle that Changed History
The first clash between ironclad battleships took place off the coast of Virginia during the American Civil War in 1862. The battle provided conclusive proof of the effectiveness of the new technology and proved a major turning point in naval design. This book examines the building of the Confederacy's armoured Merrimack and the Union's race to build a competitive vessel (the Monitor, in whose development Lincoln was personally involved), and assesses the profound legacy of their engagement.
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.
X-Craft, Agents and Dambusters
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.
Horatio Lord Nelson
Horatio Nelson was undoubtedly Britain's greatest naval commander. Although his complex character often made him enemies and led to mistakes in both his public and private life, he was an unrivalled seaman, an original and brave tactician and a charismatic leader. In this volume, Brian Lavery describes a legend in naval history, from his first naval posting at the age of twelve to his heroic death at Trafalgar. Published in association with the National Maritime Museum.
Hitler's Gateway to the Atlantic
German Naval Bases in France 1940–1945
Access to the Atlantic was a coveted prize in the conquest of France and the Kriegsmarine quickly established naval bases at Brest, Lorient, St Nazaire, La Pallice and Bordeaux. This study examines how fortified U-boat bunkers and other facilities were constructed by the Todt Organization, assesses the level of French support in converting existing ports and describes the British campaign to thwart naval operations with aerial bombing and maritime attacks. Translated from the German by Geoffrey Brooks.
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.
Capital Ships at War 1939–1945
Despatches from the Front
Although powerful and fast, the heavy cruisers and battleships of the German fleet, such as Graf Spee and Tirpitz, achieved comparatively little and were defeated by overwhelming numbers of smaller Royal Navy ships. Meanwhile, British battleships, notably HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Hood also succumbed to torpedoes and shelling. This volume presents despatches of the commanders of ships engaged in actions ranging from the Battle of the River Plate in 1939 to Pacific operations in 1945.
Churchill and the Admirals
Winston Churchill served as First Lord of the Admiralty at the beginning of both world wars, and maintained a close interest in naval matters when he became Prime Minister. Written in the 1970s by a former Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, this assessment of Churchill's management of the Navy and relationship with its senior commanders weighs the benefits of his energy and leadership against the difficulties and losses suffered, at least partly, as a result of his mistakes.
Dönitz, U-Boats, Convoys
The Battle of the Atlantic was a game of cat and mouse between the U-boat fleet, commanded by Karl Donitz, and the Allied convoys, who were able to read German signals after the cracking of the Enigma code. This book combines the memoirs of Donitz's (Ten Years and Twenty Days), the Admiralty Monthly Anti-submarine Reports (top-secret documents issued to senior British Naval officers) and the author's commentary to give a complete account of the conflict as it unfolded.
Apprentice War Lord
Louis Mountbatten's equivocal reputation as a war leader is typified by the contrast between his heroic actions as captain of HMS Kelly, the inspiration for the film In Which We Serve, and his masterminding of the disastrous raid on Dieppe in 1942. This analysis of his life examines the experiences that formed him, from his childhood among European royalty and naval apprenticeship up to these famous wartime engagements that preceded his appointment to South East Asia Command in 1943.
US Carrier War
The first aircraft used by the US Navy – Curtiss flying boats in 1917 – operated from coastal bases, but purpose-built aircraft carriers would soon become a key part of its fleet and remain so through to modern times. This history of US Navy carriers traces the design and development of the vessels and their deployment through the disaster of Pearl Harbor and engagements in the Second World War, Korea and Vietnam to the Middle Eastern conflicts of recent decades.
Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives
Wilhelm Rosenbaum was a German naval pilot, posted to the famous battleship Tirpitz between April 1942 and March 1944 to fly the ship's Arado 196 seaplane. This collection of Rosenbaum's personal photographs, with accompanying explanatory notes, charts his time on the legendary vessel as well as his training on the ships Horst Wessel and Schleswig Holstein and his time in a French POW camp towards the end of the war.
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.
The Lower Deck of the Royal Navy 1850–1939
The change from sail to steam in the Royal Navy was underway by 1850 and in the following decades the work and life of ordinary seamen changed radically as new jobs, servicing the engines and operating the sophisticated gunnery and communications systems, replaced the traditional lot of the sailor. This well-researched history chronicles the increasing professionalization and specialization of the lower deck as the Navy rapidly evolved and introduced many of the roles and practices which are familiar today.
The Real Jim Hawkins
Ships' Boys in the Georgian Navy
In the 18th century, poor boys in their thousands went to sea like Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island, often leaving behind bleak and miserable lives to go in search of adventure. Focusing on the Royal Navy during the period of the Seven Years War, Pietsch investigates the boys' social backgrounds and recruitment, their distinctive subculture and the challenges they faced growing up amid the perils of naval battle.
Ready for Anything
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary 1905–1950
The civilian-manned Royal Fleet Auxiliary (its unofficial motto: 'Ready For Anything') provides worldwide support to the Royal Navy. This history discusses its rising importance, from inception in 1905, through two world wars, to 1950. The book features many little-known military operations, plus archive photographs and personal accounts of life in the auxiliary. Tables contain data on vessels that served in the fleet, while appendices include such information as colour schemes, battle honours and a detailed chronology.