Review by Steve Backer
Warship 2001-2002is the 25th anniversary issue of this series. As the editorial by Anthony Preston indicates, Warship was designed to publish technical details of warship construction in the post-sail era. The editorial gives a history of the evolution of the series. Initially there were soft-bound quarterlies and a hard bound annual. In 1979 with Volume XII in the hard bound series, the quarterlies and the use of Roman numerals for the annual version disappeared. Since then the annuals have been given year dates. With "1997-1998" the annual was given dual dates. Since the annual is published near the end of the year, marketing indicated that the volume would be easier to sell if the new year was listed, thus the change to the two year hyphenated title.
As usual Warship provides a wide selection of interesting articles. In this volume there is an unusually interesting collection.
First Class Cruisers (Part Two)- The second of three articles by David Topliss and Chris Ware, this article covers the birth of the British armored cruiser. Initially, the last of the protected cruisers, the Diadem Class is discussed and then come three classes of armored cruisers. After seeing new Italian armored cruiser construction, Sir William White (DNC) wrote in 1896; "…the time had arrived when it had become necessary to construct cruisers for fleet work which should be capable of taking part in fleet action as adjuncts to battleships." I find this statement fascinating in light of the subsequent metamorphous of the armored cruiser into Jackie Fisher’s battlecruiser. It is clear that armored cruisers were meant to take part in fleet actions and therefore it should not be surprising that battlecruisers would be used in that same capacity.
However, there is a distinct difference in emphasis in the design of the early armored cruisers and battlecruisers. With the Cressy Class, White’s initial armored cruiser design, speed and armor were emphasized over armament. The six inch armor belt of the class was the equal of the contemporary Canopus Class battleship. Of course the change came to emphasize speed and armament over armor, resulting in the losses at Jutland. The 14,000 ton Drake Class was to follow, which was designed in response to the French armored cruiser, Jeanne d’Arc. The next design, the Monmouth Class, was constructed to answer the threat of "Corsair Cruisers". This type of cruiser, typified by the USS Minneapolis & Columbia, was characterized by high speed, long endurance, moderate protection and light armament. They were designed for one purpose, commerce destruction, basically the CSS Alabama of their time. With the Monmouth speed was the chief factor with armor and armament secondary. Also, the ships had to be smaller than the Drakes to allow more ships to be constructed. (10 pages, 6 photos, 3 small profile drawings)
The Royal Navy and the Role of Seapower in Global Politics, 1856-1871- This article, written by Pascal Barras, examines the total shift in warship designs of the Royal Navy in this crucial 15 year period. The multiple deck, wooden ship of the line was supreme at the start of the period but in a very short time period had disappeared in favor of different designs of ironclad. When HMS Warrior was constructed in answer to the French Gloire, the admiralty considered it a gamble. The single deck Warrior, cost more than twice as much as a three deck, wooden, steam ship of the line.
Barras examines the internal British political situation and the conflict between Palmerston, who wished to emphasize deterrence, and Gladstone, who wished to reduce naval expenditures. A great portion of the piece traces the shifting naval standings of Britain’s European rivals and their effect on the designs of the Royal Navy, with a brief appearance of the United States in the calculations. This concern disappeared when the USN Wampanoag Class proved to be unsuccessful. (14 pages, 13 photos, 3 small profile drawings, one map)
Spain’s Farewell to Greatness: The Battle of Santiago, 3 July 1898- by Peter Brook starts with a quick comparison of the American and Spanish fleets at the start of the war. It was clear to almost all, including Admiral Cervera who command the strongest Spanish squadron, that the Spanish fleet was totally outclassed by the new construction of the United States Navy. In response to Cervera’s letters of concern, Admiral Segismondo Bermejo, Spanish Naval Minister, assured Admiral Cervera that the navies were equal and gave Cervera a plan on how to blockade the southern coasts of the United States. The woeful material condition of Cervera’s warships is examined, along with the movements of the USN.
Brook then presents a blow by blow description of the battle. As one Spanish cruiser or destroyer is hit and slowed, its fate is described. The political aftermath as well as the subsequent squabble between the two senior American commanders is then covered. This article has five very interesting line drawings from the Admiralty Intelligence Department show damage to the four Spanish cruisers and to the USS Brooklyn. (19 pages, 23 photos, 5 line drawings, 2 tables and 2 maps)
Australian Colonial Navies, 1855-1900- In Warship 2000-2001 Colin Jones covered the Australian colony of Victoria. From 1855 to 1901 the six colonies that later comprised Australia were separate and independent British colonies with own self-rule. In this article Jones examines in detail the naval establishment of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia.
New South Wales (Sydney)- From time to time the naval yard at Sydney would build a vessel that could be considered a warship and others were acquired overseas. The characteristics and history of the following ships are discussed; Spitfire, 1855 gunboat; Acheron & Avernus, 1879 torpedo boats; Wolverine, 1859 Corvette; Lilian, 1886 minelayer; Ohm, 1893 inshore minelayer; Miner, 1899 coastal minelayer. Queensland (Brisbane)- Initially no establishment. The colony had a survey ship, Pearl, later Llewellyn but surveys were discontinued after 1878 due to lack of funds. Warships were not acquired until the 1880s: Paluma & Gayundah, 1883 gunboats; Mosquito, 1884 torpedo boat 2nd class; Miner, 1886 coastal minelayer; Midge, 1887 torpedo boat.
South Australia (Adelaide)- Protector, 1882 small cruiser. Tasmania (Hobart)- Tasmania acquired one torpedo boat, identical to the Mosquito of Queensland. The craft was never named or numbered. Western Australia (Perth)- The colony never had a naval establishment, other than a survey vessel. (11 pages, 11 photos, 1 drawing)
‘The Wobbly Eight’: The King Edward VII Class Battleships, 1897-1922- Keith McBride examines in depth last class of the standard British pre-dreadnought (Nelson & Agemmemnon hybrids excluded) In the last decade of the 19th century, battleships designs had standardized in the Royal Navy and to a large extent in other navies. Two armored gun houses, each mounting two heavy guns, normally 12 inch. Secondary guns mounted in casemates. Each succeeding class of British battleship did tinker with the basic design but each followed the basic pattern. The King Edward VII class broke away from the pattern. The RN had seen a need to change the pattern because of the rapid progress of foreign warship designs. The designs of Italy and the USA being especially influential.
The class was the first British design to mount the secondary in turrets. The British Navy had developed a new 7.5 inch gun, which was felt to be superior to the 8 inch and French 7.6 inch guns. Originally King Edward VII was to receive eight of these, paired in four turrets but single 9.2 inch guns were placed in the turrets instead. The class six inch casemate guns as well. The class had a number of curious nicknames. "Wobbly Eight" comes from the reluctance of the eight ship class to straighten out after turning. The class was also known as "The Behemoths". The appearance of Dreadnought, while some of the class was still completing, quickly relegated them to second class citizen status. Only one of the class fired her guns at an enemy vessel. Britannia fired on the periscope of UB-50, after the submarine had torpedoed and fatally damaged her on November 9, 1918, two days before the end of the war. (7 pages, 4 photos, 1 line drawing profile, 2 tables)
The Royal Romanian Navy at War, 1941-1944- Pierre Hervieux looks at this unappreciated aspect of the naval war. The Royal Romanian Navy was indeed very active in its operations against the Soviet Navy in the Black Sea. The navy consisted of 2 modern destroyers, 2 old destroyers, 3 torpedo boats, 1 submarine, 3 motor torpedo boats (MTBs), 3 minelayers, 3 old gunboats, 1 submarine tender, and one training ship.
Almost from the start of the war there was significant naval activity in the black Sea. On June 25, 1941 units of the Soviet fleet shelled the primary Romanian port of Constanza. After three years of war the Romanian Navy had not lost one unit of its main force of destroyers and submarines. Hervieux covers in detail the operations of the Romanians and Soviets against each other in this forgotten theater. (19 pages, 22 photos)
The Swedish Torpedo Cruisers- This article, written by Dan Harris, looks at two classes of unique Swedish designs. The first design that was constructed was the Ornen, (The Eagle)(sisterships were Jacob Bagge & Claes Horn) of 1895. The 96.2 meter long ship was armed with one underwater torpedo tube (38 cm), two 120mm (4.7 in) guns, and five 57mm QF guns. It is interesting to note that 40 cutlasses, 50 carbines and 30 revolvers were provided for the crew. The next, smaller design was for the Psilander (sistership Claes Uggla), torpedo cruiser.
Harris covers the changes of mission for the classes as well as their changes in fittings. From planning attacks against Norway in 1905, through neutrality patrols of World War One to Cadet Training or Seaplane Depot Ship, the missions of each ship is discussed. For ships that were obsolete by 1910, several of the five ships had long careers. Ornen was not scrapped until 1950. (10 pages, 4 photos, 3 two page plans & profiles)
Some Thoughts on British Mines of the First World War – David K. Brown explores the technical differences and performance characteristics of the different types of mines used by the Royal Navy in World War One. Specific mine types covered are the British HII , acoustic mine, antenna mine (US Mk 6), and magnetic mine (M Sinker). (4 pages, 2 drawings)
The French Cruiser Algerie – John Jordan covers the design and history of arguably the best of the treaty heavy cruisers. The initial designs for the heavy cruisers of the Marine Nationale, the Duquesne & Tourville were completely unbalanced. In order to maximize speed, they carried almost no armor, with absolutely no protection for machinery spaces. The French then produced the Sufferen and Dupleix Class, which added a significant amount of armor. Algerie was designed to be immune to 155mm (six inch) fire between 15,000 m and 20,000 m range and was the most heavily armored, by far of the French cruisers.
Jordan examines the various ships’ systems technical details in depth. The systems covered include, armament, fire control, command spaces, machinery, hull construction with armor, and aviation/boats facilities. Lastly modifications and refits of 1936-37, 1937-38, 1938, 1939, 1942 are covered. (14 pages, 7 photos, 7 drawings including 2 page plan & profile)
Predreadnoughts vs a Dreadnought: The Action off Cape Sarych, 18 November 1914 – The battle history of SMS Goeben/ Yavuz Sultan Selim versus five Imperial Russian predreadnought battleships is recounted by Stephen McLaughlin. The adversaries are analyzed. The Goeben was practically brand new, with strong armament of ten 11.14 inch (28.3cm) guns and with typical excellent German protection. She was undoubtedly the most powerful warship in the Black Sea and was under the control of German Admiral Wilhelm Souchon, who in contrast to some of his contemporaries in the North Sea, was bold and energetic. The Russian Black Sea Fleet was commanded by Admiral Andrei Ebergard, who was a competent commander. The Russian Black Sea Dreadnoughts were building but not finished, so Ebergard had five predreadnoughts from four different classes (Evstafii & Ioann Zlatoust of the same class, Panteleimon formerly Kniaz Potemkin Tavricheskii, Tri Sviatitelia and Rostislav, a second class ship with 10 inch guns and only 15 knots speed)
The performance of Russian fleet had been substantially improved since the disaster of the Russo-Japanese War. The Russians believed that their predreadnoughts, by concentration of fire, had a chance against Turkish dreadnoughts (Two were building in England and were seized by orders of Winston Churchill at the start of WWI, they became Agincourt & Erin) This engagement was off the southern tip of the Crimea. The German officers of the Goeben had low regard for the capabilities of their Russian opponents. When a 12 inch round from the first two gun salvo from Evstafii strikes Goeben and causes serious damage, Admiral Souchon realizes that this is not the same Russian Fleet that fought the Japanese. The Russian fleet of 1914 was far better trained than that of 1905. The article continues with a blow by blow account of this very intriguing and little known action. Both Goeben and Evstafii were seriously damaged in the action, which ended when Goeben broke off.. (24 pages, 10 photos, 1 line drawing, 2 tables, 3 maps)
The Blackwood Class, Type 14 Second Rate Frigates - Written by George Moore delves into the requirements that led to the design of the Blackwood Class 2nd Rate Anti-Submarine Frigate. By 1949 it had become apparent that the Soviet Union was greatly expanding its submarine force. The Royal Navy needed a new design to incorporate all of the lessons of ASW technology and could be built quickly. In short the RN was looking for a cold war equivalent to the Flowers corvette.
The author examines the evolving design requirements and the resulting final design. The class of twelve proved to be very capable ASW platforms and in that capacity were a success. They however, were not a newer version of the Flowers. They were not particularly inexpensive or easily produced and therefore, on those grounds, the design was not successful. (14 pages, 6 photos, 2 line drawings, 9 tables)
Armstrong Portfolio Number Four – It has been said that the British Firm of Armstrong was not just the builder of warships but was the builder of navies. This was because of the great number of warships that the firm built for foreign governments. As such a copious producer of warships, designs for all types of warship were under constant preparation. Peter Brook, with illustrations by Ian Sturton, examines Armstrong Portfolio #4 of the British National Maritime Museum.
This contains designs from 1909-1914 that were never built. The following designs are covered in the article: Turkish Destroyer, April 1914 (No. 759B); Turkish Protected Scout Cruiser, April 1914 (No. 771B); Japanese Light Armored Cruiser, December 1914 (No. 798)(Armstrong was apparently recycling designs as No. 798 was identical with No. 771B, except that 798 had an armored belt and 771B had a protected belt); Dutch Battleship Design, May 1914 (No. 793); Stock Battleship Design, October 1914 (No. 797); Battlecruiser, 18 November 1915 (No. 811); Battlecruiser, 29 November 1915 (No. 813) Each design is discussed with drawings, statistics and analysis. ( 5 pages, 6 plans & profiles, 3 section drawings)
At the end of the volume Conways always includes a set of standard features. Leading off is World Navies in Review 2001-2002. Antony Preston provides a synopsis of the significant naval events for the year. Each country that had a major event in connection with its’ navy is listed with a brief description of the events that transpired. The high light was the British Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) description with artist depiction. Another interesting tidbit was mention that the Russian submarine salvage ship, Kommuna (ex-Volkov) is still active with plans to make her a memorial to submarine rescues of all navies. The ship is 85 years old and surely she represents some type of record for service.
Warship Notes contains short articles on lesser known aspects of naval history. Included in this issue are: Archaeological Survey at Scampa Flow, which covers a recent survey of the wrecks of the famous anchorage. RN Submarine Centennial Stamps discusses the design of four British postage stamps that feature boats that signified significant eras of the Royal Submarine Service. The stamps show the modern HMS Vanguard, the HMS Swiftsure from the cold war period, the Unity Class from World War Two and the first RN submarine, Holland. Sao Paulo Heads for her New Home features the former French Carrier Foch and describes her refit for the Brazilian Navy. The Fighter Support Ship discusses the initial 1941 plans of the Royal Navy to construct a support carrier to embark only fighters. This design led to the development of the Colossus Class, British light carrier. Kursk Update covers the latest developments into the loss of the Russian submarine Kursk. Memorial Ship Mikasa describes Martin Robson and Dan Soares visit to Admiral Togo’s flagship, preserved at Yokosuka. Calling all Naval Enthusiasts is a thumbnail overview of the Naval Historical Collectors & Research Association (NHCRA). Australia’s Maritime Heritage is a listing of the preserved ships of Australia. Anti-Pollution Measures on the Royal Oak describes the latest steps taken to minimize the seepage of fuel oil from the sunken British battleship. The Submarine CSS Hunley is one paragraph on the latest events in the raising of the confederate submarine. Wreck of the ‘Mighty Hood’ Found covers discovery of HMS Hood. Brassey’s Naval Annual of 1901 follows from last year in coverage of this landmark series. The excerpts in this issue are on the first five submarines of the Royal Navy. USS Vincennes in Yokosuka, Japan gives a brief history of the warships of the USN that have carried this name.
Naval Books of the Year lists major works published in the naval field in the year. Reviews are provided of Birth of the Battleship: British Capital Ship Design, 1870-1881 by John Beeler; USS Albacore: Forerunner of the Future by Robert P. Largess; Nelson to Vanguard- Warship Design and Development 1923-1945 by D.K.Brown; British Warships of the Second World War by John Roberts; Home Waters MGBs and MGBs at War 1939-1945 by Leonard C. Reynolds; Seapower Ashore: 200 Years of Royal Navy Operations on Land by Peter Hore; The Price of Disobedience: the Battle of the River Platte Reconsidered by Eric J. Grove; Submarine, 1901-2001 by Iain Ballantyne; Battleship Sailors: The Fighting Carrer of HMS Warspite by Harry Plevy; Warspite by Iain Ballantyne; We Come Unseen: The Untold Story of Britain’s Cold War Submarines by Jim Ring; Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class by Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke; John P. Holland, 1841-1914: Inventor of the Modern Submarine by Richard Knowles Morris; Gunboat: Small Ships at War by Bryan Perrett; Seapower at the Millennium by Geoffrey Till; and The Royal Navy Submarine Service by Antony Preston.
Lastly Warship Gallery features unusual photographs of warships. The collection in this annual consists of ships of the Royal Navy at Archangel, Russia, 1919-1920 during the British (and other powers) intervention during the Russian Civil War. This issue is still available from the publishers, Conway Maritime Press.( Click for the Conway's web site.)