Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This massive large format 400 page volume is one of my treasures.

Compiled in 1979 it is an encyclopedic history of the development of armoured warships during the last half of the 19th and early 20th c. The time period covers history from the development of the first practical seagoing armoured vessel, HMS Warrior in 1860, to the development of the all big gun Dreadnaught in the early 20th c.

Each seagoing power has it's own section with EVERY vessel and class listed. For each seapower the discussions are divided by vessel class starting with capital ships (battleships) then masted cruisers, cruisers, armoured ,1st, 2nd, and 3rd class, torpedo craft, destroyers, torpedo boats, gunboats and in some cases river and harbour defense craft.

The vessels and classes are each illustrated with photographs and line drawings with a table showing dimensions, armament and key features as well as their careers and fates.

Introductory articles for each nation discuss their developments and historical information.

The index is by ship name making this one of the greatest historical compendiums for identifying vessels from around the world during this time of massive technological change.
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From the Cover:

The period f 1860-1905 witnessed the introduction of armour plate, breech-loading guns, the turbine and the torpedo; it saw the victory of steam over sail and iron over wood; and by its close there were signs that the submarine and airplane would change the face of naval warfare still further

In short it was a period of unprecedented advances in warship design. yet, despite an upsurge of interest in this fascinating period, there is very little information in print, no standard reference work and not even an accessible class list before the advent of Jane's in 1898.

This makes Conway's All the Worlds Fighting Ships a unique and important publication, which is destined to become the major source book for the study of the periiod between the first ironclad and the first all- big-gun battleship.
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Title
Conway's
All the Worlds Fighting Ships
1860-1905

Author
Various

Publisher
Conway Maritime Press Ltd
Greenwich

Date
1979

ISBN
0-8317-0302-4

Keep your sightglass, full your firebox trimmed, your water iced...
And "Up Funnel and Down Screw!"
KJ

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