Monday, 4 February 2013

A serendipitous delivery

Bearing in mind my recent posts about coastal bombardment, today’s post brought a serendipitous delivery … a copy of MONITORS OF THE ROYAL NAVY: HOW THE FLEET BROUGHT THE BIG GUNS TO BEAR by Jim Crossley.


The book was recently published in hardback by Pen & Sword Books (ISBN: 978 1 78159 051 5) and I hope that it will form a modern supplement to the standard work on this topic, BIG GUN MONITORS: THE HISTORY OF THE DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF THE ROYAL NAVY'S MONITORS by Ian Buxton.


I have a first edition of this book, which I now understand has been republished by Seaforth Publishing.

10 comments:

  1. The ship on the cover of the first book, is that HMS Capsize?

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  2. I’ve always like the pre-dreadnought era as one of naval innovation as powers experimented with steam only vessels and new weapon and armor technology.

    I had a reprint of the 1898 Jane’s All the World’s Ships, which proved quite useful in wargaming in the late 70s. Monitors and sea elephants stayed around quite late, often retained in the US navy as coastal defense and upon lakes and rivers. I am reminded of the film and book, The Sand Pebbles where the navy inherited an old steamer from the Spanish as a war trophy from the Spanish American war. In fact the film may yield scenarios for wargames: a neo-Boxer Rebellion or perhaps The Warlords and the Freshwater Navy, and even a rehashed Sino-Soviet War, with an attack on German strongholds in China by Imperial Japanese Forces in WWI.

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  3. Nothing is an impressive for sheer ugly power as a monitor when it comes to a big gunned ship.
    That cover illustration remidns me of an old Douglas Reeman novel, HMS Saracen, about an RN monitor in the Med. I hadn't thought ot it in years but that cover art brought it back to me.

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  4. I was thinking just the same thing as Michael Peterson. HMS Saracen was the first Reeman I read. Very sad when he describes the old captain watching on TV as the Exocet goes in.

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  5. SAROE,

    That is rather cruel! I know that they were never the best-looking ships in the fleet ... by quite a margin ... but they were always very stable.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. CoastConFan,

    The era between 1860 and 1900 saw a whole range of different developments in warship design, and the results can best be described as being 'interesting'. Some of the ships that were built were very odd to look at, whilst others were very smart and workmanlike.

    I also have a reprint on the first ever Jane's, and I still refer to it quite frequently.

    You are also right about the early US monitors; some of them were re-commissioned as coastal defence ships during the Spanish-American War. This always struck me as being a rather desperate measure, but what other suitable resources did the US Navy have at the time?

    'The Sand Pebbles' is an excellent film, and you are right to point out how many of the incidents portrayed in it would make excellent scenarios for wargames.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Michael Peterson,

    'HMS Saracen' is my all-time favourite Douglas Reeman story, and it really does convey what it must have been like to take one into battle.

    I must see if it is available to download onto my Kindle!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Pat G,

    It was an excellent story even though it did have a very sad ending.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

    I am looking forward to reading it ... and if you get a copy, I hope that you will as well.

    All the best,

    Bob

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