Friday, 19 January 2018

The Battleship Holiday: The Naval Treaties and Capital Ship Design

I've always had an interest in ship design – particularly warship design – and when I realised that this book had been published some months ago, I decided to buy a copy.

The book's contents are:
  • Acknowledgements
  • Author's Notes
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Part I: The Path to the Battleship Holiday
    • Chapter 1: The Last generation: 1906 – 1914
    • Chapter 2: The Pudding in Which One Finds the Proof: The First World War – 1914 – 1916
    • Chapter 3: The Art and Practice of Main-Battery Fire control in 1916
    • Chapter 4: Seeing It Through to the End: The First World War – 1916 – 1918
    • Chapter 5: The Washington Naval Treaty: 1918 – 1923
    • An Interim Conclusion (or Jutland: What Was and Was Not Learned)
  • Part II: A Short Holiday and its Aftermath
    • Chapter 6: The Make-Ups: 1922 – 1927
    • Chapter 7: The Fabric Begins to Fray: 1927 – 1929
    • Chapter 8: The Fraying Accelerates: 1929 – 1936
    • Chapter 9: The New Generation: 1934 – 1949
    • Chapter 10: Feet to the Fire: 1936 – 1945
    • Chapter 11: The Long Good-Bye (Covered Concisely): 1946 – 2006?
  • Afterword
  • Appendix: New-Generation Battleships
  • Notes
  • Sources
  • Index
As can be seen from the contents, this is much more than just a book about the Washington Treaty and its effects. It is a history of battleship design from the Dreadnought to the present day, and shows how the interaction between the competing pressures (political, military, and economic) affected the designs of the battleships that were used during the Second World War.

THE BATTLESHIP HOLIDAY: THE NAVAL TREATIES AND CAPITAL SHIP DESIGN was written by Robert C Stern and published in November 2017 by Seaforth Publishing (ISBN 978 1 84832 344 5).


  1. One of my Christmas presents from my wife.

  2. I positively salivated when I read the table of contents but saw one Amazon reader was a tad disappointed with it ... worth it (I am a naval nut)?

    1. Geordie an Exile FoG,

      I read both reviews, and the long and detailed one is quite accurate. That said, I would have rated it as a four-star rather than a three-star book.

      Personally I would have like more coverage in the book of the designs that naval architects came up with to meet the treaty limitations, and more on the rebuilding programmes that took place. For naval 'nuts' like you and me, the introduction is probably superfluous ... BUT for someone coming to this topic as a general reader who does not know a great deal about the Washington Treaty and its impact on battleship design, I would recommend it.

      There are books about individual ship designs of the period or individual navies between the wars that cover this topic in great (and more technical) detail, but not in a single volume.

      I hope that this helps,

      All the best,



Thank you for leaving a comment. Please note that any comments that are spam or contain phishing messages or that come from Google Accounts that are 'Unknown' will be deleted.