RogerBW's Blog

Rebuilding the Royal Navy, D. K. Brown and George Moore 10 May 2014

In 1945, Britain had a large and often hastily-constructed fleet which was clearly close to obsolete, and very little money with which to update it. This is the story of what happened next.

Brown himself worked as a Naval Constructor and in this volume writes from his own experience; Moore supplements this with declassified materials. The subtitle is "Warship Design Since 1945", but clearly not all the information is available yet (the book was first published in 2003), and things therefore get much fuzzier after the early 1970s. Overall this is as good an account of post-war British naval design decisions as one is likely to find for the moment.

This is a short book by page count, but a pleasingly dense one. After the first chapter introduces the overall situation at the end of the war, division is by ship type: "reconstructions" (severe refits and upgrades), carriers, submarines, destroyers, and so on. The political angle is treated only superficially; the process as presented here is very much one of the Navy making proposals and the Government cutting them back.

There's a fascinating section on the physical constraints of modern naval architecture, and another on other considerations (such as fire, stealth, lifeboats, and general survivability). This also deals with the lessons the RN learned from its experience in the Falklands; to me that's one of the most interesting aspects of the whole business, the feedback process from combat experience to future designs.

For me as a wargamer and alternate historian, the most valuable items here are the accounts of design studies: the original "cruiser carrier" that eventually became the Invincible class, the Type 19 frigate (which at one point was proposed as a 50,000 ton hovercraft), the various incarnations of CVA-01, and so on. Hard numbers are obviously a bit scarce, not surprising for ships that never actually made it into construction, but what there is is generally in the book.

Not particularly light reading, but highly recommended if you have any interest in post-war naval architecture.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1