British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, Norman Friedman

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, Norman Friedman

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, Norman Friedman

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, Norman Friedman

This splendid book looks at the development of the Royal Navy's cruisers from the wooden frigates of the 1840s to the turret armed armoured turbine warships of 1906. This is a much more thoughtful book than many titles on warships. We begin with an introduction that looks at the strategic, political and technological developments of the period - what threats each generation of cruisers was designed to meet, how advances in technology caused problems for naval officers and ship designers, the results of the navy's annual exercises, and the impact of political changes and funding on naval developments. This contrasts rather starkly with many books that simply examine each class of warship in turn, looking at the physical changes between the classes without looking at the reasons for them. Here we discover why a class of fast frigates or long range sloops was ordered in a particular year (often to deal with a particular threat- an announcement of naval construction in France or the United States, a war scare or even a public campaign that forced the government to increase funding).

This was also a period of massive technological change - we start with wooden sailing ships with very early steam engines providing extra power for short periods and armed with muzzle loading cannon - effectively the frigates of the Napoleonic period but with low powered steam engines. We end with recognisably modern warships - armoured, with breach loading guns mounted in turrets, powerful engines and of course no sails. This process of change was not something that the Royal Navy was familiar with - the warships of the Napoleon Wars were little different from ships of the Seven Years War (and in some cases were the same ships). It was also not a simple steady development - in many cases it wasn't which one of a number of competing technologies would triumph, and entire types of warship (perhaps most famously the ram) had a brief moment of fame before disappearing completely. I was surprised to see small sails still being carried on some of the cruisers to the very end of the nineteenth century (at least in the plans).

The book is very well illustrated, with a mix of excellent photographs and high quality purpose drawn plans. I would have liked at least one of the plans to be labelled but that’s only a minor quibble. This is a superb book that provides us with a detailed insight into the design and development of a key part of the British fleet at a time when the Royal Navy could validly claim to rule the seas.

Chapters
Introduction
1 - Steam, Sail and Wooden Hulls
2 - Iron Hulls
3 - The First Armoured Cruisers
4 - Fast Steel Cruisers
5 - The Torpedo and Small Cruisers
6 - Big Cruisers to Protect Commerce
7 - The Fast Wing of the Battle Fleet
Appendix: Vickers Designs
8 - Epilogue: Fisher's Revolution

Author: Norman Friedman
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 400
Publisher: Seaforth
Year: 2012



ISBN 13: 9781591140689

Gradually evolving from sailing frigates, the first modern cruiser is not easy to define, but this book starts with the earliest steam paddle warships, covers the evolution of screw-driven frigates, corvettes and sloops, and then the succeeding iron, composite and steel-hulled classes down to the last armoured cruisers.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Gradually evolving from the masted steam frigates of the mid-19th century, the first modern cruiser is not easy to define, but the starting point for this work is the construction of the Iris and Mercury of 1875. They were the Royal Navy's first steel-built warships were designed primarily to be steamed rather than sailed, and formed the basis of a line of succeeding cruiser classes. This history ends with the last armored cruisers, which were succeeded by the first battlecruisers (originally called armored cruisers), and with the last Third Class Cruisers (Topaze class), all conceived before 1906. The only comprehensive study of cruisers in this era, it is heavily illustrated with rare photos, and detailed ship plans by A. D. Baker II.

Norman Friedman is a prominent naval analyst and the author of more than thirty books covering a range of naval subjects, from warship histories to contemporary defense issues. He is a longtime columnist for Proceedings magazine and lives in New York City.


“This magnificent book reinforces Norman Friedman's unparalleled reputation as a peerless author of maritime topics.”—Australian Naval Institute

Gradually evolving from the masted steam frigates of the mid-nineteenth century, the first modern cruiser is not easy to define—but for the sake of this book, historian Norman Friedman takes as a starting point Iris and Mercury of 1875. They were the Royal Navy’s first steel-built warships were designed primarily to be steamed rather than sailed and formed the basis of a line of succeeding cruiser classes.

The story progresses with the last armored cruisers, which were succeeded by the first battlecruisers (originally called armored cruisers), and with the last Third Class Cruisers (Topaze class), all conceived before 1906. While dovetailing precisely with the author's previous book on British cruisers, this one also includes the wartime experience of the earlier ships.

The two central themes are cruisers for the fleet and cruisers for overseas operations, including (but not limited to) trade protection. The distant-waters aspect covers the belted cruisers, which were nearly capital ships, intended to deal with foreign second-class battleships in the Far East. The main enemies contemplated during this period were France and Russia, and the book includes British assessments of their strength and intentions, with judgments as to how accurate those assessments were. Deeply researched, original in its analysis, and full of striking insights, this is another major contribution by Norman Friedman to the history of British warships.


British Cruisers of the Victorian Era Kindle Edition

For me, this is a wonderful book- one I have been 'waiting for' for many years. I have many of Norman Friedman's books and they are all excellent and well produced, though you have to accept his rather 'dry' style and a lack of critical appraisal of the ships performance in service. There is some of the latter here in the last chapter ('Fishers Revolution'), but it is not general elsewhere.

Many books 'race over' the early Victorian period, but this one is quite comprehensive and 150 pages pass before we reach the William White Era and the key 'watershed' of the Naval Defence act of 1889.

Mr Baker's line drawings are superb, though few of them illustrate the early ships. They include plan as well as profile views and are very detailed. Because these plans are all produced 'across the page' they are a bit small and have obviously been reduced from the originals- but space would have been an issue. Whilst I agree with another reviewer that armour layout would be nice to see, this would have required even more plans and since many cruisers only had deck and casement armour the presentation may not have been very informative.

There are hundreds of photographs, many of which I have never seen before, which is excellent given that good photos taken before about 1885 can be very hard to find. I wonder if a greater page width, at expense of vertical depth, might not have been better, thus avoiding running some pictures across the binding, which is never really satisfactory. I do, however, applaud the large size of most of the photographs in the book.

The text is very detailed, especially giving the political and technical background to the designs. For example Constructor William Whites' philosophy is well explained: for the Royal Navy, with its world- wide commitments, continuous sea speed and endurance mattered much more than 'headline' trial performance. Moreover before the arrival of Krupp armour White would not sacrifice vital deck protection for a very narrow belt or for an ineffective coating of thin plate. Later, the 'Cressy' class armoured cruisers were really as well protected as contemporary battlships and Mr Friedman considers them to be the true precursors of the battlecruiser. The author appreciates that when tested in battle during World War One all these ships had outdated technology, but although some features were misguided- such as lower deck casemates- there is every reason to suppose they would have performed as intended when new.

There are interesting accounts of Armstrong and Vickers ships (including fine drawings of many of these), also comparison with important foreign designs, especially those of France and Russia. Perhaps unfortunately the small 'scout' cruisers of the Adventure, Forward, Pathfinder, Sentinel, Boadicea, Blonde and Active classes (1902- 12) are not included here- I now understand they are featured in Mr Friedmans second book on Destroyers instead (please see maddogporters entries in the 'comments' section below).

I would have liked the technical tables presented alongside the ship descriptions rather than all gathered at the end of the book, but everyone will have their own ideas about details such as that. All considered, this is a large (350 page) double format book, produced to a very high standard, and it is a work of scholarship. It is certain to become a recognized standard work and as such it is a real bargain even at the original published price.


British Cruisers of the Victorian Era

“It used to be said of the Royal Navy that its battleships brought it command of the sea, but that its cruisers. exercised that control. Cruisers were expected to protect British trade in wartime and to run enemy commerce off the sea.”

I was expecting this to be a pictorial reference book, something like Jane’s Fighting Ships. It does have lots of pictures and ship specifications, but it is primarily an engineering history of the British Navy during the long transition from sail to steam, 1830 t “It used to be said of the Royal Navy that its battleships brought it command of the sea, but that its cruisers. exercised that control. Cruisers were expected to protect British trade in wartime and to run enemy commerce off the sea.”

I was expecting this to be a pictorial reference book, something like Jane’s Fighting Ships. It does have lots of pictures and ship specifications, but it is primarily an engineering history of the British Navy during the long transition from sail to steam, 1830 to 1907. It also does a good job explaining the political, strategic, economic, and technological considerations which affected the size and composition of the fleet. Every year the Admiralty had to decide what ships to build based on budget, manpower availability, and the actions of potentially hostile maritime nations. Manpower was a serious constraint, and some ship designs were only approved on the understanding that engineers or gunners would serve double duty handling sails and rigging.

The Corn Laws, which had protected British farmers with high tariffs on imported grain, were repealed in 1846 and the United Kingdom soon became dependent on imported food, which meant that it could be starved into surrender by any adversary capable of controlling the seas. There were also far-flung colonies and trade routes that needed be protected, particularly to India via the Red Sea. After Britain grabbed Egypt when it defaulted on its debts, other European powers started seizing territories of their own. France had earlier claimed parts of North Africa, and expanded its holding to include Madagascar, and Germany established colonies in southern Africa and the Pacific. In addition, Russia was always scheming to capture Constantinople to ensure free passage from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and was also pushing down into Afghanistan from the north to threaten Britain’s hold on India. The United States too was considered a potential threat, particularly since it built warships as commerce raiders, a strategy that had been successful during the American Revolution.

Cruisers were the ships which eventually evolved to meet these challenges. They were designed to be smaller and cheaper than battleships, with the speed to quickly reach overseas destinations or pursue opponents, and armed and armored sufficiently to handle themselves in a fight against similar ships. The first ones were not successful at this. The weight of their weapons and ammunition slowed them down, and their inefficient engines and limited coal stowage meant that they were primarily sailing vessels, using steam only as supplemental propulsion. In the 1830s British war planners abandoned the convoy system, which had been effective during the Napoleonic era, because its warships could not reliably keep up even with the 10 knot merchantmen which were becoming common at that time.

Although we think of cruisers today as integral components of the battle fleet, for a time early in their development they lost that position and were assigned to defend the empire’s far-flung possessions, blockade hostile ports, or destroy enemy commerce.

The author does a good job explaining the progress of steam engineering as the technology gradually improved, moving from very low pressure boilers (around 5 psi) driving single piston reciprocating steam engines, to engines with high and low pressure pistons, then to triple and even quadruple-expanders, each successive piston scavenging steam exhausted by the one before it and using larger cylinders to do the same amount of work. An internet search for “triple-expansion” will return several good videos that explain the workings of reciprocating steam engines. The book also has an interesting discussion of the evolution of boilers from fire-tube to water-tube, and from large to small water-tubes, as well as boiler design constraints for a long time boilers had to be circular or cylindrical (locomotive style) to have sufficient strength to contain their design pressure.

It took fifty years from 1830 for steam to finally replace sail. During that period, “Until the 1880s or even later, steam plants were extremely inefficient. For example, it was common in the 1840s and 1850s to design steam warships with a coal endurance of about two weeks and a stores endurance of five months, the assumption being that the ship would spend most of her time cruising under sail.”

The decade of the 1880s showed tremendous engineering advancements. At the beginning of the decade British cruisers were built with three square-rigged masts by the middle they had two with simple fore-and-aft rigging by the end masts were for signaling and observation, not propulsion. Other technologies were also advancing rapidly for instance, iron was cheaper than wood construction, and once blast furnaces allowed the production of high quality steel it was cheaper and lighter than iron.

Another big change was from muzzle to breech loading guns, which was more gradual than might be expected. In the early breech loaders the entire breech mechanism had to be removed to reload the gun, and it did not seal tightly, resulting in both slow loading and loss of propellant pressure. The muzzle loaders were faster to reload and caused fewer problems with fouling and mechanical failures, leading many captains to prefer them, so for several decades British ships were equipped with a combination of the two types of guns.

With better engineering technology and sophisticated hull design the cruisers made rapid advances in both sustained and maximum speeds. They finally regained their position in the fleet as fast scouts able to operate individually or with the main battle line, especially after they were equipped with radios starting around 1904.

Cruiser armaments followed the pattern of other warships in navies around the world, with guns of multiple sizes and calibers. The British developed a fine 9.2” BL gun that could be deployed in single or double mounts, and augmented them with a larger number of 7.5” and small 4” quick firing guns to deter torpedo boats.

Although this book does not discuss the tactical reasons for this, the strategy at the time was called Rain of Fire, where the big guns engaged at long range, getting hits if lucky, and then as the distance closed the secondary armament would open up, using the decreasing range to give better accuracy. Engagements were expected to be fought starting at around 6000 yards, with sustained fire at 4000. However, experience from the Battle of Tsushima in 1905 showed that spotters could not easily distinguish splashes of the primary guns from those of the secondary armament, leading to passing incorrect bearings and ranges to the fire control plotters. It is for this reason that in World War II many large caliber shells had dyes added to them to help distinguish which guns had fired them.

In October 1904 British ship design philosophy underwent a fundamental change with the accession of Admiral Sir John Fisher to First Sea Lord. He is most famously remembered for introducing HMS Dreadnought in 1905. It was the first all-big-gun battleship but it also included two other radical changes: oil instead of coal, and steam turbines in place of reciprocating engines. It made all the world’s navies obsolete, but it did the same to Britain’s, and encouraged the Kaiser to start an arms race which reshuffled the diplomatic balance in Europe and presented an existential threat to the United Kingdom.

The battleship changes were reflected in cruiser designs. HMS Minotaur, designed and approved before Fisher, was commissioned in 1906 and carried four 9.2” guns in two twin turrets, and ten 7.5” guns in single mounts. Fisher wanted big gun cruisers which could accompany the battle fleet, and thus was born the battlecruiser class the first of which was HMS Invincible, commissioned in 1907 with eight 12” guns in four twin turrets, no intermediate caliber guns, and sixteen four inchers for close in protection. It also had steam turbines capable of producing 41,000 shaft horsepower for a maximum speed of 25 knots.

Fisher’s battleship idea was a great success and changed naval warfare forever. His battlecruisers, however, were a failure. By the time of World War I battleships guns had reached 15” in the British Navy, and improvements in fire control meant they could engage out to 20,000 yards, although their accuracy was abysmal, with the Royal Navy getting hits only about 2% of the time at Jutland. The Germans had smaller battleship main guns and fired more slowly, but with better accuracy, 4% at Jutland. The battlecruisers had battleship guns but lighter armor to achieve high speed, yet they cost almost as much as battleships, so there was an unfortunate tendency to put them in the battle line where they were at a great disadvantage. At Jutland the British Navy lost three of them to catastrophic explosions caused by plunging fire penetrating their thin armor: HMS Invincible went down with 1026 men and had only 6 survivors HMS Queen Mary 1266 with 18 survivors, and HMS Indefatiguable 1016 and 3 survivors. A fourth, Admiral Beatty’s flagship HMS Lion, was saved from a similar fate only by flooding the magazines seconds before it too would have been destroyed.

For anyone with an interest in naval history, this book offers insight into strategy, policy, economics, and technological advances. Using archival documents, it shows, year by year the thinking of the men charged with building and maintaining the Royal Navy. There were frequent disagreements which offer insight into the potential histories of what might have been.

Cruiser-class warships would live on, but by World War II they had been relegated to the role they serve today, as anti-air protection for aircraft carriers. This book shows their evolution from sail to steam and from primitive muzzle loaders to sophisticated modern gunnery. There is a lot to learn here and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the technical side of naval history. . more


British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, Norman Friedman - History

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era

Author: Norman Friedman
Publisher: Seaforth Publishing (UK) Naval Institute Press (US)
Year: 2012
Reviewer: Daryl Carpenter

Oh, Norman Friedman, how you beguile me sometimes. You have this amazing knack of hunting down obscure bits of information and incorporating it into your books. You make the frustrating and arcane process of ship design and naval architecture seem really interesting. You make me care about naval tactics, the politics of national defense, block coefficients, and low-angle fire control. You somehow have this amazing ability to combine all this stuff into a single cohesive naval history book. But darn it, as an actual human being, reading your books can put a real strain on my mental facilities. It usually pays off in the end, but I sometimes find myself having to put together a sort of "cheat sheet" halfway through. But I love your stuff anyway. Why?

I'm one of those odd people who's more interested in studying naval architecture and the warship design process than I am the stories of the individual ships and their crews. I've read five of Friedman's "Illustrated Design History" series from cover to cover, and I've been on a bit of a British warship kick this last year. I've always loved the design of British fighting ships from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, if only for their ridiculously cluttered upper decks and the totally illogical placement of their secondary batteries. When I found out that Norman Friedman was going to be doing an entire book devoted to British cruisers of this period, my curiosity was definitely piqued. Maybe some of my questions would be finally answered.

Lately, Norman Friedman has turned his attention from the United States Navy to the Royal Navy. Since 2006, he's written four books on British warships, the other three being a two-volume study of destroyers and frigates, and a book on cruisers built between World War I and the end of World War II. The scope of this book is fairly impressive, since the Victorian definition of "cruiser" was quite different from "bigger than a destroyer but smaller than a battleship." From the 1840s to the construction of the first Dreadnought-era battlecruisers in 1906, the Royal Navy's defined a cruiser as anything from a small steam corvette or torpedo gunboat, to a large armored ship armed with 9.2-inch guns, designed to defeat second-class battleships.

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era has a lot going for it. At a cursory glance, the production values are superb. The hundreds of photographs from the archives of the National Maritime Museum are of excellent quality, as are the dozens of minutely detailed plan and elevation drawings of ships by Friedman's long-time partner A D Baker III. The pages are printed on high-quality glossy stock, and with other Naval Institute titles, the binding feels quite strong. At 352 pages, and measuring 9.5 by 11 inches, this is one pretty substantial book. I wouldn't recommend throwing it down a flight of stairs, but I think it would survive mostly intact.

When Friedman is in his element, this book is superb. The early sections go into intricate but readable detail on the political situation of post-Napoleonic Europe, the evolution of British fleet tactics in the early steam era, the design of steam engines and boilers, the types of guns used by these ships, and the creation of ships for trade protection and duty on overseas stations. Friedman dovetails these developments with the difficulty of "selling" ships to a fickle English government, and the problems associated with procuring and maintaining enough ships to protect distant British possessions from whatever the Royal Navy's current "future enemy" might be. Concept wise, this book is really no different from his Illustrated Design Histories on American warships. The focus here is more on the evolution of the different ship designs than on the finished product. Little bits of insight ("the lower deck casemates tended to be wet in all but calm seas," etc.) are included here and there, and many of the photo captions serve as capsule histories of the ship pictured, but as a whole, it's not a detailed operational analysis, nor does it seem like it was ever meant to be.

The real problem with British Cruisers of the Victorian Era is that it's a stylistic and editing nightmare, and I place most of the blame on Seaforth Publishing. Friedman is Friedman if you've read any of his books from the '80s, the writing here is really no different. Photo captions tend to go on for paragraphs, chapters end abruptly, and details frequently get as thick as your Grandma's fudge brownies. The real problem is that this serious, top dollar military reference book is presented in a manner that seems more fitting to a coffee table book collecting dust in Barnes and Nobles' bargain books section.

Call me an old fart, but I really think books of this sort work better when they're laid out in a simple and straightforward manner. I purchased the classic British Battleships of World War Two around the same time, and was shocked to see how logically and consistently that book was able to present an enormous amount of rather raw data. This book? Not so much. Most of the photographs are of superb quality, but too many of them are spread across two pages and details fall into the tight binding. This wouldn't be a problem if it was an e-book, but by the fifth instance of seeing an entire mast or funnel falling into the "gutter," I found myself audibly sighing in frustration. The book as a whole feels more like a Frankenstein affair than a carefully polished and edited product. Ship specifications and class breakdowns are included as appendixes, rather than in the main text where they would have been more useful. Typos appear every other page, and smaller photos are plopped incongruously atop larger ones. So many different ship types are described in this book, I think that a "family tree" printed on the inside cover showing British cruisers built between 1840 and 1905, would have eased my frustration as a reader immensely.

Is British Cruisers of the Victorian Era still a worthwhile book for British warship fans? Despite what I've said earlier, I think it is. I don't intend this review to be a criticism of Friedman's work as a whole. His books have provided me many hours of thought-provoking reading in the past. Unfortunately, this is one his weaker books, although it still contains plenty of good information for serious naval enthusiasts. Those who are merely "interested" in the subject will find it a frustrating experience. The text is fascinating and insightful, the photos are great, and the drawings are superbly executed, but I can't help but see this as a masterpiece torpedoed by sloppy production.

2014 SUBSIM


British Cruisers of the Victorian Era

Gradually evolving from the masted steam frigates of the mid-nineteenth century, the first modern cruiser is not easy to define, but for the sake of this book the starting point is taken to be Iris and Mercury of 1875. They were the RN's first steel-built warships were designed primarily to be steamed rather than sailed and formed the basis of a line of succeeding cruiser classes.

The story ends with the last armoured cruisers, which were succeeded by the first battlecruisers (originally called armoured cruisers), and with the last Third Class Cruisers (Topaze class), all conceived before 1906. Coverage, therefore, dovetails precisely with Friedman's previous book on British cruisers, although this one also includes the wartime experience of the earlier ships.

Gradually evolving from the masted steam frigates of the mid-nineteenth century, the first modern cruiser is not easy to define, but for the sake of this book the starting point is taken to be Iris and Mercury of 1875. They were the RN's first steel-built warships were designed primarily to be steamed rather than sailed and formed the basis of a line of succeeding cruiser classes.

The story ends with the last armoured cruisers, which were succeeded by the first battlecruisers (originally called armoured cruisers), and with the last Third Class Cruisers (Topaze class), all conceived before 1906. Coverage, therefore, dovetails precisely with Friedman's previous book on British cruisers, although this one also includes the wartime experience of the earlier ships.

The two central themes are cruisers for the fleet and cruisers for overseas operations, including (but not limited to) trade protection. The distant-waters aspect covers the belted cruisers, which were nearly capital ships, intended to deal with foreign second-class battleships in the Far East. The main enemies contemplated during this period were France and Russia, and the book includes British assessments of their strength and intentions, with judgements as to how accurate those assessments were. As would be expected of Friedman, the book is deeply researched, original in its analysis, and full of striking insights another major contribution to the history of British warship


British Cruisers of the Victorian Era by Norman Friedman – eBook Details

Before you start Complete British Cruisers of the Victorian Era PDF EPUB by Norman Friedman Download, you can read below technical ebook details:

  • Full Book Name: British Cruisers of the Victorian Era
  • Author Name: Norman Friedman
  • Book Genre:
  • ISBN # 9781848320994
  • Edition Language:
  • Date of Publication: 2010-11-1
  • PDF / EPUB File Name: British_Cruisers_of_the_Victorian_Era_-_Norman_Friedman.pdf, British_Cruisers_of_the_Victorian_Era_-_Norman_Friedman.epub
  • PDF File Size:30 MB
  • EPUB File Size:26 MB

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era (eBook, ePUB)

Bitte loggen Sie sich zunächst in Ihr Kundenkonto ein oder registrieren Sie sich bei bücher.de, um das eBook-Abo tolino select nutzen zu können.

Bitte loggen Sie sich zunächst in Ihr Kundenkonto ein oder registrieren Sie sich bei bücher.de, um das eBook-Abo tolino select nutzen zu können.

"This magnificent book reinforces Norman Friedman's unparalleled reputation as a peerless author of maritime topics."-Australian Naval Institute Gradually evolving from the masted steam frigates of the mid-nineteenth century, the first modern cruiser is not easy to define-but for the sake of this book, historian Norman Friedman takes as a starting point Iris and Mercury of 1875. They were the Royal Navy's first steel-built warships were designed primarily to be steamed rather than sailed and formed the basis of a line of succeeding cruiser classes. The story progresses with the last armored …mehr


British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, Norman Friedman - History

British Cruisers (Kindle)

£18.00 Print price £45.00

You save £27.00 (60%)

Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available Price
British Cruisers ePub (238.2 MB) Add to Basket £18.00

For most of the twentieth century Britain possessed both the world's largest merchant fleet and its most extensive overseas territories. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Royal Navy always showed a particular interest in the cruiser &ndash a multi-purpose warship needed in large numbers to defend trade routes and police the empire. Above all other types, the cruiser's competing demands of quality and quantity placed a heavy burden on designers, and for most of the inter-war years Britain sought to square this circle through international treaties restricting both size and numbers. In the process she virtually invented the heavy cruiser and inspired the large 6in-armed cruiser, neither of which, ironically, served her best interests. For the first time this book seeks to comprehend the full policy background, from which a different and entirely original picture emerges of British cruiser development.

After the war the cruiser's role was reconsidered and the final chapters of the book cover modernisations, the plans for missile-armed ships and the convoluted process that turned the 'through-deck cruiser' into the Invincible class light carriers. With detailed appendices of ship data, and illustrated in depth with photos and A D Baker's specially commissioned plans, British Cruisers truly matches the lofty standards set by Friedman's previous books on British destroyers.

Wow! Another book from this author and publisher with the 'wow' factor. Lavishly illustrated with a photograph or line plan on almost every page. The text is packed with technical information, detail, and description of design, construction and application of these important ships. I read it cover to cover finding many nuggets of information on the way. e.g. One particular cruiser fresh out of dock had a range of 12,000nm the same ship after eight months cruising was 'deep and dirty' had a range of only 8,000nm. This book is a must for every Royal Navy enthusiast and would be of interest to the general reader. This is the kind of reference book where you find what you are looking for and are then temped to go on reading. Highly recommended.

Clash of Steel

In most subjects there is a single book which comes to be regarded as the standard reading material. In my opinion for the RN WW2 Cruiser this book is it. It is of a uniformly high standard which is matched by the production values. The photos and plans are excellent, it is well written, contains a great depth of information and it is interesting to read. If you are interested in the subject, this is the book you should buy, I recommend you don't miss it.

World War 2 Cruiser Operations - Mike Russell

British Cruisers is a pleasant book with significant illustrations.

Neptunus

It presents amazingly detailed information on the design and construction of each class of vessels. The author identifies how the need for cruisers sprang from the protection of British trade across its large empire and even larger spheres of economic and political influence.
There is a wealth of information on how the naval treaties of the 1920s and 1930s were a constraint to design. There is a detailed account of early attempts to integrate aviation in the form of a catapult for a fixed wing float-plane or seaplane. This was abandoned in the 1940s and replaced during the 1950s with one or more rotating wing or STOL/VTOL aircraft. In the last section, nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems emerge to threaten the cruiser's survival. Because the major British shipbuilder, Vickers, had a yard in Spain and major shipbuilders competed for contracts worldwide, Friedman also opens a window on international naval history.
The author uses a close integration of text, photographs and drawings to transmit masses of technical and visual information. The layouts introducing each chapter are stunning, high resolution two-page spreads. For readers used to deciphering censored images, they are a revelation. There are also additional half-page plans, which are finely detailed.

The Northern Mariner

This latest work from Norman Freidman is in many respects a sequel to the same author’s two books on British destroyers, and those who purchased the latter books will know what to expect. In determining the focus and structure of the book the author has made a number of important decisions. The starting point for his descriptions of the development of each of the ships covered is the material held in the various British archives: Admiralty reports, Ships’ Covers and Constructors’ Workbooks. The line drawings are uniformly of a very high standard and although the photographs are excellent the inclusion of images taken later in the ship’s career tends to interrupt the design narrative. However, many readers will find this a strength, and there is no doubting the depth of Dr Friedman’s research. The quantity (and quality) of the illustrations is particularly impressive, and the production values of the book are everything one has come to expect from the pubisher.

Warship – Naval Books of the Year

This is a sumptuous volume, providing a most authoritative and comprehensive review of British cruisers in the twentieth century. The book is beautifully laid out to Seaforth's traditional high standard. An excellent book which is a must for all naval experts, historians and enthusiasts. Most highly recommended. Provides an excellent overview of naval policy.

Scuttlebutt

This is a book for the specialist ship enthusiast or serious naval historian, and its worth having.

FLAGSHIP MAGAZINE

This is a sumptuous volume, providing a most authoritative and comprehensive review of British cruisers in the twentieth century"

The book is beautifully laid out to Seaforth's traditional high standard"

An excellent book, which is a must for all naval experts, historians and enthusiasts. Most highly recommended"

John Roberts, Scuttlebutt

. This book provides an authoritative account of British cruisers during the inter-war years and charts the enormous impact radio had on the design and operations of British Cruisers. "

. With extensive appendices on ship data, illustrated in depth with photos and finely detailed plans, this work matches the high standards set my Mr Friedman's earlier books on British Destroyers.. The book also contains a full list of ships discussed and their individual features and capabilities."

. Norman Friedman is an internationally renowned military analyst and naval historian."

. Naval historians at all levels should not miss the opportunity to add a copy of his work to their libraries. It is a first class read and highly commended."

The Nautical Magazine

During the first 60 years of the twentieth century the United Kingdom possessed the worlds larest merchant fleet and a large number of overseas territories. In this magnificent book, Norman Friedman explores fully the policy background to give a new insight into British cruiser development from 1907 onwards.
The book, which is well written and highly informative, is likely to be seen as the definitive work on this subject and is good value for money. Very highly recommended.

Marine News

A very valuable volume for anyone interested in the history and development of the warships of the 20th century.

Roger Marsh, Ships in Scale

For anyone interested in Naval history this book is packed with interesting facts

Royal Naval Sailing Association Jorunal

British History has been steeped in the naval ever since Britain became the most formidable power at sea during the twentieth century and British Cruisers doesn't look like changing that pattern. Britain may have commanded the biggest merchant fleet but as Norman Friedman explains, it was the cruiser Britain believed was needed to cement their position of power. The book through a vast array of beautiful pictures combined with detailed text illustrates the development and launching of British Cruisers designed to police the empire and protect trade routes and describes everything from the invention of the heavy cruiser to the 6in-armed ship. Norman Friedman through his experience on writing both British and American naval texts opens up a world to a side of British History almost forgotten and ultimately highlights it's brilliance.

JB (Customer Review)

British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After by Norman Friedman, Published by Seaforth (2012)ISBN 9781848320789

The origin, design, role and usage of the Cruiser by the Royal Navy from the beginning of the 20th Century, is surely one of the most complicated, interesting, frustrating and exciting stories to be told. No ship other than the Cruiser in service with the Royal Navy encapsulates its reason for its existence and the role it played in protecting the British Empire and its trade in distant waters, whilst providing some heavy metal and protection nearer to home. With the demise of the Empire in latter halve of the century, the demise of the Cruiser within the Royal Navy is also mirrored in detail.

Norman Friedman is without doubt one of the most pre-eminent Naval historians of all time, and as such it’s become difficult, if nigh impossible to be critical of his work. This latest work will stand along side his other works in his pantheon of historical/topical and modern naval tomes. The book is broken down into some 11 Chapters that allow the reader to easily follow the evolution of the Cruiser in the Royal Navy. Not surprisingly the Chapters dealing with the machinations, implications and consequences of the various inter-war treaties and agreements, plus the political and financial straight-jackets are the most detailed in terms of there individual and cumulative affects on British Cruiser design. Friedman does pay attention to how other countries designed there cruisers, but he thankfully doesn’t go down the comparative and often facile road of comparisons between various nations designs. All nations had various similar but equally unique requirements, which helped or hindered there design requirements. The use/service of the various Cruisers during war is an obvious area that is covered but perhaps not in the detail or scope one would expect. The coverage is based around the various modifications and design changes/improvements that came about through experience or technological advancement. This book isn’t a book that will give you the detailed history of a specific vessels wartime service, for that there are specific titles you should look too. The post war role of the cruiser and its continued evolution is also covered as the age of the missile comes to the fore, at the expense of the gun! Finally we end up at the Command Cruiser passing its mantle onto the Invincible class ‘through deck Cruiser’ or light carrier.

The book is completed by a single Appendix dealing with Fast Minelayers, which came about after several WW1 Cruisers were converted, many seeing active service through till the end of WW2 and beyond. The following Notes section contains yet more information, much of which would out do other books about British Cruisers by itself, in terms of its accuracy and detail. The usual Bibliography is there plus a very useful and handy Data List of various specifications of the numerous Cruiser designs used and proposed. The final segment gives us a Ships List with build, completion dates and ultimate fate of the vessels concerned. The book is lavishly filled throughout with numerous B/W photographs, and the usual excellent line drawings & plans by A D Baker III and others.

For anyone truly interested in the Royal Navy and the Cruiser as an entity, then this book has a quality and gravitas that demands yet even more shelf space from you-Don’t resist-Buy!

Andrew Hill

About Norman Friedman

NORMAN FRIEDMAN is arguably America&rsquos most prominent naval analyst, and the author of more than thirty books covering a range of naval subjects, from warship histories to contemporary defence issues. His most recent titles in a series of successful works for Seaforth are British Battleships of the Victorian Era and the first part of his history of British Submarines, subtitled 'in two World Wars'.


Watch the video: The Grisly World Of Victorian Medicine. How The Victorians Built Britain. Absolute History