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The Grand Fleet: Warship Design and Development 1906-1922 [Paperback]

D. K. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 July 2010
The launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 ushered in one of the most rapid periods of warship development in history; and only ten years after this all-big-gun, turbine-powered battleship was completed, two entire fleets of Dreadnoughts would meet at Jutland and put the work of the prewar designers to the ultimate test.The renowned warship author, D K Brown, examines the development of these vessels and looks at how wartime experience affected warship design. As well as battleships and battlecruisers, for the first time the developmental history of smaller vessels such as minesweepers, monitors and escort vessels, built in direct response to wartime needs, is described, as is that of the submarine and aircraft carrier. A detailed study is made of battle damage, including the role played by ammunition explosions in the loss of three British battlecruisers at Jutland. Also described are the postwar capital ship designs, killed off by the Washington Treaty, which are among the most fascinating 'might-have-beens' of naval history.A classic work again available for historians and enthusiasts, detailing the development of all those ships that enabled the Royal Navy to rule the waves supreme and defend country and empire.

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The Grand Fleet: Warship Design and Development 1906-1922 + Warrior to Dreadnought: Warship Development 1860-1905 + Nelson to Vanguard: Warship Design and Development 1923 - 1945
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Seaforth Publishing; Reprint edition (30 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184832085X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848320857
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 22.3 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 263,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Grand" study of naval development! 8 Jan 2000
This is the third book in the author's series charting the design and development of British warships since 1815. It is said that old wines improve with age and it is evidently true of authors as well since, in this reviewers opinion, this rates as David Brown's best book yet. "The Grand Fleet" charts the development of RN design from the Dreadnought of 1905 to the Washington Conference of 1921, and falls neatly into three main parts.
Part 1 sets the scene, with discussions on the resources, what is a good design, design drivers, pre-war development in naval architecture, marine engineering, armour schemes and armament. The extensive series of pre-war trials (armament, armour, shell design, propellant) is well covered - and indicates the gaps in the trials programmes which may have led to serious flaws being missed. Part 2 examines pre-war ship designs in more detail, with chapters on battleships cruisers, destroyers and early aviation vessels, and submarines. Part 3 goes o to covers wartime design and development. Chapters again examine the various of ships, followed by additional chapters which discuss action damage and lessons learnt, the inevitable post mortem on the many magazine explosions suffered by the RN and on to the abortive designs cancelled as a result of the Washington Conference. An interesting aspect not fully appreciated before is the extent to which the RN contributed to the design of US, Japanese and French carrier designs immediately after the war and in the aftermath of the Washington Conference - the influence of FURIOUS is seen in Akagi and Lexington, ARGUS in Hosho whilst EAGLE formed the basis for Bearn.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice read 4 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Maybe naval history isnt your thing, but there I was reading it while eating as a novel rather than a reference book. To put it into context, it is a design history of warships built by the Royal Navy in the period from about 1905 with the launch of HMS Dreadnought up to the end of WW1. Designs evolve, so here and there it refers to the companion volume covering the period up to dreadnought and I guess I shall have to get one of those now. David Brown is now deceased, but this is the work of a professional naval shipbuilder who in his later years decided to write up what he had learnt, I imagine with a nice splash of inside knowledge. The one bad thing about this is that 100 years after events, knowledge still turns up and some of the most interesting writers are no longer about to update their works, but I didnt notice it was outdated yet. Nice selection of pictures, large pages and a quite acceptable stiffened card paperback cover, which is not to imply the text is lacking. I found it to have a very interesting discussion of the design considerations which went into warships and which were finally put to the test of war at Jutland. Debate still rages over the failings of british ships in that battle and the information here goes some way to help explaining why they were as they were. For the politics which went into ship design and handling look elsewhere, this book is about efficiency of shells, boilers and engines, technical innovations and the best way to arrange the armour.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have all three books in this series and I consider them essential to anyone interested in the development of Royal Navy warships. All three books are well illustrated and the text is consise. However, the real joy for me was reading the sidenotes to the text. I thoroughly recommend this book and its companion volumes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In this work, David Brown provides a fascinating and compelling explanation of the British side of an arms race in which he includes the developments in - and lessons learned from, a wide variety of ships and submarines - not just battleships.

The pace of change in warship design which gripped the world's major navies in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries remains the greatest arms race of all time. As an example of the changes which came into force, in 1903 the British Duncan class battleship came into service. These ships sported four 12 in. Guns and were powered by 2 x four-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines. Only three years later, however, HMS Dreadnought was commissioned. This ship was so revolutionary in terms of battleship design she immediately made all ships in all navies obsolete. The Dreadnought class carried ten 12 in. guns and her steam turbines drove four propellers at a much improved speed. From this point forward, all battleships throughout the world became classed as either `Dreadnought' or `pre-Dreadnought.'

The introduction of HMS Dreadnought now created a renewed arms race in which the world's navies sought to replace all their major warships - or risk being blown out of the water. As each new class of ship was then launched - so new innovations were introduced - all of which served to perpetuate the extraordinary competition which then existed.

Author David K. Brown had a distinguished career as a naval architect and rose to become the Deputy Chief Naval Architect of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors prior to his retirement. For the next 30 years he wrote widely on warship design and became known as a trusted authority on the subject.
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