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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In touch with the past
I found this book gave me a good insight into Britain's naval might before and during the Great War period.
Published 11 months ago by David

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars EARLY DREADNOUGHTS
I have just recieved this and whilst it is quite a nice introduction to the subject of necessity it is quite brief. The author states that these ships were probably superior to the later 13.5" on the cover but fails to justify this within the text. Also by the time of Jutland there was the Orion class, King George 5th class and Iron Duke class so the 13.5" ships...
Published 15 months ago by Ms. N. J. Dixon


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars EARLY DREADNOUGHTS, 16 May 2013
By 
Ms. N. J. Dixon (Billericay, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: British Battleships, 1914-18: Pt. 1: The Early Dreadnoughts (New Vanguard) (Paperback)
I have just recieved this and whilst it is quite a nice introduction to the subject of necessity it is quite brief. The author states that these ships were probably superior to the later 13.5" on the cover but fails to justify this within the text. Also by the time of Jutland there was the Orion class, King George 5th class and Iron Duke class so the 13.5" ships outnumbered the 12".

The article on fire control is really quite nicely done and gives a good overall description of how the system functions and the factors it needs to take into account. Full marks here.

It misses a number of key points:

1) That superimposed turrents were difficult for the RN because of the turret sighting hoods were on the roof which precluded firing directly over the lower turret. To change this would involve a complete re-design of the turret and there just wasn't the time or capacity to do this.

2) The absence of an upper belt was for financial and political reasons as the displacement/cost would have been higher. This was also beacuse there was a feeling it wasn't needed as there was no secondary battery to protect. This absence later exposed these ships to more damaging hits on their decks as ranges increased, but their decks were of reasonable thickness.

3) The asertion that the armour belts were deliberatley submerged to protect against torpedo hits is whimsical. The belts were never deep enough to have any affect on a torpedo stike. No capitol ships belt ever was. The ships just came out overweight but it should be recognised that much steaming was anticipated before any action so coal would have been consumed so the longer the chase the better the protection as the belt emerged!

4) The pictures are a little small but okay within the limits of publication

Just by way of background I'm an avid collector of books on this subject so it's my field. I also build models including a 6 foot model of Neptune (see Model Warships underway - Gallery 29 for pictures).

Overall quite a nice little booklet but not much new, if any, information. I await with interest the second volume on the 13.5" ships. Worth the purchase price.

G
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Skating over the surface of a river full of salmon looking for a fish!, 19 May 2013
By 
Ned Middleton (British professional underwater photo-journalist & author) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: British Battleships, 1914-18: Pt. 1: The Early Dreadnoughts (New Vanguard) (Paperback)
I really do like this series of books and have gained much information from earlier works on a variety of subjects both naval and military. I have also previously reviewed 7 works by Angus Konstam - six of which received a 4 Star rating and one a 5 Star! This, however, is a considerable disappointment and one to which I struggled to apply genuine objectivity. In short, the work provides nothing more than a brief-but-reasonable overview of the subject and that is all. Even the opening words on the back cover (so often the decider between shall I buy or not!) are very familiar and read; "The launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 changed the face of naval warfare." They are words which, I am quite certain, many other readers will also have seen before!

Whereas the large print title reads "British Battleships 1914-18 (1)," the sub-title which follows in much smaller print is what actually defines the subject matter of the work and that reads "The Early Dreadnoughts." This was the genre of warship which changed the entire naval fleets of the world - just as the introduction of the jet engine later changed all air forces, and is a lengthy subject in its own right! Those early dreadnoughts were complex ships and the first replacements were born from the experiences of their immediate predecessors. In short, they came about after lessons were learned. Add to this the wider subjects of (as taken from the Contents page); Design and Development, Specifications, Fighting potential, Wartime modifications and Wartime service and there is sufficient material to fill any number of huge books.

Instead, however, we have a work which contains 44 pages of text and images plus one page each for Contents, Bibliography and Index. I am not as expert in huge warships as some other reviewers but even I learned nothing from this work and I was left with a feeling of having been let down by the author. To put it another way; if ever an author was skating over the surface of a river full of salmon looking for a fish, this is it...

A useful introduction to the subject but only if you know nothing about early Dreadnoughts whatsoever. The historic photographs are good and the artwork - especially the full page profiles and deck plans of various important ships of the day, is quite excellent. Once again, however, my revealing the fact that several pages are taken up completely with such images leaves even less space for the much more important INFORMATION!

Perhaps I will be viewed as being far too generous with 3 Stars but this is an author who knows his subject and, as far as it goes, I am unable to fault the information provided. There simply isn't enough.

NM
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Good Opportunity Wasted, 2 July 2013
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This review is from: British Battleships, 1914-18: Pt. 1: The Early Dreadnoughts (New Vanguard) (Paperback)
Osprey's books have always been more about the illustrations than the text. However, in this case, both are lacking. Problems noted with both the text and illutations are:

1. The design of HMS Neptune regarding superimposed turrets was influenced by the Brazilian dreadnought Minas Gerais that was building at Armstrong's yard from 1907 onwards, and not the USS South Carolina.

2. The positioning of fire-control (rangefinders / directors etc) was not superior in American dreadnoughts as in placing them at the tops of the rotary hyberloid masts (the cage masts), they only alleviate the effects of heat and funnel smoke to a small degree, but also introduced more vibration that the British tripod mast design.

3. The artist has played it very safe with the colour profiles, rendering every ship in the wartime light grey. I would have hoped that one of the early ships had been in the darker pre-war grey (still worn past 1914 in a number of cases) plus funnel bands etc. HMS Superb is known to have worn some kind of camouflage scheme in late 1914 and one from late 1918 that is very similar to the Admiralty Disruptive Schemes of the Second World War: it is a pity that these were not researched and included as this alone would have made the book worth its cover price! The plan view shows the decks to be a dark tan colour, whereas the Royal Navy's obsession with holystoning the woodwork would have reduced these to a lighter colour very quickly.

4. The profile of HMS Neptune shows the staggered wing turrets to be trained wrongly. 'P' Turret (the forward of the two) is trained aft, and 'Q' Turret is trained forward, not the other way round as shown in the artwork. This has probably arisen by refering to the small profile in the style of "Jane's Fighting Ships" that also shows the turrets trained wrongly. Inspection of all the photographs of HMS Neptune, plus the profiles published in R A Burt's 'British Battleships of World War 1' would show the correct training of the wing turrets. As this volume is referenced in the bibliography, there is no valid excuse for getting it wrong.

5. The artwork depicting HMS Bellerophon at Jutland doesn't seem to capture the hull shape of the vessel correctly - it seems to be too wide in the beam, almost like it's a German dreadnought. Plus, as HMS Bellerophon is supposedly firing at targets some 18,000 yds distant, the main armament should be at a higher elevation (max elevation of these 12" mountings was about 15 degrees), and the barrels should be staggered in the usual 'salvo' arrangement when finding the range, before going to firing full broadsides.

6. The artwork showing HMS Vanguard at Scapa Flow immediately prior to its destruction has the 1910-vintage spotting tops. By the time 1917 came along, these had grown to more substantial structures (again, inspection of photographs of the vessel would have shown this).

However, on the good points side, some of the photographs chosen aren't the 'usual suspects' that get trotted out in other books about battleships, and the inclusion of the illustration from the Coronation Review was different, as was the view through a co-incidence rangefinder.

However, it has to be said that this book is a good opportunity wasted as sloppy research and indifferent execution has let it down.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In touch with the past, 20 Sep 2013
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I found this book gave me a good insight into Britain's naval might before and during the Great War period.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars concise and interesting, 11 Feb 2014
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If you are looking at buying this book, then you have an interest in WW1 battleships. The book provides a concise and informative narrative of British Dreadnought designs and is well worth the asking price
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