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Understanding Victory: Naval Operations from Trafalgar to the Falklands (War, Technology and History) Hardcover – 15 Jan 2014


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Review

"Ultimately, this book should be required reading for naval professionals and will be a welcome addition to the libraries of professional military education institutions, universities, academics, and general readers." - Journal of Military History

About the Author

Geoffrey Till, PhD, is emeritus professor of maritime studies at King's College London. He holds a doctorate in British naval history from the University of London.


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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Rate 26 Jun. 2014
By Tony Greiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Till has written a fine book that will be of interest to general readers interested in military history and to the decision-makers in government and the military. He takes three battles and one campaign, and examines in detail the role of one specific ship in the engagement. The Belleisle from Trafalgar (1805), the New Zealand at Jutland (1916), the Repulse at Malaya, 1941) and the Glamorgan in the Falkland Islands War of 1982. In addition to having exciting descriptions of the action, each ship and battle is then examined from 11 different aspects, including strategy, leadership, technology, supply and intelligence.

The results are fascinating and illuminating. The “fog of war” is well depicted, and some commonly-held assumptions about these battles are challenged. For example, the explosions that destroyed three British battle-cruisers at Jutland were as much a fault of the decision to keep munitions in the turrets to speed up firing as it was from any faulty design of the ships. Likewise, in Malaya, when Admiral Phillips took his two battle-wagons out to sea in hopes of fending off the Japanese landings in Thailand, he was well aware of the danger of attack from aircraft, but thought disrupting the landings was worth the risk. Although the loss of the ships was a disaster, the plan came closer to succeeding than is generally known.

The book concludes with some observations about navies today, and has some cautions for those that think that modern technology has invalidated any lessons from the past. The only short-coming of the book is a lack of maps, and of photographs (or better, diagrams) of the featured ships. But don’t let that stop you from reading it. Like the H.M.S. Victory, it is first-rate.
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