An illustrated history from the American Civil War to the last conventional ships of the Royal Navy, spanning a period of more than 150 years This impressive encyclopedia charts the forces that brought about the cruiser's evolution, with a comprehensive country-by-country visual directory of more than 260 of the most significant examples. From the Alabama of the American Civil War to the Royal Navy's Tigers, the author traces cruiser development from ships with muzzle-loading, broadside armament, through casemates and turrets to the age of guided missiles. The cruiser evolved from a whole range of powered sailing warships, emerging in response to the sheer size and cost of larger vessels. The impact of rapid technological advance during the Victorian era saw the cruiser quickly assume the familiar forms in which it fought with distinction through two World Wars. This encyclopedia is unique in charting the forces that brought about the cruiser's evolution, as well as providing a country-by-country visual directory of more than 260 of the most significant examples, spanning a period of nearly 150 years. From the Alabama of the American Civil War to the Royal Navy's last conventional cruisers, the Tigers, all the major ships are included. The book opens with a history section illustrating the technological development of the cruiser from 1865 to the present day, together with accounts of some of the many uses to which the ships were dedicated. The main part of the book consists of three country-by-country directories, focusing on pre-World War I, World War I, then World War II and beyond. Within these directories the author defines each ship's significance and its relative success or failure under service conditions. Traces the development from ships with muzzle-loading broadside armament, through casemates and turrets, to the age of guided missiles. There are fascinating quotes from military leaders, plus a detailed glossary explaining key military terms and abbreviations. Specification boxes provide at-a-glance information about each cruiser's most important features: the builders, date of commissioning, displacement, length, beam, draught, armament, machinery, power, endurance, protection and crew numbers. With its huge volume of information and its unique collection of more than 500 archive photographs, this book provides both enthusiasts and historians with everything they need to know about the cruiser through its history. As well as being an essential reference work, it is also an exciting read for anyone interested in these great vessels. An illustrated history of cruisers, including Naniwa, Pennsylvania, Blücher, Vindictive, Belfast, California and many more.
About the Author
Bernard Ireland has spent his working life with the Royal Naval Scientific Service and its successor organizations, gaining experience in many aspects of naval research. To an already deep interest in naval history he has thus added a considerable in-depth knowledge of warship technology, enabling him to assess a design's strengths and weaknesses. In a parallel career, he has acted as freelance technical illustrator to major shipping companies and other organizations. He has written 30 books on maritime history.