Naval Warfare, 1815-1914

Naval Warfare, 1815-1914

Naval Warfare, 1815-1914

Naval Warfare, 1815-1914

Synopsis

This book looks at the transition of wooden sailing fleets to the modern steel navy. It details the technological breakthroughs that brought about this change - steampower, armour, artillery and torpedoes, and looks at their affect on naval strategy and tactics.Part of the ever-growing and prestigious Warfare and History series, this book is a must for enthusiasts of military history.

Excerpt

From the era of Napoleon and Lord Nelson to the naval arms races before the First World War, naval warfare underwent a slow transition from the era of the wooden sailing fleet to that of the modern steel navy. Certain developments during the century of change are fairly well known to scholars and students of history, such as the emergence of the “monitor” design in the American Civil War and the “dreadnought” battleship during the eight years before the First World War. Yet, for most, the evolution of warships and naval warfare from 1815 to 1914 (or at least to 1906) remains shrouded in mystery, along with most of the naval engagements of the period.

This study will attempt to leave the reader with a better appreciation of the technological breakthroughs in steam propulsion, armor plate, artillery, and torpedoes that brought changes not only to warship design, but also to naval strategy and tactics. The rivalries of the naval powers, their wars and expeditions, will be investigated with special attention to the evolving state of naval technology. The three leading naval powers of the century-Britain, France, and Russia-naturally will receive the greatest coverage, but the study will also address the decline after 1815 of the Spanish and Dutch navies, as well as the rise before 1914 of German, Japanese, and American sea power. Smaller navies such as the Italian and Austrian, which in 1866 fought the only fleet-scale action of the century between 1805 and 1905, will receive attention where appropriate, along with the navies of the Ottoman empire, China, and the leading South American countries.

The task of writing a general history of this length compels the author to make hard choices as to what not to include, as it is, of course, impossible to provide exhaustive coverage of the entire period. The mandate being one of writing a work on naval warfare, discussion of matters related to naval personnel, including comparisons in training, education, promotion policies, and so forth, has been reduced dramatically or omitted altogether, unless it has such a direct bearing on the performance of a navy in war as to warrant inclusion as part of the explanation of the outcome of that conflict. Description of factors in the economy, industry, domestic politics, and international diplomacy bearing upon naval developments likewise has been kept to the minimum necessary to

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