Nautical Porn

shelf2The title of naval porn was my first thought for this piece, and than I Googled it. Not a good idea. Don’t try this at home with the kids around.

By naval porn I meant nautical as in ships, old ships, really old ships. These are ships with breach and muzzle loading guns and thick (crappy) armour. Think pre-dreadnoughts and armoured cruisers, warships no self-respecting naval wargamer would want in their fleets.

Well all but me, I have always admired these designs. They were artistic and had a mechanical beauty to them. Today we look at the poor damage control, protection, fire control and wonder why anyone would have wanted to use them in combat. Do not think 2015, but 1915.

These designs that I am talking about were thought of in the 1880s and 90s and with the coming of The Great War were seen by many as antiquated hulls only worth the value of say you have a couple of dozen extra battleships and a few score of armoured cruisers. But these death traps were more than just numbers but an active part of all navies in general, and the Royal Navy in particular. And the Admiralty was willing to send them into harms way.

While I cannot prove this, I have always felt that these old warships were best the best way to see combat. There was the hunt for the SMS Goeben and clearing German raiders from the sea. British used them on the North Sea patrols and at the Dardanelles.

My version of nautical porn is what most wargamers would want in their libraries. With the Internet books can seem passé but these are great titles than anyone interested in the era would want to have. For me this is my top five list. And there will be other lists as well.

The Great War List
Conway’s All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1860-1905
This is the pre-dreadnought with all of those wonderful and wacky warship designs. Some of them even worked.

Conway’s All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1906-1921
Here we have the great battleships, HMS Dreadnought, USS Pennsylvania and the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Yes I am biased. What is missing, cruisers, many navies the French and US included sort of forgot about cruisers.

British Battleships 1889 – 1904
A grand study with a great deal of detail on the battleships of the Royal Navy from the beginning of steel warships to the end of the pre-dreadnoughts with the Lord Nelson class.

Naval Weapons of World War One by Norman Friedman
My go to reference for weapon systems of World War One and the pre-dreadnought era. This could be a coffee table book in a nautical geek’s house.

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era also by Norman Friedman
This one is currently not in my collection, yet. But for those that have read this far down the list you have already understood my appreciation for these armoured cruisers. This needs to be a coffee table book in a nautical geek’s house.

Please let me know if there are any titles from the period that you do not want to live without.

Enjoy.

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2 Responses to Nautical Porn

  1. ncc1717 says:

    Berry, “The Pre-Dreadnought Revolution”
    Brown, “Warrior to Dreadnought – Warship Design and Development 1860-1905”
    Beeler, “Birth of the British Battleship – British Capital Ship Design 1870-1881”

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