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Big Gun Monitors (Paperback)

Seaforth: Iron & Steel Seaforth

By Ian Buxton
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781848321243
Published: 25th January 2012
Last Released: 13th January 2016

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In the history of naval warfare probably no type of ship has provided more firepower per ton than the monitor – indeed they were little more than a huge gun mounting fitted on a simple, self-propelled raft. Designed and built rapidly to fulfil an urgent need for heavy shore-bombardment during World War I, they were top secret in conception, and largely forgotten when the short-lived requirement was over. Nevertheless, they were important ships, which played a significant role in many Great War campaigns and drove many of the advances in long-range gunnery later applied to the battle fleet. Indeed, their value was rediscovered during the Second World War when a final class was built.

Monitors were largely ignored by naval historians until Ian Buxton produced the first edition of this book in 1978. Although published privately, this became an established classic and copies of the first edition are now almost unobtainable, so this new edition will be welcomed by many. It has been completely revised, extended and redesigned to a generous large format which allows material deleted from the original edition for lack of space to be restored.

Monitors have been described as little more than a huge gun mountings fitted on a simple, self-propelled rafts. They were conceived in World War 1 to fulfil an urgent need for heavy shore bombardment, and played a significant role in many campaigns. This book looks in detail at the technical and economic aspects of the 42 monitors built, and is, without a doubt, the definitive work on the subject.

Ships Monthly

In the first half of the twentieth century the Royal Navy built and operated specialised gun-equipped, land-attack warships; it was the only Navy to do so. They were designed to be cheap, quickly built, almost disposable warships made use of 'spare' weapons from other projects and were manned, largely, by 'hostilities-only' men serving in the naval reserves. These ships were known in service as 'monitors' and this book tells their fascinating story in well-written detail.

This is an affordable edition of a classic book which should form part of every naval collection and is highly recommended. It s not only a fascinating read in its own right but will, hopefully, simulate discussions on how best to achieve similar effects in future.

Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

Ian Buxton's work has set the standard in celebrating these big gun ships. It is richly embellished with pictures and diagrams and is of special interest because of the photographs included. There are maps of the monitor operations and 'Big Gun Monitors' is also published at an affordable price. It makes an invaluable contribution to the study of naval and land operations.

Warships International
Perfect Partner

Monitors of the Royal Navy How the Fleet Brought the Great Guns to Bear (Paperback)

Monitor warships mounted the biggest guns ever deployed by the Royal Navy, and played an undeniably important part in Allied efforts during World War One and Two. They were built as cheap "disposable" ships made out of redundant bits and pieces which the Admiralty happened to have available which could bring heavy artillery to bear on enemy coasts with pin point accuracy and on at least one occasion a force of only three monitors had a profound effect on the strategic situation in WW I. Being classed as disposable they were often exposed to risks far more recklessly than more expensive battle…

By Jim Crossley

Click here to buy both titles for £34.98
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