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British Battleships 1919-1945 (Hardback)

Maritime > Naval > Royal Navy Maritime > Seaforth Publishing > Seaforth: Iron & Steel WWII > Naval Warfare WWII

By R A Burt
Seaforth Publishing
Series: British Battleships
Pages: 448
Illustrations: More than 300 b/w photos & 325 line illustrations
ISBN: 9781848321304
Published: 29th February 2012
Last Released: 25th April 2016



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This superb reference book achieved the status of 'classic' soon after its first publication in 1993; it was soon out of print and is now one of the most sought-after naval reference books.

And with good reason. Offering an unprecedented range of descriptive and illustrative detail, the author describes the evolution of the battleship classes through all their modifications and refits. As well as dealing with design features, armour, machinery and power plants and weaponry, he also examines the performance of the ships in battle and analyses their successes and failures; and as well as covering all the RN's battleships and battlecruisers, he also looks in detail at the aircraft carrier conversions of the WWI battlecruisers Furious, Glorious and Courageous.

British Battleships 1919-1939 is a masterpiece of research and the comprehensive text is accompanied by tabular detail and certainly the finest collection of photographs and line drawings ever offered in such a book. For this new edition the author has added some 75 new photographs, many of them having never appeared in print before, and the book has been completely redesigned to fully exploit the superb photo collection.

A delight for the historian, enthusiast and ship modeller, it is a volume that is already regarded as an essential reference work for this most significant era in naval history and ship design.

As featured in

The Bookseller

An impressive work with Brutal documentation. Very interesting for those lovers of naval history of all time and who like stories based on real events.

Essential for Naval Modelling and Historians.

Read the full Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

Comprehensive, detailed and full of interesting information. This is one of the few books that specifically deals with British battleships in full detail. R.A. Burt has always been an author from whom the reader can expect, and get, excellence and accuracy. I highly recommend any of his books.

Mal Wright

Set[s] a standard you will look hard to see matched.

War History Online

Burt’s works bring together a powerful combination of extensive photography, detailed large scale drawings, diagrams illustrating differences within classes, changes over time, and camouflage schemes, and lucid text describing development, realization, modifications and upgrades, service history, and analysis of the successes and failings of the various classes technologically, operationally, and in comparison with their foreign contemporaries. The overall high quality of the volumes’ presentation, especially of the lavish imagery, adds to the sense of their completeness.
The most remarkable accomplishment of Burt’s volumes is their success in bringing together policy, technology, evolution to face new challenges, physical changes, and operational history, accompanied by extraordinary and extensive imagery. They simultaneously meet many of the needs of historians of technology, researchers in naval history, and model makers without compromising the quality of the work. The publishers are to be congratulated on bringing these important work back into print – they fill a major need.

Nautical Research Journal

The original version of this classic work was first published in 1993 and was so well received was soon out of print. This revised version contains no fewer than 70 new photographs - many of which have not been previously published.

As one who also conducts professional research into historic ships, my first impression of this work was an immediate admiration of the outstanding detail which is included. Having now studied much of the content, I have concluded this is most probably `the' most comprehensive work on the subject of the British battleship ever produced and I really must congratulate both author and publisher on a fine product.

The minor differences between two sister ships are what makes those ships different from each other. In addition, the changes made during a refit are often sufficient to produce an almost different vessel altogether. As an example of such differences, across pages 102-103 are two line drawings of HMS Valiant - from 1924 and 1940 respectively. Of course, 16 years is a long time in the life of any warship and these two images reveal two virtually different battleships altogether. Alongside, the author has also included line drawings of other significant features depicting changes and other minor details such as; 1925 small RF fitted, 1932/33 training catapult and aircraft added, 1943 long upper yard fitted and so forth.

Elsewhere we find line drawings of most, if not all the ships covered by this book, cross sections, anti-torpedo bulges, armour layout, various types of early radar aerial, a potted history of battleship camouflage and much more besides. In short, this book is generously supported by many more line drawings, hundreds of high quality photographs, details of every aspect of these ships - including those which were converted to aircraft carriers, and all the particulars and descriptions required.

This is an excellent work which anyone with an interest in the overall subject will wish to own - including those serious model makers whose only interest is accuracy of detail and, whilst I am not given to predictions, I somehow think this definitive work will also soon become out of print.

Ned Middleton

The new edition is slightly longer than its predecessors and has 25% larger pages, which are of a somewhat better grade of paper. These changes have allowed the addition of 75 new photographs, the majority from Burt’s personal collection, which – judging by what is in the book – must be remarkable. The number of hitherto unpublished photographs of the oldest ships and of the between the wars period generally is particularly notable, as is Burt’s effort to include views of life in big ships…This is a book written for enthusiasts by an enthusiast. This is a meticulously put together and beautifully produced book that is well worth the money-particularly at the current exchange rate. It is very much for the enthusiast, but there is also a great deal within which will be of value to the serious historian. Highly recommended.

The Australian Navy Magazine

Anything you ever wanted to know about Britain’s battleships in the 20th century is likely to be found in this redesigned second edition of a book first published in 1993. Notwithstanding its title, the book looks not just at battleships but also at battle cruisers, and at the genesis of the aircraft carrier with the conversions of Glorious, Courageous and Furious. Every class and ship is covered in detail, beginning with those which survived World War I, and the book includes their development, design, armour, machinery, and weaponry. The book will rightly be seen as the definitive work on the subject.

Ships Monthly, January 2013

This is a welcome (and somewhat revised) reprint of a classic. RA Burt began as a collector of naval photographs and then expanded his interest to include what was clearly extensive primary research into the ships themselves. This edition of the book, which was originally dated 1919-1939, includes addition photographs from Burt’s collection.
Is it Terrific and well worth the readers while? Absolutely. If you find battleships interesting, buy this book. If you are a modeller, you will have to have this book. The addition of 70 new photographs, and the suburb reproduction of photos and drawings (on better paper) makes this volume worthwhile even if you have the 1992 original.

Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

Here is the book Naval buffs have been waiting to see for years.

Sea Classics Magazine

This has got to be one of the most accurate and definitive books on the subject. Not only is it laid out in a way that makes it easy to use but combines that with attention to detail which is often sadly missing from other books on the subject. The content is detailed and complete enough for the casual reader as well as those heavily in to the subject. I can not recommend this too highly.

Paul Biddlecombe
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About R A Burt

RAY BURT has researched the design, construction and service histories of British battleships for many years, and has also assembled one of the most outstanding collections that exists of photographs of the ships. He is also an accomplished draughtsman and illustrator, and many of his superb drawings appear in this book.

Perfect Partner

The Last British Battleship HMS Vanguard, 1946–1960 (Hardback)

The ninth HMS Vanguard, bearing one of the most illustrious names in the Royal Navy with honours from the Armada to Jutland, was the last and largest of Britain’s battleships and was commissioned in 1946. Her design evolved from of the King George V class and incorporated much of the fully developed design for the two battleships, Lion and Temeraire, that were laid down in 1939 but never completed. At 813ft length overall and 42,300 tons, she was the last battleship to be built in the world and the only ship of her class. She was built during the Second World War and incorporated existing twin…

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