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German Battleship Helgoland (Hardback)

As Detailed in the Original Builders' Plans

WWI Seaforth: Iron & Steel Seaforth Jutland Seaforth: Historic Ships Naval The Great War at Sea

By Aidan Dodson
Seaforth Publishing
Series: As detailed in the original builders’ plans
Pages: 144
ISBN: 9781526747594
Published: 12th March 2019

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Alongside its incomparable archive of British warship plans, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich also holds a selection of drawings from foreign sources. Among the gems of this collection are a number of German warships dating from the First World War era. These are official plans, acquired by the Naval Inter-Allied Commission of Control as part of the peace treaty, and very similar in style, detail and draughtsmanship to Royal Navy ‘as fitted’ general arrangements, including the use of coloured line and washes.

The very best of these, in terms of the completeness of coverage and the visual impact of the drawings, relates to the battleship SMS Helgoland, launched in 1909. The name-ship of the second class of dreadnoughts designed by the Germans, she was a big advance over the earlier Westfalen class, having 12in guns that matched those of her British opponents. She served in the High Seas Fleet throughout the war, fought at Jutland, and was ceded to Britain as part of the peace terms – which is probably why the plans are at Greenwich – and was broken up in 1924.

This book is the latest in a series based entirely on original draughts which depict famous warships in an unprecedented degree of detail. Using the latest scanning technology to make digital copies of the highest quality, it reproduces complete sets in full colour, with many close-ups and enlargements that make every aspect clear and comprehensible. Extensive captions point the reader to important features to be found in the plans, and an introduction covers the background to the design. The result is a novel form of anatomy that will be a revelation to any warship enthusiast.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen more of the ship’s history but this is only a small criticism of an otherwise excellent book.

Warship World, September/October

This book has tonnes of detailed information to go with the beautifully detailed original plans. Recommended reference material for all modellers with an eye for detail.

Read the full review here

Vintage Airfix

Featured in

Model Boats, August 2019

Modelers, historians, ship aficionados, and anyone with a vague interest in battleships will love this book. I certainly do, and eagerly await further volumes in the series.

Read the full review here

John's Machines

In German Battleship Helgoland, Adrian Dodson takes an unusual look at this German World War I battleship through the lens of technical warship plans maintained by the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. The result is a quite mesmerising coffee-table book in a growing Seaforth Publishing series of similar volumes for other warships.

Wargames Illustrated, Neil Smith, German Battleship Helgoland, 2019

‘German Battleship’ Helgoland’ is another excellent book for anyone interested in maritime affairs. As with many of the books in this series it opens one’s eyes to much more than is visible on the original plans. It is hard to put down.

Read the full review here

Australian Naval Institute

Impressive. Another great example of zeal for historical preservation.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

Every model builder who is interested in detailed information about the imperial German large ships will enjoy this book.

Read the full review here

Model Ship World

The print quality and the number and detail of the schematic draughts used here are all very high... I'd say this is an excellent book.

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A Question Of Scale, Seb Palmer

Through the book, plans are supported by captions and annotation. There are also extended captions and very informative introduction. This book is likely to become collectable as a valuable addition to any serious naval history library or modeller's library.

Read the full review here

Firetrench

A beautiful and accurate book.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

This book should be considered an absolute must-buy for anybody wishing to build a detailed model of SMS Helgoland or her sister ships. I would also recommend this book to anybody who has more than a passing interest in either WWI Maritime subjects or technical drawings in general.

Great War IPMS

As featured in

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 Aidan Dodson

About Aidan Dodson

AIDAN DODSON is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology & Anthropology at the University of Bristol. In this field he is the author of seventeen books and over 300 articles and reviews. He has also published a number of papers on naval matters, and worked on a number of naval projects such as the Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Clyde.

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