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River Gunboats (Hardback)

An Illustrated Encyclopaedia

Seaforth Seaforth: Modern Naval

By Roger Branfill-Cook
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781848323650
Published: 25th June 2018

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The first recorded engagement by a steam-powered warship took place on a river, when in 1824 the Honourable East India Company’s gunboat Diana went into action on the Irrawaddy in Burma. In the 150 years that followed river gunboats played a significant part in over forty campaigns and individual actions, down to the Portuguese and American ‘Brown Water’ fighting in Africa and Vietnam respectively at the end of the twentieth century. They proved to be the decisive factor in operations against the Maoris, with Gordon’s Ever Victorious Army in China, during the river campaigns of the American Civil War, in the French conquest of Indochina, during Kitchener’s advance on Khartoum, and on the Rufiji and Tigris during the Great War. River gunboats fought for the Paris Commune, on the rivers of South America, against the Bolsheviks, and during the Second World War in the open waters of the Mediterranean, while armoured Soviet gunboats fought German Panzers, and a pair of ‘Girls’ attacked the Japanese on the banks of the Irrawaddy.
This lavishly illustrated encyclopaedia describes vessels of every nation designed as river gunboats, plus those converted river steamers which took part in combat. Maps of the river systems where they operated are included, together with narratives of the principal actions involving river gunboats. Their story is brought up-to-date with data on current riverine combat vessels in service today.

It is rare for this reviewer to describe a volume as being a ‘Labour of love’, yet that is what this volume is, the author having put an incredible amount of effort into writing what should deservedly become a Standard Reference Work on its subject.

NZ Crown Mines

About Roger Branfill-Cook

ROGER BRANFILL-COOK is a professional translator from French into English specialising in historical and military works, and a qualified battlefield guide. He has written numerous articles for specialist magazines and is both a novelist and an author of non-fiction books. He has recently helped create an English version of a major encyclopedia on FRENCH ARMOURED VEHICLES.

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