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The British Battleship (Kindle)


Seaforth Naval

By Norman Friedman
Seaforth Publishing
File Size: 321.9 MB (.mobi)
Illustrations: 350
ISBN: 9781848324244
eBook Released: 21st October 2015


£20.00 Print price £45.00

You save £25.00 (56%)

Book of the Month!

Chosen as the Army and Navy Club's Book of the Month for March 2016 and shortlisted for the Anderson Medal awarded by the Society for Nautical Research annually.

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The British battleship is one of the most intensely studied of all naval topics, but it is also among the most popular. Norman Friedman is one of the most highly regarded of all naval writers, with an avid following for his work. Therefore, a new book on British battleships by Friedman is a major event, and has been eagerly awaited ever since knowledge of the project began to circulate among enthusiasts.

Friedman has the ability to bring new ideas to even the most over-worked subjects, based on extensive original research and a talent for explaining technology in the wider context of politics, economics and strategy. His latest book covers the development of Royal Navy capital ships, including battlecruisers, from the pre-history of the revolutionary Dreadnought of 1906 to the last of the line, HMS Vanguard in 1946. Replete with original insights, the story that emerges will enlighten and surprise even the most knowledgeable.

The attraction of the book is enhanced by sets of specially commissioned plans of the important classes by John Roberts and A D Baker III, both renowned experts in their own right, plus a colour section featuring the original Admiralty draughts, including a spectacular double gatefold.

For many with an interest in warships, this will be the book of the year.

The publications of Norman Friedman, as usual, never leave anyone indifferent.

Read the complete Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

This is a standard work that may succeed worldwide.

Neptunus, August 2017 – reviewed by Louis Van Cant

In this book, Dr Friedman has drawn on ‘that
wonderful trove of information’ in the primary sources which he first encountered in 1973 and which have informed his writing ever since. He provides a detailed account of how and why the initial concepts and requirements for British capital ships were developed into designs that either remained on paper or were actually
built. Some of his analysis and conclusions are controversial or should be questioned. But there is no doubt that all serious students of British ship design and naval weapon development will find this book an invaluable resource for identifying key sources and a stimulus for
further research.

Warship 2017 - reviewed by John Brooks

As featured in


As featured in

ModellWerft, December 2016

Packed full of information and with some interesting conclusions based on the research information. An excellent reference on the Royal Navy battleship, and much more than simply telling their individual histories.

Military Modelling, Robin Buckland

As featured on War History Online

War History Online, Mark Barnes

The author has drawn material from his years of research at the National Maritime Museum's archive at Woolwich, the 'Brass Foundry' and the National Archive at Kew. For those unable to visit either location this book represents a mastery of the ships' covers, drawings, contructors' notes and Admiralty files.
The 'British Battleship' is a major new contribution to the subject that every enthusiast will certainly want to own.

Army & Navy Club Member, David Hobbs, February 2016

The Dreadnought battleship famously outclassed all existing battleships in 1906 making them obsolete and this superb book on British battleships outclasses all other books on British battleships, and there are many of them. This book must become the standard reference book on British battleships of that period, standing alongside R A Burt and Oscar Parkes great classic works. It benefits from modern publishing techniques with fold out coloured centre folds of battleship technical 'covers' and a great host of quality photographs, plans and drawings many drawn by A D Baker III and John Roberts. It also benefits from Friedman's prodigious knowledge and extensive research carried out over many years giving him a commanding position in the area of 20th century naval history. The scene is set, as in many of Friedman's books with an excellent introduction; I hope one day he will publish them all in a special omnibus edition, and this is followed by the technical background. He rightly devotes a couple of chapters to Fisher and then Dreadnought revolution and includes the introduction of Fisher's special innovative dreadnought faster sister, the controversial battlecruiser. He covers the development of the dreadnoughts during the Naval Arms race with Germany leading up to the First World War as well as British battleships built for the export market, relevant as later they were mostly commandeered to serve with the Grand Fleet.

The chapters on war construction and the war are brief and mostly confined to solving the problems of operational requirements and battle experience. He points out that at the beginning of the war it was assumed that it would be short and so capital ship construction seemed pointless, but whilst it was easy to cancel orders in the Royal Dockyards this was not so in the private yards. Incidentally, it is surprising to note that just before Jutland, Jellicoe wanted more battlecruisers rather than battleships.

The reduction and modernisation of the battleships during the interwar years is well covered, leading up to a brief chapter on WWII, before finally 'The end of the Battleship Era'. It is a big size book, sumptuously produced by Seaforth and I have no hesitation in giving this excellent book a top five star recommendation.

Scuttlebutt, ed. No 52, 2016 - John Roberts

As might be expected from the author's reputation, the work is based on extremely thorough research, notably in the Ships Covers and other Directorate of Naval Construction records held by the National Maritime Museum at the Brass Foundry, Woolwich.
The result is a very comprehensive analysis that explains, in great detail, the decision-making processes which led to the successive classes of ship and their service development.

A great book and a worthy addition to any Naval library.

Royal Navy Review

As featured in

Marine Model Magazine Jan 2016

The British Battleship is full of original insight based on an incredible amount of data gathered over decades of research into primary material, not all of which was available to previous authors. It adds significantly to contemporary knowledge of the subject and I am sure that every battleship enthusiast and naval historian with an interest in the period in question will want to own a copy. It certainly has an honoured place on my bookshelf and I thoroughly recommend it to fellow ANI members.

Australian Naval Institute - David Hobbs

For many with an interest in Warships, this will be the book of the year.

Mainmast Books

This eagerly-awaited book follows Seaforth Publishing's familiar large format, allowing the inclusion of big drawings and photographs to complement the text... The photographs have detailed captions, all are well chosen and many have never, previously been published... The British Battleship is a major new contribution to the subject that every enthusiast will certainly want to own; my copy now has a valued place on my bookshelf and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Warship World - DAH
 Norman Friedman

About Norman Friedman

Norman Friedman is a strategist known for his ability to meld historical, technical, and strategic factors in analyses of current problems. He has frequently appeared on television, and he has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on naval topics. His forty books include, for Seaforth, two-volume histories of British cruisers and destroyers, a history of naval gunnery in the battleship era (Naval Firepower), a history of naval anti-aircraft gunnery during the two World Wars (Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns and Gunnery), World War I Naval Weapons, and, most recently, Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology. A history of British battleships is currently in preparation. All of these books are based largely on primary documents created by the Royal Navy and related organizations. As a result, they tend to shed new and sometimes surprising light on what might seem to be well-understood events and developments. All of them reflect Dr. Friedman’s interest in the way in which national strategy and policy and technology intersect. Dr. Friedman has also contributed articles on current naval technology to the annual Seaforth Naval Review. He wrote a series of design histories of U.S. warships, ranging from aircraft carriers to small combatants, based on U.S. Navy internal papers, five editions of a guide to world naval weapon systems, and accounts of trade-offs in warship (including submarine) design and naval radar technology. Other topics range from the role of space systems in naval warfare, the character of modern naval command and control (network-centric warfare), recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to histories of the Cold War, to naval strategy and to naval technology, including the possible role of unmanned (but armed) aircraft in carrier operations.

Dr. Friedman’s Cold War history, The Fifty Year War: Conflict and Strategy in the Cold War, won the 2001 Westminster Prize as the best military history book of the previous year, from the British Royal United Services Institute. To date he is the only American to have been so honored. His Seapower as Strategy won the Samuel Eliot Morrison prize awarded by the Naval Order of the United States in November 2001.

After receiving a Ph.D. as a theoretical physicist at Columbia University, Dr. Friedman spent eleven years at a New York think tank, the Hudson Institute, headed by Herman Kahn, who was famous both as a futurologist and as a strategist. Much of his work there involved writing scenarios for possible future conflicts -- many in places which are still of great interest, such as Korea. Scenario-writing demands the ability to focus on the essentials of a situation, and on the forces likely to drive it. Dr. Friedman left Hudson as Deputy Director for National Security Studies. He then spent a decade as in-house consultant to the Secretary of the Navy. Among his projects for that office was a series of studies of likely future developments in various areas, beginning with the fundamentalist Muslim uprising then enveloping Algeria, and including likely developments around the Indian Ocean. Other projects included a contribution to the formulation of post Cold War U.S. naval strategy and participation in a study of the future of U.S. surface warships. Dr. Friedman served as futurologist for the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters in 2002-2004. In 2013 he wrote a history of the MRAP (Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected) vehicle program as a study in successful rapid (unconventional) procurement, under contract to the MRAP Joint Program Office. He has also written an official history of U.S. Navy air defense missile systems (including anti-ballistic missile systems).

Topics Dr. Friedman has studied under contract to government agencies and to major government contractors have included the nature of future naval warfare, the defense transformation effort (as reflected in attempts to develop network-centric types of warfare), naval command and control as a model for network-centric warfare, the development of U.S. and British aircraft carriers (for the Naval Sea Systems Command and for the Office of Net Assessment, respectively, the latter as a study in defense transformation and the adoption of foreign innovations), missile defense, the future shape of the U.S.Marine Corps, the contribution of the U.S. Coast Guard to homeland defense, the future of the U.S. aerospace industry, the potential development of precision weapons, the U.S. industrial capacity for industrial mobilization, U.S. strategic targeting strategy and competitive policies, scenarios for conflict in Europe and Asia, the cost of current and future naval aircraft, nuclear proliferation (incentives and deterrents), prospects for torpedo countermeasures, the possible future shape of mine countermeasures, and the tactics of long-range anti-ship missiles, The naval missile study, conducted at the Naval War College, contributed towards the U.S. Navy’s technique for targeting anti-ship Tomahawk and was an early example of network-centric warfare. The paper which resulted from this study was said to have been very influential in the navy’s adoption of what amounted to network-centric concepts.

Dr Friedman served on the 1989 U.S. Navy study of future surface combatant characteristics and later on a navy panel reviewing U.S. Navy R&D on ship hull and machinery topics. He gave the keynote address to a classified ONR meeting on the future of surface combatants, looking out 25 to 50 years and taking Moore’s Law into account in evaluating the likely prospects of stealthy ships. During 2010 Dr. Friedman contributed to a National Academy of Sciences study of the future of shipbuilding in the United States.

Dr Friedman has lectured widely in forums such as the U.S. Naval War College, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Air War College, the Australian , British, and Canadian junior and senior national staff colleges, the Royal United Services Institute, the British Ministry of Defence, and at a series of seminars for the Naval Air Systems Command managed by the University of Virginia. In the fall of 2002 Dr. Friedman served as the Royal Australian Navy’s Synott Professor, lecturing on seapower in several Australian cities. He was keynote speaker at Royal Australian Navy historical conferences, in 2009 on the theme of Commonwealth naval cooperation and in 2013 on World War I as a maritime war. In 2014 he was a keynote speaker at the Royal Navy Museum conference on the Anglo-German Naval Arms Race leading up to World War I.

For some years Dr.Friedman was Visiting Professor of Operations Research at University College, London, concerned mainly with the formulation and consequences of ship operational requirements. For about thirty years Dr. Friedman has presented numerous commercial lectures (for defense and and naval professionals) on various defense topics. A hallmark of these lectures is their firm grounding in current international political and social trends, rather than simply in technology or in military considerations.

Dr. Friedman writes a monthly column on world and naval affairs for the Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute. His writing has appeared widely in periodicals, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Naval Forces, Military Technology, Jane’s Navy International, Jane’s International Defence Review, Joint Forces Quarterly, Asia Pacific Defence Reporter, and Naval History.

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