22 Sep 22

Warship has been a leading reference book, with regard to the design and development of combat ships, for over 40 years. The Editor, John Jordan, has been in the role since 2004 and over the years has overseen the publication of a wide range of informative articles written by an international field of contributors.  This year’s publication is no exception.

The 12 feature articles in the 2022 offering come from the pens of 14 contributors from across the world, including one by the Editor.  Just two of the articles are on a British theme: an account of offensive operations in the Channel (Operation TUNNEL) between September 1943 and April 1944; and a technically rich article on post-war radar development in the Royal Navy. The remaining articles are of an international flavour, with six of them covering generic design issues (the beginnings of Soviet naval power; the development of the small cruiser in the Imperial German Navy; the development of Italian ‘scouts’, 1906-1939; Soviet battleship designs, 1939-1941; and a look at modern European frigate designs) and a further four articles looking in detail at specific ship designs (IJN carriers Sōryū and Hiryū; the French battleship Jauréguiberry (translated from the original French by the Editor); the Australian Bathurst class of WWII minesweeper/corvette; and France’s prototype ocean escort, C65 Aconit).  The twelfth article places the development of the IJN dockyard at Yokosuka into a historical context, with a fascinating insight into the roles played by the British and the French, as the Japanese sought to modernise in the 1860s.  Whilst the articles cover a wide range of issues covering a protracted time period (from the mid 19th century to the current day), they all have one thing in common: they are well-researched, well-presented and provide a wealth of detail, including extensive bibliographies.

As with the Naval Review, the Editor has included a chapter on book reviews, and the book finishes with some evocative black and white images of the scrapping of HM Ships Agincourt, New Zealand and Princess Royal at Rosyth between 1923 and 1925.

On the face of it, the topics chosen for inclusion in the publication appear random.  However, given the length of time that editions of Warship have been produced, there is no doubt that the owner of the full set of publications would have a bookshelf containing a comprehensive, wide-ranging and informative collection of articles on a naval theme, covering operations, ship design, equipment and infrastructure.

The book is handsomely produced and is extensively furnished with a large number of black and white photographs.  It also benefits considerably from some unusually clear line drawings of ship layouts, equipment and charts, many of which have been drawn by the Editor.

This was an enjoyable read, with informative articles written by authoritative contributors.  Recommended!