Review: Nelson to Vanguard


Warship Design and Development 1923 - 1945

By RN Deputy Chief Naval Architect D. K. Brown

This book is an amazing and deep dive into Royal Navy design development, testing and war experience. Written by a naval architect with unique insight into the performance of RN ships, it is one of the books I will now automatically turn to for insight.

However, Brown - like most others - did not delve deep into the armoured carrier's damage reports.

He perpetuates the editing error in Friedman's "British Naval Aviation" which misplaces the 1945 kamikaze armoured spalling event in the 1941 attack off Crete (think about it - how can the central deck armour spall from hits in the extreme bow and stern?)

Also, his much cited Appendix 13 summary of kamikaze damage is based on a single Pacific Fleet report, dated from May 1945 (therefore likely compiled only days after the final attacks). As such, the full nature of the attacks - particularly the three upon Formidable and Indefatigable - are not appreciated. (That report also states: "Without armoured decks, TF57 would have been out of action for at least 2 months." 

Regardless, this book - as an incredible overview of RN design doctrine - is an absolute "Read Now".