This volume is a study of a key of warship history, the specialist coastal defence ship. From its origin in the monitors of the American Civil War, the type grew into miniature battleships, intended to give countries with no overseas ambitions a credible naval defence. Because of the constraints of size and draught, these ships became very sophisticated concepts, and this text explores their design philosophy. The ships were only one aspect of an integrated strategy that included mines and fortifications and, in the late-19th century, the torpedo-boat was added to the mix. Hence, the book analyzes the changing ideas of coastal defence, as well as its technology. The World War II battles around Scandinavia and in the Far East seemed to mark the extinction of the traditional type, but the concept has been revived since 1945 in the form of the missile boat, a direct decendant of the torpedo craft of the previous century. Some countries are even returning to versions of fixed defences, albeit in a new high-tech form, and the book concludes with a look at possible future developments.
Table of Contents
The coast defence ship in history; Ericsson, the monitors and the US Civil War; the early-British turret ships; coastal ironclads for export; the pre-dreadnought age; coastal defence during World War I; the last true coast defence ships; swansong - World War II; integrated coastal defences; some design parameters; the resurrection of coastal defence. Appendix: directory of coast defence ships.