British Cruisers of the Victorian Era by Norman Friedman

By Norman Friedman

Steadily evolving from crusing frigates, the 1st smooth cruiser isn't effortless to outline, yet this e-book starts off with the earliest steam paddle warships, covers the evolution of screw-driven frigates, corvettes and sloops, after which the succeeding iron, composite and steel-hulled sessions right down to the final armoured cruisers.

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Sample text

One reason for the large number of boats, most of them oar propelled, was that life jackets only came into use late in the period covered by this volume. Carley-type liferafts only began to proliferate during the First World War. To provide ventilation for the ships’ engineering and accommodation spaces, the ships carried numerous cowl ventilators in a great variety of sizes and shapes. Adding to the clutter were exhaust pipes for individual coal-fired heating stoves in the berthing areas and portable supports for the vast amounts of canvas awning that was rigged when in port to keep the ships’ interiors as cool as possible.

No frigates were building, but three first-class and nine second-class corvettes were under construction, in addition to nine sloops and lesser vessels not considered in this book. Milne pointed to the destruction of US commerce by Confederate raiders, most famously CSS Alabama, only about a decade before. He pointed to the failure of the US Navy to find sufficient ships to run down this Confederate raider. The British cruiser force was shrinking as the wooden ships of the 1850s and 1860s were being condemned much faster than they were replaced.

That left only the focal area concept Milne had laid out a decade earlier. The 1885 paper advocated employment of 83 cruisers and 75 merchant auxiliaries; it also offered a reduced version requiring 38 cruisers and 37 merchant auxiliaries. The main later development was to analyse trade routes to decide exactly what areas demanded cruisers. A formal Admiralty Memorandum on protection of British trade in wartime was drafted in November 1898 and printed in February 1900 so that it could be issued to merchant ships in an emergency.

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