by John Roberts
reviewed by Dariusz Mazurowski
|To begin with - this book should be titled : Design history of the British Battlecruisers”, because that's exactly what You may expect. Other designs are simply ignored - John Roberts, the author, even don't try to compare British ships with their German opponents (with only one exception - basic technical specifications in table 18).|
|More, this is not a history book - so if you want to learn more about
Battle of Jutland, there're a lot of much better titles on the market.
But I think this is a very interesting and - in some way - unique publication.
Why ? Partly thanks to Roberts’ writing style. Technical (and very informative)
book could be boring, but - believe me - not in this case (of course it's
always a question of your personal preferences). Just take a glass of good
wine, play your favorite music and start reading.
You'll find separate chapters covering origins (incl. evolution of alternative designs), construction, machinery, armament and armor of all British battlecruisers - from Invincible class to Hood. All with nice drawings and numerous "as fitted” cutaway profiles from the National Maritime Museum archive. Other features include : detailed listings of technical data, vast collection of rare photos, armor schemes and superb 1/250 scale plan of Queen Mary (1913, as built - wartime modifications not included) - actually the best scale plan of British battlecruiser I've ever seen. Unfortunately all lifeboats are omitted (only positions provided), a serious problem for a modeler.
|Anyway, this is essential reference for naval enthusiasts and even serious historians. Shortcomings ? First of all : the lack of any general line drawings, which is a very serious omission. This book contains numerous armor schemes, and even rough profiles of ships that weren't built, but that's all. I'm disappointed, sorry. John Roberts is an exceptional draftsman, so if you may find detailed technical information, it's quite obvious You'd expect illustrations of the ships’ appearance (including wartime modifications). On the other side, summary of service mysteriously does not include Hood, I miss deeper analysis of the fatal loss of three ships at Jutland also.|
|There is nothing here about markings, camouflage, painting scheme - so I doubt if this book could be a complete reference for modeler. But If You're familiar with WWI, capital ships (especially battlecruisers) and want to learn more about these beautiful and perhaps the most controversial vessels of their era - this book is a must. Highly recommended.|