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British Town Class Cruisers

Southampton & Belfast Classes: Design, Development & Performance

Conrad Waters



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Seaforth Publishing
01 February 2020
Entering service between 1937 and 1939, the ten British Town' class cruisers were the most modern vessels of their type in the Royal Navy when the Second World War began. Built in response to large 6-inch gunned cruisers in the US and Japanese Navies and primarily designed for the defence of trade, they saw arduous service in a wide range of roles, playing a decisive part in victories such as the Battle of the Barents Sea and the destruction of the German Scharnhorst at the North Cape. The cost was heavy: four of the ships were lost and the other six all survived heavy damage, in some cases on more than one occasion. In this major study, Conrad Waters makes extensive use of archive material to provide a technical evaluation of the Town' class design and its subsequent performance. He outlines the class's origins in the context of inter-war cruiser policy, explains the design and construction process, and describes the characteristics of the resulting ships and how these were adapted in the light of wartime developments. An overview of service focuses on major engagements, assessing the extent to which the class met its designers' expectations and detailing the consequences of action damage. Concluding chapters continue the story into the Cold War era, examining the modernisation programme that kept the remaining ships fit for service during the 1950s. Heavily illustrated with contemporary photographs and drawings by A D Baker III, John Jordan and George Richardson, British Town Class Cruisers provides a definitive reference to one of the Royal Navy's most important Second World War warship designs. AUTHOR: Conrad Waters, a barrister by training and a banker by profession, has had a lifelong interest in naval affairs. The founding editor of the World Naval Review, he is also the author of Cruiser Birmingham: detailed in the original builders' plans (Seaforth 2018). 15 colour and 300 b/w illustrations, 48 line drawings
By:   Conrad Waters
Imprint:   Seaforth Publishing
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
ISBN:   9781526718853
ISBN 10:   1526718855
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   01 February 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

CONRAD WATERS, a barrister by training and a banker by profession, has had a lifelong interest in naval affairs. The founding editor of the World Naval Review, he is also the author of Cruiser Birmingham: detailed in the original builders' plans (Seaforth 2018).

Reviews for British Town Class Cruisers: Southampton & Belfast Classes: Design, Development & Performance

A definitive reference work on the Royal Navy's most important and successful warship designs. --Warships: International Fleet Review This book is intended as a technical history of this famous class, though it also provides sufficient operational history to evaluate performance in action. It has used much additional information now in the public domain and it also covers the postwar period. It is generously illustrated in black-and-white (many photographs are from the author's collection) and in color.... This excellent book will surely be of interest to many of her visitors and to Warship readers seeking a detailed study of her and her nine sister ships. --Warship British Town Class Cruisers is a fine addition to the historiography of both Royal Navy cruiser design of the early to mid-twentieth century and the service histories of each vessel. Given that the museum ship HMS Belfast is perhaps the most iconic survivor of the Second World War era Royal Navy, Waters' writings can aid the public in understanding the life of the last Town cruiser, and aid academics by providing solid wartime and post-war information on her sister ships not previously compiled in such a manner. With the heavy action seen by the Town cruisers so soon after their construction, it is fitting that someone so clearly devoted to telling their story as accurately as possible undertook this work, and it is doubtless that Waters' scholarship will serve as a solid foundation for further research into the Royal Navy's cruiser force in the Second World War and Korea. --The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord Royal Navy's Town class cruisers is clearly the result of many years of painstaking and dedicated research and the author's deep interest in the subject is apparent on every page. It is extensively illustrated with beautifully reproduced photographs and drawings which are arguably worth the recommended retail price in their own right but it is the text that makes this book stand out.... The book is an excellent study of how the original staff requirement produced ships that proved capable of accepting the weight and volume of additional new equipment including radar, close-range armament and action-information centres that were unknown at the time it was written.... This book is the best case-study of a specific design, setting a high standard which must be considered the bench mark against which future descriptions of warship types should be judged. [Recommended] to a wide readership. --The Australian Naval Institute The book is a great addition to the literary field covering ships of the Royal Navy. Those interested in warship design and construction will find much to ponder, while those interested in naval operations will find a litany of naval actions and operations to study. This book ... deserves to be in any maritime library. --Naval Historical Foundation This book has three defining characteristics. It is large. It is heavy. It is excellent. Readers who have any of Norman Friedman's books on United States warships will find themselves on familiar ground here since the format and content are very similar and to the same high standard.... A grand visual treat.... Greatly impressed by this volume and recommends it very highly. --Nautical Research Journal

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