Book Review-‘Before the Battlecruiser: The big cruiser in the world’s navies 1865–1910’ by A. Dodson

By Innes McCartney, published December 2020


In a book which could at first sight be considered a detailed history of the armoured cruiser, it says much of the comprehensive nature of the author’s research that this type of warship is not mentioned in the title. In fact to have done so would have been inaccurate, because the book examines a broader range of vessels which the author is quite specific in identifying. As he points out there was often a distinct lack of consistency of definitions appended to larger naval vessels during the period under study. So the designed and actual roles of the ships needed to be identified to draw them into a coherent group. The author identifies these roles as: the capability to act as a capital ship on distant station; to act as the fast wing of the battlefleet; to function as a commerce raider and as a hunter of enemy commerce raiders. He notes that vessels of this type were in the main much larger than the ordinary cruisers of the era. Several examples were not equipped with side armour, relying on an armoured deck only, ruling them out as being defined as armoured cruisers…

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Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Weapons

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