Book Review-‘The Pre-Dreadnought Revolution: Developing the bulwarks of sea power’ by W. Berry

By Robert J.C. Mowat, published November 2020

Abstract

In the Victorian period, the Royal Navy faced a fundamental problem in its most serious form; that of reconciling the ‘out of area’ roles of colonial and trade protection, including survey work and the suppression of slavery, with the defence of ‘home waters’, most notably against the révanchist France of Napoleon III (1851–70). The additional demands of the First and Second Opium Wars (1839–42 and 1856–60) and the Crimean War (1856–60) make this a period of high demands upon the service. The way in which these were largely overcome by the rapid and effective exploitation of contemporary technological developments, notably in structural iron, armour, propulsion and guns, forms the background to this fascinating book. Significantly the work belies its title. The picture presented is not one of a coherent ‘pre-Dreadnought revolution’ but rather one of rapid development of propulsion, ordnance and protection by incremental but complex stages throughout the nineteenth century…

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Filed under: Napoleonic War | WW1 | Opium Wars | Crimean War
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

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