Books on Naval Warfare

Browse our
recommended books

Naval Warfare
Napoleonic Wars
First World War
Second World War
Other Topics
Books - Naval Warfare

Other Topics

Ancient Warfare - Medieval Warfare - Other Topics

Ancient Warfare

Republican Roman Warships 509-27 BC, Raffaele D'Amato. Looks at the development of Roman naval power from its very earliest mentions, through the first flowering of Roman sea power during the First Punic War to the battle of Actium, the last naval battle before Augustus founded the principate, a period of almost 500 years. Covers the ships themselves, the weapons they carried, how they operated, and the wars in which they were used. Has a great deal of info packed into its 48 pages [read full review]
Rome Seizes the Trident - The Defeat of Carthaginian Seapower & the Forging of the Roman Empire, Marc G. Desantis. Looks at the way in which Rome seized control of the western Mediterranean from the long established naval power of Carthage, and then maintained that power for the rest of the Punic Wars, as well as tracing the impact of Roman naval power on the wider course of the conflict. Also asks why Carthage was unable to respond to the Roman naval challenge, rarely winning a naval battle during the First Punic War and not mounting a serious challenge at all during the Second [read full review]
Roman Warships, Michael Pitassi. Takes an interesting approach to the problem of reconstructing Roman warships, beginning with artistic and literary sources, moving onto a detailed plan based on the known limits of rowers and ending by constructing accurate models to see if the plan actually works in practise. The results are fascinating and his arguments very convincing. [read full review]
cover cover cover

Medieval Warfare

Medieval Maritime Warfare, Charles D Stanton. Mainly a narrative history of the main periods of naval warfare during the Middle Ages, covering the slow decline of Byzantine naval power, the brief Norman dominance of the central Mediterranean, the Crusades, the clashes between Genoa and Pisa and Venice and Genoa, the War of the Sicilian Vespers, the Vikings, Normans and the Hanse and the battles of the Hundred Years War. [read full review]
cover cover cover
England's Medieval Navy 1066-1509: Ships, Men & Warfare, Susan Rose. An excellent detailed examination of the early days of English naval power, the period before the establishment of a permanent Royal Navy, when most warships were impressed merchant ships taken over for the duration of a campaign.  Excellent material on the men, their ships, skills, weapons and the battles they fought. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Norman Naval Operations in the Mediterranean, Charles D. Stanton. Based around a narrative history of the Norman's maritime empire in the central Mediterranean, this interesting book looks at the naval operations involved in the Norman conquest of a kingdom in southern Italy and Sicily, in the maintenance of that kingdom and during increasingly grandiose campaigns in the eastern Mediterranean. [read full review]
cover cover cover

Other Topics

Sailors on the Rocks - Famous Royal Navy Shipwrecks, Peter C. Smith. Looks at a long series of Royal Naval shipwrecks, from the loss of HMS Coronation in 1691 to the grounding of HMS Nottingham in 2002. Covers the background histories of the ships involved, their actions in the period before their loss, the lead-up to the loss, the rescue attempts and the aftermath of the loss. An interesting book that covers a great deal of ground [read full review]
The Barbary Pirates 15th-17th Centuries, Angus Konstam. Looks at the high point for the Barbary Pirates, a mix of corsairs, privateers and slavers based along the Barbary Coast of North Africa, and whose raids at their most daring reached as far as Iceland! Covers the Barbary Coast and its main ports, the types of ships they used, their crews and commanders and their methods of operations. Gives a good idea of the motivation and reasons for success of the infamous Barbary Corsairs. [read full review]
The Sailing Frigate - A History in Ship Models, Robert Gardiner. A splendid visual history of the British frigate, based around the collection of scale ship models in the National Maritime Museum. Each change in design is illustrated by a high quality colour photograph of a model, with some key pictures included detailed annotations picking out key features. Also includes a number of special subject spreads, looking at the evolution of features such as bow or stern design. A splendid book, and a very good way of illustrating the development of the sailing frigate [read full review]
cover cover cover
A Biographical Dictionary of the Twentieth Century Royal Navy: Volume 1 Admirals of the Fleet and Admirals, Alastair Wilson . The start of a large project to produce a dictionary of 20th Century British Naval Biography, starting with Admirals and Admirals of the Fleet. Split into two, with the biographies in pdf form on CD and a printed volume to explain the format and contents of the biography. This is a very useful reference work in its own right – it'll certainly be of great use for me as I try and track down some of the more obscure wartime admirals – and the complete series will be a very impressive achievement.   [read full review]
cover cover cover
Britain and Colonial Maritime War in the Early Eighteenth Century - Silver, Seapower and the Atlantic, Shinsuke Satsuma. A look at the political influences on British naval policy during the first half of the eighteenth century, a period in which Spain was still the main focus of naval warfare and Spanish silver still held sway in many imaginations. Focuses very much on the political scene in Britain, rather than the details of actual naval expeditions, although these are also covered. [read full review]
cover cover cover
RHNS Averoff - Thunder in the Aegean, John Carr. An unusual ship history in that for most of her existence the Averoff had little military role, but was instead involved in the woeful series of military coups that so blighted Greece. The first half covers the main part of her active military career, and in particular the First Balkan War, the second the period when her officers and crew was more involved in politics than naval matters. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Before the Ironclad - Warship Design and Development 1815-1860, David K Brown . Looks at the final half century of wooden warships, from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the appearance of the first major ironclad ships, a period of constant technological progress. Although the Royal Navy has gained a reputation for being a conservative organisation during this period, this book proves that it was always willing to experiment with new ideas, just not interested in triggering an expensive arms race. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Naval Resistance to Britain's Growing Power in India 1660-1800 - The Saffron Banner and the Tiger of Mysore, Philip MacDougall. Looks at the clashes between British naval power and the fleets of the Marathas and Mysore, in the period when the East Indies Company went from being a trading company to a major political power in India. The author really knows his material, and as a result we get a very detailed picture of various Indian fleets, their ships, organisation and leadership and the reasons they failed to overcome the British. [read full review]
cover cover cover
British Warship in the Age of Sail 1817-1863, Rif Winfield. Splendid reference work looking at the complete service histories of every warship to serve in the Royal Navy between 1817 and 1863, including the periods before and after those dates. Covers the period that saw the introduction of steam power into the Navy, and the appearance of the first ironclads, a period of increasingly rapid change. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Broke of the Shannon and the War of 1812, ed. Tim Voelcker. Looks at a wide range of topics related to the battle between the Shannon and the Chesapeake, a naval clash that ended the early string of American victories and restored damaged morale in Britain. Looks at the battle itself, the background to the war, and the long term impact of both the battle and the conflict. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Naval Firepower - Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnaught Era, Norman Friedman. A detailed history of the evolution of fire control methods during the period of the big-gun battleship, focusing on a key area of technology without which the expensive big guns would have been of little value. The topic is complex but Friedman does a good job of explaining the key concepts and the technology that was developed in an attempt to allow the guns on a warship that was probably moving at high speed to hit a second distant warship. [read full review]
cover cover cover
The Birth of the Royal Marines 1664-1802, Britt Zerbe. A study of the formation of the Royal Marines, focusing on the fifty years from 1755 when the current Marine Corps was formed. Organised thematically, looking at the formation, administration, manning and uses of the Marines, both as a police force (onboard ship and on shore) and as a military force. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Blackbeard's Last Fight, Pirate Hunting in North Carolina 1718, Angus Konstam. A look at one of the smallest famous naval battles, when Blackbeard and around twenty five pirates were attacked and defeated by sixty Royal Navy men on two unarmed ships, a battle that was seen as the marking the end of the 'Golden Age' of piracy. An interesting look at a well planned and well executed anti piracy raid. [read full review]
cover cover cover
French Cruisers 1922-1956, John Jordan & Jean Moulin. Split into technical and historical sections, so looks at the design of the cruisers class by class before turning to their peacetime and wartime experiences. The text is supported by very high quality accurately labelled plans of the ships and a good selection of photos. These were interesting ships, with some unusual features and that often had a very dramatic time during the Second World War. [read full review]
cover cover cover
British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, Norman Friedman. Looks at the evolution of the British cruiser during a period of massive technological change. We start with ships that were effectively Napoleonic frigates but with auxiliary steam engines, and end with the fast turret armed turbine powered cruisers of the First World War (the last generation of ships before the battlecruisers). A splendid book that focuses on the design process as much as on the physical details of the ships, asking why a particular type of ship was built and looking at the many compromises that produced each design. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Dictionary of British Naval Battles, John D. Grainger. A sizable reference work that covers at least 4,000 naval engagements involving British warships over the last 1,500 years, ranging from the countless battles between individual ships up to major clashes such at Jutland or Trafalgar. A very valuable reference work for anyone interested in individual naval battles, but that also gives a good feel of the overall nature of British naval power [read full review]
cover cover cover
Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century: The Art of Sailing Warfare, Sam Willis. An analysis of the practical aspects of war at sea in an elongated Eighteenth Century, looking at the basics of fighting under sail, command with limited communication, the impact of damage on tactics, the unwritten rules that governed naval commanders and how all of these elements combined in small and large scale naval engagements. [read full review]
cover cover cover
De Ruyter, Dutch Admiral, ed Jaap R. Bruijn, Ronald Prud'homme van Reine and Rolof van Hövell tot Westerflier. A collection of interesting essays written by Dutch historians and that examines different aspects of de Ruyter’s life and the wider world of the Dutch Republic. This is a valuable piece of work that helps explain the important of de Ruyter as a European figure (not just as a commander during the Anglo-Dutch Wars). [read full review]
The Battle-Cruiser HMS Renown 1916-1948, Peter C. Smith. Built as a First World War battlecruiser, the Renown survived to become one of the most important British warships of the Second World War. Making extensive use of the memories of the crewmen who served in her, this book tells the tale of a fast, happy, but vulnerable ship that despite her thin battlecruiser armour surivied to play a major part in the most British naval successes, especially in the Mediterranean. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Historical Dreadnoughts - Arthur Marder, Stephen Roskill and Battles for Naval History, Barry Gough. An unexpectedly absorbing look at the careers of two of the twentieth century's greatest naval histories and the rivalry that developed between them when they were at the height of their fame. Should be of value to anyone interested in the writing of history, or in British naval history during the world wars [read full review]
cover cover cover
The Battle of Quiberon Bay 1759, Nicholas Tracy. Written for the 250th anniversary of this battle, won at night, in a storm, and in a difficult bay on the French coast, Tracy looks at the wider context of a battle that ended a real threat of French invasion, with sections on the strategy of naval warfare in the period, the career of Admiral Hawke as well as on the battle itself [read full review]
cover cover cover
Naval Miscellany, Angus Konstam. This is an entertaining collection of Naval snippets that would be a great 'bluffer's guide' for anyone who wants to learn about many of the most famous or significant aspects of naval history. Konstam has selected a good mix of the better known admirals, ships and battles and some obscure but interesting ones, as well as some suitably miscellaneous aspects of naval lore.  [read full review]
cover cover cover
Tudor Sea Power - The Foundation of Greatness, David Childs. A wide ranging study of the Tudor navy from its rise under Henry VIII to the more famous clash with Spain under Elizabeth I, looking at every aspect of the fleet from the smallest details of equipment up to the great clashes with the French and Spanish. [read full review]
cover cover cover
The Fourth Force: The Untold Story of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary since 1945, Geoff Puddefoot. A look at the development and deployment of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, which provides support services (including transporting fuel, ammunition and supplies) to the Royal Navy, from 1950 to the present day, a period in which the RFA was involved in the retreat from Empire, the Korean, Falklands and Iraq wars and a series of less well known operations, playing a vital role on each occasion.  [read full review]
cover cover cover
British Warships in the Age of Sail 1603-1714: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates, Rif Winfield. A very impressive reference work that gives details of the design, construction and reconstruction, service careers and when possible the captains of every warship to serve in the English and Royal Navies from 1603 to 1714, the period the three Anglo-Dutch Wars and the real beginnings of British naval power. [read full review]
cover cover cover
The Story of HMS Revenge, Alexander Stilwell. This book looks at the ten British warships to have borne the name Revenge, starting with one of the most famous Elizabethan warships and ending with a recently de-commissioned nuclear submarine. In between we find powerful sailing ships of the Anglo-Dutch and Napoleonic Wars, and a super-dreadnaught that fought at Jutland and took part in the hunt for the Bismarck. [read full review]
cover cover cover
The Four Days Battle of 1666, Frank L Fox. This is a detailed study of the longest major battle of the age of sail, using English and Dutch accounts of the fighting to produce a clear but detailed account of the battle, the events that led up to it and its aftermath. An excellent study of a battle often described as the 'Greatest Sea Fight of the Age of Sail', and one that came just as the old melee tactics were being replaced by the line of battle [read full review]
cover cover cover
French Battleships, 1922-1956, John Jordan & Robert Dumas. A very detailed look at the generation of French battleships built or designed between the world wars, looking at the design, construction and military careers of the Dunkerque, Strasbourg, Richelieu, Jean Bart, Clemenceau and Gascogne, supported by an impressive number of plans and photographs. [read full review]

cover cover cover
Captain Cook's War and Peace: The Royal Navy Years 1755-1768, John Robson. This interesting study fills a gap in our knowledge of Cook's career, and makes it very clear why he was chosen to command the Endeavour on her expedition into the Pacific, as well as providing a view of the Royal Navy in the period that saw it win command of the seas. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Spanish Armada: The Great Enterprise against England 1588, Angus Konstam. A useful book that places the Armada campaign in its wider context, with a focus on the two fleets, their ships, commanders, men and fighting styles, and some interesting material on the Spanish Galleon and the English Race-built Galleon [go to full review]
cover cover cover
Fireship: The Terror Weapon of the Age of Sail, Peter Kirsch. A lavishly illustrated look at one of the most feared weapons of the age of sail. This is a very impressive piece of work – well written and researched, wide ranging in scope and with detailed accounts of most of the key fireship attacks from the sixteenth century wars against Spain to the Greek War of Independence. An essential read for anyone interested in naval warfare in the age of sail. [see more]
cover cover cover
Scorpion Down, Ed Offley. An interesting book that provides an alternative theory about the sinking of USS Scorpion, an American submarine lost in 1968. Offley suggests that the submarine was actually sunk by the Soviets in revenge for the possible sinking of a Soviet submarine [see more]
cover cover cover



Delicious Save this on Delicious

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies