For more than half a century the big gun was the arbiter of naval power, but it was useless if it could not hit the target fast and hard enough to prevent the enemy doing the same. Because the naval gun platform was itself in motion, U.S. naval analyst Norman Friedman explains in this new book, finding a "firing solution" was a significant problem made all the more difficult when gun sizes increased and fighting ranges lengthened and seemingly minor issues like wind velocity had to be factored in. To speed up the process and eliminate human error, navies sought a reliable mechanical calculation. This heavily illustrated book outlines for the first time in layman's terms the complex subject of fire-control, as it dominated battleship and cruiser design from before World War I to the end of the dreadnought era. He explains the directors, range-finders, and electro-mechanical computers invented to solve the problems. Friedman not only explains how the technology shaped—and was shaped by—the tactics involved, but analyzes systems' effectiveness in battle. His examination of the controversy surrounding Jutland and the relative merits of competing fire-control systems draws conclusions that will surprise some readers. He also analyzes many other major gun actions, such as the battles between the Royal Navy and the Bismarck and the U.S. vs Japanese actions in the Solomons and at Surigao Strait. All major navies are covered, and the story concludes at the end of World War II with the impact of radar.
With line drawings by A.D. Baker III and W.J. Jurens.
Norman Friedman, a prominent American naval analyst, is the author of more than thirty major books, including the new fifth edition of The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems.
Praise for Naval Firepower
“This is an excellent book about a neglected subject, well made and extensively illustrated, with a tremendous amount of information, but it is definitely NOT a book for the casual reader. Even the more technically inclined will have to devote considerable effort and close attention. However, for those with the necessary background who are willing to make that effort, it will pay great dividends.”
— The Coast Defense Journal, November 2011
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The Fifty-Year War
Proceedings story - World Naval Developments