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The book is partly based on work done by John Campbell, the author of an excellent Encyclopaedia of World War II Naval Weapons. He died before the work was published and the surviving sections were eventually passed to Norman Friedman. These were the section on British guns and the larger German guns, and some of that data has survived here. The vast majority of the book has been written by Norman Friedman, a highly respected naval historian.
This was the era of the big gun, and those guns do rather dominate the text, taking up three quarters of the book. Torpedoes take up half of the remaining text, with mines and anti-submarine weapons splitting the rest. This partly reflects the dominance of the gun but also their greater complexity and the wide variety of manufacturers, production methods, sizes and models of guns compared to other weapons.
This is far more than just a series of articles on weapons. Freidman begins each section with a look at the technology of the weapon - the construction of guns or the different types of explosives in use. Each country's tactics are analysed, as is the construction methods used in their guns, the powder used in their shells and the gun directors used to actually aim the guns. The same level of detail is found in the sections on torpedoes, mines and the early anti-submarine warfare weapons, which ranged from elaborate 'sweeps' towed behind destroyers to early depth charges.
This is a superb piece of work, and an invaluable addition to the library of anyone interested in naval warfare during the First World War.
Part I: Guns
Part II: Torpedoes
Part III: Mines
Part IV: ASW Weapons
Each part consists of an introduction and individual chapters for each country
Author: Norman Friedman
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