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ww1 British Gunboats

14/04/2021: WW1 British Gunboats

During the great war, there was an another aspect in which the Royal Navy brought in “close operations” with the Army like never before: Gunboats. After Admiral Fisher upon its arrival at the admiralty -with the agreement of a large fraction of the Royal Navy- purged the immense fleet of sailing and steam gunboats the Royal Navy possessed for its colonial empire in the 1880-90s, only the four ships of the Bramble class remains.

However when WWI broke out, it soon appeared that operations required new riverine gunboats for specific theater of operations: And so were born the Insect and Fly class, the first equipped with cruisers guns and planned to destroy the Austro-Hungarian Danube flotilla, the second to operate in the Mesopotamian Campaign. The Insect class in fact were spread into multiple theaters of operations, taking many roles, from patrolling the Yangtse or Limpopo, to defend the coast against incoming Zeppelin attacks, or participating in the Russian civil war. They were still in operation during WW2.

The First Online Warship Museum

What it is about ?

Naval Encyclopedia is the first online warship museum. Dedicated to the history of all ships of the industrial era, roughly since 1820 to this day. Although the main scope is about the XXth century through four main eras (WW1 and second world war, cold war and modern-day fleets), the website also covers (and will cover) civilian liners, first steamers, ships from the age of sail from the ancient ships of classical antiquity to medieval ships and renaissance vessels up to the enlightenment era ships which ambition also to cover most main types of ships of the time and famous examples.

Naval History is indeed quite old and warships has been a constant evolution, just as tactics which adapted to existing sources of power. The wind and human power (rows) and from the XIXth century, steam power and the rule of fossil fuels, up to the dominance of nuclear energy for the most valuable assets. There has been path of divergence and convergence also between civilian ships and their navy counterparts, like the famous Galleons of the XVI-XVIIth century that blended the role of cargo and warship. This survived well into the twentieth on civilian ships, first as a precaution (like fake ports) then as a tradition on mixed and tall ships.

Nowadays the most complex hand-built moving crafts ever designed by mankind, arguably, are nuclear submarines. Specialization and optimization helped global trade in the last XXth century, and especially the XXIth one frequently called “globalized”, based on the consumer society. The challenges world’s fleets are facing are huge, traducing like always the shifting weight of nations in geopolitics. The rise of the Chinese Navy is a perfect example of this.

A bit of history:

Naval Encyclopedia was born in 2010, by the same creator as tanks encyclopedia. For long, it has been a dependency of navistory.com, dedicated to the age of sail, as its industrial era expansion. Now traduced in English, with navistory’s contents ported too, it is mirroring tanks encyclopedia for everything related to warships…

But not only. Civilian ships has always been an interesting part of naval history, almost as exciting when thinking of huge container ships, race boats, clippers or the romance of blue ribbon luxury liners. Tanks and aviation emerged in 1915, whereas warships were already there in the Bronze age, empires makers, and are still to this day the largest, costliest, mightiest, and sometimes most complex vehicles ever designed.

He who controls the sea controls everything (Themistocles)

 

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