Posts by Matthew Wright

Is there room for nuclear propelled surface ships?

Is there room these days for nuclear propelled surface ships? Times have moved on from the Cold War and the mind-set of the 1950s when nuclear was ‘in’ – when even nuclear powered family cars were proposed. Atomic cars never eventuated, but nuclear-propelled ships and submarines did. The main motive was range: naval tacticians didn’t…

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Project 1047 – the Dutch cruiser-killers of 1939-40

The fastest battlecruisers ever seriously contemplated were the Dutch ‘Project 1047’ class of 1939-40. War prevented their design being finished, but they are fascinating examples of what could have been. They had their origins in the naval challenge the Japanese posed by the late 1930s to the sprawling Dutch East Indies. By this time Japan…

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Battlecruisers – both over-gunned and under-armoured

We popularly envisage ‘battlecruisers’ as heavily armed but badly armoured – trading speed for protection. That criticism was particularly levelled at Britain’s first ships of the type, which emerged from the same Committee on Designs that produced the Dreadnought in the first months of 1905 and, in essence, created the battlecruiser as a type, although…

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HMS Dreadnought – the case for propaganda over engineering

It’s just over 110 years since HMS Dreadnought sailed on her first shake-down cruise under Captain Reginald Bacon. She was a remarkable battleship in many ways, one whose name became synonymous with all battleships during the First World War period, and whose design concepts set the pattern for every battleship that followed in many ways.…

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Is there room for twenty-first century battleships?

Is there room for twenty-first century battleships now? It’s a question that has never really gone away and, as world tensions rise into the twenty-first century, is likely to be asked again. The issue that killed battleships in the 1940s was practicality: aircraft had better range than heavy guns – and battleships were expensive to…

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