HMS Warspite was one of the most powerful battleships ever to serve with the Royal Navy. She was designed just before the First World War, completed during that war, fighting at Jutland. She was modified twice during the inter-war period, including a major reconstruction in the 1930s, and then went on to fight in most European theatres of the Second World War, despite suffering major damage on more than one occasion.
This book is based around the original builder’s plans for the Warspite, working documents that were modified as the ship was modified, so in some cases there are several layers of details on the same map. There are general layout plans, detailed cross-sections, deck by deck plans and enlargements of various slices of the plans, each supported by useful text.
Many of these plans benefit from close examination, revealing just how complex these floating communities had become. Some of the details demonstrate how complex the catering arrangements had been – one level shows a bakery and separate (and surprising large) bread cooling room! She also contained a large print office, a small row of jail cells, cold and cool rooms spread over several levels, and a impressive array of accommodation and mess spaces.
There is more to this book that just a pretty collection of plans. Each one is discussed in some detail, explaining what we are seeing and how the individual areas fitted into the overall design of the ship. We start with a section on the original design process, looking at the decisions that shaped the Queen Elizabeth class ships, and her original configuration. We then move on to look at the 1920s interim modernisation and the changes made in 1934-37. Next comes the major refit of 1934-37, ending with the new general arrangement plans produced at the end of that process. The last major section is made up of enlargements of the 1937 deck plans, each split over four pages, to give us the most detailed view inside this massive and complex ship.
This is a splendid book, giving us a fantastic level of detail for one of the most powerful British warships of the Second World War.
Major Reconstruction 1934-1937
General Arrangement Plans 1937
List of Plans
Author: Robert Brown