Black Swan Class Sloops, Les Brown

Black Swan Class Sloops, Les Brown

This book is part of a fascinating of series of books based around the high quality working drawings kept by the Royal Navy and other navies, to keep a record of the detailed layout of their warships. In this case the subjects are the Black Swan and Modified Black Swan sloops, some of the best anti-submarine warfare vessels used by the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

These drawings are almost works of art in their own right. Each one is in in several colours, and is complete with the arrangement of most of the furnature within the individual compartments. As a result we get to see how the commanding officer’s dining table was arranged, or where the lockers were in the crew mess, as well as how the complex living accommodation was squeezed around the working parts of the ships, from the engines to the magazines (some of which were below the officer’s accommodation!)

This book differs from the earlier entries in this series in two ways. The first is that it looks at an entire class of warships, rather than a single ship. As a result we get plans from four Black Swan and Modified Black Swan class ships. As a result we get to see how the different ships within a single class can differ from each other, especially after a few years in service.

The second is that the earlier books looked at larger ships – battleships, aircraft carriers and large cruisers. One of the great joys in those books is the amazing array of facilities found within their massive hulls – including full scale bakeries and wine cellars! Here one of the fascinating features is the exact opposite – looking at how all of the essential functions of the ship were crammed into a much smaller space.

The choice of ships means that we to see both types as first built, and as modified five years after the war. The differences are noted in the excellent supporting text. The choice of ships is good – the last of them is HMS Amethyst, famous for the Yangtze Incident, which is covered in the text, and her plans show her modificiations for service in the Far East.

This is another fascinating entry in this series, giving a really interesting view inside these important smaller warships. Once again there is a great deal of information to be found in a close examination of the plans, which reveal all sorts of details that would otherwise be lost.

Black Swan, as Fitted May 1940
Flamingo, as Modified February 1949
Modified Black Swan Class
Starling, as Fitted (1943)
Amethyst, as Modified August 1950

Author: Les Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 128
Publisher: Seaforth
Year: 2020

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