This wide ranging study looks at the evolution of English naval power under the Tudors, a period of great change in naval tactics and ship design, starting with fleets of carracks, 'great ships' and galleys fighting battles that would almost have been familiar in the Ancient world and ending with the first signs of the 'line of battle' and the naval tactics that would last well into the nineteenth century, and that would have been familiar to Nelson.
The period that this book covers means that as well as the well-known Spanish Armada we also learn about the far less familiar naval wars of Henry VIII, best remembered for the loss of the Mary Rose, but that also saw the defeat of a French armada that came much closer to English shores than their Spanish successors.
Childs covers an impressively wide range of topics, starting with a detailed examination of the ships themselves - their design, construction and guns, then moving on to the sailors, their, commanders, supplies and equipment. We then move out to sea to look at the skills and bases needed for the daily operation of the fleet, the fine-line between piracy and warfare, and the military exploits of the fleet (this chapter, The Fighting Fleet, takes up about one sixth of the book). Finally we look at the development of the shore-based administration needed to support and maintain the increasingly professional Tudor fleet.
This is a very impressive piece of work which provides a detailed view of every aspect of the Tudor fleet, and that will be of value to anyone with an interest this period or in the birth of British naval power.
1 - Background: Father to the Man
2 - Ship Types
3 - Building the Fleet
4 - Arming the Fleet
5 - Feeding the Fleet
6 - Command and Control and the Company
7 - A Sailor's Life
8 - Pilotage, Navigation and Seamanship
9 - Havens and Harbours
10 - Plunder, Piracy and Professionalism
11 - The Fighting Fleet
12 - Shore Support
13 - The Legacy
1 - Chronology
2 - The Ships of the Tudor Navy
3 - A Ship's Company
4 - Gun Drills for Breech-Loading and Muzzle-Loading Guns
5 - Keeping it in the Family: The Tudor and Howard Lord Admirals
6 - Officials of the Royal Navy
7 - Visiting the Tudor Navy
Author: David Childs