The Battle-Cruiser HMS Renown 1916-1948, Peter C. Smith

The Battle-Cruiser HMS Renown 1916-1948, Peter C. Smith

The battle cruiser HMS Renown was launched and completed during the First World War, but because of a well timed major refit was able to play a far more important role during the Second World War.

This warship biography begins with a look at the development of the battlecruiser, and the vulnerability in their design that was cruelly exposed at Jutland (they had the big guns to take part in major battles, but were too thinly armoured, leaving them prone to sudden, explosive destruction).

We then trace the limited action that the Renown saw during the First World War, entering service after the Battle of Jutland. The rest of the war was frustrating for anyone serving in the navy's big ships, with little or no action and long spells spent at Scapa Flow.

The Renown had a more interesting time between the wars, almost acting as a vast royal yacht at times. The most important event of these years was the massive refit that began in 1936. Her armour had already been improved, but she was now given new engines that restored her impressive speed, a much improved superstructure and new seconadry guns.

These inter-war refits meant that the Renown was able to play a major role during the  Second World War. This is reflected in this book, with the Second World War taking up eleven of the seventeen chapters.

Smith uses a mix of official reports and personal remenicenses, using the first to build up his factual framework and the second to flesh out the picture. This gives a picture of a happy ship, despite several years of intense active service.

This is a succesful book, giving a picture of life on a major warship, as well as a different view of some of the main naval actions of the Second World War.  

1 - The Battle-cruisers
2 - The Tethered Giants
3 - Royal Yacht
4 - The Sands Run Out - Re-birth
5 - South Atlantic Interlude
6 - Duel off Stomvaer
7 - Force H
8 - Battle off Spartivento
9 - The Genoa Gala
10 - Hunting the Bismarck
11 - 'Twixt Biscay and Malta
12 - Across the Northern Seas
13 - Churchill's Racehorse
14 - Voyage to the Tropics
15 - Pounding Nippon
16 - Of Admirals, Presidents and Kings
17 - The End, and a Beginning

1 - Battle Honours of the Renown
2 - Commanding Officers of HMS Renown, 1916-1947
3 - Renown's Predecessors
4 - Ship's Profiles
5 - Abbreviations Used in the Text

Author: Peter C. Smith
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 246
Publisher: Pen & Sword Maritime
Year: 2011 edition of 2008 original

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