Summary and Info
There was a time when the Battlecruiser Hood was the largest, fastest and most handsome capital ship in the world. She was also adored by the British public and in many ways came to symbolise everything that was supremely good about the Royal Navy. On 24 May 1941 the Hood was famously sunk by the Bismarck with only three of her crew of 1,419 surviving. It was an act which resulted in Churchill giving the order "Sink the Bismarck" and, of course, they did. More recently, the remains of HMS Hood have been located at great depth in the North Atlantic resulting in renewed interest in the ship itself. Elsewhere, there are websites dedicated to the vessel and a very strong HMS Hood Association attended by those who had previously served on this, the most beautiful of ships. This is an excellent book for all such interested people.
Conway Maritime Press are well known for their "Anatomy of the Ship" series in which they provide the finest technical documentation for specific ships or ship types ever published. "The Battlecruiser Hood" is hard-back measuring 10¼" (wide) x 9¾" with 127 pages of detailed and factual information. This wide format allows the publishers to produce first class detailed line drawings of every aspect of this ship in a size that is easy to see and follow. All the information is there - right down to the last nut and bolt.
Laid down in 1916, Hood was designed and constructed when ships got close to the enemy and fired straight at them. By the time she was completed in 1918, however, battleships were able to lob their shells great distances with alarming accuracy. This new dimension of warfare at sea with shells "falling from the sky" meant that all warships required armour plating on their decks where previously it had only been on the sides. This requirement, coupled with an explanation of the financial restrictions placed upon the Royal Navy during the inter-war years provides the reader with all the reasons why HMS Hood was lost in the way she was.
This informative introduction continues with a service history of the ship followed by a series of "Tables" which include comparisons in battleship and Battlecruiser designs and information on the ship's; trials, dimensions, displacement, stability, armament, fire control, ship's boats and modifications. Next is 13 pages of historic photographs followed by 93 pages of detailed line drawings and more specific technical information.
And detailed it is too; Under the first main heading "General arrangements" we commence with an external profile of the ship followed by a series of detailed line drawings showing every aspect of this ship in cross section - deck by deck and room by room, from aft to bows. Then everything is repeated from above as we work our way down through every level of the ship from the highest part of the superstructure to the keel. These are followed with more specific technical information under such headings as hull construction, machinery, accommodation, superstructure, rig, armament, fire control, fittings, ground tackle, ship's boats and finally aircraft arrangements.
The inclusion of an expanded view of the clip which secured the quarterdeck hatch gives an indication of the attention to detail put into this book and, once again, I congratulate both author and publishers for a job well done.