Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The weather gage

We're a nautical sort of folk here in Ketchikan, and anything to do with ships and the sea is very popular here at the library. One sterling example of this would be the Patrick O'Brian series featuring Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Originally begun in 1970 (the writing, not the story itself), this series of 20 books generally has 2-3 people at one time clipping their way through it. The companion volumes - A Sea of Words and Harbors and High Seas - are also quite popular. Therefore, I predict great interest in our newest book Fighting Techniques of Naval Warfare, 1190 BC ~ Present: strategy, weapons, commanders, and ships by Iain Dickie et al.
Paintings of famous naval engagements, nice line drawings of ships and equipment, and diagrams of ship placement and maneuvers all lend a good deal of visual interest to this book. Starting with the Battle of the Sea Peoples in 1190 BC (Ramses III prevents the invasion of Egypt by marauders from the Grecian and Mediterranean islands) and ending with the Battle of Midway in 1942, this book covers the evolution of ships and armaments. From galleys powered by slaves and armed by javelin-heaving marines to aircraft carriers and nuclear subs armed with missiles, we seem to have come a long way.
Interestingly, though, some of the basic components of naval warfare remained the same for centuries: the health of the men depended on how long they had been out of port, the speed of the vessel depended on how heavily fouled her bottom was, the weather gage was a major factor before the advent of steam power, and it's a hairbreadth's difference between crossing the T and breaking the line....
A must-read for fans of nautical fiction, naval tactics or military history.


Anonymous said...

Nice brief and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you for your information.

Anonymous said...

Easily I assent to but I think the post should have more info then it has.