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January Book Vote and last month's results

In Military History, Featured

The first book vote of 2016 is focusing on the New Vanguard series, with the editor providing 5 fascinating topics that could be covered. To give you a little help in making your decision, we have also included a rough synopsis of what the editor thinks each volume could cover. Please note that they are very early ideas and as such are subject to change.

NVG: Fireships and Hellburners
NVG: South American Dreadnoughts
NVG: Soviet Fast Missile Boats of the Cold War
NVG: The Royal Scots Navy
NVG: The Modern Chinese Navy


NVG: Fireships and Hellburners
Before the invention of the self-propelled torpedo, the fireship was the way to destroy an enemy’s ships from a distance. If packed with gunpowder rather than just flammable material, the fireship became the ‘hellburner’ – a floating time-bomb, used to devastating effect in the siege of Antwerp. This NVG would concentrate on the fireships – both purpose-built and converted – of the age of fighting sail, but also look at other examples of fireships and how they were used through history. 

NVG: South American Dreadnoughts
The great race to rearm navies with dreadnought battleships was not confined to Europe. Brazil’s order of its first British dreadnoughts sparked an arms race with its rivals Argentina and Chile, as each vied for the upper hand in South American waters. This would cover the politics of the arms race as well as the technical detail of the battleships, and how they served their navies for decades.

NVG: Soviet Fast Missile Boats of the Cold War
The USSR’s fast missile boats were the Cold War equivalent of the torpedo boat – fast and cheap, and with armament capable of sinking the largest warships, but short-ranged and vulnerable. They were sold around the world, and fought the world’s first naval missile battles – in the Arab-Israeli and Indo-Pakistan wars.

NVG: The Royal Scots Navy
From the Middle Ages until the 1707 Acts of Union, the independent Kingdom of Scotland relied on its own naval power. James IV built new shipyards and ordered a fleet that included the then-biggest warship in Europe – the Great Michael, twice the size of the Mary Rose. Over the next two centuries, Scottish warships sailed the Atlantic, quelled rebellious lords in the Highlands, took part in European conflicts, occasionally fought ships of the English Royal Navy, and its privateers preyed on merchant shipping.

NVG: The Modern Chinese Navy
The People’s Republic of China is becoming one of the world’s major naval powers. Its large surface fleet, amphibious capabilities, and development of carrier aviation, coupled with tensions in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, mean that the world’s attention is focusing on China’s power at sea. This NVG would be an examination of the current technology and capabilities of the Chinese Navy’s warships, as well as its plans for the future. 

Head onto the homepage to cast your vote!


Now lets look back at last month's Book Vote, which offered a number of different series looking at World War II topics. Here are the results:

DUE: British Battleship vs Italian Battleship: Mediterranean 1940-43 34%
FOR: Czechoslovak Border Fortifications 21%
MAA: WWII Allied Battlefield Medics 20%
NVG: Precision-Guided Munitions of World War II 15%
WAR: US Navy Seaman 1941-45 10%

The Duel title on British Battleship vs Italian Battleship: Mediterranean 1940-43 stormed to victory in December with a whopping 34% of the votes, leaving MAA: WWII Allied Battlefield Medics and FOR: Czechoslovak Border Fortifications trailing by a decent margins and NVG: Precision-Guided Munitions of World War II and WAR: US Navy Seaman 1941-45 falling even further behind.

Post Comments

PAUL W posted on 1 Jan 2016 22:50:02
I'm torn between the Fireships and Hellburners and The Royal Scots Navy, though I would definitely get South American Dreadnaughts and Soviet missile boats. My only problem with The Modern Chinese Navy is how current the information could be? As for the page count, I still think the books act as a very informed introduction, that for a lot of people is either enough or wets the appetite for a more weighty book.
Paintybeard posted on 1 Jan 2016 14:23:50
As you say KenA, there are only a few, inconclusive actions in which British and Italian battleships fire on each other, I thought cruiser vs cruiser might be a more profitable idea. Still, I'll certainly get this book if it gets commissioned and a good author is chosen.

I think I shall probably go for South American Dreadnaughts in this months vote. The promise of some of the political background whets my interest. But I shall hope that the Scots Navy and Soviet missile boats get enough interest to see the light of day as well.
KenA posted on 1 Jan 2016 11:19:42
I was trying to remember actions between Italian and British battleships during WWII. I could think of Cape Matapan in March 1941 but that didn’t prove much and was fairly one-sided in so far as battleships versus battleships was concerned. It was principally a night action and the Vittorio Veneto didn’t have radar and she was out-numbered so she slipped away leaving Italian heavy cruisers behind. Other than that there was the rather indecisive Battle of Calabria involving older battleships in July 1940 and the even more indecisive Battle of Cape Spartivento involving newer Italian battleships in November 1940. I don’t think the opposing sides’ capital ships actually came into action against each other during Operation Halberd, a convoy from Gibraltar to Malta in September 1941. So, if a Duel title does come to fruition it will be interesting to see where the author draws his material from and what conclusions he comes to and how and why.

I really would like to get enthusiastic about the January 2016 vote. Nothing wrong with the suggested topics. It is just that if selected they will be emasculated by being condensed into short 48 page New Vanguard booklets that cannot do the subjects justice nor satisfy readers who would be expected to pay a comparatively high price for them.

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