Friday 15 April 2011

Ironclads in Action with Warfleets of Antiquity

No, this is not some kind of alternative history type wargame I am describing (tempting though it may be!) rather it refers to a couple of items I now have in my collection - one permanently, the other on loan.

Ironclads in Action 1855 - 1895 by H.W. Wilson was originally published in 1898 and I can describe it no better than by using the text from the back cover:

"This work, published in 1898, is a narrative history of the various naval campaigns and battles of that period. It covers the ACW, various South American wars and civil wars, the Crimean, Franco-Prussian, Austro-Prussian-Italian, Austro-Prussian-Danish, Russo-Turkish and Sino-Japanese wars, French and British colonial actions (Alexandria, Sfax etc), and includes chapters on the development on the development of the ironclad and on famous disasters involving ironclads."

The version I have acquired is made up of 13 A5 booklets published by Pallas Armata and copyright 1993 although it has been published in hardback in two volumes (Mr Fox has this version). Wilson wrote a follow up covering dreadnought actions but this stops firmly in 1895. The text contains a number of maps and technical details appear throughout the narrative. I am really pleased to have acquired this set as it gives me a whole lot more detail around the naval actions of the period during an era of enormous technological change.

The second title (and this is kindly on loan from Mr Hardman) is Warfleets of Antiquity by R.B. Nelson and published by WRG way back in 1974. This is an old school WRG title covering exactly what it says on the cover and follows the typical WRG template of ship types , tactics and campaigns from the ancient Greeks and Romans up to around the 8th century AD. Ancient naval has not been my thing really but my interest in galleys (the 16th century variety) has taken a chronological step back and so this book is a good starting point. There are numerous sets of rules and models available (although I would make my own) so it may be one to look at in the future. My thanks to Mr Hardman for allowing me to borrow this piece of wargaming history and I promise to look after it!


Peter Douglas said...


I'm not familiar with the WRG text, but the Wilson book is a classic that should be in every naval gamers library. I have downloaded s a free electronic book on the interweb, but would look a hard copy.


David Manley said...

Both classics (and both with copies in my library!)

David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

Wow! Could you tell me where you found that as my Sony PRS 600 could use some more freebie classics!

Many thanks in advance,


David Crook said...

Hi DM,

I would love to get my hands on half the contents of your naval library! Mine is pretty modest but being gradually added to over time. I want to get Rodgers Greek and Naval Roman Warfare at some point - his follow up volume up to Lepanto is pretty good.

My friend Mr Fox has the two volume hardback Wilson he picked up for song at Duxford I believe. I am happy to have the Pallas Armata A5 in the meantime though.

All the best,


Peter Douglas said...


There's a gold mine out there on the web


Paul O'G said...

Awesome additions, even if one is only temperoray. I havent heard of either of these. Apparently that says a lot about my completness as a naval gamer :-D

Thanks Peter - great link! Now to find the other one online. cheers!