Lardas, Mark. Ships of the American Revolutionary Navy. (New Vanguard, 161)

Botley, UK: Osprey, 2009.

Osprey practically holds the patent on nicely illustrated nuts-and-bolts military history, and this 48-page work (their standard size) is well up to standard. The American colonies went into the Revolution with a well-established shipbuilding industry but they still had to scramble to try to take on the Royal Navy.

At first, they were forced to depend heavily on armed merchantmen functioning as privateers, and some of the colonies themselves had small navies, mostly to control smuggling, but before long brigs and small frigates were coming off the ways — some of them already under construction on British naval contracts but now turned to colonial purposes. Other ships were purchased from France and Spain.

I knew about the two-decker Bonhomme Richard, of course, and the sloop-of-war Ranger, but I was surprised to discover fourteen frigates — though several of them were burned while still under construction to avoid their capture. Full details, technical and operational, are given for all of them, with succinct biographies of their captains. Armaments and necessary strategy are both dealt with thoroughly. The reproduced paintings and drawings, plus Tony Bryan’s first-rate technical illustrations, are entirely what one expects from this publisher. This is a must-have for anyone interested in the American Revolutionary navy.

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Published in: on 25 February 2015 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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