Book Review:
British Napoleonic Ship-of-the-Line

By Angus Konstam
Artwork by Tony Bryan


For anyone who has seen the Hornblower TV series and fallen in love with the age of sail and fighting ships, then Osprey has got a very good book that can help fill in a lot of the nautical details.

British Napoleonic Ship-of-the-Line would be my recommendation for a first-stop guide as it not only looks at the vessels themselves - the largest man-made structures in the pre-industrialised era - but also their numbers, their crews, how they were sailed, how they were rated and a very good glossary.

During the Napoleonic Wars all that stood between Britain and a threatening France was the wooden walls of the Royal Navy and much time and money was spent making that force the most professional and powerful on the planet.

But, as author Angus Konstam points out, the British didn't have it all their own way and in fact their enemy made far better ships. The French designs were so good that from 1793 the Royal Navy copied their designs from captured ships!

Konstam explains how the great ships were built - and there is an excellent cut-away artwork of the Victory by Tony Bryan to show how complex these vessels were - follows the expansion of the Royal Navy and has an extremely useful list of all the major ships that served in it between 1792 and 1815.

There are eight pages of colour plates done by Tony Bryan and these include both action pictures and details images. The latter are very handy if you don't know your main topgallant from your main course ... and I didn't.

Keep her steady Mr Hornblower ...

- Richard Moore


Napoleon Bonaparte
Career Portraits
Quotes Family
Loves Letters
Plots Murdered?
His will Places
Era of Napoleon
Powers Opponents
Coalitions Allies
People Timelines
Key sites Shrapnel
Campaigns Battles
Armies Generals
Marshals Winners
Glossary Medical
Weapons 1812 War
Uniforms Battlefields
War at Sea
Naval War Heroes
Artworks Signals
Nelson Trafalgar
Key Maps Peninsula
Animated 1796/1800
1809 Russia
French Revolution
Revolution Guillotine
Posters People
Art, Film, Games
Education Goya
Sharpe Hornblower
Books Movies
DVDs Music
Wargames Images
Cartoons Caricatures
About Us Sources
Awards Sitemap
Links Militaria
Miniatures Reenactors
Forum Quizzes
Home Waterloo Diorama
Copyright Richard Moore 1999-2017 | Privacy Policy | Contact Us