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German Battleship Helgoland: as detailed in the original builders' plans - Pen & Sword Books Ltd

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German Battleship Helgoland: as detailed in the original builders' plans - Pen & Sword Books Ltd 


Company: Pen & Sword Books Ltd

Author: Aidan Dodson
Kit No:  ISBN-10: 1526747596, ISBN-13: 978-1526747594
Pages: 144
Retail Price: £ 24.-

Available here: https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/German-Battleship-Helgoland-Hardback/p/16022

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Alongside its incomparable archive of British warship plans, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich also holds a selection of drawings from foreign sources. Among the gems of this collection are a number of German warships dating from the First World War era. These are official plans, acquired by the Naval Inter-Allied Commission of Control as part of the peace treaty, and very similar in style, detail and draughtsmanship to Royal Navy ‘as fitted’ general arrangements, including the use of coloured line and washes.

 

The very best of these, in terms of the completeness of coverage and the visual impact of the drawings, relates to the battleship SMS Helgoland, launched in 1909. The name-ship of the second class of dreadnoughts designed by the Germans, she was a big advance over the earlier Westfalen class, having 12in guns that matched those of her British opponents. She served in the High Seas Fleet throughout the war, fought at Jutland, and was ceded to Britain as part of the peace terms – which is probably why the plans are at Greenwich – and was broken up in 1924.

 

This book is the latest in a series based entirely on original draughts which depict famous warships in an unprecedented degree of detail. Using the latest scanning technology to make digital copies of the highest quality, it reproduces complete sets in full colour, with many close-ups and enlargements that make every aspect clear and comprehensible.

 

Extensive captions point the reader to important features to be found in the plans, and an introduction covers the background to the design. 

 

The result is a novel form of anatomy that will be a revelation to any warship enthusiast. SMS Helgoland launched in 1909 was the name-ship of the second class of dreadnoughts designed by the Germans. She was a big advance over the earlier Westfalen class having 12-inch guns that matched those of her British opponents. She served in the High Seas Fleet throughout the war fought at Jutland and was ceded to Britain as part of the peace terms.

 

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Conclusion

Although there are several books about the large ships of the Imperial Navy, there is none that describes the internal structure of these ships more than superficially. This new book from the series "Detailed in the Original Builders' Plans" is not error-free, but it contributes substantially to the solution of this problem.

 

There is a brief introduction describing the ship's design, armor, armament, machinery, and career. Most of the book, however, consists almost entirely of (original) plans and drafts. Similar to the famous British "admiralty draughts", most of these plans are in full colour. This book contains plans for each deck, 25 cross-sections through the hull and a four-sided longitudinal section to fold out. These are complemented by a series of traditional plans depicting the ground plans of the armor and conning tower layouts, pumping and flooding arrangements, fire control circuits, coaling rig, boat stowage, the forward capstans, and the distinctive kingposts of the ship. Finally, there is a color profile of the SMS Posen and plans for the hull midships structure and the double bottom.

 

Considering that the plans are almost 110 years old, most of them look very good. Of course, they are all in German, but English translations for all keys are printed. The level of detail is somewhat uneven. While many of the traditional plans are exceptionally detailed, especially the pump and fire protection plans, the "as fitted" plans are not as precise. Since most plans were printed on a scale of 1:100 or 1:50, and were reduced quite a bit according to the pages, strong glasses or magnifying glasses can't hurt.

 

Every model builder who is interested in detailed information about the imperial German large ships will enjoy this book.

 

My sincere thanks go to Pen and Sword for sending this book for review here on Model Ship World. To buy, ask your favorite dealer.


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