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Ships of the American Revolutionary Navy Paperback – Nov 24 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (Nov. 24 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846034450
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846034459
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 18 x 0.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,682,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Very Useful Reference Nov. 28 2009
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although there have been a number of books that have dealt with the American Revolution at sea, particularly in regard to John Paul Jones and his Bonhomme Richard, references on the ships of the Continental Navy as a whole have been few and far between. Mark Lardas, who brings his experience as a naval architect, provides a very useful guide to these early American warships in Osprey's New Vanguard title on the subject. Overall, the book is graphically appealing, well-researched and provides a lot of information in a concise format. For readers looking for a good description of each and every major warship in the Continental Navy, along with a brief synopsis of their wartime service, this is it.

The author begins with a discussion of warship building in the American colonies, which were already building frigate-size vessels for the Royal Navy even before the Revolution. Herein the author provides several useful observations about American shipbuilding: American-built vessels were optimized for speed and were generally larger than similar European-built ships, but colonial vessels were often only built to last a decade or so. Once the Revolution broke out, Congress authorized the conversion of merchant vessels into warships but these ships were not sturdy enough to mount many guns or take substantial damage. In December 1775 Congress ambitiously authorized the construction of 13 frigates in American yards, although it took many years for most of these vessels to be completed. The author also notes the difficulty the infant U.S. Navy had in acquiring adequate cannons for these warships and the necessity to go to sea with mixed armament.

In the next 13-page section, the author discusses the operational history of the ships and the difficulty that the colonies had in putting together effective ships and crews. Although the navy performed well in the early years given its limitations, the colonies simply did not have the resources to conduct a sustained naval war against the greatest fleet on the planet. The author concludes, "the Continental Navy did not go away - it evaporated" and by the end of 1781 the fleet had only two frigates left. The final section provides a synopsis and data for each American warship, including the USS America - the only ship-of-the-line completed by the colonies but not finished until after the war. The volume has seven nice color plates by Tony Bryan: a profile of USS Hancock; the gun deck of USS Warren; the death of the USS Randolph; a 2-page cutaway of the Bonhomme Richard; flags and weapons; Ranger vs HMS Drake; USS Confederacy. The author also provides a glossary and a bibliography. For its size, this volume is an excellent reference.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The American navy during the Revolutionary War March 10 2010
By Steven A. Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another slender volume from Osprey. . . . The focus here is the ships of the American Revolutionary War.

For a brand new country with an uncertain financial footing, a Navy is an expensive proposition. Nonetheless, the Congress decided that it was important to have a naval presence as a part of the war for independence. The end result was decidedly mixed. Some proposed ships were never built; others were but did not function well; still others made contributions in the revolutionary struggle.

This book proceeds as follows: It begins with the design and development of a navy. Sections examine shipbuilding in America, purchased ships from other countries, the desire to build 13 frigates, and a listing of ships authorized in 1776 and 1777.

Then, an operational history, showing the evolving navy in action. A key factor, of course, is when the French entered the war. Suddenly, the colonies had a major navy fighting on their side, transforming the Congress' strategy with respect to a navy.

What about the ships? I listing of ships authorized and built in the US (not counting ships manufactured elsewhere and purchased by the US) run from sloops-of-war (e.g., Ranger) to frigates (e.g., Randolph, Hancock, Warren, and Boston, among others) to a ship-of-the-line (America, which never saw service in the American navy--and was poorly manufactured anyway).

If you want a brief introduction to the Revolutionary American Navy, this is a good resource. . . .
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The colonial navy verses the kings navy April 11 2014
By white tiger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those like me who only knew the Bon Homme Richard, this book was an eye opener. The navy was born in combination with our nation, states sent ships, privateers, and pirates. The Richard was a french reject of atype known as an east indiaman, but all the other ships Hancock were new or at least younger, A good easy read!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent April 1 2014
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The reviewer of 11/28/09 gives about as good an evaluation as one could expect, and there is little point in my parroting his remarks -- I'll simply endorse them, period. Especially given the size of the book, this is a truly wonderful introduction to the Revolutionary Navy of the infant U.S. A general survey and history is complemented by short descriptions of the ships constructed: a couple sloops, some sixteen frigates, and the ship-of-the-line America. Well illustrated and easy to follow, this is a marvelous little book.


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