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Welcome to Clash of Steel!

Featured battle : The Saints

Part of American War of Independence

Date : 09 April 1782 - 12 April 1782

Admiral Rodney, in command of the British West Indies fleet, 36 ships of the line, intercepted a French fleet, 33 ships of the line, escorting 150 merchant ships going to pick up troops from Haiti to attack Jamaica. The morning of the first day was one of exceptionally light winds. After a skirmish in which neither side got the better of the other the French withdrew. There then followed a chase and by 0740 hrs on the twelfth the fleets were again engaged. The battle is significant because whether by order or as a neccessary response to a wind shift the British fleet cut through the French line in two columns just as Nelson would order some thirteen years later at Trafalgar. The battle ended about 4pm when de Grasse order his ships to disengage. Shortly after the signal his flagship was taken and he was made prisoner, four other French ships were captured. Rodney won a significant victory and prevented the invasion of Jamaica but Rodney was later criticised for not following the battle up energetically.

Featured image :

Alnwick War Memorial

Alnwick War Memorial

Gallery updated : 2021-04-01 18:52:49

Featured review :

The Zeppelin

Michael Belafi (Trans. Cordula Werschkun)
This is a fascinating study of a fascinating man and his more than life-long obsession with lighter-than-air flight. It primarily covers Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin's life and the early Zeppelins, before the 1st World War. There are copious photographs from the early days covering the main developments and achievements, and I have rarely seen such coverage in a single book. There is a very short chapter on their use as a weapon in WW1, and it is clear that the author thoroughly disapproved of it's militarisation, and gives it very little space, but I think it should be applauded for that. There are plenty of books demonising the Zeppelins, and it's very refreshing to have one that doesn't.
There is also a decent section on what I would call the glory days of the dirigibles, during the 1920's and early 30's but the main focus is still the early years, since the Count himself died in 1917 and I feel that the book is none the less for that. There is even a final chapter that covers the modern airships that are the Count's direct descendants which is valuable to provide a sense of continuity and re-birth.
The text in some places can seem a little unusual to English eyes, since it is quite clearly and unashamedly a translation of a German work. But I found that once I had accustomed myself to that, it read smoothly and enthusiastically. It fills an important gap on my early aviation bookshelf, and I would unhesitatingly recommend it to fill the similar gap on yours.
Pen & Sword Aviation, 2015

Reviewed : 2019-11-07 20:19:23