Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships: 1922-1946, editor, Roger Chesnau

Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships: 1922-1946, editor, Roger ChesnauConway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships: 1922-1946 is the third in the series by Conway, taking us from the end of the First World War to the end of the Second World War. Over this period, the Washington Treaty came into play, limiting capital ships. A rapid rearmament towards the middle and end of the ’30s also occurred. Conway’s is the most complete reference on ships from the end of the First World War until the end of the Second World War. Vessels in service with all navies over the time period are covered.

Better than the Janes publications, Conway’s draws on many sources to provide information on all vessels in service in the time period from Great Britain (including Empire Forces), USA, Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan, France, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Persia, Siam, China, Manchukuo, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Albania, Austria, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eire, Iceland and Iraq. What a great list.

The book covers the vessels in service over that time period, providing details of the vessel and in many cases, a line drawing or contemporary photograph of the vessel or class member. Further background information is provided on each of the fleets being discussed as well as some discussion on the organisation or fleet strength of each nation. Each country section is further divided between Battleships, Cruisers, Aircraft Carriers, Gunboats, Torpedo Boats, Destroyers, Submarines and other types of vessels.

For example, the entry for Colombia notes:

Colombia possessed no significant fleet units in 1922. In 1933 a territorial dispute erupted with Peru in the Amazon Basin, and Colombia purchased two destroyers from Portugal in an attempt to reinforce her river flotilla; however, the dispute cooled before the units arrived. Only minor combatants and riverine craft were added to the fleet throughout the period.VOUGA class destroyers

In 1933 Colombia purchased Antiquois (ex-Douro) and Caldas (ex-Tejo) from Portugal. These ships were a Yarrow design. Both units were completely refitted 1954-55, and both were discarded in 1961.

There was further information and full details of the vessels mentioned above are in the entry for Portugal.

Not only details of the vessels, but the vessels end is also briefly covered, whether the vessel was stricken, lost in battle, broken up and so on. This period was where the battleship lost its power at sea to aircraft and where the threat of aircraft made the aircraft carrier the queen of the fleet. This was also a period of some interesting naval battles, both small and large, from the British hunting German ships, the Italian-British fleets fighting in the Mediterranean and the US-Japan naval battles of the Pacific War.

This book should be on the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in 20th century naval warfare and warships. I can thoroughly recommend this book.

Added: Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Reviewer: Thomo the Lost
Related Link: Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships, 1922-1946
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