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With the outbreak of World War II, Britain's Royal Navy and her fleet of battleships would be at the forefront of her defence. Yet from a fleet of 12 battleships, ten were already over 20 years old, venerable veterans of World War I. Extensive modifications throughout the 1930s allowed these ships to perform a vital service throughout the six long years of conflict, and further improvements made during the course of the war enabled them to hold their own against their German and Italian counterparts. This title offers a comprehensive review of the development of these British battleships from their initial commissioning to their peacetime modifications and wartime service. Detailed descriptions of the main armament of each ship will offer further analysis of individual battleships' effectiveness, discussing how the guns were manned when engaging the enemy. Describing HMS Warspite during the battle of Matapan in 1941, the author details how this British battleship, together with other Royal Navy and Australian vessels, defeated the might of the Italian navy so that they never again threatened Allied fleets within the Mediterranean. With specially commissioned artwork and a dramatic retelling of key battleship engagements, this book will highlight what it was like on board for the sailors who risked their lives on the high seas.
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