1. Tell us about one of your favourite articles from this year’s annual.
We were delighted that the distinguished RN specialist John Roberts, formerly an editor of Warship, was keen to renew his association with the annual. His article on the loss of HMS Audacious is everything we have come to expect from John: forensic, balanced and engaging.
HMS Audacious sailed from the Mersey on 22 July 1913 and arrived at Spithead, via Plymouth, on the 29th having carried out her steam trials en route. Here she is seen entering Portsmouth harbour on the 30th to prepare for her gun and torpedo trials, which took place on 5–6 August.
2. The annual has been running for many years now. For new readers, what other editions would you recommend they read in particular and why.
There is something for everyone in every edition of Warship. Most of the readers that ‘discover’ Warship for the first time spend the next few years trying to find second-hand copies of back issues, some of which cost an arm and a leg.
3. Warship includes some stunning photographs of the world’s warships. Does Warship 2023 include any previously unpublished photographs you could tell us about?
The German World War II conversion of elderly cruisers into ‘Flak ships’ to defend the approaches to harbours from enemy air raids is an unusual and poorly-documented subject. The article by Dirk Nottelmann and Aidan Dodson is illustrated by detailed line drawings and some rare images. However, few of these photos could be described as ‘stunning’; many were taken by amateur photographers and service personnel. The adjective would be more appropriately used to describe some of the images of the IJN protected cruiser Takasago (article by Kathrin Milanovich and photos supplied by Hans Lengerer) taken at the turn of the (last) century.
The second class cruiser Takasago anchoring off Portsmouth in May 1898, shortly before she made the passage to Japan. Like her US-built half-sister Chitose she had the Imperial chrysanthemum at the bow, but the carved and gilded decorations were seldom seen in other IJN warships. The large size of the 8in main gun on the forecastle compared with the side-mounted 4.7in QF guns is evident. The style of the bridge, military masts and funnels was repeated in the larger Kasagi class.
(Hans Lengerer collection)
4. Have you already started working on the next one, and if so, what can you tell us about Warship 2024?
Warship 2024 will lead with a detailed account by regular contributor Hans Lengerer of the design of the IJN battleships Nagato and Mutsu. Other scheduled features will include an account of the brief naval engagement off the Bosphorus on 10 May 1915 between SMS Goeben and the Russian Black Sea Fleet by naval historian Toby Ewin, and studies of the Italian-built Soviet flotilla leader Tashkent (Przemysław Budzbon), the French missile frigates Suffren and Duquesne (John Jordan), and the IJN escort destroyers of the Matsu and Tachibana classes (Kathrin Milanovich). Dirk Nottelmann will be embarking on a two-part article on the famous German World War I commerce raider Seeadler using information that has only recently come to light, and Dirk and Aidan Dodson will be concluding their two-part article on the German World War II Flak ships. Philippe Caresse’s series on the French battleships of the Flotte d’échantillons will conclude with a study of Bouvet, arguably the most successful ship of the type despite her catastrophic loss at the Dardanelles. Enrico Cernuschi will return with a major article on Italian midget submarines which will include a surprising amount of new information, Jon Wise will trace the evolution of the Royal Navy’s fishery protection vessels since the war, and Stephen McLaughlin will present a short feature on the reconstruction of the former Russian battleship Orel as the Japanese Iwami.