HMS WARSPITE – Review by Mark Barnes

You know how it is. After days of sunshine there is a rare public holiday to enjoy and when the appointed twenty-four hours is here it persists down with rain and the temperature plummets ten degrees. Mother Nature has her ways and one of them is to trap you indoors where your principal option is to watch a daytime TV menu of pet rescues, property renovation and Australian soaps.

Ignore all that. What you need is a large-scale model of the battleship HMS Warspite. Isn’t that obvious?This is a quest any noble follower of War History Online would take up at the drop of a hat.  But, you need a plan. Actually, you need plans.

Step up WitoldKoszela from sunny Poland who has done great things to help you on your mission to find the Holy Grail.

This neat little book comes with a brief history of the Grand Old Lady before setting out twenty-nine sheets of drawings providing a detailed look at just about all the major structural and weapon based areas of the ship. It is accompanied by two large technical drawings, including one showing the ship’s colour scheme.

Now, I like this sort of stuff. Maritime books always have a special place in my library. This one is unlike anything I have seen before and, I will be honest, I am not entirely convinced I would purchase one – unless of course I was actually going to build a model of the Warspite. For budding marine architects I would say this sort of package offers a lot of pleasure. The book comes with easy to follow English and Polish text. There isn’t actually a great deal of it and what we get is straightforward enough in support of so many high quality drawings.

I have a lovely photo in mind of Warspite pounding targets on D-Day and, better still, opening fire on the German fleet at Jutland a generation before. She had several refits during her service life and given her propensity for mishap even managed to be shipwrecked on her journey to the scrap yard after WW2. For all this, the Warspite was a magnificent looking ship in both her Great War and Second World War guises.

So, we know it’s niche and, no, we aren’t ever going to build a model of the battleship HMS Warspite, but there is a place in the sun for books like this and I just like knowing there is a vast range of military based things that make it into print. There is hope for me yet! This book is the eighteenth in a series of Lord knows how many and I assume other great ships have received the same treatment in addition to the aviation based titles in the series. I am a little curious what attracted the author to the Warspite, but that is about where my attention span falls off a cliff.

So, there you have it. If Can’t Garden, Won’t Garden is not your cup of Darjeeling on a soggy holiday Monday then you might just be ready to build the ship. This book will illustrate the challenge awaiting you. Good luck with that!

Reviewed by Mark Barnes for Warhistoryonline

By WitoldKoszela
ISBN: 978-83-62878-92-5

Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longstanding friend of WHO, providing features, photography and reviews. He has contributed to The Times of London and other publications. He is the author of The Liberation of Europe (pub 2016) and If War Should Come due later in 2020.