Russian Warships in the Age of Sail 1696-1860 : Design, Construction, Careers and Fates, Hardback Book

Russian Warships in the Age of Sail 1696-1860 : Design, Construction, Careers and Fates Hardback

3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Peter the Great created a navy from nothing, but it challenged and soon surpassed Sweden as the Baltic naval power, while in the Black Sea it became an essential tool in driving back the Ottoman Turks from the heartland of Europe.

In battle it was surprisingly successful, and at times in the eighteenth century was the third largest navy in the world - yet its history, and especially its ships, are virtually unrecorded in the West.This major new reference work handsomely fills this gap, with a complete and comprehensive list of the fleet, with technical detail and career highlights for every ship, down to small craft.

However, because the subject is so little recorded in English, the book also provides substantial background material on the organisation and administration of the navy, its weapons, personnel and shipbuilding facilities, as well as an outline of Russia's naval campaigns down to the clash with Britain and France known as the Crimean War.Illustrated with plans, paintings and prints rarely seen outside Russia, it is authoritative, reliable and comprehensive, the culmination of a long collaboration between a Russian naval historian and an American ship enthusiast.EDUARD SOZAEV is an established Russian naval historian with a number of books to his credit.

JOHN TREDREA, his translator, editor and long-term collaborator, is an American ship enthusiast with a life-long interest in the Russian navy.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 400 pages, 200 Illustrations
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Military history
  • ISBN: 9781848320581

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Proofreading: FApart from the totally random use of Swedish, Russian, Finnish and English place names for locations on the Baltic Sea, the apparent inability of the authors' to spell the Swedish and Finnish names they choose to use correctly does not breed trust for the factual accuracy of the text. As for the Russian names, it is hard to say as I do not speak the language, but the problems with the other languages give me doubts. A brief example of one sentence from page 59 serves to illustrate the problems:"Russian territorial gains in the war involved a small expansion of Russian territory into Finland, including the galley port of Fridrikshamn (now Kotka)." Not only is the correct name of the town Fredrikshamn (Hamina in Finnish), but the neighboring town of Kotka, which decidedly is not Fredrikshamn, did not even exist at the time. This probably originates in bad translation work, as the Russians called the battle fought outside the town the Battle of Fridriksgam. Also, in the same vein, the Battle of Gogland might be better known in English as the Battle of Hogland.Anachronisms provide further problems with place names. Helsinki, for example, is often called by its Finnish name of Helsinki (not by its Swedish name of Helsingfors) which had no official standing at the time. Using modern names would be understandable if it was systematic, but on the other hand Tallinn is not called by its modern name of Tallinn, which is the same in all relevant languages, but by its old Russian name of Revel. Also, the again quite random decisions to use or not to use umlauts in names are baffling. And where is the irony in this? The fact that authors berate A. B. Shirokorad in the introduction for "lack of regard for accuracy". Pot, kettle, black. Historical content: B-. A brief introduction to Russian naval history is included. The Black Sea navy is covered better than the Baltic navy, where large battles and even whole wars are mentioned largely in passing.The Fates: AThis is after all the reason people will buy the book. The problems in translation and proofreading mentioned above may create doubts for this section as well, but as it is impossible for me to know if there are similar mistakes here, I choose to take the ship listings at face value. I will call this part of the work excellent.Design and Construction: F There is not a whole lot on the design of the ships, and practically nothing on the construction.

Review by

The primary title probably gives better insight into what this tome is about than the subtitle, in that what you really have here is a fleet list with some historical overview of the context in which these ships served and their main battles. If you were looking for a close analysis of how these ships evolved I can understand how one might be disappointed. This being the case, I thought that this was a very satisfactory reference guide and I look forward to acquiring a copy once I run across one at a reasonable price.