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Report of the Committee on the Inflexible.

With Appendix.

London: HMSO, 1878 Stock Code: 94263
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First and only edition, extremely uncommon. Inflexible was built to counter the Mediterranean threat of the Italian battleships Duilio and Dandolo, huge ironclad platforms carrying two pairs of 15-inch Armstrong guns each. Inflexible mounted more ordnance than any previous British ship, and her 24-inch thick plate meant that she certainly lived up to her name.

Most controversially she was designed in such a manner that if her unarmoured bow and stern took serious damage in action and was flooded, the buoyancy of the armoured centre section of the ship should be such as to keep her afloat and upright.

Questions about the validity of this theory were raised by Edward Reed, the member for Pembroke, formerly Director of Naval Construction, who had visited the Italian ships at their base. Failing to convince the Admiralty he publicized his claims in The Times, resulting in the suspension of work on Inflexible and her sister ships Ajax and Agamemnon, and the formation of a rapidly convened committee to investigate the matter.

In their report the committee conclude that it would be hard for gunfire to flood completely the unarmoured but heavily compartmentalised and partially cork-filled ends. However, if this were somehow achieved, the ship would remain stable, capsizing only at about 35 heel. Work was recommenced and the vessel, originally laid down in 1874, was finally commissioned under Jackie Fisher in 1881. The following year she took a significant role in the bombardment of Alexandria.

Library Hub locates just NLS and Liverpool; WorldCat adds the Technische Universiteit at Delft.

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Foolscap quarto. Contemporary half calf, marbled boards, neatly rebacked, red morocco label.


30 plates, mainly folding, many chromolithographic


A little rubbed, light toning, a few clean splits to folds of plates, rear pastedown marked by the removal of a bookplate, overall very good.


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