Report of the Committee on the Inflexible. With Appendix.London, HMSO, 1878 Stock Code: 94263
NotesFirst and only edition, extremely uncommon. COPAC locates just NLS and Liverpool, OCLC adds the Technische Universiteit at Delft. 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-in 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 becoming 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 publicised 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 look into the matter. In their report the committee concludes that it would be hard for gunfire to completely flood the unarmoured, but heavily compartmentalised and partially cork-filled ends. However, if this was 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 rôle in the bombardment of Alexandria.
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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