The Battle of Lissa, 1866
How the Industrial Revolution Changed the Face of Naval WarfareSeries:
Imprint: Helion and Company
255 Pages, 6.75 x 9.75 in, 2 b/w ills, 19 b/w photos, 11pp color plates, 11 maps
- January 2022
- Temporarily out of stock. Ships in 2-3 weeks.
The principal changes had been the introduction of steam power, of shell guns and of armor plating. The use of steam engines to power warships was substantially assisted by the invention of the screw propeller which quickly made paddle steamers obsolete. And the effect of shell guns was hugely increased by the development of rifled ordnance.
The Industrial Revolution came first to Britain, and it was here that the earliest experiments were made with steam engines as a vessel’s motive power. The replacement of wood by iron as a shipbuilding material also came slowly, and both innovations faced considerable resistance from conservative opinion.
Once the Industrial Revolution spread through mainland Europe, it was often in France that important breakthroughs were made, though contrary to the opinion of earlier historians, the British Admiralty kept a close watch on technological progress. The outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 powerfully accelerated developments in all aspects of warship design. As other navies adopted the latest technology it became apparent that the tactics of naval warfare must also change. In 1866 Italy, in alliance with Prussia, went to war against Austria, having built up a substantial fleet of ironclads. The Austrians, too, had also acquired a number of ironclads. The two fleets faced each other in a campaign in the Adriatic, in which the Italian fleet was led by Admiral Carlo Persano and that of Austria by Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff. On July 20, 1866 they met in what was to be the first fleet action of the new age, and the encounter ended in a decisive victory for the Austrian fleet. Much of the blame for the Italian defeat was laid at Persano’s door, while his opponent became a national hero.
This book is the first comprehensive account of the campaign of Lissa in the English language for more than a century. It explores the progress of naval shipbuilding and tactics in the period leading up to 1866, together with the development of the Italian and Austrian navies.
“The recap and analysis of the battle (p161-211) are interesting in their own right, but the development of warship technology and resulting arms race in the first two-thirds of the book proved utterly fascinating. Well done.” ~Historical Miniatures Gaming Society
“…a noteworthy achievement. [A] useful account of the battle of Lissa, and one that, hopefully, will inspire further English-language studies that draw upon the materials in the Austrian and Italian archives to give it its proper due.” ~The Northern Mariner