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This is an illustrated encyclopedia with more than 500 photographs. It is an illustrated guide for the most powerful military seafaring vessels, with over 500 stunning photographs. It discusses the history and evolution of warships, from the first man-powered vessels of the ancient world, through to the frigates of the Renaissance and to the fast-attack crafts used during the two world wars. It features fascinating chapters on the first sailing warships, the battleship and battleship cruiser, the destroyer, the aircraft carrier and the submarine. Historical paintings, and colour and black-and-white photographs bring each vessel to life, with detailed specifications about size, speed, power and capacity. The warship originated in antiquity as a means of asserting a country's power at sea, and was originally little more than a merchant ship from which archers, slingers and spearmen could bombard the enemy ship before boarding it. Developments in technology saw the change from oars and sails to steam, to the advent of gunpowder weapons and finally to the transformation in the 20th century of these warships' abilities in terms of firepower, protection and electronic capability. In this meticulously researched, illustrated volume, the history of the warship is laid out in an engaging and accessible style. Beginning with a comprehensive introductory chapter to the evolution of the warship, each fascinating chapter that follows focuses on a particular type of ship - battleships, destroyers, aircraft carriers, submarines and more. Accompanied by archive and museum photographs, illustrations and paintings, some of the world's most famous and active warships are brought to life, making this the ultimate reference for anybody with an interest in naval or military history.