China never really wanted outside influences inside its borders. European countries wanted to tap into the trade markets. So, after a series of wars and lopsided treaties Europe and the US were given access in China.
To protect their interests from pirates, bandits, and the government they began brown water naval operations on the Yangtze river.
The Great River
Patrolling the Yangtze
Gunboat Design and Developments
Life on the Gunboats
British and American Gunboats
One of the things I have always liked about the Osprey books is how they are written. This is another well written book. It details the early days of the river boat force and carries the reader up until the end of the riverboat force in 1949.
The book states the years 1900-49, but in reality the the river forces began in 1858 under Lord Palmerston. He is credited with the beginning of what became known as gunboat diplomacy. This actually took place in 1850 when Britain began to intervene in Greek affairs. So after the end of the Opium Wars this same concept was used in China.
Small naval forces were utilized along the coasts and then eventually up into the Yangtze river. Over time the boats evolved into purpose built craft. World war II effectively ended the river boats service. Some smaller boats were pressed into service after the war. Their patrols lasted until 1949 and the Communist take over of China.
This book is written by Angus Konstam. He is author of over 30 titles for Osprey.
There are 40 small black and white photos in the book. Due to their age many are fuzzy, but will still provide decent reference for the subject.
You will also find 11 different color illustrations. These are done by veteran Osprey Illustrator Tony Bryan.
Even though there is a dearth of river boat kits at the moment you never know what is in the works. This is a nice book to get and hold onto. If for the only reason to expand your knowledge of this forgotten time in Brown water Naval history.
Thanks to Fred Boucher for the images. We both received a copy to review, I did the text, Fred did the images.
Highs: Very good inclusive book of a unique time in brown water naval history.Lows: None notedVerdict: Very nice reference for anyone wishing to build one of the many Yangtze River Boats.
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