Understanding Naval Warfare  book cover
2nd Edition

Understanding Naval Warfare

ISBN 9780415786331
Published August 8, 2018 by Routledge
254 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $44.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This new and updated edition of Understanding Naval Warfare offers the reader an accessible introduction to the study of modern naval warfare, providing a thorough grounding in the vocabulary, concepts, issues, and debates, set within the context of relevant history.

Navies operate in an environment that most people do not understand and that many avoid. They are equipped with a bewildering range of ships, craft and other vessels and types of equipment, the purpose of which is often unclear. Writings on naval warfare are usually replete with references to esoteric concepts explained in specialist language than can serve as a barrier to understanding. The objective of this book, therefore, is to cut through the obscure and the arcane to offer a clear, coherent and accessible guide to the key features of naval warfare which will equip the reader with the knowledge and understanding necessary for a sophisticated engagement with the subject.

This second edition is divided into two key parts. The first focuses on concepts of naval warfare and introduces readers to the ideas associated with the theory and practice of naval operations. It also includes a new chapter in which the history of the last century of naval warfare is explored in order to illustrate the key concepts. The second part focuses on the conduct of war at sea and on peacetime roles for contemporary navies. This latter section concludes with a chapter that looks ahead to the likely future of naval warfare.

This textbook will be essential reading for students of naval warfare, sea power and maritime security, and highly recommended for those studying military history, strategic studies and security studies in general.

Table of Contents


Part I: Concepts of Naval Warfare and Maritime Power

1.The nature of the maritime operating environment

2. Maritime strategy and naval warfare 1

3. Maritime strategy and naval warfare 2

4. Naval Diplomacy

5. Putting theory into practice

Part II: Contemporary Practice

6. Combat operations at sea: sea control and sea denial

7. Combat operations at sea: exploiting sea control

8. Combat operations from the sea

9. Maritime security and the maintenance of good order at sea

10. Contemporary naval policy and future practice


View More



Ian Speller is Senior Lecturer in Military History and Director of the Centre for Military History and Strategic Studies at Maynooth University, Ireland. He is the author/editor of Understanding Modern Warfare (2016), Small Navies (2016), and Amphibious Warfare: Strategy and Tactics from Gallipoli to Iraq (2014 co-authored with Christopher Tuck).


Praise for the first edition:

'In order to understand the concept of naval warfare there are two things that are required: to be able to define what navies do for a state, and their utility for operations during total war, limited war and peace. Understanding Naval Warfare does both things very well and is a wonderfully informative and readable introduction into the complex world of naval warfare. Packed with useful definitions, explanations, examples, theoretical understanding and technical knowledge, the book is well worth the money for anyone wishing to embark on the study of naval power and its uses.' -- Greg Kennedy, Kings College London and UK Defence Academy

'Ian Speller has written what is likely to become a classic in the field. Understanding Naval Warfare lives up to the promise of its title and delivers a beautifully written explanation of concepts and relevant real-world examples. This is a comprehensive examination of the conduct of naval warfare ...the work will help naval officers from Admiral to Ensign sharpen their ideas and expand the knowledge of their profession. By making obscure concepts accessible it will also be a boon to civilian policy makers and students of naval warfare. Finally, this book has the virtue of being a terrific read.' -- Rear Admiral Mike McDevitt, USN (retd,), Senior Fellow, CNA Center for Naval Analyses, USA

''This is a clear and well-written account of naval warfare....It should work well as a teaching tool as well as a guide to discussion in the scholarly community. ... An impressive book.' -- Jeremy Black, The Mariner's Mirror