The technical details of British warships were recorded in a set of plans produced by the builders on completion of every ship. Known as the ‘as fitted’ general arrangements, these drawings represented the exact appearance and fitting of the ship as it entered service. Intended to provide a permanent reference for the Admiralty and the dockyards, these highly detailed plans were drawn with exquisite skill in multi-coloured inks and washes that represent the acme of the draughtsman’s art.
Today they form part of the incomparable collection of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, which is using the latest scanning technology to make digital copies of the highest quality. This book is one of a series based entirely on these draughts which depict famous warships in an unprecedented degree of detail – complete sets in full colour, with many close-ups and enlargements that make every aspect clear and comprehensible. Extensive captions point the reader to important features to be found in the plans, and an introduction covers the background to the design.
The subject of this volume is one of the famous ‘Tribal’ class, large destroyers intended to substitute for cruisers in many roles. Their complicated evolution is fully covered for the first time, with plans of the different proposals and alternatives considered, along with an outstanding collection of detail drawings ranging from magazine arrangements to a view of the variations in upper deck fittings across the whole class. Wartime modifications are also included. Cossack was the obvious choice to represent the class, not just because of her well-known exploits like boarding the German supply ship Altmark in 1940, but also because the technical documentation of the ship is particularly rich, much of which is reproduced in this volume.