Although the title is deliberately provocative, this is a serious study of the reasons why some warships have achieved bad reputations. It covers the period from 1860 to the present day, and will look at a wide range of nationalities and ship-types.
Some warships achieve notoriety because they are so outlandish, either in design or merely in appearance. Others are lost dramatically in action or by accident, suggesting a serious weakness in design. Some warships never endear themselves to their operators, whose opinions foster prejudice against the design.
In fact, relatively few ships are incompetently designed. Most errors originate at Naval Staff level, with flawed operational concepts, over-ambitious specifications, poorly designed sub-systems (usually weapons), or financial stringency. Some warships are built to meet a rational tactical need, which disappears before the ship enters service. In wartime many warships are forced to perform tasks never even imagined during the design-stage, bringing their alleged shortcomings into prominence.
Examples covered in this comprehensive volume include: the Russian Popoffkas; the French battleship Brennus; the British vessels Captain and Sheffield, the battlecruiser Hood and the ‘K’ class submarines, the US monitors Katahdin and Vesuvius; the Japanese light cruiser Mogami; and the German ships Graf Spee and Bismarck.