HMS Hood was an Empire Ship that sailed the world. As such, her upper decks were an interesting mix, of both peacetime and wartime:
For me, the peacetime is represented by the variety of smaller boats that she carried on-board. I believe that these were used when she was in port, or when she had anchored off some tropical island, for some rest and relaxation (for her sailors). Yet, she was still a warship, with the armament to match! Here we can see: a 5.5 inch naval gun (lower left), a 4 inch high angle anti-aircraft gun (middle-bottom), and a quadruple 0.5 inch anti-aircraft gun (middle-bottom right). Now, I've heard it said, that sailors don't have a fear of heights! Hood's main mast, would appear to test this theory - with the mast's ladders being used to gain access, to both lookout posts, and wireless radio equipment. The long horizontal boom, that stems from the base of the main mast, is the main derrick, which was 65 feet long! I believe this was used, to lift both the smaller boats, and other heavy equipment (such as ammunition crates).
Here we can see, what I regard as HMS Hood's front conning tower:
Though technically the term conning tower, only applies to the elliptical structure on the front (with the rest being superstructure). The conning tower itself, was concerned with the aiming of the primary armament 15 inch naval guns. It was protected by armour of up to 11 inches thick: to ensure that Hood's 15 inch naval guns, could be aimed and fired, even in the heaviest action. The superstructure itself, was concerned with both the manoeuvrability of HMS Hood (such as steering and navigation), and further fire control (for both the secondary armament, and anti-aircraft guns). The superstructure was soft (aka thinly protected), to save armour weight. It included such equipment as: search lights, 3 pounder saluting guns, quadruple 0.5 inch anti-aircraft guns, eight barrelled two pounder anti-aircraft pom-poms directors, 5.5 inch secondary armament directors, evershed transmitters and air defence platform equipment (e.g. binoculars).
Here we can see the details of the midships area of HMS Hood:
Of particular interest are: i) The eight barrelled 2 pounder anti-aircraft pom poms gun. ii) The 4 inch high angle anti-aircraft gun. iii) One of the secondary armament 5.5 inch naval guns (with it's protective shield). iv) The smaller crane derricks, which were helpful for lifting both ammunition, and smaller boats. v) The torpedo look out control towers. Which I believe, would issue just one command: take evasive action! vi) Venting for the boiler rooms (located at the base of the funnels, just under various life rafts). vii) The smokestacks themselves, which vented waste gases and heat, from Hood's boiler rooms. There's an unproven theory, that the shell that sunk HMS Hood, may very well have penetrated one of these, and detonated the oil fuel (inside her boiler rooms).
Here we can see the first, second and third decks of HMS Hood's front Conning Tower Superstructure:
Of particular interest are: i) The quadruple 0.5 inch anti-aircraft guns. These were designed to put up a wall of fire, that it was believed, would help disintegrate enemy aircraft (that were targeting the bridge). ii) The 3 pounder saluting guns. These were a peace time addition, mainly used when conducting ceremonies - that were removed in times of war. iii) The secondary armament (twelve 5.5 inch naval guns) fire control directors - the rotatable cylinder with a view slit in the front. iv) The various signal search lights, which were used to communicate visually, with other warships.
Here we can see the look out posts for the various crew members of HMS Hood, that were tasked with looking out for enemy aircraft:
Most of these involved some sort of optical sight (such as binoculars), whereby it's operator would locate enemy aircraft, then obtain various measurements (such as bearing and elevation), which in-turn, was fed into several (analogue) fire control computers, which in-turn was relayed to the gun operators (who opened fire). Hood's anti-aircraft guns, were also capable of local control, when (for example) such bridge tower directors had been knocked out.
Some of the stern gun arrangements of HMS Hood:
From left to right we have: the aft-most eight barrelled 2 pounder anti-aircraft pom poms gun, two 4 inch high angle anti-aircraft guns, and one of the fifteen inch naval gun turrets (with it's local control range finder on-top). The anti-aircraft guns, were situated atop the Admiral's Day Cabin, and much pomp and ceremony, is often associated with the wooden handrail ladders, that lead to this area (bottom left). This was particularly true, of Hood's Empire Cruise, where she entertained VIPs (such as Royalty), from around the World.
3D Modellers, with a passion for preserving the past, particularly pertaining to Battleships :) The Pride of the Royal Navy herself, HMS Hood (as she appeared in 1937):
Battleships were the Greatest Warships of their time, and to the Men that served on them, they lived a way of life, that now no longer exists ... Our Military Artwork, aims to help preserve these bygone times, and it is hoped, that it shall be of interest to Military Museums, and to other such areas of public interest (e.g. education) - together with private collectors.
The third book on battleships that I have read, is Battleships - The Ultimate Guide to the World's Greatest Battleships:
The first fact I noticed about this book, is that it takes a different format ... Battleships are not presented country-by-country, they are instead broken down based upon their chronological classification: The Pre-Dreadnought Era, Dreadnought, The First World War, The Treaty Battleships, The Second World War, and the End of the Line (aka the swansong). Amazingly, this approach seems to work quite well! Another difference is the fact that this book is much more reading based - and yet, the book still manages to be crammed full of many high-quality battleship photographs :) You may think that the Pre-Dreadnought Era could be quite boring - but not at all ... I'm amazed that the Royal Navy built a fourteen thousand tonne, Royal Sovereign class battleship (called HMS Hood) in circa 1889. That fact made me wonder how many battleship classes, and battleship names have been re-used throughout naval history (as those of you who enjoy reading about battleships - shall be aware that the Royal Navy, also had a 1913 Royal Sovereign battleship class, and a later/better edition HMS Hood). My favourite chapters are The Treaty Battleships, and The Second World War - for one simple reason: battleships were clearly becoming larger and more powerful (despite the so called Washington Treaty). The book features one of the best descriptions of The Washington Treaty (and related) that I have ever read: an attempt to limit the expense of battleship building programs, by con-straining the amount of battleships each nation could have, together with the size and power of future battleships ... For me, the aim of such treaties, is no more clearly illustrated, than by the book's coverage, of the Royal Navy's Nelson class. As this book's stunning photos of HMS Nelson, only serves to highlight the fact, that Nelson had all three triple sixteen inch gun turrets mounted forwards, of the main superstructure - in a bid to save weight. Even so, this book helped me realise, that there was an unexpected side effect of such treaties: that there was nothing to stop the World's navies, improving/modernising existing battleships! This was especially true of Japan, who with an eye to future war, pretty much modernised her entire fleet - especially with regard to speed and protection. In doing so, such nations hotted up the battleship building programs again, ensuring that as World War Two broke out, most battleships would be true behemoths (the like of which had not been seen before!). I feel that this book, covers all of this in great detail, which is why it can be hard to put down :) Added to this, is the fact that the book goes one stage further, as it includes specific battleship technology sections ... Of these, my favourites are: armour protection (as I enjoyed reading about the evolution of battleship armour, especially that it's all wood backed!), inside a gun turret/naval gun (as it helped to make me aware, of the tasks undertaken by gun crews) and anti-aircraft defences (as it helped me realise, that later battleships featured three levels of such defences - long range for bombers, medium range for torpedo bombers, and short range for fighters that got through, including kamikaze). Overall: I found this book to be an amazing merger of battleship fact, battleship story/spirit, battleship history/war, and battleship photographs. Of these, there's one particular photograph (that for me), captures the Heart and Soul, of a battleship and her crew (more than any other): the USS North Carolina, as she steams to war ... (ISBN-13: 978-0857342577)