There are very few weapons that changed military conduct and changed the balance of power at a stroke. The spear and the sword were important weapons, but they evolved relatively slowly over centuries. The club and the fire hardened spear were important to human development because they increased the success of hunting and improved the food supply. When shaped flint was added to create very sharp stabbing and cutting surfaces, they advanced the development of spear and sword. The discovery of copper, and then of iron, made these weapons considerably more effective, but their basic use differed little. Siege engines were battle changing weapons and the longbow challenged the armoured knight so effectively that small English armies were able to take on much larger French armies with mounted knights and win. Gunpowder was a battle changing discovery and the development of cartridge ammunition made the machine-gun possible, leading to a complete change in the nature of battle by 1914. The aircraft was a fundamental step forward, as was aerial bombardment and the introduction of nuclear weapons. However, the torpedo still stands out as revolutionary weapon. The author has produced a memorable book to match the subject, providing a complete history and including a large number of illustrations, many of which are rare. The book will obviously appeal to every enthusiast and historian as a unique reference work, but it will also appeal to a much wider audience. An excellent account of an outstanding weapon system.
The author has produced a very detailed history and this book will become a reference standard in its class.