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4Naval Bibliography

Edited and
Designed by:

Johnny E. Balsved


Books in English on
Danish Naval History

Latest Books

A great number of books have been written on the great history of the Royal Danish Navy, unfortunately  most of them are only published in Danish.

Below you will find some of the books on Danish Naval History, which have been written in, or translated into English.

The survey is in chronological order starting with the latest publication.

Published 2008:

Naval Accidents since 1945

by Malcolm Maclean

Peacetime accidents over the past sixty years have resulted in hundreds of naval vessels either being stricken from active service as constructive total losses, being declared as beyond economical repair, or being lost completely - often with heavy loss of life.

The reasons for these tragic accidents are numerous, sometimes being a combination of human error and "acts of God". To quote an old expression: "The sea lies in wait for the merely unwary; it stalks the careless."

Drawing from over 500 sources in over fifty countries worldwide, including numerous personal accounts and many previously unpublished photographs, this book aims to explain why and how these accidents have occurred, being categorized by their primary cause, and try to cover some of the lessons that have and can be learnt.

Danish naval losses since 1945 are included in this book.

464 pages, hardcover, illustrated

Retail price: £ (GBP) 35.00

Published by Maritime Books, 2008
ISBN 987-1-904459-32-3


The Danish armed forces

- Between politicians and strategic reality

by Brigadier General Michael Clemmensen

This publication is the first complete analysis of the Danish armed forces since the Defence Commission of 1919 released their final report in 1922.

This report was edited by the historian P. Munch, who himself was the Secretary of Defence from 1913 to 1920, which concluded that some of the conclusions drawn into this report, might be dismissed or colored by political desires. This report lacked objectivity to a certain degree.

The author, Brigadier General Michael Clemmensen (ret.), is here publishing a much more detailed report on the events following the Defence Agreement of 1909, including the Danish defence during the 1st World War.

New files have now been declassified and are now available, which enables a much wider view on the Danish armed forces during this period.

Due to the possible international interest in this subject, this publication is published in English by the Royal Defence College.

The author is employed at the Center for Military History at the Faculty of Strategy and Military Operations (Royal Danish Defence College).

139 pages, soft cover, 14.6 x 20.8 cm, illustrated

Retail price: Free (plus postage).
The publication can be ordered from the Royal Defence Academy, or downloaded directly by clicking here. (3.76 Mb - Requires Adobe Reader)

Published by the Royal Danish Defence College, 2008
ISBN 978-87-914213-6-5

Published 2007:

Defying Napoleon

- How Britain Bombarded Copenhagen and Seized The Danish Fleet in 1807

by Thomas Munch-Petersen

The events surrounding the British bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807 are an engrossing story full of high drama.

They involve some of the most fascinating military and political personalities of the period, including the future Duke of Wellington.

In the three weeks between August 16 and September 5, 1807, the British landed, assaulted and captured the city of Copenhagen before making off with the Danish fleet.

The expedition to Zealand in 1807 to seize the Danish Navy must rank as one of the most successful combined military operations in history - swift, ruthless and effective. It is also the first example in modern history of terror bombardment used against a major European city.

The expedition was prompted by fears that Napolean would seize the Danish fleet and turn it against Britain, since although Denmark was neutral, she was thought to be susceptible to pressure from a new alliance between France and Russia. Britain's decision to launch her pre-emptive attack was based largely on inaccurate intelligence reports, and some parallels can be drawn with the American-led Coalition's invasion of Iraq in 2003.

320 pages, hardcover, 23.4 x 16.4 cm

Retail price: DKR 279,95

  • Published by NPI Media Group, United Kingdom, 2007
    ISBN-10: 0750942797, ISBN-13: 978-0750942799

Published 2006:

Christian IV and his Navy

- A Political and Administrative History of the Danish Navy, 1596-1648

by Martin Bellamy, Ph.D.

This book provides a detailed survey of the Danish navy during the highly influential reign of Christian IV.

He created a large and powerful navy with impressive ships and one of Europe's finest dockyards.

It was relatively advanced in the design and construction of its warships and the administration of its seamen and dockyard workforce.

However, its political and military leadership were highly flawed, reflecting the power struggle between the king and his council at both an international and domestic level, which ultimately led to its crushing defeat at the hands of Sweden.

This work offers for the first time a valuable insight into the workings of one of the most significant, but frequently ignored navies in early modern Europe.

297 pages, hardcover, 17.0 x 23,0 cm

Retail price: GBP 147.00

Published by Brill, October 2006
ISBN 978-9004154506


The Renaissance Shipwrecks from Christianshavn

- Ships and Boats of the North Vol. 6

by Christian Lemée

An archaeological and architectural study of large carvel vessels in Danish waters, 1580-1640. The book is based on a PhD thesis written at the National Museum's Centre for Maritime Archaeology in Roskilde and the School of Architecture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts between 1999 and 2002.

This research project consisted of an archaeological and architectural study of shipbuilding methods in north-west Europe between 1580 and 1640, based on the analysis of four recently excavated shipwrecks.

The study of this aspect of the history of shipbuilding was generated by the discovery of the archaeological remains of eight ships and boats in the former harbour of Grønnegaard in Copenhagen, subsequently excavated under the direction of the author in 1996 and 1997.

371 pages, hardcover, richly illustrated, large format

Retail price: DKR 385.00

Published by The Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde 2006
ISBN 87-85180-34-3


Trafalgar 200 Through the Lens

- Queen Elizabeth II 80th Birthday Edition

by Des Kilfeather

An independent journalistic view of the events leading up the Royal International Fleet Review by Queen Elizabeth and the spectacular fireworks display.

The only known independent book of photographs, by a single photographer, (Des Kilfeather), covering several Royal Navy and SeaBritain 2005 key events during the year from March 2005 until July 2005.

The only known book providing coverage on people and ships featuring Royalty, Admirals, officers, sailors, members of the public and many naval ships of the world attending Trafalgar 200.

Uniforms, weaponry and ships both Tall Ships and the most devastatingly armed modern warships, including the Dansih Command and Support ship ESBERN SNARE and its crew.

174 pages, paperback, 400 photographs, 22,1 x 28,6 cm

Retail price: GBP 29.50

Published by D p Kilfeather, London, 2006
ISBN 09-55-3004-01

Published 2005:

One Thousand Days with Sirius

The Greenland Sledge Patrol

by Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen

The experiences of a Sirius man during his two-year tour of duty in northeast Greenland are related in this entertaining book; it is the first-ever English language text on the life and work of the Sirius Patrol.

A summary of the history of exploration and travel in norteast Greenland is also include as an appendix.

To travel long distances by dog sledge in the polar regions is something now experienced by very few westeners. No longer possible in the Antarctic since the ban on dogs there, and with many Inuit dog teams now replaced by motorized "skidoos", the Danish Sirius Patrol is almost alone in using dog teams in this traditional way.

240 pages, paperback, illustrated

Retail price: GBP 15.00

Published by The Steading Workshop, UK, 2005
ISBN 09-

Published 2003:

The Battle of Copenhagen 1801
Nelson's Historic Victory

by Ole Feldbaek

Written by the leading Danish authority on the period, this splendid work brings to life Nelson's historic 1801 victory, immortalized by his famous "turning a blind eye" to his Superior's orders.

As well as describing the brilliance of the British tactics, the work reveals the desperate action, great bravery, and appalling casualties suffered by the Danish defenders.

270 pages, Hardcover, illustrated

Published by The Naval Institute Press, USA, 2003 (ISBN ?)

Previously published:

An introduction to the History of the
Royal Danish Navy

by Ole Lisberg Jensen

Ole Lisberg Jensen is the Director of the Royal Danish Naval Museum.

This small pamphlet gives a brief introduction to history of the Royal Danish Navy since the early stages in the 15th Century to the Post-War period and NATO.

50 pages, Softcover, Illustrated

Published by The Royal Danish Naval Museum, 1994 (ISBN 87-89322-18-5)

Did I miss a book, most certainly! - You could, whether a writer or a publisher, just notify me by  e-mail including a picture and a short description similar to the above.

The book will be added to this list immediately.

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44You are also referred to the Naval Bibliography

- Do you miss a major event on this Site,
or do you hold a great story?

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please e-mail me, enclosures are welcome.
Please remember to list your sources.

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This page was last updated: May 4, 2008

This page was first published: September 27, 2003

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