Understanding Victory
Naval Operations from Trafalgar to the Falklands
by Geoffrey Till
January 2014, 248pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-98724-4
$75, £58, 66€, A103
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-0-313-05109-8
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Exemplary training and intelligence are key to naval operations success.

Using four warship-centered examples, this book shows how naval battles are won or lost—and how technological advantage is rarely as decisive in defeat or victory as is often claimed.

Providing a unique assessment of naval strategy and historic outcomes across centuries of warfare, Understanding Victory: Naval Operations from Trafalgar to the Falklands presents four case studies that examine each ship-based battle narrative to expose and analyze the factors that contributed to each side’s success or defeat. The work opens with an overview of the general causes of success and failure in naval operations. Each case study starts with a detailed narrative of the battle and then reviews the conflict from the key perspectives identified in the introduction. These classic examples of naval warfare underscore how the outcome of naval operations is often predetermined by the clarity and quality of the mission aim, and point out striking constants in naval warfare despite the obvious differences in military technologies over a long span of time.


  • Focuses on four ship-centered battle narratives: the battle of Trafalgar, the battle of Jutland, the sinking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse, and the Falklands War
  • Identifies 11 perspectives that explain victory and defeat in naval operations
  • Provides a history-based survey of successful naval operations while highlighting the nature of naval operations in the 21st century
  • Presents information written in a clear, reader-friendly style without compromising on its scholarly standards of content and accuracy
  • Offers fascinating reading for naval college students, general audiences who enjoy naval history, and naval historians alike
Geoffrey Till, PhD, is emeritus professor of maritime studies at King's College London. His published works include Asia's Naval Expansion: An Arms Race in the Making? and Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-First Century, Third Edition. A maritime strategist, Till holds a doctorate in naval history from the University of London.


"Ultimately, this book should be required reading for naval professionals and will be a welcome addition to the libraries of professional military education institutions, universities, academics, and general readers."—Journal of Military History, March 2, 2016
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