From the end of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th, most Western powers maintained a naval presence in China. These gunboats protected traders and missionaries, safeguarded national interests, and patrolled Chinese rivers in search of pirates. It was a wild, lawless time in China as ruthless warlords fought numerous small wars to increase their power and influence.
This book covers the gunboats of all the major nations that stationed naval forces in China, including America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Japan, and looks at such famous incidents as the Japanese bombing of the USS Patay and the dramatic escape of the HMS Amethyst from Communist forces in 1947, which marked the end of the gunboat era.
"This monograph presents the true story of the gunboats from the U.S. Navy and the navies of many European powers and Japan that patrolled the Yangtze River, protecting missionaries and trade and diplomatic outposts, as well as countering warlords and pirates. Each type of gunboat is described in detail, but even more valuable are the descriptions of life on the gunboats and the exotic political and cultural environment in which they operated." -Richard R. Burgess, Seapower(September 2011)
"Provides a fine survey of early gunboats that protected traders and missionaries from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th ... Any China or military history library will find this specific and informative." -The Midwest Book Review (September 2011)
"This is another well written [Osprey] book. It details the early days of the river boat force and carries the reader up until the end of the riverboat force in 1949." -Jim Adams, AeroScale