One of the first specialist warships, the bomb vessel was a floating siege engine carrying huge shell-firing mortars for the purposes of bombarding stationary targets, such as coastal towns, fortifications or harbours. For its time, it was a complex and high-tech weapons system, and was widely used by the British in every conflict between 1689 and the War of 1812. Because of their strength, bomb vessels played a major role in Arctic exploration. Part of "Conway's Ship Types" series, this volume combines extensive tabular data on every class with the first-ever overall design history of bomb vessels, and is illustrated throughout from the plans collection of the National Maritime Museum. Part one is a design history, tracing development from the 1680s to the 1850s. Part two covers structure, the bomb in action and details of their auxiliary function as Polar exploration ships.