Summary: Before carriers appeared,is the most important among countries in naval ships, and led the victory of the war at sea. During the , ’s naval dominance gradually transferred to the till today all the has quit the stage of history. Battleship is a large-scale naval vessel combating with armor and powerful gunfire. Battleship during usually has a displacement of 30,000 tons or more, which is bigger than displacement of in the same period. During , fought mainly in the European theater. Because the German Navy and the Italian Navy as an opponent of the had not aircraft carriers, battleships were the core surface warfare of the naval forces in both of the countries. In the of the Denmark Strait, the German Bismarck sank the British battle cruiser Hood. The latter many years ago was once the world’s largest warships. This is one of the few large-scale naval battles in World II, of which only gunfire were involved. Afterwards, Bismarck was hit by the British Ark Royal and was unable to escape, so was surrounded and then sunk by a large number of British warships. battleship Prince of Wales surviving in the of the Denmark Strait was sunk by the Japanese in Singapore and became the first battleship sunk during the course of a combat by aircraft. Since then, aircraft carriers with aircrafts as the main weapon began to take the place of the battleship’s weak air defense capability and battleship’s role was changed to support operations at sea, shore bombardment and so on. In the Pacific theater, although both sides were equipped with a large number of battleships, the outcome of the war relied on aircraft carrier. In a battle, if the aircraft carrier of one side was sunk or lost combat capability, the side would retreat. In the famous , the Japanese battleships were not damaged at all, but after all the aircraft carriers were sunk, the Japanese commander Yamamoto ordered the army to retreat and admitted campaign failure. Because the battleship could not be effectively air defensive and was not be able to resist each other’s air offensive without air cover offered by aircrafts from aircraft carriers. After World II, most of the battleships from navies of the countries retired. Only of the U.S. military after being modernized still served till the 1990s and participated in the Gulf War.
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Battleships are heavily armored capital ship of the late 19th and the 20th Century. In Germany, this warships were, however until the end of World War I as liners or large battleships designated. Following the squadron of battleships sailing era and applied until the end of World War Iline tactics in Abroad battleships partly still to this day as ironclad denotes French (CUIRASSE, Ital Corazzata span, Acorazado Pol., Pancernik).
With the introduction of the single caliber British battleship HMSsat mainly in the Anglo-American language, but also in the Joint Navy called “Battleship” as a type designation. Today is meant by battleships in general – with some exceptions – the most heavily armed and armored battleships of the 20th Century. Their displacement took over the years constantly by the arms race of the maritime powers. It was at the beginning of the 20th Century still at about 20,000t, they reached the end of the era when most designs, such as the Yamato-class, over 70,000t.
The first predecessor of the battleships were built in the mid 19th Century. At first there were armored with iron sailing ships that were as ordinary warship this time equipped on both sides with guns. Through the introduction of explosive projectile by warships of armor steel subsequently became indispensable. With the introduction of the steam engine nantriebs which the wind-dependent sailing replaced, big coal bunkers were needed to large ranges such as an Atlantic – to enable or Pacific crossing. Therefore, the ships had to be constructed larger, with which the limited-duty wooden sailing ships was extremely difficult, which is why steel replaced wood as supporting material. Through the optimization of target devices and accuracy sailboats also became easy targets.
The superiority of armored vessels was first in the Crimean War (1853-1856) recognized for the whole world. American Civil War (1861-1865) the South sank within minutes, the large traditional sailing ships of the U.S. with their ironclad CSS Virginia, which itself remained unscathed. Since the northern states in the modern warship still had no experience, they hired the Swedish ship designer and inventor John Ericsson, who, as a result, the fleet of the United States with initially reluctant to accept innovations, he invented about the principle of the turret s (see also turretship) modernized.
The intense competition among the big Seestreitmächten, especially Great Britain and France, brought in the era of industrialization produced many new inventions and improvements in the war ships. Many navies introduced internal competitions to find the best and fastest teams at the guns, and to study their behavior and approach in order to take over the training. In addition, it was discovered that the simultaneous firing of volley different calibers it the Feuerleitpersonal difficult to distinguish between the spreads of the various batteries. Instead of equipping both sides of the ship with guns – what the side by the big coal bunker of boiler rooms was scarcely possible – in order to be introduced rapidly rotating armored turrets. This development – towers instead of battery cover – and has been made possible due to the expansion of the principle of rapid-fire guns on increasing caliber and the concomitant development of the closures, target, target resources and the promotion of ammunition.
Simultaneously with the transition from sail to steam and drive from wooden to steel construction, all this led to the fact that the ships of navies, which did not follow this trend, within a few years were worthless. For ordinary cannonballs bounced easily from the fully armored with steel ships and sailboats were making by the higher hit rates and explosive rounds easily maneuverable and – if they did not have sufficient armor – sunk within minutes.
In the years from 1880 to 1900 some countries built and owned almost all the navies of the great powers, especially Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Japan and the U.S., armored ships of the line (which varies from nation to nation, were also classified as frequently as ironclads), the former rig had disappeared about 1890, almost entirely. At the same time they made some fleets also attempt to improve the first underwater protection. The pure, originally from France belt armored method came gradually into the background (last it was applied in 1901 when built in France Russian battleship Zessarewitsch) and was replaced by an elaborate system of armored transverse bulkheads, including a central longitudinal bulkhead. Nevertheless, the former battleships were still very vulnerable to underwater hits, about mines and torpedos, which showed particularly in the Russo-Japanese War 1904/05 and in World War later. Ships of the line from the pre-dreadnought-phase, which ran on mines or torpedoes were dropped, usually with high personnel losses, for example, German Pomerania SMS 1916, the French or the British HMS Goliath Bouvet 1915th.
Until around 1900, the displacement of the armored battleships increased to up to 16,000t. At best achieved these ships at top speed of about 18 knots, and had a crew of about 600 to 880 men. Typical representatives of this phase of the war shipbuilding were for example the Japanese Mikasa (1902), the British HMS Majestic (1895) and the German SMS Braunschweig (1902 ). Typically, these vessels had a four heavy guns main armament (in caliber from 24 cm to 33 cm) in two towers and about a dozen middle Kasemattgeschütze whose caliber ranged between 12.7 cm and 17.8 cm. A certain peculiarity presented here represents the arming of American battleships of the Kearsarge class: These ships were each given two tandem towers, with a twin tower of heavy artillery (in caliber 33 cm), a second twin tower (with 20.3-inch guns) placed was. This design proved to be, however, because both gun pairs mutually disabled and the fire control system turned out to be difficult. Also had to the ceiling of the lower twin purpose of installation of the upper tower tower be broken, which in turn significantly slowed the tank ceiling.
One of the most famous battles between ships of the line of the pre-dreadnought-phase occurred in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War: The Battle of Tsushima defeated the Japanese fleet, the Russian Pacific(which had previously escaped from the Baltic Sea and circled half the world had), where alone six Russian battleships sank.
The road to the HMSand the First World War
In the period after 1900 among the maritime powers began the trend to increase the number of heavy guns per ship. First, some designs were placed on Kiel, in which besides the main four heavy guns, a certain number of heavy guns was half built, referring to the caliber (it varied from about 19.1 cm to 26.4 cm) between the main – and the means moving artillery. For example, the British Lord Nelson Class of 1904 was in addition to four 30.5-cm guns, ten 23.4-inch guns in four twin and two twin towers. The Japanese Satsuma of 1905, even twelve 25.4 cm guns in six twin towers and four 30.5-cm guns with them. These very different caliber but brought more problems than benefits, since each caliber had to be controlled by a separate fire line and the shooting results, due to the similarity and the high likelihood of confusion premium images, were relatively poor. Came to the heavy guns adds an easier medium artillery, was the fire control is extremely expensive and out of proportion to the benefit of more.
It started so quickly the search for a ship with a high number of heavy guns, but had a uniform caliber – the idea of the all big gun battleship caliber one was born. This philosophy was first realized in 1906 with the HMS Dreadnought. This first battleship of the new generation had ten 30.5-inch guns in five twin towers and displaced more than about 21,800t (which was almost 6,000 ts greater than the previously built ships of the line). By improvements in drive technology also could previously used high steam engine will be replaced by the much lower be built steam turbine, making the silhouette of the ship lower and this therefore harder to hit and what the speed raised to partly up to 23 knots. Another innovation over previous designs was the construction of the drilling tower, holding approximately from 1909 served in the warship building and at first mainly in the Italian (-class), the Russian (Gangut class) and the Imperial Navy (Tegetthoff class) was in use. Due to the advent of the Dreadnoughts (the actual name of the HMS Dreadnought, and was in the history often used as a generic term for all capital ships, which corresponded to the concept of the all big gun one caliber battleship or that can be allocated used) also were the former unit liners almost completely devalued. While the older battleships for a long time were swept used today, some German battleships were even during World War II still in low scale (about the from 1906), but in a direct confrontation with the battleships of the new generation, they were chance.
In the following years up to the First World War, the building of this new capital ships, especially in Germany (where the ships are also classified as large battleships) and the United Kingdom as part of the arisen around since 1900 Anglo-German naval opposition, forced massive. Sun from 1908 to 1911 Germany built twelve new battleships, in the UK alone in 1910 were nine dreadnoughts in service. The other great powers, especially the U.S. and Japan, to a lesser extent France, Italy, Austria-Hungary and Russia, began increasingly to the enslavement of capital ships. Even smaller navies, such as Brazil (Minas Gerais class), Chilean (Almirante Latorre), or the Argentine (ARA Rivadavia) began with the commissioning of dreadnoughts, in all three cases, the ships, however, given abroad in order (in the case of the ship Almirante Latorre was delivered only after the First World War, as the Royal Navy purchased the ship at war broke out in 1914 and unceremoniously as HMS Canada itself had used until 1920). A special way, due to a low budget, was the Spanish Navy, with the three dreadnoughts the España class created a type that is both encouraging a heavy armament (eight 30.5-mm guns) led, with the other hand a maximum displacement of about 15,800t not much bigger than the previous unit was battleships. However, the armor protection and the protection against underwater hits when these ships were very weak.
The disadvantage of these vessels, however, that on one hand were extremely costly, both in construction and in maintenance (a dreadnought battleship cost to build an average of about two and a half times as much as an older unit battleship), and secondly, that they face underwater hits still showed glaring weaknesses. (The Fall of the British battleship HMS Audacious in 1914 after only a mine it was on restrictive procedures.)
Another problem, which led to several losses ship turned, at this time in some navies, mostly in Japanese, the British and Russian, are prone to the tendency of the propellant charges to instability during storage and spontaneous combustion, represents By cordite fires and result in explosions of ammunition, for example the British battleship1917 or the Japanese Kawachi fell July 1918. The Russian battleship Imperatriza Marija was 1916 such a powder Autoignition victim. In addition, these fires and explosions occurred even on older ships of the line unit, about 1911, the French battleship Liberté fell in Toulon after a similar incident. In such accidents, there were usually a lot of sacrifice, alone on board 843 sailors died.
Known representatives of this Dreadnought era were about the Americanof 1911, led ten 35.6-inch guns, the German SMS Frederick the Great in 1910, the French Courbet (1911), the Russian Imperatriza Marija (1913) or the British in 1912.
These ships formed the core of the navies in the First World War. On average, a dreadnought battleship displaced during World War I about 26,000 ts and had a crew of up to 1,400 men, the number of heavy guns ranged between ten and 14, the caliber mostly ranged between 28 cm and 35.6 cm. Furthermore, there was still mostly a middle artillery of eight to 14 Kasemattgeschützen board whose caliber between 10.2 cm and 15.2 cm swayed. Average was fought in the First World War with the heavy artillery of the ships about to a distance of about twelve to 15 kilometers and hit where it nevertheless also were exceptions, so for example, in 1916 fought in the Black Sea, the Russian battleship Imperatriza Marija and the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben during a brief encounter at a distance of up to 24 kilometers – without compromising but a hit is scored.
During the war, built the belligerent nations, the first so-called super-dreadnoughts. These ships displaced already well over 30,000 ts and were armed with guns of caliber 38 cm or greater. Representative of this type were about the Britishor the ships of the German Bayern class, of which until the war ended in 1918 but only two were built. With the Japanese Nagato was also the first time in 1917 a battleship with 40.6-inch guns placed on the user. The only major clash of British and German battleships occurred during the Battle of Jutland (German: Battle of Jutland) 31 May 1916, as against 99 German 151 British warships fought, including 21 German and 37 British capital ship. Other noteworthy applications of capital ships in the happened in the Falklands in 1914 and at the Battle of Moon Sound 1917th was another notable use of capital ships and older battleships in World War during the Battle of the Dardanelles.
Nevertheless, it was found that the dismantled at enormous expense battle fleets were not the decisive weapons and rather caused a mutual stalemate. The German High Seas Fleet spent the most time during the war to their bases as a fleet-in-being, while the British fleet on the other side of the North Sea, vainly waiting for an advance of the German Navy. Its own push towards the German coast they undertook, however, not well. Of a much larger influence on the course of war were ultimately the British blockade of Germany, the Germanwarfare and mine warfare. In 1918 , the most modern ships of the German High Seas Fleet, eleven battleships and five battlecruisers, to the victors shipped to internment and 1919 revoked in by scuttling of the seizure.
After the end of World War I tried the leading powers in the interwar period to prevent a renewed fleet race, it came to both the number of battleships and their size. The reason for this step was also due to the fact that Japan had with the so-called 8:8 program in June 1920 approved an ambitious naval construction (over 16 capital ships). This was neither the purposes of Great Britain, had to overcome the economic and financial consequences of the First World War and its own massive naval armaments yet, even the U.S., which followed the rise of Japan in the Pacific with suspicion. To this end, in November 1921, the Washington Naval Conference was launched, which provided for a ten-year freeze for battleships and a maximum size of later buildings of 35,000 ts. Moreover, should the gun calibers are limited to a maximum 40.6 cm. Furthermore, replacement buildings for older ships could only be started when the ship, which was to be replaced, at least 20 years old. All the great maritime powers pledged also to sometimes drastic reduction of their existing tonnage of capital ships. For example, Britain had its battleship tonnage of 1,296,450 ts (existing in 1920) must be reduced to 525,000 ts (plan set for the year 1934).
This first major disarmament treaty of modern times, which on 6 February was completed in 1922 after three months of negotiations suffered, but from the start with the unwillingness of some nations to maritime arms limitations, especially the Japanese, French and Italian, and brought about a number of special provisions that only a few years later, a renewed arms race began, mainly among smaller Naval units in the cruiser category. Moreover attacked in some states, especially in the U.S. and in Japan, the tendency to be scrapped around, which has already begun, and still lying in the shipyards, which would have under the Contract or dismantled, nor to “save”. For example, in the United States was the completion of the battleship USS Maryland promoted massively in 1921 and was the ship as soon as possible subject to test drives, though parts of the equipment – such as fire control and the 12.7-mm guns of medium artillery – not yet installed were. In Japan and the U.S. were also several begun new buildings, such as the ships of the Lexington-class or the Akagi, unceremoniously turned into aircraft carriers (and as such they were not covered by the provisions of the Washington Treaty), even though the ships originally planned as a battlecruiser and in construction had been given.
The following conferences in London in 1930 and 1936 (in which Japan and Italy no longer participating) also provided for any significant results and more binding. After the bilateralof 1935, which met with strong opposition in France (it had yet Germany, the de facto same fleet size as France conceded), and in the context of the growing Japanese power ambitions in the Far East, the resulting and growing US-Japan opposition and increased Italian naval armaments, the intentions to arms control were virtually devoid of purpose from the mid-1930s.
In the subsequent period up to the beginning of World War II in most states began construction of new battleships. In the UK since 1936, the battleships of the King George V class were built, although they were officially measured at 35,000 ts, but in fact more than 40,000 displaced ts. In the U.S. since 1937 was the North Carolina class, whose vessels around 45,000 displaced ts maximum and possessed the nine 40.6-inch guns, and Germany built from the end of 1936 the battleships of the Bismarck class, whose more than 50,000 displaced ts was. Italy began in 1934 with the construction of the ships of the Littorio class (43,600 ts), whereupon France 1935 laid the first ship of the Richelieu-class keel whose displacement was over 48,000 ts. In Japan in November 1937 was finally the super battleship Yamato put into construction. Efforts to arms limitation were so far been in vain.
In contrast to the battleships of World War I had all these buildings a greater water resistance, better protection and tank systems and substantially increased air defense. In addition to numerous light and medium automatic weapons, mostly in caliber from 20 mm to 40 mm, is heavy anti-aircraft batteries were on board (often eight to 20 guns), a caliber between 9 cm (about the Italian Littorio class) and 13.3 cm (King George V class) owned. The, for example, introduced in 1945, twenty heavy 12.7-inch anti-aircraft guns, 80 40-mm cannon and up to 62 20-mm anti-aircraft guns. This huge increase in air defense capabilities also let the size of the crew to grow strongly. Had a battleship in World War mostly a crew of about 1100 to 1400 men, so included the crew of a battleship in World War II average of about 1800-2700 men Moreover, the rate of these new vessels is much higher than in earlier designs. Thus achieved, for example, the vessels built after 1943 American Iowa class a speed of about 33 knots, which they were about as fast as a torpedo boat in World War II.
World War II
During World War II, there was also the weak point of this mighty weapon, as the battleships were increasingly still insufficiently protected against attacks by aircraft, despite a massively reinforced air defense. Through the pioneering developments in the air sector and with the advent of ever more powerful expectant carrier forces the battleships were virtually obsolete. At the beginning of World War II, this was shown in surprising British attack on Taranto in 1940, in which a handful of obsoletetorpedo bombers, three Italian battleships were in port, except for many months or in one case even for the entire remaining period of the war could set battle (this attack is said to have inspired the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to the later).
It was the biggest threat to the beginning of the war mainly by submarine torpedoes – this was about the coming of the First World War British battleshipin 1939 sunk in his own home base of a German -, aircraft were in the course of equipped with war weapons with which they could sink battleships successfully ( , , air torpedo). The losses of the and Tirpitz, the British ships and 1941, the Italian RN Roma in 1943 and the loss of the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor in 1941, clearly demonstrate this. The sinking of the surveyed with almost 70,000 ts standard displacement (and largest ever built) battleships Yamato and Musashi Japanese Navy that had a main battery of nine 46-inch guns, confirmed this final. These attacks, however, were each flown by hundreds of aircraft. The final confession of the victory of the carrier aircraft over the battleship was the fact that, as Japan did in the last years of the war to rebuild some of its remaining battleships (Ise-class) to hybrid ships, the aft heavy artillery turrets were removed and replaced with a flight deck. This attempt to adapt existing battleships to the new threat from the air proved to be too expensive and ineffective.
Nevertheless, although had the battleships that were built during theor in the 1930s and put into service, a much improved stability and a correspondingly greater resistance to fire all kinds of underwater protection was still a weakness of the ships of the First World War and the previous phase have been, then modern buildings showed in this regard partly to be very resilient. The German Battleship Scharnhorst (35,540 ts) about that was sunk in 1943 in the North Sea, fell only after 13 torpedo and numerous artillery hits. The Japanese super battleship Musashi (69,646 ts standard displacement) sank in 1944 in the Sibuyan Sea only after a minimum of 19 torpedo and an estimated 17 bomb hits. Respect, a significant improvement of the effectiveness of protection systems against underwater hits over previous units is apparent, but this ultimately could not offset the impact of enemy air support and armed forces and a general hostile superiority.
Even the artillery ships had been further improved. On the one hand the means for fire control were continually refined and thus increase the accuracy of artillery fire, later in the war the ships were also provided with more radar and were able to also use their artillery at night over long distances, either to have been the range of the guns a total increase. While the average distance fight in World War I was still around twelve to 15 kilometers, they rose during the, more than 25 kilometers. Thus it was possible in about 1940 the off Norway at a distance of 27 km, a hit on the British aircraft carrier , also in 1940, the British battleship over a similarly large distance, a hit on the Italian battleship RN . The largest reach of any battleship guns of World War II had the 38.1-mm guns of the Italian battleships Littorio class with 42 km, about the same maximum range had the 38-mm guns of the French Richelieu class. Even the much smaller 28-mm guns of the German Scharnhorst class yet reached a maximum range of just over 40 km. Results, however, were achieved on these extreme distances before.
It also showed, however, that battleships were rarely directly intertwined in combat – in the hunt for the Bismarck, the sinking of the Scharnhorst by HMS Duke of York, thein the Mediterranean Sea, the and the in the Straits of Surigao in the Philippines – and therefore had a rather poor cost-benefit ratio. In addition there were a few skirmishes in which battleships were used, where they met almost only on lighter enemy naval forces (and this partly defeated), about the . Battleships proved themselves regarded as “floating artillery” in landing operations, about the island hopping in the Pacific, the company Sicily or in the Allied landings in Normandy, these tasks could also by smaller, cheaper ships and increasingly adopted by fighter aircraft. Therefore, the battleships were after World War II because of the now decommissioned cut correspond traditional use basis in most marine in the world.
The last units were put into service in the Britishin 1946 and due to the many delays in 1949, commissioned in French Jean Bart. Both ships, however, had a rather short life, for the HMS Vanguard was 1960, and the Jean Bart, along with her sister ship Richelieu eventually scrapped the 1968th. While most of these units, which had survived the Second World War, were released even in the late 1940s to the demolition, some battleships were in the 1950s in various conflicts once used mainly during the Korean War (1950-1953) and during the Suez crisis 1956th However, the use was limited almost exclusively to Küstenbeschießungen, such as in October 1951, when the USS New Jersey shelled North Korean facilities at Wonsan, Hungnam and Kansong while French battleships Richelieu and Jean Bart gave up a bombardment of Egyptian coastal areas during the Suez crisis ultimately .
In addition, as part of the beginning of the end of the 1940s Cold War, it published in the Western press about 1948 multiple reports of alleged new Soviet battleships, which had partially but significantly exaggerated performance and armament data (as was in the case, reports the vessels would have 45.7-mm guns and displace up to 55,000 ts). These messages, which had been launched by the Soviet secret probably targeted and the West should provide uncertainty disappeared, from around 1953, again from the press landscape. The fact is that these ships, some of which were given fancy names like Krasnaya Sibirja, never existed. On the one hand, the Soviet shipbuilding industry was due to the effects of the war at that time not yet in a position to produce such ships. On the other hand, the Soviet Navy had long since realized that battleships no longer met the requirements of modern naval warfare.
In the 1950s, the American battleships of the Iowa class were equipped with nuclear bombs. This 862 kg heavy 40.6-cm shells (name: W23 “Katie”, a development of the W9-grenade) had a blast equivalent of about 17 kiloton TNT, which artillery was the maximum of the exploited, nor of the concept the battleship was recruited as artillery support. But probably not more than 50 shells of this type were produced.
The last U.S. battleships of the Iowa class were mothballed so already 1958th The USS New Jersey was reactivated in 1968, however, for one and a half years for Küstenbeschießungen in the Vietnam War. The use of the ship was later judged a success, he was particularly cheap (a full salvo of the vessel corresponded roughly the bomb load of eight fighter-bombers that were in maintenance and in case of loss therefore more expensive). After the Vietnam War, the ship was mothballed again. All four ships of the class were then reactivated again in 1982 under the plan of the Navy 600 ships, but they were also with Armored Box Launchers equipped with cruise missiles as the cruise missile.
In winter 1983/84 while the veteran USS New Jersey was assigned to the Mediterranean and used off the coast of Lebanon – in support of international, mainly composed of French and American Security Assistance Force in Lebanon (MNFL) – and bombarded Syrian and Druze positions with their 40.6-inch guns. The application, which was as military because of the still accurate firing artillery successfully called, but also apparent protests, as unconfirmed According civilian Wohnanlangen to have been taken.
Two of these ships were also the last time in 1991 for use as such in the second Gulf War in Iraq targets bombarded with artillery and missiles. After the Gulf War was the last battleship in the United States, the, on 31 March 1992 scrapped. The and USS Wisconsin were still being held by the U.S. Navy until 2006 in readiness, but then finally shut down, bringing the era of battleships came to an end.
Known battleship classes of World War I
•Iron Duke Class (UK)
•King Class (Germany)
•Imperatriza Marija Class (Russia)
•Courbet Class (France)
•Tegetthoff class (Austria-Hungary)
•New York Class (USA)
Known battleship class (es) during the interwar period
•Nelson Class (UK)
•Colorado class (USA)
•Nagato Class (Japan)
Known battleship classes of World War II
•Bismarck Class (Germany)
•South Dakota Class (1942) (USA)
•Iowa Class (USA)
•King George V class (UK)
•Littorio class (Italy)
•Richelieu Class (France)
•Yamato Class (Japan)