, the name given to the most skilled artillery surface vessels of war has been around since the early 20th Century. Capital ships had 20,000 to 60,000 tons and were marked by the entrained main artillery guns first ten to twelve with a caliber of30 cm in five or six towers. This firepower was later increased by eight to twelve guns with a caliber up to46 cm in three to four towers. The armor, range and speed increased until the end of , as the vulnerability of these vessels clearly against attacking aircraft and torpedoes. The action radius of a was limited by the range of his guns up to40 km and the existing target observation opportunities (visual, radar).
The HMScan be considered as the first capital ship. At the same time came the keel line back as tactical formation, since the opportunity to battles in which entire fleets met dwindled. Instead were checked especially during large-scale sea areas with strong combat units whose main power was represented by one or more capital ships until they were replaced by aircraft carriers.
As capital ships can also apply battlecruiser, which differ from the traditionalprimarily by the superior speed, what mostly weaker weapons or armor was accepted. So the first battle cruiser HMS Invincible wore as the two guns less than the same time introduced battleships of the (eight instead of ten30.5 cm guns). In addition, the British battle cruisers armor was designed to be much weaker.
Between the World Warsand Battlecruisers were bundled into the new type of fast battleship, combining the advantages of both types. The battleships had had enough driving power to be able to take over the duties of battlecruisers, and thus united the advantages of high speed, heavy armor and heavy armament.
The end of the dreadnoughts
During WorldII battleships were increasingly at risk of bomb and torpedo plane e s, so they had to be protected by escort ships and immense Flakbewaffnung. After the , its military significance faded almost completely, because they are considered too sensitive to modern missiles were and were on the other hand very limited in their tactical significance.
The recent military operations, which were carried out by capital ships were shore bombardment during the Vietnamin the second half of the 1960s, the bombardment of Beirutin 1983/84 USS New Jersey and bombing by cruise missiles during the Second Gulf War in 1991 by the American battleships in the II had been built.