Portal:Battleships

Introduction

The firepower of a battleship demonstrated by USS Iowa (c. 1984). The muzzle blasts distort the ocean surface.

A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of large caliber guns. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the battleship was the most powerful type of warship, and a fleet of battleships was considered vital for any nation that desired to maintain command of the sea.

The word battleship was coined around 1794 and is a contraction of the phrase line-of-battle ship, the dominant wooden warship during the Age of Sail. The term came into formal use in the late 1880s to describe a type of ironclad warship, now referred to by historians as pre-dreadnought battleships. In 1906, the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought heralded a revolution in battleship design. Subsequent battleship designs, influenced by HMS Dreadnought, were referred to as "dreadnoughts", though the term eventually became obsolete as they became the only type of battleship in common use.

Battleships were a symbol of naval dominance and national might, and for decades the battleship was a major factor in both diplomacy and military strategy. A global arms race in battleship construction began in Europe in the 1890s and culminated at the decisive Battle of Tsushima in 1905, the outcome of which significantly influenced the design of HMS Dreadnought. The launch of Dreadnought in 1906 commenced a new naval arms race. Three major fleet actions between steel battleships took place: the decisive battles of the Yellow Sea (1904) and Tsushima (1905) during the Russo-Japanese War, and the inconclusive Battle of Jutland (1916) during the First World War. Jutland was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships in the war, and it was the last major battle fought primarily by battleships in world history.


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Yamato under construction; the deck is cluttered with building materials

The Yamato-class battleships were a class of Imperial Japanese Navy battleships constructed and operated during World War II. Displacing 72,000 long tons (73,000 t) at full-load, the vessels of the class were the heaviest and most heavily-armed battleships ever constructed. The class carried the largest naval artillery ever fitted to a warship, nine 460-millimetre (18.1 in) naval guns, each capable of firing 2,998-pound (1,360 kg) shells over 26 miles (42 km). Two battleships of the class (Yamato and Musashi) were completed, while a third (Shinano) was converted to an aircraft carrier during construction. Due to the threat of American submarines and aircraft carriers, both Yamato and Musashi spent the majority of their careers in naval bases at Brunei, Truk, and Kure—deploying on several occasions in response to American raids on Japanese bases—before participating in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, as part of Admiral Kurita's Centre Force. Musashi was sunk during the course of the battle by American carrier airplanes. Shinano was sunk ten days after her commissioning in November 1944 by the submarine USS Archer-Fish, while Yamato was sunk in April 1945 during Operation Ten-Go.

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photograph of Captain Bey in 1940, wearing the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

Konteradmiral Erich Bey (23 March 1898 – 26 December 1943) was a German naval officer who most notably served as a commander of the Kriegsmarine's destroyer forces and died during the sinking of the German battleship Scharnhorst at the Battle of North Cape. Joining the Kaiserliche Marine on 13 June, 1916, he served on destroyers and earned the Iron Cross during World War I, and continued through the transformation into the Reichsmarine and Kriegsmarine. As a commander at the outbreak of World War II, he commanded the 4th Destroyer Flotilla under Friedrich Bonte, and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during the Battles of Narvik. Promoted, he succeeded Bonte (who had been killed in the battle), and successfully screened for Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen during the Channel Dash.

Promoted to rear admiral on 25 December 1943, Bey led a task force, consisting of Scharnhorst and the destroyers Z29, Z30, Z33, Z34, and Z38 out of Alta Fjord in Operation Ostfront. Intending to intercept the Allied Convoy JW-55B en route to Murmansk, he encountered a superior Royal Navy force led by HMS Duke of York (17). In the ensuing battle, Scharnhorst was sunk with only 36 of 1,968 of her crew rescued. His British counterpart, Admiral Bruce Fraser, later told his officers, "I hope that if any of you are ever called upon to lead a ship into action against an opponent many times superior, you will command your ship as gallantly as Scharnhorst was commanded today".

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USS Colorado (BB-45) steams off lower Manhattan, circa 1932. The battleship had just undergone an overhaul, including the installation of new 5"/25 caliber anti-aircraft guns. She would later provide earthquake relief at Long Beach, California, search for Amelia Earhart, and fight in World War II.
Cr: National Museum of Naval Aviation photo

USS Colorado (BB-45) steams off lower Manhattan, circa 1932. The battleship had just undergone an overhaul, including the installation of new 5"/25 caliber anti-aircraft guns. She would later provide earthquake relief at Long Beach, California, search for Amelia Earhart, and fight in World War II.

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Operation Majestic Titan is the code name for a long-term Wikipedian project with two primary objectives, the first of which is to create the single largest featured topic on Wikipedia, centered around the battleships considered, planned, built, operated, canceled, or otherwise recorded. There are probably a few hundred articles of this nature which will be included, from the earliest pre-dreadnoughts to the last of the dreadnoughts. Once all articles are featured this project will reorient to ensuring that the articles remain up to standard. If you're interested, please view the project page to familiarize yourself with the guidelines, and simply pick an article to improve! There is also ongoing discussion you can participate in.

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