World War II was the largest naval war in history. It was also the largest air war in

history, but that's another story...Ships that fought in the second world war

established technology, and patterns that would be used throughout the 20th century.

thousands of ideas that would have never been tried on ships during peace time were

applied in the then emergency state of the world.

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Battleships. Well into the twentieth century Battleships were the most feared vessel

in the sea. They were by those days standards very large, weighing in at a minimum

of 20,000tons. Their armor was enormous in some cases 12 inch thick belts of steel

along their sides! They were armed with 8 to 12 of the heaviest caliber cannon

possible the largest of these were18.1 inchers that shot shells that weighed 3,200 lbs.

To counter the threat of surface attack from light and extremely fast torpedoe boats

was countered with a secondary armament, the mini gun. Which today has evolved

into the phalanx gun system, which is a last resort point-defense weapon. There are

three main types of battleships. The lightest of these being the battlecruiser. These

were usually very light and therebye very fast. To obtain this maneuverability, they

gave up a lot of armor, although they still had a deadly armament. These forms of

battleships proved very unaffective. They were too light to do battle with a true

battleship. and their speed mattered not against aircraft. Plus they were very expensive

because of the engines, and light weight material they used. Thus, making them not

only an east target, but a good one too. By the end of the war, only 1 of the 40 or so

of these ships that were built was still in service. Next up from these we have the

battleship battleships. These were the regular old descendents of the ship of the line,

back from the day of Admiral Nelson, and John Paul Jones. They usuall weighed

from 17,000 tons to 21,000. They were of medium armor, medium speed, and

medium armament. But one must keep in mind that they were anything but a

medium/normal ship. These ships were before the age of the carrier, the second most

feared ship on the seas, as they carried roughly a dozen 12 inchers, and 1/2 a dozen 5

inchers. One step above this, and the king of all kings was the battlewagons. These

were the equivelant of the 19th century Flag Ship. They were expensive, big, and

could take an unbelievable amount of damage without going down. The two/three

most famous of these were the USS Iowa, and the JIN(Japanese Imperial

Navy)Yamato. 4 Yamato class battleships were scheduled to be made, but only 2

were, before the japanes realized that for the same price they could have 3 Shimanto

class carriers including planes. The Yamato was 244 (800ft, 2 1/2)football fields

meters long, had 9 18.1 inch guns! 12 6.1 inchers, for use against smaller, quicker

ships, and 12 5 inchers, foruse as an Anti Aircraft, or Surface gun. Its crew was

2,500 strong. And it had 16.1 inch thick armor belting around its waterline. The

Yamato class battleships are the biggest ever made. But they were not the best. The

best was the USS Iowa. which was the last battleship ever to fire a shot in time of

war. Doing so in the Persian Gulf as a part of Operation Desert Storm. The Uss Iowa

was longer than the Yamato, went 7 knots faster (32 knots) and at the same time had

roughly the same armament, and armor(a little smaller in both categories...9

16inchers, 13 inch belt).


Cruisers were and are the descendant of frigayes from the navies of past. Cruisers

were much smaller than Battleships, but at the same time 2 or 3 times larger than a

destroyer. Cruisers more than anything were to show the flag in places where locals

needed to be impressed, as they otherwise did not have near as well defined role as the

battleships, or destroyers. Their only real purpose was as a scout with firepower for

the fleet. But the Japanese put cruisers into use as the head of destroyer

squadrons.Light Cruisers were and where from 2500 to 10000 tons,