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Battleships

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Wars and warfare

German battleship Bismarck

Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched in February 1939. Work was completed in August 1940, when she was commissioned into the German fleet. Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power.

 
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Japanese battleship Yamato

Yamato (大和) was the lead ship of her class of battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) shortly before World War II. She and her sister ship, Musashi, were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed, displacing 72,800 tonnes at full load and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 in) Type 94 main guns, which were the largest guns ever mounted on a warship.

 
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HMS Dreadnought (1906)

HMS Dreadnought was a Royal Navy battleship that revolutionised naval power. Her name and the type of the entire class of warships that was named after her stems from archaic English in which "dreadnought" means "a fearless person". Dreadnought's entry into service in 1906 represented such an advance in naval technology that its name came to be associated with an entire generation of battleships, the "dreadnoughts", as well as the class of ships named after it. Likewise, the generation of ships she made obsolete became known as "pre-dreadnoughts". Admiral Sir John "Jacky" Fisher, First Sea Lord of the Board of Admiralty, is credited as the father of Dreadnought. Shortly after he assumed office, he ordered design studies for a battleship armed solely with 12-inch (305 mm) guns and a speed of 21 knots. He convened a "Committee on Designs" to evaluate the alternative designs and to assist in the detailed design work. One ancillary benefit of the Committee was that it would shield him and the Admiralty from political charges that they had not consulted leading experts before designing such a radically different battleship.

 
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Dreadnought

The dreadnought was the predominant type of battleship in the early 20th century. The first of its kind, the Royal Navy's Dreadnought made such a strong impression on people's minds when launched in 1906 that similar battleships built subsequently were referred to generically as "dreadnoughts", and earlier battleships became known as "pre-dreadnoughts". Dreadnought's design had two revolutionary features: an "all-big-gun" armament scheme, with more heavy-calibre guns than previous ships, and steam turbine propulsion. As dreadnoughts became a symbol of national power, the arrival of these new warships was a crucial catalyst in the intensifying naval arms race between the United Kingdom and Germany. With the launch of a single ship, Dreadnought, the scales of naval power were reset overnight. As a result, dreadnought races sprang up around the world, including in South America, during the lead up to World War I. Successive designs increased rapidly in size and made use of improvements in armament, armour, and propulsion throughout the dreadnought era. Within five years, new battleships had outclassed Dreadnought. These more powerful vessels were known as "super-dreadnoughts". Most of the original dreadnoughts were scrapped after the end of World War I under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, but many of the newer super-dreadnoughts continued to be used throughout World War II. The only surviving dreadnought is USS Texas, located near the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.

 
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Architecture, Wars and warfare

USS Texas (BB-35)

USS Texas (BB-35), the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the U.S. state of Texas, is a New York-class battleship. The ship was launched on 18 May 1912 and commissioned on 12 March 1914.

 
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German battleship Tirpitz

Tirpitz was the second of two Bismarck-class battleships built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine (navy) during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Kaiserliche Marine, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and her hull was launched two and a half years later. Work was completed in February 1941, when she was commissioned into the German fleet. Like her sister ship Bismarck, Tirpitz was armed with a main battery of eight 38-centimetre (15 in) guns in four twin turrets. After a series of wartime modifications she was 2,000 tonnes heavier than Bismarck, making her the heaviest battleship ever built by a European navy.

 
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USS Iowa (BB-61)

USS Iowa (BB-61) is the lead ship of her class of battleship and the fourth in the United States Navy to be named after the state of Iowa. Owing to the cancellation of the Montana-class battleships, Iowa is the last lead ship of any class of United States battleships and was the only ship of her class to have served in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II.

 
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HMS Warspite (03)

HMS Warspite was a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship built for the Royal Navy during the early 1910s. Her thirty-year career covered both world wars and took her across the Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Pacific Oceans. She participated in the Battle of Jutland during the First World War as part of the Grand Fleet. Other than that battle, and the inconclusive Action of 19 August, her service during the war generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.

 
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King George V-class battleship (1939)

The King George V-class battleships were the most modern British battleships in commission during World War II. Five ships of this class were built: HMS King George V (1940), HMS Prince of Wales (1941), HMS Duke of York (1941), HMS Howe (1942) and HMS Anson (1942).

 
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HMS Prince of Wales (53)

HMS Prince of Wales was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England. She was involved in several key actions of the Second World War, including the May 1941 Battle of the Denmark Strait against the German battleship Bismarck, operations escorting convoys in the Mediterranean, and her final action and sinking in the Pacific in December 1941.

 
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HMS Barham (04)

HMS Barham was a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship built for the Royal Navy during the early 1910s. Often used as a flagship, she participated in the Battle of Jutland during the First World War as part of the Grand Fleet. For the rest of the First World War, except for the inconclusive Action of 19 August 1916, her service during the war generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.

 
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Bismarck-class battleship

The Bismarck class was a pair of battleships built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine shortly before the outbreak of World War II. The ships were the largest warships built for the Kriegsmarine. Bismarck was laid down in July 1936 and completed in September 1940, while her sister Tirpitz's keel was laid in October 1936 and work finished in February 1941.

 
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Japanese battleship Musashi

Musashi (武蔵), named after the former Japanese province, was one of two Yamato-class battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), beginning in the late 1930s. The Yamato-class ships were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed, displacing almost 72,000 long tons (73,000 t) fully loaded and armed with nine 46-centimetre (18.1 in) main guns. Their secondary armament consisted of four 15.5-centimetre (6.1 in) triple-gun turrets formerly used by the Mogami-class cruisers. They were equipped with six or seven floatplanes to conduct reconnaissance.

 
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Architecture, Wars and warfare

USS North Carolina (BB-55)

USS North Carolina (BB-55) is the lead ship of North Carolina-class battleship and the fourth warship in the U.S. Navy to be named for the State of North Carolina. She was the first newly constructed American battleship to enter service during World War II, and took part in every major naval offensive in the Pacific Theater of Operations; her 15 battle stars made her the most decorated American battleship of World War II.

 
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Queen Elizabeth-class battleship

The Queen Elizabeth-class battleships were a class of five super-dreadnoughts of the Royal Navy commissioned in 1915–16. The lead ship was named after Elizabeth I of England. These battleships were superior in firepower, protection and speed to their Royal Navy predecessors of the Iron Duke class as well as preceding German classes such as the König class, although the corresponding Bayern-class ships were generally considered competitive, the Queen Elizabeth class were 2 knots (3.7 km/h) faster and outnumbered the German class 5:2. As such, the Queen Elizabeths are generally considered the first fast battleships in their day.