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Naval battles

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Wars and warfare

Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval engagement fought by the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars (1796–1815).

 
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Wars and warfare

Spanish Armada

The Spanish Armada was a Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from A Coruña in late May 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. The strategic aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and her establishment of Protestantism in England, with the expectation that this would put a stop to English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of Jutland

The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle fought by Britain's Royal Navy Grand Fleet under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, against the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet under Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer during the First World War. The battle unfolded in extensive manoeuvring and three main engagements, from 31 May to 1 June 1916, off the North Sea coast of Denmark's Jutland Peninsula. It was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war. Jutland was the third fleet action between steel battleships, following the smaller but more decisive battles of the Yellow Sea (1904) and Tsushima (1905) during the Russo-Japanese War. Jutland was the last major battle in world history fought primarily by battleships.

 
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Wars and warfare

Gulf of Tonkin incident

The Gulf of Tonkin incident, also known as the USS Maddox incident, was an international confrontation that led to the United States engaging more directly in the Vietnam War. It involved either one or two separate confrontations involving North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. The original American report blamed North Vietnam for both incidents, but eventually became very controversial with widespread belief that at least one, and possibly both incidents were false, and possibly deliberately so. On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, while performing a signals intelligence patrol as part of DESOTO operations, was pursued by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron. Maddox fired three warning shots and the North Vietnamese boats then attacked with torpedoes and machine gun fire. Maddox expended over 280 3-inch and 5-inch shells in a sea battle. One U.S. aircraft was damaged, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed, with six more wounded. There were no U.S. casualties. Maddox "was unscathed except for a single bullet hole from a Vietnamese machine gun round."

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of Leyte Gulf

The Battle of Leyte Gulf is generally considered to have been the largest naval battle of World War II and, by some criteria, possibly the largest naval battle in history.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of Vuelta de Obligado

The naval Battle of Vuelta de Obligado took place on the waters of the Paraná River on 20 November 1845, between the Argentine Confederation, under the leadership of Juan Manuel de Rosas, and a combined Anglo-French fleet. The action was part of the larger Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata. Although the attacking forces broke through the Argentine naval defenses and overran the land defenses, the battle proved that foreign ships could not safely navigate Argentine internal waters against its government's wishes. The battle also changed political feeling in South America, increasing support for Rosas and his government.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of the River Plate

The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War and the first one of the Battle of the Atlantic in South American waters. The German panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee had cruised into the South Atlantic a fortnight before the war began, and had been commerce raiding after receiving appropriate authorisation on 26 September 1939. One of the hunting groups sent by the British Admiralty to search for Graf Spee, comprising three Royal Navy cruisers, HMS Exeter, Ajax and Achilles, found and engaged their quarry off the estuary of the River Plate close to the coast of Uruguay in South America.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of the Atlantic

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Germany in 1945, and was a major part of the Naval history of World War II. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. It was at its height from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of the Coral Sea

The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4 to 8 May 1942, was a major naval battle between the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and naval and air forces from the United States and Australia, taking place in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. The battle is historically significant as the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of Lepanto

The Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement that took place on 7 October 1571 where a fleet of the Holy League, led by the Venetian Republic and the Spanish Empire, inflicted a major defeat on the fleet of the Ottoman Empire in the Gulf of Patras. The Ottoman forces were sailing westward from their naval station in Lepanto when they met the fleet of the Holy League which was sailing east from Messina, Sicily. The Holy League was a coalition of European Catholic maritime states which were arranged by Pope Pius V and led by John of Austria. The league was largely financed by Philip II of Spain, and the Venetian Republic was the main contributor of ships.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of Salamis

The Battle of Salamis was a naval battle fought between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles and the Persian Empire under King Xerxes in 480 BC which resulted in a decisive victory for the outnumbered Greeks. The battle was fought in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens, and marked the high-point of the second Persian invasion of Greece.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of Actium

The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic, a naval engagement between Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the promontory of Actium, in the Roman province of Epirus Vetus in Greece. Octavian's fleet was commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, while Antony's fleet was supported by the power of Queen Cleopatra of Ptolemaic Egypt.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of Tsushima

The Battle of Tsushima, also known as the Battle of Tsushima Strait and the Naval Battle of the Sea of Japan in Japan, was a major naval battle fought between Russia and Japan during the Russo-Japanese War. It was naval history's only decisive sea battle fought by modern steel battleship fleets, and the first naval battle in which wireless telegraphy (radio) played a critically important role. It has been characterized as the "dying echo of the old era – for the last time in the history of naval warfare, ships of the line of a beaten fleet surrendered on the high seas".

 
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Wars and warfare

Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, sometimes referred to as the Third and Fourth Battles of Savo Island, the Battle of the Solomons, the Battle of Friday the 13th, or, in Japanese sources, the Third Battle of the Solomon Sea , took place from 12–15 November 1942, and was the decisive engagement in a series of naval battles between Allied and Imperial Japanese forces during the months-long Guadalcanal Campaign in the Solomon Islands during World War II. The action consisted of combined air and sea engagements over four days, most near Guadalcanal and all related to a Japanese effort to reinforce land forces on the island. The only two U.S. Navy admirals to be killed in a surface engagement in the war were lost in this battle.

 
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Wars and warfare

Battle of the Denmark Strait

The Battle of the Denmark Strait was a naval engagement on 24 May 1941 in the Second World War, between ships of the Royal Navy and the German Kriegsmarine. The British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Hood fought the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which were attempting to break out into the North Atlantic to attack Allied merchant shipping.