Portal:Battleships

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The battleship USS IOWA (BB-61) firing its Mark 7 16-inch/50-caliber guns off the starboard side during a fire power demonstration.

A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. As they were the largest, best-armed and most heavily armored ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a nation's naval power from the late nineteenth century until World War II. With the rise of air power, notably aircraft carriers, battleships were no longer able to establish naval superiority, and so all have been withdrawn from active service. The related battlecruiser, a successor to the armored cruiser, shared the very large main armament, general size, and cost of a battleship of the same generation, but they traded armor or firepower for higher speed.

Battleship design evolved to incorporate and adapt technological advances to maintain an edge. The word battleship was coined around 1794 as a contraction of the phrase line-of-battle ship, the dominant wooden warship during the Age of Sail. It came into formal use in the late 1880s to describe a type of ironclad warship, but these are now referred to as "pre-dreadnoughts". In 1906, the launch of HMS Dreadnought heralded a revolution in battleship design. Later designs that were influenced by this ship were referred to as "dreadnoughts". Battlecruisers were developed around this time by the British First Sea Lord Jackie Fisher. They were envisioned as being more effective armored cruisers, able to destroy any normal cruiser while being able to outrun any ships capable of sinking them.

By 1910, so-called "super-dreadnoughts" were entering service. In the four years between Dreadnought and the first super-dreadnoughts, the Orion class, displacement had increased by 25% and weight of broadside had doubled. Many battlecruisers and battleships of all varieties served in the First World War, most notably in the Battle of Jutland. None were built between the Nelsons of the early 1920s and the Dunkerques of the early 1930s due to various treaties, but quite a few battleships were constructed shortly before or during World War II. The last, HMS Vanguard, was commissioned just after the war, in 1946.

From this time on, most battleships and all battlecruisers were decommissioned and broken up. France's Jean Bart and Turkey's Yavuz were the last to be scrapped. However, members of the American Iowa class lasted until 1992 to aid troops with fire support; four were deployed in Korea, one in Vietnam, and two to Iraq. Nine battleships exist today as museum ships; eight from the United States, and Japan's Mikasa. (more...)


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The Minas Geraes class, spelled Minas Gerais in some sources, consisted of two battleships built for the Brazilian Navy by the British company Armstrong Whitworth. In 1904, Brazil began a major naval building program that included three 11,800-long-ton (12,000 tonne) small battleships. Designing and ordering the ships took two years, but these plans were scrapped after the revolutionary dreadnought concept rendered the Brazilian design totally obsolete. Two of these dreadnoughts were ordered instead, making Brazil became the third country to have ships of this type under construction, before traditional powers like Germany, France or Russia. As such, the ships caused quite a stir among the major countries in the world, many of whom incorrectly speculated the ships were actually destined for a rival nation. Soon after their delivery in 1910, both Minas Geraes and São Paulo were embroiled in the Revolt of the Lash, in which the crews of four Brazilian ships demanded the abolition of corporal punishment in the navy. The ships surrendered four days after it began, when a bill was passed granting amnesty to all involved. In the 1920s and 30s, they participated in multiple revolts. Minas Geraes was modernized in the 1930s, but both battleships were too old to actively participate in the Second World War, and instead were employed as harbor defense ships in Salvador and Recife. São Paulo was sold in 1951 to a British shipbreaker, but was lost in a storm north of the Azores while being towed to her final destination. Minas Geraes was sold to an Italian scrapper in 1953 and towed to Genoa the following year.

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The head and upper torso of a man. He wears a peaked cap, black military coat and a white belt with dagger.

Ernst Lindemann (28 March 1894 – 27 May 1941) was a German naval captain and the only commander of the battleship Bismarck during its eight months of service in World War II. Born in 1894, he joined the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) in 1913, and after his basic military training, served on a number of warships during World War I as a wireless telegraphy officer. On board SMS Bayern, he participated in Operation Albion—the German invasion and occupation of the Estonian islands. After World War I, he served in various staff as well as naval gunnery training positions. One year after the outbreak of World War II, he was appointed commander of the battleship Bismarck, at the time the largest warship in commission and the pride of the Kriegsmarine.

In May 1941, Lindemann commanded Bismarck during Operation Rheinübung. The German task force, under the command of Admiral Günther Lütjens, consisted of the battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to break out of its base in German occupied Norway and attack British merchant shipping lanes in the Atlantic Ocean. The force's first major engagement was the Battle of the Denmark Strait which resulted in the sinking of HMS Hood. Less than a week later, on 27 May, Lindemann and most of his crew lost their lives during Bismarck's last battle. He was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuzes), which was presented to his widow, Hildegard, on 6 January 1942. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recognized extreme bravery on the battlefield or outstanding military leadership.

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An aerial view of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in 2002. During the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a bomb from a Japanese Nakajima B5N struck Arizona between the first and second gun turrets, causing a catastrophic explosion that sunk the ship, where she remains today, with 1,102 of her crew still entombed inside.
Credit: PH3 (AW/SW) Jayme Pastoric, DoD archive

An aerial view of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in 2002. During the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a bomb from a Japanese Nakajima B5N struck Arizona between the first and second gun turrets, causing a catastrophic explosion that sunk the ship, where she remains today, with 1,102 of her crew still entombed inside.

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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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