Portal:Battleships

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The Battleships Portal

Drawing of the Japanese Yamato in her final configuration before she was sunk in 1945.

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power, notably aircraft carriers, battleships were no longer able to establish naval superiority, and so all have been withdrawn from active service.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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Radetzky sits at rest at an unknown point in her career

SMS Radetzky was the lead ship of the three Radetzky class of pre-dreadnought battleships (Schlachtschiff) of the Austro-Hungarian Navy (K.u.K. Kriegsmarine), named for the 19th century Austrian Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz. Radetzky and her sisters, Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand and Zrinyi, were the last pre-dreadnoughts built by the Austro-Hungarian Navy—they were followed by the larger and significantly more powerful Tegetthoff class dreadnoughts. Radetzky was built at the Stabilimento Tecnico in Trieste and commissioned into the fleet on 15 January 1911. The ship conducted training cruises in the Mediterranean Sea before the outbreak of World War I in mid-1914. During the war, Radetzky operated largely as a fleet in being alongside her two sisters and the four Tegetthoffs; in doing so, the ships tied down considerable naval forces from the Triple Entente. Radetzky did participate in some offensive operations, primarily shore bombardments in the Adriatic Sea against French, Montenegrin, and Italian targets. With the war going against the Austro-Hungarians by the end of 1918, Radetzky was prepared to be transferred to Yugoslavia. On November 10, 1918—just one day before the end of the war—Yugoslav navy officers sailed the old battleship out of Pola and eventually surrendered to a squadron of American submarine chasers. In the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the transfer was not recognized; instead, Radetzky was given to Italy and broken up for scrap.

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photograph of von Tirpitz in the dress uniform of a Grand Admiral circa 1903.

Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (March 19, 1849 – March 6, 1930) is considered to be the founder of the 20th century Kaiserliche Marine. He became a cadet in the Kiel Naval School at age 16 on April 24, 1865, became a Seekadett in the Prussian Navy the following year after the outbreak of the Austro-Prussian War, and was commissioned as a Sub-Lieutenant on September 22, 1869 to serve aboard SMS König Wilhelm. Having spent much of the Franco-Prussian War in Great Britain, he was promoted to full Lieutenant soon after the Unification of Germany, and after being promoted again to Kapitänleutnant, was placed in charge of the torpedo inspectorate in 1877. His next eleven years were spent working with Robert Whitehead's company to develop weapon prototypes, torpedo boats, and formulating tactics with Navy State Secretary Count Leo von Caprivi. After commanding SMS Preußen and SMS Württemberg, he was promoted to Kapitän zur See in 1888 and served in a staff position in the Baltic Squadron.

After advising Kaiser Wilhelm II to develop battleships, von Tirpitz was charged for developing a strategy for what would eventually become the High Seas Fleet. After serving as chief of the naval staff in 1892, he was promoted to rear admiral in 1895 and took command of the East Asia Squadron the following year. After Admiral Friedrich von Hollmann had a falling out with Wilhelm regarding funding, he was appointed Secretary of the Reichsmarineamt in 1897. Deeming that the most likely enemy would be the British and that cruiser-dominated warfare would be impractical, he revised the Navy to revolve around battleships and drafted naval bills with the ear of the Kaiser and support of the Navy League. As tensions with Britain grew, subsequent bills increased the size of the navy in accrdance with the Tirpitz Plan, starting an arms race with the Royal Navy, and Tirpitz was given the nobiliary particle "von" in 1900. Promoted to Grand Admiral in 1911, he disagreed with the Kaiser when advocating for unrestricted submarine warfare and resigned on March 15, 1916. Co-founding the Fatherland Party in 1917, he remained active in politics, sitting in the Prussian House of Lords until 1918, and then the Reichstag for the German National People's Party until 1928.

The German battleship Tirpitz was named for him in 1939, and he appeared on the cover of Time magazine on June 2, 1924.

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The Lexington class battlecruisers were the only class of battlecruiser to ever be ordered by the United States Navy, and the only to be officially referred to as such. Six—given names from the American Revolutionary War—were planned as part of the massive 1916 building program, but their construction was repeatedly postponed in favor of escort ships and anti-submarine vessels.
Credit: F. Muller artwork circa 1919, United States Navy archive

The Lexington class battlecruisers were the only class of battlecruiser to ever be ordered by the United States Navy, and the only to be officially referred to as such. Six—given names from the American Revolutionary War—were planned as part of the massive 1916 building program, but their construction was repeatedly postponed in favor of escort ships and anti-submarine vessels.

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Battlecruisers of GermanyBayern-class battleshipsIndefatigable-class battlecruisersIowa-class battleshipsKönig-class battleshipsRivadavia-class battleshipsTosa-class battleshipsYamato-class battleships

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Almirante Latorre-class battleshipAmagi-class battlecruiserAlaska-class cruiserARA MorenoARA RivadaviaArmament of the Iowa-class battleshipBattle of MidwayBattle of the Eastern SolomonsBattle of the Santa Cruz IslandsBattleshipBayern-class battleshipBrazilian battleship Minas GeraesBrazilian battleship São PauloChilean battleship Almirante LatorreCourageous-class battlecruiserDerfflinger-class battlecruiserDesign 1047 battlecruiserDreadnoughtDutch 1913 battleship proposalErnst LindemannFred MoosallyHMAS Australia (1911)HMS Eagle (1918)HMS Indefatigable (1909)HMS Lion (1910)HMS Royal Oak (08)Helgoland-class battleshipIndiana-class battleshipJapanese aircraft carrier AkagiJapanese aircraft carrier KagaJapanese battleship HarunaJapanese battleship TosaJapanese battleship YamatoKaiser-class battleshipKönig-class battleshipMinas Geraes-class battleshipMoltke-class battlecruiserMontana-class battleshipNassau-class battleshipNaval Battle of GuadalcanalNorth Carolina-class battleshipOperation Ten-GoPre-dreadnought battleshipRivadavia-class battleshipRussian battleship SlavaSMS Baden (1915)SMS Bayern (1915)SMS DerfflingerSMS Erzherzog Franz FerdinandSMS Friedrich der Grosse (1911)SMS GoebenSMS Grosser Kurfürst (1913)SMS HelgolandSMS HindenburgSMS KönigSMS Kronprinz (1914)SMS LützowSMS MarkgrafSMS Moltke (1910)SMS RheinlandSMS SeydlitzSMS Von der TannSMS WestfalenSovetsky Soyuz-class battleshipSouth American dreadnought raceUSS Connecticut (BB-18)USS Illinois (BB-65)USS Indiana (BB-1)USS Iowa (BB-61)USS Iowa turret explosionUSS Kentucky (BB-66)USS Massachusetts (BB-2)USS Missouri (BB-63)USS Nevada (BB-36)USS New Jersey (BB-62)USS Wisconsin (BB-64)Yamato-class battleship

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List of battlecruisers of GermanyList of battlecruisers of JapanList of battlecruisers of RussiaList of battlecruisers of the Royal NavyList of battleships of Austria-HungaryList of battleships of GermanyList of battleships of the Ottoman Empire

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Borodino-class battlecruiserDesign A-150 battleshipDeutschland-class battleshipFlorida-class battleshipFusō-class battleshipGerman battleship TirpitzHMS Courageous (50)HMS Hood (51)HMS New Zealand (1911)HMS Princess Royal (1911)HMS Queen MaryJapanese battleship HieiJapanese battleship KirishimaJapanese battleship KongōJapanese battleship MusashiKongō-class battlecruiserLexington-class battlecruiserRussian battleship RostislavRussian battleship Sevastopol (1895)SMS Deutschland (1904)SMS HannoverSMS Kaiser (1911)SMS KaiserinSMS Kurfürst Friedrich WilhelmSMS NassauSMS OstfrieslandSMS PosenTosa-class battleshipUSS Hawaii (CB-3)USS Texas (BB-35)United States Naval Gunfire Support debate

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Battlecruisers of RussiaBattlecruisers of the Royal NavyBattleships of Austria-HungaryBattleships of GermanyCourageous-class battlecruisers and aircraft carriersEkaterina II-class battleshipsEvstafi-class battleshipsGangut-class battleshipsImperator Aleksandr II-class battleshipsImperatritsa Mariya-class battleshipsKongō-class battlecruisers

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28 cm SK L/40 gun30.5 cm SK L/50 gunAdmiral-class battlecruiserBL 18 inch Mk I naval gunBismarck-class battleshipBrandenburg-class battleshipBraunschweig-class battleshipBretagne-class battleshipColorado-class battleshipCourbet-class battleshipDelaware-class battleshipDesign B-65 cruiserEkaterina II-class battleshipErsatz Monarch-class battleshipErsatz Yorck-class battlecruiserErzherzog Karl-class battleshipEvstafi-class battleshipFranz von HipperFrench battleship Courbet (1911)French battleship DunkerqueFrench battleship FranceFrench battleship Iéna (1898)French battleship JauréguiberryFrench battleship Jean Bart (1911)French battleship ParisFrench battleship SuffrenG3 battlecruiserGangut-class battleshipGerman battleship GneisenauGerman battleship ScharnhorstGreek battleship KilkisGreek battleship LemnosGreek battleship SalamisH-class battleship proposalsHabsburg-class battleshipHigh Seas FleetHMS Agamemnon (1906)HMS Agincourt (1913)HMS Anson (79)HMS Dreadnought (1906)HMS Eagle (1918)HMS Furious (47)HMS GloriousHMS Howe (32)HMS Indomitable (1907)HMS Inflexible (1907)HMS Invincible (1907)HMS King George V (41)HMS Lord Nelson (1906)HMS Renown (1916)HMS Repulse (1916)HMS Royal Sovereign (05)HMS Swiftsure (1903)HMS Tiger (1913)HMS Triumph (1903)HMS Vanguard (23)Imperator Aleksandr II-class battleshipImperatritsa Mariya-class battleshipIndefatigable-class battlecruiserInvincible-class battlecruiserIowa-class battleshipIron Duke-class battleshipItalian battleship Roma (1940)Japanese aircraft carrier ShinanoKaiser Friedrich III-class battleshipKronshtadt-class battlecruiserL 20 α-class battleshipLion-class battlecruiserLion-class battleshipLittorio-class battleshipMackensen-class battlecruiserMississippi-class battleshipO-class battlecruiserOperation KitaRadetzky-class battleshipReinhard ScheerRenown-class battlecruiserRussian battleship Andrei PervozvannyRussian battleship Chesma (1886)Russian battleship Dvenadsat ApostolovRussian battleship Ekaterina IIRussian battleship EvstafiRussian battleship Gangut (1911)Russian battleship Georgii PobedonosetsRussian battleship Imperator Aleksandr IIRussian battleship Imperator Aleksandr IIIRussian battleship Imperator Nikolai IRussian battleship Imperator Nikolai I (1916)Russian battleship Imperator Pavel IRussian battleship Imperatritsa Ekaterina VelikayaRussian battleship Imperatritsa MariyaRussian battleship Ioann ZlatoustRussian battleship Petropavlovsk (1897)Russian battleship Petropavlovsk (1911)Russian battleship Poltava (1894)Russian battleship Poltava (1911)Russian battleship RetvizanRussian battleship Sevastopol (1911)Russian battleship SinopRussian battleship Tri SviatiteliaScharnhorst-class battleshipSMS ÁrpádSMS BabenburgSMS BrandenburgSMS BraunschweigSMS ElsassSMS Erzherzog Ferdinand MaxSMS Erzherzog FriedrichSMS Erzherzog KarlSMS HabsburgSMS HessenSMS Kaiser BarbarossaSMS Kaiser Friedrich IIISMS Kaiser Karl der GrosseSMS Kaiser Wilhelm der GrosseSMS Kaiser Wilhelm IISMS LothringenSMS MecklenburgSMS Oldenburg (1910)SMS PommernSMS Preussen (1903)SMS Prinz EugenSMS Prinzregent LuitpoldSMS RadetzkySMS SchlesienSMS Schleswig-HolsteinSMS SchwabenSMS Szent IstvánSMS TegetthoffSMS ThüringenSMS Viribus UnitisSMS WeissenburgSMS WettinSMS WittelsbachSMS WörthSMS ZähringenSMS ZrínyiScuttling of the German fleet in Scapa FlowSouth Dakota-class battleship (1939)Stalingrad-class battlecruiserSwiftsure-class battleshipTegetthoff-class battleshipUnited States Battleship Division Nine (World War I)USS Alaska (CB-1)USS Guam (CB-2)USS Lexington (CV-2)USS Massachusetts (BB-59)USS Texas (1892)USS Missouri grounding incidentWittelsbach-class battleship

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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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