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Costal Patrol Ship / Fast Attack Craft


A fast attack craft (FAC) is a small, fast, agile and offensive warship armed with anti-ship missiles, gun or torpedoes. FACs are usually operated in close proximity to land as they lack both the seakeeping and all-round defensive capabilities to survive in blue water. The size of the vessel also limits the fuel, stores and water supplies. Sizewise they are usually between 50–400 tonnes and can reach speeds of 25–50 knots.



As early as the mid-19th century, the Jeune École's poussiere navale theory called for a great number of small, agile vessels to break up invading fleets of larger vessels. The idea was first put into action in the 1870s with the steam torpedo boat, which was produced in large numbers by both the Royal Navy and the Marine Nationale. These new vessels proved especially susceptible to rough seas and to have limited utility in scouting due to their short endurance and low bridges. The potential threat was entirely extinguished with the introduction of the Torpedo Boat Destroyer (TBD) in 1893, a larger vessel, it could mount guns capable of destroying the torpedo boat before it was within range to use its own weapons.


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PT boats at high speed in 1942


The idea was revived shortly before World War I with the craft using new gasoline engines. Italy and Great Britain were at the forefront of this design, with the Coastal Motor Boat (CMB) and the Motobarca Armata Silurante (MAS). The outstanding achievement of the class was the sinking of the Austro-Hungarian battleship SMS Szent István by MAS. 15 on June 10, 1918. The equivalent achievement for the CMBs was a lesser success; during the Russian Civil War CMBs attacked the Red Fleet at anchor at Kronstadt on June 18, 1919, sinking the cruiser Pamiat Azova for the loss of four craft.


The design matured in the mid-1930s as the Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs) and Motor Gun Boats (MGBs) of the Royal Navy, the PT boats of the US Navy, and the E-boats (Schnellboote) of the Kriegsmarine. All types saw extensive use during World War II but were limited in effectiveness due to the increasing threat of aircraft.

After WW2, the use of this kind of craft steadily declined in the USA and Britain, despite the introduction of safer diesel engines to replace the highly flammable gasoline ones, although the Soviet Union still had large numbers of MGBs and MTBs in service.


Source: http://en.wikipedia....st_attack_craft



A patrol boat is a relatively small naval vessel generally designed for coastal defence duties. There have been many designs for patrol boats. They may be operated by a nation's navy, coast guard, or police force, and may be intended for marine (blue water) and/or estuarine or river ("brown water") environments. They are commonly found engaged in various border protection roles, including anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, fisheries patrols, and immigration law enforcement. They are also often called upon to participate in rescue operations.


They may be broadly classified as inshore patrol vessels (IPVs) and offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). They are warships typically smaller in size than a corvette and can include fast attack craft, torpedo boats and missile boats, although some are as large as a frigate. The offshore patrol vessels are usually the smallest ship in a navy's fleet that are large and seaworthy enough to patrol off-shore in the open ocean. In larger militaries, such as in the United States military, offshore patrol vessels usually serve in the coast guard, but many smaller nations navies operate these type of ships.



During both World Wars in order to rapidly build up numbers, all sides created auxiliary patrol boats by arming motorboats and sea going fishing trawlers with machine guns and obsolescent naval weapons. Some modern patrol vessels are still based on fishing and leisure boats. Seagoing patrol boats are typically around 30m (100 ft) in length and usually carry a single medium calibre artillery gun as main armament, and a variety of lighter secondary armament such as machine guns or a close-in weapon system. Depending on role, vessels in this class may also have more sophisticated sensors and fire control systems that would enable them to carry torpedoes, anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles.


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PCE-872, a World War II patrol craft escort of the US Navy


Source: http://en.wikipedia....e_patrol_vessel

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A corvette (sometimes corvet) is a small, manoeuvrable, lightly armed warship, originally smaller than a frigate (2000+ tons) and larger than a coastal patrol craft or fast attack craft (500 or fewer tons), although many recent designs resemble frigates in size and role. During the Age of Sail, corvettes were smaller than frigates and larger than sloops-of-war, usually with a single gun deck.


Although almost all modern navies use ships smaller than frigates for coastal duty, not all of them use the term corvette (via Middle French, from a Dutch word corf, a type of boat) or equivalent. The rank "corvette captain", equivalent in many navies to "lieutenant commander", derives from the name of this type of ship.




The modern corvette appeared during World War II as an easily built patrol and convoy escort vessel. The British naval designer William Reed drew up a small ship based on the single-shaft Smiths Dock Company whale catcher Southern Pride, whose simple design and mercantile construction standards lent itself to rapid production in large numbers in small yards unused to naval work. First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, later Prime Minister, had a hand in reviving the name "corvette".


During the arms buildup leading to World War II the term "corvette" was almost attached to the Tribal-class destroyer. The Tribals were so much larger than and sufficiently different from other British destroyers that some consideration was given to resurrecting the classification of "corvette" and applying it to them. This idea was dropped, and the term applied to small, mass-produced anti-submarine escorts such as the Flower class of World War II.


The first modern corvettes were the Flower class (Royal Navy corvettes were named after flowers, and ships in Royal Canadian Navy service took the name of smaller Canadian cities and towns). Their chief duty was to protect convoys throughout the Battle of the Atlantic and on the routes from the UK to Murmansk carrying supplies to the Soviet Union.


The Flower-class corvette was originally designed for offshore patrol work, and was not ideal as an anti-submarine escort; they were really too short for open ocean work, too lightly armed for anti-aircraft defence, and little faster than the merchantmen they escorted, a particular problem given the faster German U-boat designs then emerging. They were very seaworthy and manoeuvrable, but living conditions for ocean voyages were appalling. Because of this the corvette was superseded in the Royal Navy as the escort ship of choice by the frigate, which was larger, faster, better armed and had two shafts. However, many small yards could not produce vessels of frigate size, so an improved corvette design, the Castle class, was introduced later in the war, some remaining in service until the mid-1950s.


The Royal Australian Navy built 60 Bathurst-class corvettes, including 20 for the Royal Navy crewed by Australians, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy. These were officially described as Australian mine sweepers, or as minesweeping sloops by the Royal Navy, and were named after Australian towns.


The Bird-class minesweepers or trawlers were referred to as corvettes in the Royal New Zealand Navy, and two, Kiwi and Moa, rammed and sank a much larger Japanese submarine, the I-1, in 1943 in the Solomons.


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USS Intensity, a US-operated Flower class corvette during World War II


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvettes

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A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.


In modern navies, frigates are used to protect other warships and merchant-marine ships, especially as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) combatants for amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups, and merchant convoys. Ship classes dubbed "frigates" have also more closely resembled corvettes, destroyers, cruisers and even battleships.



Modern frigates are related to earlier frigates only by name. The term "frigate" was readopted during World War II by the Royal Navy to describe a new type of anti-submarine escort vessel that was larger than a corvette, smaller than a destroyer, and were about equal in size and capability with the American destroyer escort. The frigate was introduced to remedy some of the shortcomings inherent in the corvette design: limited armament, a hull form not suited to open-ocean work, a single shaft which limited speed and maneuverability, and a lack of range.


The frigate was designed and built to the same mercantile construction standards (scantlings) as the corvette, allowing manufacture by yards unused to warship construction. The first frigates of the River class (1941) were essentially two sets of corvette machinery in one larger hull, armed with the latest Hedgehog anti-submarine weapon.


The frigate possessed less offensive firepower and speed than a destroyer, but such qualities were not required for anti-submarine warfare. Submarines were slow while submerged, and ASDIC sets did not operate effectively at speeds of over 20 knots. Rather, the frigate was an austere and weatherly vessel suitable for mass-construction and fitted with the latest innovations in anti-submarine warfare. As the frigate was intended purely for convoy duties, and not to deploy with the fleet, it had limited range and speed.


The contemporaneous German Flottenbegleiter ("fleet escorts"), also known as "F-Boats" were essentially frigates. They were based on a pre-war Oberkommando der Marine concept of vessels which could fill roles such as fast minesweeper, minelayer, merchant escort and anti-submarine vessel. Because of the Treaty of Versailles their displacement was officially limited to 600 tons, although in reality they exceeded this by about 100 tons. F-boats had two stacks and two 105 mm gun turrets. The design was flawed because of its narrow beam, sharp bow and unreliable high pressure steam turbines. F-boats were succeeded in operational duties by Type 35 and Elbing class torpedo boats. Flottenbegleiter remained in service as advanced training vessels.


It was not until the Royal Navy's Bay class of 1944 that a British design bearing the name of frigate was produced for fleet use, although it still suffered from limited speed. These anti-aircraft frigates, built on incomplete Loch class frigate hulls, were similar to the United States Navy's destroyer escorts (DE), although the latter had greater speed and offensive armament to better suit them to fleet deployments. The destroyer escorts came from a British commission, initiated prior to the US entry into the war, for deep water escorts. The American DEs serving in the British Royal Navy were rated as frigates, and British-influenced Tacoma-class frigates serving in the USN were classed as patrol frigates (PF).


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A Loch-class frigate


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frigate

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In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from the response of navies to the threat posed by the torpedo boat. Growing from earlier defensive developments, the "torpedo boat destroyer"(TBD) first appeared as a distinct class of warship when HMS Havock and HMS Hornet were commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1894. By the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, TBDs were "large, swift, and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats." Although the term destroyer had been used interchangeably with the terms "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term torpedo boat destroyer had been generally shortened to simply "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War.


Prior to World War II, destroyers were light vessels with little endurance for unattended ocean operations; typically a number of destroyers and a single destroyer tender operated together. After the war, the advent of the guided missile allowed destroyers to take on the surface combatant roles previously filled by battleships and cruisers. This resulted in larger and more powerful destroyers more capable of independent operation.





World War I


While capital ship engagements were scarce in World War I, destroyer units were almost continually engaged in raiding and patrol actions. The first shot of the war at sea was fired on 5 August 1914 by a destroyer of the 2nd Flotilla, HMS Lance, in an engagement with the German auxiliary minelayer SS Königin Luise.


Destroyers were involved in the skirmishes that prompted the Battle of Heligoland Bight, and filled a range of roles in the Battle of Gallipoli, acting as troop’s transports and fire support vessels, as well as their fleet-screening role. Over 80 British destroyers and 60 German torpedo-boats took part in the Battle of Jutland, which involved pitched small-boat actions between the main fleets, and several foolhardy attacks by unsupported destroyers on capital ships. Jutland also concluded with a messy night action between the German High Seas Fleet and part of the British destroyer screen.


The threat evolved by World War I with the development of the submarine, or U-boat. The submarine had the potential to hide from gunfire and close underwater to fire torpedoes. Early-war destroyers had the speed and armament to intercept submarines before they submerged, either by gunfire or by ramming. Destroyers also had a shallow enough draft that torpedoes would find it difficult to hit them.


The desire to attack submarines underwater led to rapid destroyer evolution during the war, which were quickly equipped with strengthened bows for ramming, depth charges and hydrophones for identifying submarine targets. The first submarine casualty to a destroyer was the German U-19, rammed by HMS Badger on 29 October 1914. While U-19 was only damaged, the next month Garry successfully sank U-18. The first depth-charge sinking was on 4 December 1916, when UC-19 was sunk by HMS Llewellyn.


The submarine threat meant that many destroyers spent their time on anti-submarine patrol; once Germany adopted unrestricted submarine warfare in January 1917, destroyers were called on to escort merchant convoys. US Navy destroyers were among the first American units to be dispatched upon the American entry to the war, and a squadron of Japanese destroyers even joined Allied patrols in the Mediterranean. Patrol duty was far from safe; of the 67 British destroyers lost in the war, collisions accounted for 18, while 12 were wrecked.


At the end of the war the state-of-the-art was represented by the British W class.


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USS Wickes DD-75, a Wickes-class destroyer





The trend during World War I had been towards larger destroyers with heavier armaments. A number of opportunities to fire at capital ships had been missed during the War, because destroyers had expended all their torpedoes in an initial salvo. The British 'V' & 'W' classes of the late war had sought to address this by mounting six torpedo tubes in two triple mounts, instead of the four or two on earlier models. The 'V' and 'W's set the standard of destroyer building well into the 1920s.



The next major innovation came with the Japanese Fubuki class or 'special type', designed in 1923 and delivered in 1928. The design was initially noted for its powerful armament of six five-inch (127 mm) guns and three triple torpedo mounts. The second batch of the class gave the guns high-angle turrets for anti-aircraft warfare, and the 24-inch (61 cm) oxygen-fueled 'Long Lance' Type 93 torpedo. The later Hatsuharu class of 1931 further improved the torpedo armament by storing its reload torpedoes close at hand in the superstructure, allowing reloading within 15 minutes.


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Fubuki class destroyer, Uranami


Most other nations replied with similar larger ships. The US Porter class adopted twin five-inch (127 mm) guns, and the subsequent Mahan class and Gridley class (the latter of 1934) increased the number of torpedo tubes to 12 and 16 respectively.


In the Mediterranean, the Italian Navy's building of very fast light cruisers of the Condottieri class prompted the French to produce exceptional destroyer designs. The French had long been keen on large destroyers, with their Chacal class of 1922 displacing over 2,000 tons and carrying 130 mm guns; a further three similar classes were produced around 1930. The Le Fantasque class of 1935 carried five 138 mm (5.4 in) guns and nine torpedo tubes, but could achieve speeds of 45 knots (83 km/h), which remains the record speed for a steamship and for any destroyer.[citation needed] The Italians' own destroyers were almost as swift, most Italian designs of the 1930s being rated at over 38 knots (70 km/h), while carrying torpedoes and either four or six 120 mm guns.


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France's Le Fantasque, the fastest destroyer class ever built.


Germany started to build destroyers again during the 1930s as part of Hitler's rearmament program. The Germans were also fond of large destroyers, but while the initial Type 1934 displaced over 3,000 tons, their armament was equal to smaller vessels. This changed from the Type 1936 onwards, which mounted heavy 150 mm guns. German destroyers also used innovative high-pressure steam machinery: while this should have helped their efficiency, it more often resulted in mechanical problems.


Once German and Japanese rearmament became clear, the British and American navies consciously focused on building destroyers that were smaller but more numerous than those used by other nations. The British built a series of destroyers (the A Class to I Class) which were about 1,400 tons standard displacement, had four 4.7-inch (119 mm) guns and eight torpedo tubes; the American Benson class of 1938 similar in size, but carried five 5-inch (127 mm) guns and ten torpedo tubes. Realizing the need for heavier gun armament, the British built the Tribal class of 1936 (sometimes called "Afridi" after one of two lead ships). These ships displaced 1,850 tons and were armed with eight 4.7-inch (119 mm) guns in four twin turrets and four torpedo tubes. These were followed by the J Class and L class destroyers, with six 4.7-inch (119 mm) guns in twin turrets and eight torpedo tubes.


Anti-submarine sensors included sonar (or ASDIC), although training in their use was indifferent. Anti-submarine weapons changed little, and ahead-throwing weapons, a need recognized in World War I, had made no progress.


During the 1920s and 1930s destroyers were often deployed to areas of diplomatic tension or humanitarian disaster. British and American destroyers were common on the Chinese coast and rivers, even supplying landing parties to protect colonial interests.



World War II


By World War II the threat had evolved once again. Submarines were more effective, and aircraft had become important weapons of naval warfare; once again the fleet destroyers were ill-equipped for combating these new targets. They were fitted with new anti-aircraft guns, radar, and forward-launched ASW weapons, in addition to their existing light guns, depth charges, and torpedoes. By this time the destroyers had become large, multi-purpose vessels, expensive targets in their own right. As a result, casualties on destroyers were one of the highest. This led to the introduction of smaller and cheaper specialized anti-submarine warships called corvettes and frigates by the Royal Navy and destroyer escorts by the USN. A similar programme was belatedly started by the Japanese (see Matsu class destroyer). These ships had the size and displacement of the original torpedo boat destroyers that the contemporary destroyer had evolved from.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destroyer

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A cruiser is a type of warship. The term has been in use for several hundred years, and has had different meanings throughout this period. During the Age of Sail, the term cruising referred to certain kinds of missions – independent scouting, raiding or commerce protection – fulfilled by a frigate or sloop, which were the cruising warships of a fleet.


From the middle of the 19th century, cruiser came to be a classification for the ships intended for this kind of role, though cruisers came in a wide variety of sizes, from the small protected cruiser to armoured cruisers which were as large (though not as powerful) as a battleship.


By the early 20th century, cruisers could be placed on a consistent scale of warship size, smaller than a battleship but larger than a destroyer. In 1922, the Washington Naval Treaty placed a formal limit on cruisers, which were defined as warships of up to 10,000 tons displacement carrying guns no larger than 8 inches in calibre. These limits shaped cruisers up until the end of World War II. The very large battlecruisers of the World War I era were now classified, along with battleships, as capital ships.


Cruisers had several sub classes The both most common sub classes were the light cruiser (CL) and the heavy cruiser (CA).


A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck. Prior to this smaller cruisers had been of the protected cruiser model, possessing armored decks only.


The heavy cruiser was a type of cruiser, a naval warship designed for long range and high speed, armed generally with naval guns of roughly 203mm calibre (8 inches in caliber) and displacing approximately 10,000 tons. While the general mission of the heavy cruiser to act as a fast scout for a battle fleet and protect and hunt down commerce was largely unchanged from the days of sail, its design parameters were dictated by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.


The heavy cruiser can be seen as a lineage of ship design from 1915 until 1945, although the term 'heavy cruiser' only came into formal use in 1930. The heavy cruiser's immediate precursors were the light cruiser designs of the 1900s and 1910s, rather than the armoured cruisers of before 1905. When the armoured cruiser was supplanted by the battlecruiser, an intermediate ship type between this and the light cruiser was found to be needed—one larger and more powerful than the light cruisers of a potential enemy but not as large and expensive as the battlecruiser so as to be built in sufficient numbers to protect merchant ships and serve in a number of combat theaters.





Shortly after the turn of the 20th century there were difficult questions about the design of future cruisers. Modern armored cruisers, almost as powerful as battleships, were also fast enough to outrun older protected and unarmored cruisers. In the Royal Navy, Jackie Fisher cut back hugely on older vessels, including many cruisers of different sorts, calling them 'a miser's hoard of useless junk' that any modern cruiser would sweep from the seas.


World War I


Cruisers were one of the workhorse types of warship during World War I.


Inter-war and World War II


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Italian cruiser Armando Diaz


Naval construction in the 1920s and 1930s was limited by international treaties designed to prevent the repetition of the Dreadnought arms race of the early 20th century. The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 placed limits on the construction of ships with a displacement of 10,000 tons or more and an armament of greater than 8-inch (200 mm) calibre. A number of navies commissioned classes of cruisers at the top end of this limit.


The London Naval Treaty in 1930 then formalised the distinction between these 'heavy' cruisers and light cruisers: a 'heavy' cruiser was one with guns of 6.1-inch (150 mm) calibre or more. The Second London Naval Treaty attempted to reduce the tonnage of new cruisers to 8,000 or less, but this had little impact; Japan and Germany were not signatories, and navies had already begun to evade treaty limitations on warships.


Many different Classes are based on cruiser size parameters of construction.


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USS Pensacola


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HMAS Canberra, a County-class "treaty cruiser".






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A battlecruiser, or battle cruiser, was a large capital ship built in the first half of the 20th century. They were similar in size and cost to a battleship, and typically carried the same kind of heavy guns, but battlecruisers generally carried less armour and were faster.


The first battlecruisers were developed in Great Britain in the first decade of the century, as a development of the armoured cruiser, at the same time the dreadnought succeeded the pre-dreadnought battleship. The original aim of the battlecruiser was to hunt down slower, older armoured cruisers and destroy them with heavy gunfire. However, as more and more battlecruisers were built, they increasingly became used alongside the better-protected battleships.


Battlecruisers served in the navies of Britain, Germany, Australia and Japan during World War I, most notably at the Battle of the Falkland Islands and in the several raids and skirmishes in the North Sea which culminated in a pitched fleet battle, the Battle of Jutland. British battlecruisers in particular suffered heavy losses at Jutland, where their light armour made them very vulnerable to battleship shells.





Under the Selborne plan of 1902, the Royal Navy intended to start three new battleships and four armoured cruisers each year. However, in late 1904 it became clear that the 1905-6 programme would have to be considerably smaller, because of lower than expected tax revenue and the need to buy out two Chilean battleships under construction in British yards, lest they be purchased by the Russians for use in the Russo-Japanese War. These economies meant that the 1905-6 programme consisted only of one battleship, but three armoured cruisers. The battleship became the revolutionary battleship Dreadnought, and the cruisers became the three ships of the Invincible class. However, Fisher later claimed that he had argued during the Committee for the cancellation of the remaining battleship.


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Invincible, Britain's first battlecruiser


The construction of the new class was begun in 1906 and completed in 1908, delayed perhaps to allow their designs to learn from any problems with Dreadnought. The ships fulfilled the design requirement quite closely. On a displacement similar to Dreadnought, the Invincibles were 40 feet (12 m) longer to accommodate additional boilers and engines with twice the shaft horsepower to propel them at 25 knots (46 km/h). Moreover, the new ships could maintain this speed for days, whereas pre-dreadnought battleships could not generally do so for more than an hour. Armed with eight 12-inch (305 mm) Mk X guns, compared to ten on Dreadnought, they were armoured 6 or 7 inches (150 to 180 mm) thick along the side of the hull and over the gunhouses. (Dreadnought's armour, by comparison, was 11 inches (280 to 300 mm) at its thickest.) The class had a very marked increase in speed, displacement and firepower compared to the most recent armoured cruisers but no more armour.


While the Invincibles were to fill the same role as the armoured cruisers they succeeded, they were expected to do so more effectively. Specifically their roles were:


Heavy Reconnaissance. Because of their power, the Invincibles could sweep away the screen of enemy cruisers to close with and observe an enemy battlefleet before using their superior speed to retire.

Close support for the battle fleet. They could be stationed at the ends of the battle line to stop enemy cruisers harassing the battleships, and to harass the enemy's battleships if they were busy fighting battleships. Also, the Invincibles could operate as the fast wing of the battlefleet and try to outmanouevre the enemy.

Pursuit. If an enemy fleet ran, then the Invincibles would use their speed to pursue, and their guns to damage or slow enemy ships.

Commerce protection. The new ships would hunt down enemy cruisers and commerce raiders.


Confusion about how to refer to these new battleship-size armoured cruisers set in almost immediately. Even in late 1905, before work was begun on the Invincibles, a Royal Navy memorandum refers to "large armoured ships" meaning both battleships and large cruisers. In October 1906, the Admiralty began to classify all post-Dreadnought battleships and armoured cruisers as "capital ships", while Fisher used the term "dreadnought" to refer either to his new battleships or the battleships and armoured cruisers together. At the same time, the Invincible class themselves were referred to as "cruiser-battleship", "dreadnought cruiser"; the term "battlecruiser" was first used by Fisher in 1908. Finally, on 24 November 1911, Admiralty Weekly Order No. 351 laid down that "All cruisers of the “Invincible” and later types are for the future to be described and classified as “battle cruisers.” to distinguish them from the armoured cruisers of earlier date."



Pre World War I


Like battleships, battlecrusiers were built by the main sea nations during the “Dreadnought arms race” and played a junior role in the developing.



World War I


In the First World War, the British and Germans used battlecruisers in several theatres. Battlecruisers formed part of the dreadnought fleets that faced each other in the North Sea, taking part in several raids and skirmishes as well as the Battle of Jutland. Battlecruisers also played an important role at the start of the War as the British fleet hunted down German commerce raiders, for instance at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, and also took part in the Mediterranean campaign.


Also during the war ships like the HMS Hood (Launched: 22. August 1918) were built.


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HMS Hood, 17 March 1924



Interwar Period


In the years immediately after World War I, Britain, Japan and the USA all began design work on a new generation of ever more powerful battleships and battlecruisers. The new burst of shipbuilding that each nation's navy desired was politically controversial and potentially economically crippling. This nascent arms race was prevented by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, where the major naval powers agreed to limits on capital ship numbers. The German navy was not represented at the talks; under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was not allowed any modern capital ships at all.


Through the 1920s and early 1930s only Britain and Japan retained battlecruisers, often modified and rebuilt from their original World War I designs. The line between the battlecruiser and the modern fast battleship became blurred; indeed, the Japanese Kongō class were formally redesignated as battleships.


In the late 1930s navies began to build capital ships again, and during this period a number of large commerce raiders and small, fast battleships were built. While the design philosophy behind these ships was very different from that of the original battlecruisers, the term was adopted from time to time for these new ships. Germany, Italy, France and Russia all designed new vessels in this category, though only Germany and France completed them. Ultimately the Italians chose to upgrade their old battleships rather than build new battlecruisers, whereas the Russians laid down the 35,000-ton Kronshtadt class, but were unable to launch them before the Germans invaded in 1941 and captured one of the hulls. The other Soviet ship was launched and scrapped after the war.


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Plans for the German Scharnhorst



World War II


In the early years of the war the German ships each had a measure of success hunting merchant ships in the Atlantic. The pocket battleships were deployed alone and sank a number of vessels, causing disruption to the trade routes that supplied the UK. They were pursued by the Royal Navy and on one occasion, at the Battle of the River Plate in 1939, the hunter became the hunted.


Allied battlecruisers such as Renown, Repulse, Dunkerque and Strasbourg were employed on operations to hunt down the commerce raiding German battlecruisers, but they rarely got close to their targets, Renown enjoying a brief clash against the German 11-inch battlecruisers, scoring three non-critical hits on Gneisenau but being unable to keep up in bad weather. The one stand-up fight occurred when the battleship Bismarck was sent out as a raider and was intercepted by HMS Hood and the battleship Prince of Wales in May 1941. The elderly British battlecruiser was no match for the modern German battleship: within minutes, the Bismarck's 15 inch shells caused a magazine explosion in Hood reminiscent of the Battle of Jutland. Only three men survived.


Gneisenau and Scharnhorst hunted together and were initially successful at commerce raiding, sinking the British armed merchant cruiser Rawalpindi in 1939. Following repairs from damage during the Norwegian campaign, the two battlecruisers set out commerce raiding once again in 1941 and sank 22 merchant ships. They returned to Brest in northern France but found this port was vulnerable to Royal Air Force attacks and were obliged to return to Germany. They did so in the Channel Dash, a daring and successful run up the English Channel. They were both damaged by mines and although Scharnhorst was repaired, Gneisenau was damaged again in RAF bombing raids and was eventually disarmed and sunk as a blockship. Scharnhorst was employed once more to attack commerce and attempted to raid the Arctic convoys in December 1943. She was surprised by the battleship Duke of York with the cruisers Jamaica, Norfolk and Belfast at the Battle of North Cape and sunk on 26 December 1943. The 14-inch (356 mm) gunfire from Duke of York crippled her turrets and engine room, then the attendant British cruisers and destroyers closed in and finished her off with torpedoes.


The use of battlecruisers as commerce raiders was curtailed following an attack by the Admiral Scheer on a convoy guarded by the Jervis Bay, an armed merchant cruiser. It persuaded the British Admiralty that convoys had to be guarded by battleships or battlecruisers. The older R-class battleships and the un-upgraded Queen Elizabeths (Malaya and Barham) were used for this task, for which they were quite adequate despite their age, and subsequently the smaller German ships were forced away from their quarry. Additionally, the air gap over the North Atlantic closed, Huff-Duff (radio triangulation equipment) improved, airborne centimetric radar was introduced and convoys received escort carrier protection. The results of some of these developments were illustrated by the successful defence of convoys at the Battle of the Barents Sea and the Battle of the North Cape.


By comparison with the critical role of submarines during the Battle of the North Atlantic the commerce-raiding role of battlecruisers was marginal in its impact on the outcome of the war. Big ships with big guns were increasingly obsolete.




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A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the battleship was the most powerful type of warship afloat, and a fleet of battleships was vital for any nation which desired to maintain command of the sea. During World War II, the battleship was replaced by the aircraft carrier as the most powerful kind of warship afloat. Some battleships remained in service during the Cold War and the last were decommissioned in the 1990s.


The word battleship was coined around 1794 and is a contraction of the phrase line-of-battle ship, the dominant wooden warship during the Age of Sail. The term came into formal use in the late 1880s to describe a type of ironclad warship, now referred to by historians as pre-dreadnought battleships. In 1906, the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought heralded a revolution in battleship design. Following battleship designs, influenced by HMS Dreadnought, were referred to as "dreadnoughts".


Battleships were a symbol of naval dominance and national might, and for decades the battleship was a major factor in both diplomacy and military strategy. The global arms race in battleship construction began in Europe, following the 1890 publication of Alfred Thayer Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660–1783. This arms race culminated at the decisive Battle of Tsushima in 1905; the outcome of which significantly influenced the design of HMS Dreadnought. The launch of Dreadnought in 1906 commenced a new naval arms race which was widely considered to have been an indirect cause of World War I.  The Naval Treaties of the 1920s and 1930s limited the number of battleships, though technical innovation in battleship design continued. Both the Allies and the Axis Powers deployed battleships during World War II.





In 1897, before the revolution in design brought about by HMS Dreadnought, the Royal Navy had 62 battleships in commission or building, a lead of 26 over France and 50 over Germany. In 1906, the Royal Navy owned the field with Dreadnought. The new class of ship prompted an arms race with major strategic consequences. Major naval powers raced to build their own dreadnoughts. Possession of modern battleships was not only vital to naval power, but also, as with nuclear weapons today, represented a nation's standing in the world. Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Austria, and the United States all began dreadnought programmes; and second-rank powers including Turkey, Argentina, Russia, Brazil, and Chile commissioned dreadnoughts to be built in British and American yards.


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The American Texas (1912) is the only preserved example of a Dreadnought-type battleship that dates to the time of the original HMS Dreadnought.



World War I


The First World War was an anticlimax for the great dreadnought fleets. There was no decisive clash of modern battlefleets to compare with the Battle of Tsushima. The role of battleships was marginal to the great land struggle in France and Russia.


The first two years of war saw conflict in the North Sea limited to skirmishes by battlecruisers at the Battle of Heligoland Bight and Battle of Dogger Bank and raids on the English coast. On May 31, 1916, a further attempt to draw British ships into battle on German terms resulted in a clash of the battlefleets in the Battle of Jutland.


In the other naval theatres there were no decisive pitched battles. In the Black Sea, engagement between Russian and Turkish battleships was restricted to skirmishes. In the Baltic, action was largely limited to the raiding of convoys, and the laying of defensive minefields; the only significant clash of battleship squadrons there was the Battle of Moon Sound at which one Russian pre-dreadnought was lost. The Adriatic was in a sense the mirror of the North Sea: the Austro-Hungarian dreadnought fleet remained bottled up by the British and French blockade. And in the Mediterranean, the most important use of battleships was in support of the amphibious assault on Gallipoli.


The war illustrated the vulnerability of battleships to cheaper weapons. In September 1914, the potential threat posed to capital ships by German U-boats was confirmed by successful attacks on British cruisers, including the sinking of three British armored cruisers by the German submarine U-9 in less than an hour. Sea mines proved a threat the next month, when the recently commissioned British super-dreadnought Audacious struck a mine and sank. By the end of October, the British had changed their strategy and tactics in the North Sea to reduce the risk of U-boat attack.


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German High Seas Fleet during World War I





The inter-war period saw the battleship subjected to strict international limitations to prevent a costly arms race breaking out.


While the victors were not limited by the Treaty of Versailles, many of the major naval powers were crippled after the war. Faced with the prospect of a naval arms race against the United Kingdom and Japan, which would in turn have led to a possible Pacific war, the United States was keen to conclude the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. This treaty limited the number and size of battleships that each major nation could possess, and required Britain to accept parity with the U.S. and to abandon the British alliance with Japan. The Washington treaty was followed by a series of other naval treaties, including the First Geneva Naval Conference (1927), the First London Naval Treaty (1930), the Second Geneva Naval Conference (1932), and finally the Second London Naval Treaty (1936), which all set limits on major warships. These treaties became effectively obsolete on 1 September 1939 at the beginning of World War II, but the ship classifications that had been agreed upon still apply.



The Royal Navy, United States Navy, and Imperial Japanese Navy extensively upgraded and modernized their World War I–era battleships during the 1930s.


In Germany, the ambitious Plan Z for naval rearmament was abandoned in favour of a strategy of submarine warfare supplemented by the use of battlecruisers and Bismarck-class battleships as commerce raiders. In Britain, the most pressing need was for air defenses and convoy escorts to safeguard the civilian population from bombing or starvation, and re-armament construction plans consisted of five ships of the King George V class. It was in the Mediterranean that navies remained most committed to battleship warfare. France intended to build six battleships of the Dunkerque and Richelieu classes, and the Italians two Littorio-class ships. Neither navy built significant aircraft carriers. The U.S. preferred to spend limited funds on aircraft carriers until the South Dakota class. Japan, also prioritising aircraft carriers, nevertheless began work on three mammoth Yamato-class ships (although the third, Shinano, was later completed as a carrier) and a planned fourth was cancelled.



World War II


The German battleship Schleswig-Holstein—an obsolete pre-dreadnought—fired the first shots of World War II with the bombardment of the Polish garrison at Westerplatte and the final surrender of the Japanese Empire took place aboard a United States Navy battleship, Missouri. Between those two events, it had become clear that aircraft carriers were the new principal ships of the fleet and that battleships now performed a secondary role.


Battleships played a part in major engagements in Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean theatres; in the Atlantic, the Germans used their battleships as independent commerce raiders. However, clashes between battleships were of little strategic importance. The Battle of the Atlantic was fought between destroyers and submarines, and most of the decisive fleet clashes of the Pacific war were determined by aircraft carriers.


In the first year of the war, armored warships defied predictions that aircraft would dominate naval warfare. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau surprised and sank the aircraft carrier Glorious off western Norway in June 1940.[64] This engagement marked the last time a fleet carrier was sunk by surface gunnery. In the Attack on Mers-el-Kébir, British battleships opened fire on the French battleships harboured in Algiers with their own heavy guns, and later pursued fleeing French ships with planes from aircraft carriers.


The subsequent years of the war saw many demonstrations of the maturity of the aircraft carrier as a strategic naval weapon and its potential against battleships. The British air attack on the Italian naval base at Taranto sank one Italian battleship and damaged two more. The same Swordfish torpedo bombers played a crucial role in sinking the German commerce-raider Bismarck.


The Imperial Japanese Navy's Yamato (1940), seen here under air attack in 1945, and her sister ship Musashi (1940) were the heaviest battleships in history.


On 7 December 1941 the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Within a short time five of eight U.S. battleships were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. The American aircraft carriers were out to sea, however, and evaded detection. They in turn would take up the fight, eventually turning the tide of the war in the Pacific. The sinking of the British battleship Prince of Wales and her escort, the battlecruiser HMS Repulse, demonstrated the vulnerability of a battleship to air attack while at sea without sufficient air cover, finally settling the argument begun by Mitchell in 1921. Both warships were under way and en route to attack the Japanese amphibious force that had invaded Malaya when they were caught by Japanese land-based bombers and torpedo bombers on 10 December 1941.


At many of the early crucial battles of the Pacific, for instance Coral Sea and Midway, battleships were either absent or overshadowed as carriers launched wave after wave of planes into the attack at a range of hundreds of miles. In later battles in the Pacific, battleships primarily performed shore bombardment in support of amphibious landings and provided anti-aircraft defense as escort for the carriers. Even the largest battleships ever constructed, Japan's Yamato class, which carried a main battery of nine 18-inch (46 cm) guns and were designed as a principal strategic weapon, were never given a chance to show their potential in the decisive battleship action that figured in Japanese pre-war planning.


Posted Image

Pennsylvania leading battleship Colorado and cruisers Louisville, Portland, and Columbia into Lingayen Gulf, Philippines, January 1945


The last battleship confrontation in history was the Battle of Surigao Strait, on October 25, 1944, in which a numerically and technically superior American battleship group destroyed a lesser Japanese battleship group by gunfire after it had already been devastated by destroyer torpedo attacks. All but one of the American battleships in this confrontation had previously been sunk by the Attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequently raised and repaired. When Mississippi fired the last salvo of this battle, the last salvo fired by a battleship against another heavy ship, she was "firing a funeral salute to a finished era of naval warfare." In April 1945, during the battle for Okinawa, the world's most powerful battleship, the Yamato, was sent out against a massive U.S. force on a suicide mission and sunk by overwhelming carrier aircraft with nearly all hands.




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Aircraft Carriers


An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project airpower worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations. They have evolved from wooden vessels used to deploy balloons into nuclear-powered warships that carry dozens of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.





The 1903 advent of heavier-than-air, fixed-wing aircraft was closely followed in 1910 by the first experimental take-off of such an airplane from the deck of a United States Navy vessel (cruiser USS Birmingham), and the first experimental landings were conducted in 1911. On 4 May 1912 the first plane to take-off from a ship underway took place when Commander Charles Samson flew from the deck of HMS Hibernia. Seaplane tender support ships came next; in September 1914, the Imperial Japanese Navy Wakamiya conducted the world's first successful naval-launched air raids. Used against German forces during World War I, it carried four Maurice Farman seaplanes, which took off and landed on the water and were lowered from and raised to the deck by crane.


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The first full-length flat deck, HMS Argus in 1918


The development of flat top vessels produced the first large fleet ships. In 1918, HMS Argus became the world's first carrier capable of launching and landing naval aircraft. Carrier evolution was well underway in the mid-1920s, resulting in ships such as HMS Hermes and IJN Hōshō. Most early aircraft carriers were conversions of ships that were laid down (or had served) as different ship types: cargo ships, cruisers, battlecruisers, or battleships. The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 affected aircraft carrier plans. The U.S. and UK were permitted up to 135,000 tons of carriers each, while specific exemptions on the upper tonnage of individual ships permitted conversion of capital ship hulls to carriers such as the Lexington-class aircraft carriers.


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Aerial view of IJN Hōshō as completed in December 1922.


During the 1920s, several navies began ordering and building aircraft carriers that were specifically designed as such. This allowed the design to be specialized to their future role and resulted in superior ships. During World War II, these ships became the backbone of the carrier forces of the United States, British, and Japanese navies, known as fleet carriers.


The aircraft carrier was used extensively in World War II, and several types were created as a result. Escort aircraft carriers, such as USS Bogue, were built only during World War II. Although some were purpose-built, most were converted from merchant ships as a stop-gap measure to provide air support for convoys and amphibious invasions. Light aircraft carriers built by the US, such as USS Independence, represented a larger, more "militarized" version of the escort carrier concept. Although the light carriers usually carried the same size air groups as escort carriers, they had the advantage of higher speed since they had been converted from cruisers under construction. The UK 1942 Design Light Fleet Carrier served the Royal Navy during the war and was the hull design chosen for nearly all aircraft carrier equipped navies after the war until the 1980s.


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USS Franklin




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A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. The term most commonly refers to a large, crewed, autonomous vessel. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated vehicles and robots, as well as medium-sized or smaller vessels, such as the midget submarine and the wet sub.

Used as an adjective in phrases such as submarine cable, "submarine" means "under the sea". The noun submarine evolved as a shortened form of submarine boat (and is often further shortened to sub).[1] For reasons of naval tradition, submarines are usually referred to as "boats" rather than as "ships", regardless of their size.

Although experimental submarines had been built before, submarine design took off during the 19th century, and they were adopted by several navies. Submarines were first widely used during World War I (1914–1918), and now figure in many large navies. Military usage includes attacking enemy surface ships or submarines, aircraft carrier protection, blockade running, ballistic missile submarines as part of a nuclear strike force, reconnaissance, conventional land attack (for example using a cruise missile), and covert insertion of special forces. Civilian uses for submarines include marine science, salvage, exploration and facility inspection/maintenance. Submarines can also be modified to perform more specialized functions such as search-and-rescue missions or undersea cable repair. Submarines are also used in tourism, and for undersea archaeology.




Russo-Japanese War


The first mechanically powered series of submarines put into service by navies, which included Great Britain, Japan, Russia, and the United States, were the Holland submersibles built by Irish designer John Philip Holland in 1900. Several of each of them were retained in both the Imperial Russian and Japanese Navies during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905.



World War I


Military submarines first made a significant impact in World War I. Forces such as the U-boats of Germany saw action in the First Battle of the Atlantic, and were responsible for the sinking of Lusitania, which was sunk as a result of unrestricted submarine warfare and is often cited among the reasons for the entry of the United States into the war.

At the very outbreak of war Germany had only 20 submarines immediately available for combat, although these included vessels of the diesel-engined U-19 class with the range (5,000 miles) and speed (eight knots) to operate effectively around the entire British coast. By contrast the Royal Navy had a total of 74 submarines, though of mixed effectiveness.

In August 1914, a flotilla of ten U-boats sailed from their base in Heligoland to attack Royal Navy warships in the North Sea in the first submarine war patrol in history. Their aim was to sink capital ships of the British Grand Fleet, and so reduce the Grand Fleet's numerical superiority over the German High Seas Fleet. With much depending more on luck than strategy, the first sortie was not a success. Only one attack was carried out, when U-15 fired a torpedo (which missed) at HMS Monarch, while two of the ten U-boats were lost. The U-9 had better luck. On 22 September 1914 while patrolling the Broad Fourteens, a region of the southern North Sea, U-9 found a squadron of three obsolescent British Cressy-class armoured cruisers (HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue, and HMS Cressy), which were assigned to prevent German surface vessels from entering the eastern end of the English Channel. The U-9 fired all six of its torpedoes, reloading while submerged, and sank all three cruisers in less than an hour.



Interwar developments


Various new submarine designs were developed during the interwar years. Among the most notable ones were submarine aircraft carriers, equipped with a waterproof hangar and steam catapult to launch and recover one or more small seaplanes. The submarine and its plane could then act as a reconnaissance unit ahead of the fleet, an essential role at a time when radar still did not exist. The first example was the British HMS M2, followed by the French Surcouf, and numerous aircraft-carrying submarines in the Imperial Japanese Navy.



World War II


Germany had the largest submarine fleet during World War II. Because the Treaty of Versailles limited the surface navy, rebuilding German surface forces had only begun in earnest a year before World War II started. Expecting to defeat the Royal Navy through underwater warfare, the German High Command pursued commerce raiding and immediately stopped all construction on capital surface ships, save the nearly completed Bismarck-class battleships and two cruisers—switching its resources to submarines, which it could build more quickly. Though it took most of 1940 to expand the production facilities and get the mass production started, Germany built more than a thousand submarines by the end of the war.


Posted Image U-995, a typical U-boat


During World War II, the IJN operated the most varied fleet of submarines of any navy; including Kaiten crewed torpedoes, midget submarines (Ko-hyoteki and Kairyu), medium-range submarines, purpose-built supply submarines and long-range fleet submarines. They also had submarines with the highest submerged speeds during World War II (I-201-class submarines) and submarines that could carry multiple aircraft (I-400-class submarine). They were also equipped with one of the most advanced torpedoes of the conflict, the oxygen-propelled Type 95.


Posted Image The Imperial Japanese Navy's I-400-class submarine


After the attack on Pearl Harbor, many of the U.S. Navy's front-line Pacific Fleet surface ships were destroyed or severely damaged. The submarines survived the attack and carried the war to the enemy. Lacking support vessels, the submarines were asked to independently hunt and destroy Japanese ships and submarines. They did so very effectively and without the assistance of other supporting ships.


Posted Image Tang off Mare Island in 1943.


During the First and Second World Wars, the Royal Navy Submarine Service was used primarily in the classic British blockade role.

During the Second World War, its major operating areas were around Norway, in the Mediterranean (against the Axis supply routes to North Africa), and in the Far East. In that war, British submarines sank 2 million tons of enemy shipping and 57 major warships, the latter including 35 submarines. Among these is the only documented instance of a submarine sinking another submarine while both were submerged.

This occurred when HMS Venturer engaged the U864; the Venturer crew manually computed a successful firing solution against a three-dimensionally manoeveuring target using techniques which became the basis of modern torpedo computer targeting systems. Seventy-four British submarines were lost, the majority, 42, in the Mediterranean.




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Auxiliary Ships

An auxiliary ship is a naval ship which is designed to operate in any number of roles supporting combatant ships and other naval operations. Auxiliaries are not primary combatants, although they may have some limited combat capacity, usually of a self-defense nature.

Auxiliaries are extremely important for navies of all sizes, as without them, the primary fleet vessels can not be effective. Thus, nearly every navy maintains an extensive fleet of auxiliaries. However, the composition and size of these auxiliary fleets varies depending on the nature of each navy and its primary mission. Smaller coastal navies tend to have smaller auxiliary vessels focusing primarily on littoral and training support roles. Larger blue water navies tend to have large auxiliary fleets comprising longer-range fleet support vessels designed to provide support far beyond territorial waters.



Replenishment: One of the most direct ways that auxiliaries support the fleet is by providing underway replenishment to major fleet units. This allows the fleet to remain on station, with the replenishment vessels bringing up fuel, ammunition, food, and supplies from shore to the fleet wherever it is operating. Oilers are vessels specifically designed to bring fuel oil to the fleet, while the earlier Colliers supplied coal burning steamships. Tenders are specifically designed to support a type of smaller naval unit, most often submarines or seaplanes, providing a mobile base of operations for these units.

Transport: Supporting forward operating bases requires immense transportation capacity. Transports are often converted merchant ships simply commissioned into naval service. Tankers are transports specifically designed to ship fuel to forward locations. Transports are often employed not only carrying cargo for naval support, but in support of all forces of a nation's military. In particular, troopships are used to carry large number of soldiers to operational theatres.

Repair: Repairing ships at sea or in forward areas is important as it allows these units to return to service quicker, while also increasing the chance of survival for ships critically damaged in battle. Repair vessels range from small equipment ships to floating dry docks.

Harbor: Harbor support is a critical support role, with various types of vessels including tugboats, barges, lighters, derricks, and others, used to move ships and equipment around the port facilities and service ships currently in the harbor. These vessels also help maintain the harbor by dredging channels, maintaining jetties and buoys, and even providing floating platforms for port defense weapons.

Research: A wide variety of vessels are employed for research and survey, primarily to provide a navy with a better understanding of its operating environment, or to assist in testing new technologies for employment in other vessels.





Cargo ships

A cargo ship or freighter is any sort of ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another.





Famous cargo ships include the Liberty ships of World War II, partly based on a British design. Liberty ship sections were prefabricated in locations across the USA and then assembled by shipbuilders in an average of six weeks, with the record being just over four days. These ships allowed the Allies to replace sunken cargo vessels at a rate greater than the Kriegsmarine's U-boats could sink them, and contributed significantly to the war effort, the delivery of supplies, and eventual victory over the Axis powers.

Eighteen American shipyards built 2,710 Libertys between 1941 and 1945, easily the largest number of ships produced to a single design.


Posted ImageLibertyship linedrawing


In 1936, the American Merchant Marine Act was passed to subsidize the annual construction of 50 commercial merchant vessels to be used in wartime by the United States Navy as naval auxiliaries. The number was doubled in 1939 and again in 1940 to 200 ships a year. Ship types included a tanker and three types of merchant vessel, all to be powered by steam turbines. Limited industrial capacity, especially for reduction gears, meant that relatively few of these ships were built.


In 1940, the British government ordered 60 tramp steamships from American yards to replace war losses and boost the merchant fleet. These Ocean-class ships were simple but fairly large (for the time) with a single 2,500 hp (1,860 kW) reciprocating steam engine of obsolescent but reliable design. Britain specified coal-fired plants because it had extensive coal mines but did not at the time have significant domestic oil fields (the major North Sea field had yet to be discovered, and would have been vulnerable to Luftwaffe attack ). The predecessor designs, including the Northeast Coast, Open Shelter Deck Steamer, were based on a simple ship originally produced in Sunderland by J.L. Thompson & Sons (see Silver Line) from 1879, and widely manufactured up to the SS Dorrington Court, which was built in 1938. The order specified an 18-inch (0.5 m) increase in draft to boost displacement by 800 long tons (810 t) to 10,100 long tons (10,300 t). The accommodation, bridge and main engine of these vessels were located amidships, with a long tunnel to connect the main engine shaft to its aft extension to the propeller. The first Ocean-class ship, SS Ocean Vanguard, was launched on 16 August 1941.


The design was modified by the United States Maritime Commission to conform more, but not entirely, to American construction practices, but more important, to make it even quicker and cheaper to build. The US version was designated 'EC2-S-C1': 'EC' for Emergency Cargo, '2' for a ship between 400 and 450 feet (120 and 140 m) long (Load Waterline Length), 'S' for steam engines, and 'C1' for design C1. The new design replaced much riveting, which accounted for one-third of the labor costs, with welding, and had oil-fired boilers. The order was given to a conglomerate of West Coast engineering and construction companies known as the Six Companies, headed by Henry J. Kaiser, and was also adopted as the Merchant Marine Act design. Liberty ships were designed to carry 10,000 tons of cargo, usually one type per ship, but, during wartime, generally carried loads far exceeding this.

On 27 March 1941, the number of lend-lease ships was increased to 200 by the Defense Aid Supplemental Appropriations Act, and increased again in April to 306, of which 117 would be Liberty ships.


The ships were constructed of sections that were welded together. This is similar to the technique used by Palmer's at Jarrow, North-East England, but substitutes welding for riveting. Riveted ships took several months to construct. The work force was newly trained – no one had previously built welded ships. As America entered the war, the shipbuilding yards employed women, to replace men who were enlisting in the armed forces.

Posted Image Eastine Cowne, at work on the Liberty Ship SS George Washington Carver.


The ships initially had a poor public image due to their appearance. In a speech announcing the emergency shipbuilding program, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had referred to the ship as "a dreadful looking object", and Time magazine called it an "Ugly Duckling". To try to assuage public opinion, 27 September 1941 was dubbed Liberty Fleet Day, as the first 14 "Emergency" vessels were launched that day. The first of these was SS Patrick Henry, launched by President Roosevelt. In remarks at the launch ceremony, FDR cited Patrick Henry's 1775 speech that finished "Give me liberty or give me death". Roosevelt said that this new class of ships would bring liberty to Europe, which gave rise to the name Liberty ship.


Eastine Cowner, a former waitress, at work on the Liberty Ship SS George Washington Carver at the Kaiser shipyards, Richmond, California, in 1943. One of a series taken by E. F. Joseph on behalf of the Office of War Information documenting the work of African-Americans in the war effort.


The first ships required about 230 days to build (Patrick Henry took 244 days), but the average eventually dropped to 42 days. The record was set by SS Robert E. Peary, which was launched 4 days and 15½ hours after the keel was laid, although this publicity stunt was not repeated: in fact much fitting-out and other work remained to be done after the Peary was launched. The ships were made assembly-line style, from prefabricated sections. In 1943, three Liberty ships were completed daily. They were usually named after famous Americans, starting with the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.


Any group which raised war bonds worth $2 million could propose a name. Most bore the names of deceased people. The only living namesake was Francis J. O'Gara, the purser of the SS Jean Nicolet, who was thought to have been killed in a submarine attack, but, in fact, survived the war in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Other exceptions to the naming rule were the SS Stage Door Canteen, named for the USO club in New York, and the SS U.S.O., named after the organization itself.


Another notable Liberty ship was SS Stephen Hopkins, which sank the German commerce raider Stier in a ship-to-ship gun battle in 1942 and became the first American ship to sink a German surface combatant.


SS Richard Montgomery is also notable, though in a less positive way: the wreck of the ship lies off the coast of Kent with 1,500 tons of explosives still on board, enough to match a small nuclear weapon should they ever go off. One Liberty ship that did explode was the SS E. A. Bryan which detonated with the energy of 2,000 tons of TNT (8,400 GJ) in July 1944 as it was being loaded, killing 320 sailors and civilians in what was called the Port Chicago disaster. Another infamous Liberty ship that exploded was the rechristened SS Grandcamp, which caused the Texas City Disaster on 16 April 1947, killing at least 581 people.


Six Liberty ships were converted at Point Clear, Alabama, by the United States Army Air Forces into floating aircraft repair depots, operated by the Army Transport Service, starting in April 1944. The secret project, dubbed "Project Ivory Soap", provided mobile depot support for B-29 Superfortress and P-51 Mustangs based on Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa beginning in December 1944. The six ARU(F)s (Aircraft Repair Unit, Floating), however, were also fitted with landing platforms to accommodate four R-4 helicopters, where they provided medical evacuation of combat casualties in both the Philippines and Okinawa.


The last new-build Liberty ship constructed was the SS Albert M. Boe, launched on 26 September 1945 and delivered on 30 October 1945. She was named after the chief engineer of a United States Army freighter who had stayed below decks to shut down his engines after a 13 April 1945 explosion, an act that won him a posthumous Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal.In 1950, a "new" liberty ship was constructed by Industriale Maritime SpA, Genoa, Italy by using the bow section of Bert Williams and the stern section of Nathaniel Bacon, both of which had been wrecked. The new ship was named SS Boccadasse, and served until scrapped in 1962.





Another famous ship was the T2 tanker, or T2. She was an oil tanker constructed and produced in large quantities in the United States during World War II. The largest "navy oilers" of the period, after the T3s, nearly 500 were built between 1940 and the end of 1945. Many remained in service for decades after the war, and like other World War II ships pressed into peace time service were the subject of safety concerns. A United States Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation in 1952 stated the ships were prone to splitting in two in cold weather and they were then "belted" with steel straps. This occurred after two T-2s, Pendleton and Fort Mercer, split in two off Cape Cod within hours of each other. Engineering inquiries into the problems suggested at first the tendency of the tankers to split in two was due to poor welding techniques. Later, it was concluded the steel used in the war time construction had too high a sulfur content that turned the steel brittle at lower temperatures.


Posted Image The T2 tanker Hat Creek in August 1943




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I hope you don't mind if I copy-paste these here. These abbreviations are commonly used in talk on naval vessels, and I have recently seen some odd ones used on forums, like BS (it's actually BB) for battleship and CA (CV is correct) for carriers. At least several users over at US fora have found these lists useful.


Aircraft Carriers


ACV Aircraft Carrier, Auxiliary

AVG Escort Carrier, Auxiliary

AVT Aircraft Carrier, Training Ship

CV Aircraft Carrier

CVA Aircraft Carrier, Attack

CVAN Aircraft Carrier, Attack, Nuclear Powered

CVB Aircraft Carrier, Large

CVE Aircraft Carrier, Escort

CVGH Aircraft Carrier, Guided Missile Helicopter

CVH Aircraft Carrier, Helicopter

CVHE Aircraft Carrier, Escort, Helicopter

CVL Aircraft Carrier, Light

CVN Aircraft Carrier, Nuclear Powered

CVS Prior to 1957:  Seaplane Carrier

CVS After 1957:  Anti-Submarine/Support Carrier

CVV Aircraft Carrier, Vertical Take Off And Landing






B Battleship (prior to 1920)

BB Battleship (after 1920)

BBC Battleship, Command Ship

BBG Battleship, Missile

BBH Battleship, Helicopter

M Monitor (prior to 1920)

BM Monitor (after 1920)






ACR Armored Cruiser (prior to 1921)

C Cruiser (prior to 1920)

CA Cruiser, First Line (1920 to 1921)

CA Armored Cruiser (1921 to 1931)

CA Heavy Cruiser - Cruiser armed with guns 8" (20.3 cm) or larger (after 1931)

CAG Guided Missile Heavy Cruiser - Heavy cruiser converted to carry missiles

CB Large Cruiser

CBC Large Command Ship

CC Battlecruiser (prior to 1961)

CC Command Cruiser or Command Ship (after 1961)

CF Flight-deck Cruiser

CG Guided Missile Cruiser

CGH Guided Missile Cruiser with an assigned Helicopter

CGN Guided Missile Cruiser, Nuclear Powered

CH Cruiser with an assigned Helicopter

CL Light Cruiser

CLAA Anti-Aircraft Light Cruiser

CLC Command Light Cruiser

CLD Light Cruiser, Dual-Purpose (AA and ASu)

CLG Guided Missile Light Cruiser - Light cruiser converted to carry missiles

CLGN Guided Missile Light Cruiser, Nuclear Powered

CLH Helicopter Light Cruiser - Cruiser with an assigned Helicopter

CLK Light Cruiser, ASW (submarine Killer)

CLV Aviation Cruiser

CS Scout Cruiser

CSG Strike Missile Cruiser

CSGN Strike Missile Cruiser, Nuclear Powered




Destroyers, Escorts and Frigates


BDE Destroyer Escorts to be transferred to Britain during World War II

D Destroyer (prior to 1921)

DD Destroyer (after 1921)

DE Destroyer Escort, Escort or "Ocean Escort"

DEG Destroyer Escort, Guided Missile

DER Destroyer Escort, Radar Picket

DDE Destroyer converted to Fleet Escort

DDG Guided Missile Destroyer

DDH Destroyer with an assigned Helicopter

DDK Destroyer, ASW (Submarine Killer)

DDR Destroyer, Radar Picket

DL Destroyer Leader (1920 to 1955)

DL Frigate (after 1955)

DLG Frigate, Guided Missile

DLGN Frigate, Guided Missile, Nuclear Powered

EDD Destroyer, Experimental Test Ship (before 2005)

EDD Destroyer, Self-Defense Test Ship (after 2005)

EDDE Experimental Escort Destroyer

FF Frigate

FFG Guided Missile Frigate

FFH Frigate with an assigned Helicopter

FFT Reserve/Training Frigate

PE Patrol Escort

PF Frigate or Patrol Frigate

PFG Patrol Frigate, Guided Missile

PFR Radar Picket Frigate

TB Torpedo Boat




And for sake of completeness:




AGSS Auxilary/Experimental Submarine

APS Auxiliary Cargo Submarine

NSSN New Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine (temporary designation)

S Submarine (Attack/Fleet) - prior to 1920

SS Submarine (Attack/Fleet) - after 1920

SC Cruiser Submarine

SF Fleet Submarine

SM Submarine, Minelayer

SSA Auxilary/Experimental Submarine

SSAG Auxilary/Experimental Submarine

SSB Submarine, Ballistic Missile

SSBN Submarine, Ballistic Missile, Nuclear Powered

SSG Attack Submarine, Guided Missile

SSGN Attack Submarine, Guided Missile, Nuclear Powered

SSK Hunter-Killer Submarine

SSM Midget Submarine

SSN Attack Submarine, Nuclear Powered

SSP Transport Submarine

SSR Radar Picket Submarine

SSRN Radar Picket Submarine, Nuclear Powered

SST Submarine, Target/Training




Important ones for WoWS are bolded, and some of which might be present but less important in italics. The only real exception to those is that BC is often used for battle cruiser instead of the American CC.


More here: http://www.navweaps...._ships_list.htm

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Alpha Tester
21 posts

Really nice topic, thanks mate. Was personally wondering what is the role of some specific warships. This topic pretty much covers it all, great one!

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Alpha Tester
607 posts
2,114 battles

Thanks man! Learned a lot. My favorite is battleships :great: I think the Iowa class and KgV is the best.

Edited by lopa1780

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Alpha Tester
3,237 posts
3,311 battles

View PostHolzbein_Jack, on 06 June 2013 - 12:31 PM, said:

I am glad that this is useful.
I have updated the subs and civil ships.
Thank you.

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Alpha Tester
3 posts
58 battles

Great topic, learned bit more  :eyesup:

I'm old navyfield player and I'm waiting 'lot this game will come and I get to test it.

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