Portal:Battleships

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The firepower of a battleship demonstrated by USS Iowa (c. 1984). The muzzle blasts distort the ocean surface.

A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of large caliber guns. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the battleship was the most powerful type of warship, and a fleet centered around the battleship was part of the command of the sea doctrine for several decades. By the time of World War II, however, the battleship was made obsolete as other ships, primarily the smaller and faster destroyers, the secretive submarines, and the more versatile aircraft carriers came to be far more useful in naval warfare. While a few battleships were repurposed as fire support ships and as platforms for guided missiles, few countries maintained battleships after World War II, with the last battleships being decommissioned at the end of the Cold War.

The term battleship 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 into the United Kingdom's Royal Navy heralded a revolution in battleship design. Subsequent battleship designs, influenced by HMS Dreadnought, were referred to as " dreadnoughts", though the term eventually became obsolete as they became the only type of battleship in common use.

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. A global arms race in battleship construction began in Europe in the 1890s and 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. Three major fleet actions between steel battleships took place: the long range gunnery duel at the Battle of the Yellow Sea in 1904, the decisive Battle of Tsushima in 1905 (both during the Russo-Japanese War) and the inconclusive Battle of Jutland in 1916, during the First World War. Jutland was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of dreadnoughts of the war, and it was the last major battle in naval history fought primarily by battleships.

The Naval Treaties of the 1920s and 1930s limited the number of battleships, though technical innovation in battleship design continued. Both the Allied and Axis powers built battleships during World War II, though the increasing importance of the aircraft carrier meant that the battleship played a less important role than had been expected. ( Full article...)

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Washington steaming at high speed in Puget Sound during post-overhaul trials, 10 September 1945

The North Carolina class was a series of two fast battleships, North Carolina and Washington, built for the United States Navy in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The navy was originally uncertain whether the ships should be fast enough to counter the Japanese Kongō class, which was believed by the United States to be capable of 26  knots (30 mph; 48 km/h), or should sacrifice speed for additional firepower and armor. The Second London Naval Treaty's requirement that all capital ships have a standard displacement of under 35,000  long tons (35,560  metric tons (t)) meant that the desired objectives could not be fully realized within the treaty limits, and the navy considered over fifty designs before one was chosen. Towards the end of this lengthy design period, the General Board of the United States Navy declared that it was in favor of design "XVI-C", which called for a speed of 30 knots (35 mph; 56 km/h) and a main battery of nine 14-inch (356 mm)/50 caliber Mark B guns. The board believed that such ships could fulfill a multitude of roles, as they would have enough protection to be put into a battle line while also having enough speed to escort aircraft carriers or engage in commerce raiding. However, the acting Secretary of the Navy authorized a modified version of a different design, "XVI", which in its original form had been rejected by the General Board. This called for a 27-knot (31 mph; 50 km/h) ship with twelve 14-inch rifles in quadruple turrets and protection against guns of the same caliber. In a major departure from traditional American design practices, "XVI" accepted lower speed and protection in exchange for maximum firepower. After construction had begun, the United States, concerned over Japan's refusal to commit to the caliber limit of the Second London Naval Treaty, invoked the "escalator clause" of that pact and increased the caliber of the class' main armament; nine 16-inch (406 mm)/45 Mark 6 caliber guns replaced the twelve 14-inch guns of the original design.

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monochrome photograph of Lee in service uniform

Willis Augustus "Ching" Lee, Jr. (May 11, 1888 – August 25, 1945) was a vice admiral of the United States Navy noted for his role in the Pacific War of World War II. After enrolling in the United States Naval Academy in 1904, he joined the sport shooting team, then served on USS Idaho, New Orleans, and Helena. He would serve on USS New Hampshire during the occupation of Veracruz and the destroyers O'Brien and Lea during World War I. At the 1920 Summer Olympics, he won 7 medals, tying teammate Lloyd Spooner for the most medals in a single game, a record that stood until 1980. After attending the Naval War College, he commanded USS Concord and several staff roles until commanding Battleship Division Six.

From his flagship USS Washington, Lee was awarded the Navy Cross for his role in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. He effectively ended Japanese reinforcements in the Guadalcanal Campaign, a turning point in the war. He was promoted and commanded Battleships Pacific Fleet. While commanding a unit charged to counter the threat from Kamikaze attacks, he suffered a fatal heart attack. He is also noted for being a relative of Robert E. Lee and Charles Lee. The Mitscher-class destroyer USS Willis A. Lee (DL-4) was named for him.

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While visiting HMS Prince of Wales, Winston Churchill restrains Blackie, the ship's cat, from crossing the gangway to a nearby American destroyer. The remainder of the ships' crews stand at attention for each nation's national anthem.
Credit: Imperial War Museum photo No. H12756

While visiting HMS Prince of Wales, Winston Churchill restrains Blackie, the ship's cat, from crossing the gangway to a nearby American destroyer. The remainder of the ships' crews stand at attention for each nation's national anthem.

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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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