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It is something of a stereotype that galleys were [[SlaveGalley largely manned by slaves at the oars]] but this was actually only true for a relatively short period from the mid-1600s to the mid-late 1700s. Rowing a warships and maneuvering in order to effectively board or ram an enemy ship is actually quite difficult, and slaves are generally not highly motivated to fight the enemies of those who enslaved them, so ancient navies relied on free, skilled mariners, each handling a single oar and joining in the ship's defense if boarded. It was only with the advent of naval guns that a slave galley became viable, as the tricky maneuvering was no longer necessary; you just had to generally get the ship pointed at the enemy and let the gunners do their work. But of course, [[TechnologyMarchesOn sailing vessels became dominant around the same time and so slave galleys quickly disappeared]].

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It is something of a stereotype that galleys were [[SlaveGalley largely manned by slaves at the oars]] but this was actually only true for a relatively short period from the mid-1600s to the mid-late 1700s. Rowing a warships warship and maneuvering in order to effectively board or ram an enemy ship is actually quite difficult, and slaves are generally not highly motivated to fight the enemies of those who enslaved them, so ancient navies relied on free, skilled mariners, each handling a single oar and joining in the ship's defense if boarded. It was only with the advent of naval guns that a slave galley became viable, as the tricky maneuvering was no longer necessary; you just had to generally get the ship pointed at the enemy and let the gunners do their work. But of course, [[TechnologyMarchesOn sailing vessels became dominant around the same time and so slave galleys quickly disappeared]].


It is something of a stereotype that galleys were [[SlaveGalley largely manned by slaves at the oars]] but this was actually only true for a relatively short period from the mid-1600s to the mid-late 1700s. Rowing a warships and maneuvering in order to effectively board or ram an enemy ship is actually quite difficult, and slaves are generally not highly motivated to fight the enemies of those who enslaved them, so ancient navies relied on free, skilled mariners, each handling a single oar and joining in the ship's defense if boarded. It was only with the advent of naval guns that a slave galley became viable, as the tricky maneuvering was no longer necessary; you just had to generally get the ship pointed at the enemy and let the gunners do their work. But of course, [[TechnologyMarchesOn sailing vessels became dominant around the same time and so slave galleys quickly disappeared]].



The dreadnought increased the range at which battles could be fought to approximately eleven miles or all the way out to the visible horizon.[[note]] The advent of radar in WWII extended these ranges even further. The German ''Scharnhorst'' hit the aircraft carrier HMS ''Glorious'', and in a separate battle HMS ''Warspite'' achieved a hit on the Italian battleship ''Giulio Cesare'', at 25,000-26,000 yards (15 miles)[[note]]22860-23775m (24km)[[/note]], USS ''Iowa'' straddled Japanese destroyer ''Nowaki'' with five out of ten salvos at 35,000-38,000 yards (20 miles) [[note]]29260-34747m (32km)[[/note]] and USS ''White Plains'' received a damaging near miss at 32,000-33,000 yards (19 miles)[[note]]29260-30175m (31km)[[/note]] when a salvo of 18.1 inch[[note]]460mm[[/note]] shells from ''Yamato'' exploded under her bilge. Dreadnought battleships and the counters developed against them created the UsefulNotes/TypesOfNavalShips that we use today. Tactics no longer resembled land warfare in the slightest, focusing instead on good scouting so you could discover the enemy first and place your own battleships in the most advantageous position.

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The dreadnought increased the range at which battles could be fought to approximately eleven miles or all the way out to the visible horizon.[[note]] The horizon and the advent of radar in WWII extended these ranges even further. The German ''Scharnhorst'' hit the aircraft carrier HMS ''Glorious'', and in a separate battle HMS ''Warspite'' achieved a hit on the Italian battleship ''Giulio Cesare'', both at about at 25,000-26,000 yards (15 miles)[[note]]22860-23775m (24km)[[/note]], miles).[[note]]22860-23775m (24km)[[/note]] USS ''Iowa'' straddled Japanese destroyer ''Nowaki'' with five out of ten salvos at 35,000-38,000 yards (20 miles) [[note]]29260-34747m (32km)[[/note]] and USS ''White Plains'' received a damaging near miss at 32,000-33,000 yards (19 miles)[[note]]29260-30175m (31km)[[/note]] when a salvo of 18.1 inch[[note]]460mm[[/note]] shells from ''Yamato'' exploded under her bilge. Dreadnought battleships and the counters developed against them created the UsefulNotes/TypesOfNavalShips that we use today. Tactics no longer resembled land warfare in the slightest, focusing instead on good scouting so you could discover the enemy first and place your own battleships in the most advantageous position.



Development of naval aviation initially strengthened the role of the battleship by allowing small floatplanes to act as scouts and artillery spotters, but as aircraft technology advanced their attack capabilities eventually seemed to have made the battleship irrelevant. WWII was the last hurrah for the battleship; development of aircraft carriers quickly pushed battleships into a supporting role during the conflict, and by the end of the 1940s the battleship had been replaced as the primary instrument of sea power.

Whether or not battleships, or at least the concepts behind them, are truly obsolete is a matter of debate. The ''Iowa''s were [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece reactivated and modernized]] several times during the Cold War, both for the Naval Gunfire Support mission and for their capability as surface combatants. Cruise missiles don't perform well against armor. Additionally, the Bikini Atoll tests proved that an armored battleship is ''the'' most survivable ship in a nuclear environment (surviving anything short of a direct hit or underwater near-miss, and keeping the crew alive), and air conditioning and filtration systems could protect the crew from fallout. Most importantly, their high speed (faster than most of the Soviet fleet) and ability to continue fighting at visual range with EMP-proof analog fire control systems meant that a fast battleship, if escorted against submarines, could potentially dominate even the most nightmarish of naval scenarios, something that the Russians knew and ''feared''.

As 21st-Century point-defense technology is chipping away at the effectiveness of cruise missiles, naval strategists and engineers are once again looking at big guns as a viable anti-ship armament. It has also been noticed that 76mm (3-inch) and 5-inch guns just don't fulfill the Naval Gunfire Support role like the old big guns.

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Development of naval aviation initially strengthened the role of the battleship by allowing small floatplanes to act as scouts and artillery spotters, but as aircraft technology advanced their attack capabilities eventually seemed to have made the battleship irrelevant. WWII was the last hurrah for the battleship; development of aircraft carriers quickly pushed battleships into a supporting role during the conflict, and by the end of the 1940s the battleship had been replaced as the primary instrument of sea power.

Whether or not battleships, or at least the concepts behind them, are truly obsolete is a matter That being said, there was some use of debate. battleships post-war. The ''Iowa''s were [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece reactivated and modernized]] several times during the Cold War, both mainly for the Naval Gunfire Support mission and mission, but also for their capability as surface combatants. Cruise missiles don't perform well against armor.combatants. Additionally, the Bikini Atoll tests proved that an armored battleship is ''the'' most survivable ship in a nuclear environment (surviving anything short of a direct hit or underwater near-miss, and keeping the crew alive), and air conditioning and filtration systems could protect the crew from fallout. Most importantly, their Their high speed (faster than most of the Soviet fleet) and ability to continue fighting at visual range with EMP-proof analog fire control systems meant that a fast battleship, if escorted battleship was at least situationally formidable. However, they never had any anti-submarine defense beyond just the ability to absorb more torpedo damage than the average ship, and their air defenses against submarines, could potentially dominate even the most nightmarish of naval scenarios, something that the Russians knew jet aircraft and ''feared''.

As 21st-Century point-defense technology is chipping away at the effectiveness of
cruise missiles, naval strategists and engineers are once again looking missiles were last-ditch at big guns as a viable anti-ship armament. It has also been noticed that 76mm (3-inch) and 5-inch guns just don't fulfill the Naval Gunfire Support role like the old big guns.
best.



* On 7 December 1941 Japan combined all six of its fleet carriers into a unified strike force and surprised the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, destroying virtually all of their aircraft on the ground and disabling or destroying seven of the eight battleships present.[[note]]Somewhat ironically, the carriers ''Yorktown'' and ''Enterprise'' were spared because they were at sea delivering aircraft to other Pacific bases to help strengthen them in case of a sudden Japanese carrier attack.[[/note]]

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* On 7 December 1941 Japan combined all six of its fleet carriers into a unified strike force and surprised the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, destroying virtually all of their aircraft on the ground and disabling or destroying seven of the eight battleships present.present, along with a number of cruisers, destroyers, auxiliary ships, and port equipment.[[note]]Somewhat ironically, the carriers ''Yorktown'' and ''Enterprise'' were spared because they were at sea delivering aircraft to other Pacific bases to help strengthen them in case of a sudden Japanese carrier attack.[[/note]]


The Germans and the Americans had some success with with radio-guided bombs and missiles during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and both sides had also fielded successful acoustic homing torpedoes. The American air-launched Mark 24 "Fido" acoustic torpedo sank or damaged 27% of the submarines it was dropped on. The Germans even managed to sink an Italian battleship (after Italy switched sides and joined the Allies) using the "Fritz-X" air-to-surface missile. The Japanese managed to trump both the Germans and the Americans (and horrify the world) by damaging more than 300 ships using the ''human-guided'' missiles known as [[SuicideAttack Kamikaze]], sinking 47 ships and causing more than 15,000 casualties. But things really started to develop in the 1960s after the development of semiconductors resulted in quantum leaps in electronic control systems.

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The Germans and the Americans had some success with with radio-guided bombs and missiles during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and both sides had also fielded successful acoustic homing torpedoes. The American air-launched Mark 24 "Fido" acoustic torpedo sank or damaged 27% of the submarines it was dropped on. The Germans even managed to sink an Italian battleship (after Italy switched sides and joined the Allies) using the "Fritz-X" air-to-surface missile. The Japanese managed to trump both the Germans and the Americans (and horrify the world) by damaging more than 300 ships using the ''human-guided'' missiles known as [[SuicideAttack Kamikaze]], sinking 47 ships and causing more than 15,000 casualties. But things really started to develop in the 1960s after the development of semiconductors resulted in quantum leaps massive improvements in electronic control systems.


''Steam and Sail (1810s-1870s)''

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''Steam '''Steam and Sail (1810s-1870s)''
(1810s-1870s)'''



''Ironclads (1850s-1890s)''

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''Ironclads (1850s-1890s)''
'''Ironclads (1850s-1890s)'''



''Pre-Dreadnought Battleships and Cruisers (1890s-1910s)''

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''Pre-Dreadnought '''Pre-Dreadnought Battleships and Cruisers (1890s-1910s)''
(1890s-1910s)'''



''Dreadnoughts, Super-Dreadnoughts, Battlecruisers, and Fast Battleships (1900s-1950s)''

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''Dreadnoughts, '''Dreadnoughts, Super-Dreadnoughts, Battlecruisers, and Fast Battleships (1900s-1950s)''
(1900s-1950s)'''


The line between ironclad and battleship is not clear, but arguably the first battleships were the turreted, sail-less ironclads of the 1870s - HMS ''Devasation'' commissioned in 1871, the all-steel French ''Redoubtable'' of 1878, and the Italian ''Caio Duilio'' of 1880. By the 1890s most capital ships were of a similar type -- coal-powered triple-expansion engines, heavy steel armour, with a main armament of around 4x 12 inch guns (usually two each in turrets before and after the superstructure), an intermediate armament of around 10x 5-to-8 inch guns (in turrets or broadside casemates), and a secondary armament of 10-30 3-to-5 inch guns (turrets or casemates). The main armament was powerful but slow-firing, meant to punch through heavy armour with ease; the secondary armament was quick-firing but weak, meant to wreck the lightly armoured parts of the target with a torrent of explosive shells as well as destroy lighter vessels; the intermediate guns split the difference.

In all cases, the entire armament was expected to work together attacking a single target at a relatively short range -- although the bigger guns could shoot further, the fire control of the period was too primitive to allow for accurate long-range shots. Likewise, the line between cruisers and battleships was blurry, since the battleship was initially no more than a more powerful type of cruiser. As technology slowed enough for standard ship roles to start developing, it became typical for the cruiser to become a fast, long-range ship with around 8 to 12 guns in the 5-to-10 inch range. The idea is that a major navy would do most of its commerce raiding and GunboatDiplomacy with a fleet of cruisers, and keep the battleships for fleet actions against the battleship fleets of other navies -- similar to the roles of frigates and ships-of-the-line during the Age of Sail.

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The line between ironclad and battleship is not clear, but arguably the first battleships were the turreted, sail-less ironclads of the 1870s - HMS ''Devasation'' commissioned in 1871, the all-steel French ''Redoubtable'' of 1878, and the Italian ''Caio Duilio'' of 1880. By the 1890s most capital ships were of a similar type -- coal-powered triple-expansion engines, heavy steel armour, with a main armament of around 4x 12 inch inch[[note]]305mm[[/note]] guns (usually two each in turrets before and after the superstructure), an intermediate armament of around 10x 5-to-8 inch inch[[note]]127-to-203mm[[/note]] guns (in turrets or broadside casemates), and a secondary armament of 10-30 3-to-5 inch inch[[note]]76-to-127mm[[/note]] guns (turrets or casemates). The main armament was powerful but slow-firing, meant to punch through heavy armour with ease; the secondary armament was quick-firing but weak, meant to wreck the lightly armoured parts of the target with a torrent of explosive shells as well as destroy lighter vessels; the intermediate guns split the difference.

In all cases, the entire armament was expected to work together attacking a single target at a relatively short range -- although the bigger guns could shoot further, the fire control of the period was too primitive to allow for accurate long-range shots. Likewise, the line between cruisers and battleships was blurry, since the battleship was initially no more than a more powerful type of cruiser. As technology slowed enough for standard ship roles to start developing, it became typical for the cruiser to become a fast, long-range ship with around 8 to 12 guns in the 5-to-10 inch [[note]]127-to-254mm[[/note]] range. The idea is that a major navy would do most of its commerce raiding and GunboatDiplomacy with a fleet of cruisers, and keep the battleships for fleet actions against the battleship fleets of other navies -- similar to the roles of frigates and ships-of-the-line during the Age of Sail.



The dreadnought increased the range at which battles could be fought to approximately eleven miles or all the way out to the visible horizon.[[note]] The advent of radar in WWII extended these ranges even further. The German ''Scharnhorst'' hit the aircraft carrier HMS ''Glorious'', and in a separate battle HMS ''Warspite'' achieved a hit on the Italian battleship ''Giulio Cesare'', at 25,000-26,000 yards (15 miles), USS ''Iowa'' straddled Japanese destroyer ''Nowaki'' with five out of ten salvos at 35,000-38,000 yards (20 miles) and USS ''White Plains'' received a damaging near miss at 32,000-33,000 yards (19 miles) when a salvo of 18.1 inch shells from ''Yamato'' exploded under her bilge.[[/note]] Dreadnought battleships and the counters developed against them created the UsefulNotes/TypesOfNavalShips that we use today. Tactics no longer resembled land warfare in the slightest, focusing instead on good scouting so you could discover the enemy first and place your own battleships in the most advantageous position.

to:

The dreadnought increased the range at which battles could be fought to approximately eleven miles or all the way out to the visible horizon.[[note]] The advent of radar in WWII extended these ranges even further. The German ''Scharnhorst'' hit the aircraft carrier HMS ''Glorious'', and in a separate battle HMS ''Warspite'' achieved a hit on the Italian battleship ''Giulio Cesare'', at 25,000-26,000 yards (15 miles), miles)[[note]]22860-23775m (24km)[[/note]], USS ''Iowa'' straddled Japanese destroyer ''Nowaki'' with five out of ten salvos at 35,000-38,000 yards (20 miles) [[note]]29260-34747m (32km)[[/note]] and USS ''White Plains'' received a damaging near miss at 32,000-33,000 yards (19 miles) miles)[[note]]29260-30175m (31km)[[/note]] when a salvo of 18.1 inch inch[[note]]460mm[[/note]] shells from ''Yamato'' exploded under her bilge.[[/note]] bilge. Dreadnought battleships and the counters developed against them created the UsefulNotes/TypesOfNavalShips that we use today. Tactics no longer resembled land warfare in the slightest, focusing instead on good scouting so you could discover the enemy first and place your own battleships in the most advantageous position.


After Jutland, the Royal Navy remained in control of the North Sea and maintained their NavalBlockade of Germany. The Germans never challenged the Royal Navy again. After a ([[UnreliableNarrator heavily biased, with egregious methodological and computational errors]]) study claimed that 'unrestricted' (indiscriminate) anti-commerce submarine warfare could cripple the Entente's war effort the Reichstag went along with the recommendations of the Navy and OHL (Army High Command, headed by Hindenburg and Ludendorf) and voted in favour of it in early 1917. This ultimately and predictably, not least by Chancellor Bethman Hollweg, backfired when it drew the United States decisively into the war against them ([[RightHandVersusLeftHand when combined with the blundering of the independently-acting diplomatic service]], [[WhatAnIdiot which tried to persuade Mexico to attack the USA]]). The powerful, if untested, US Navy added its battleships and cruisers to the Home Fleet under British command[[note]] British commanders commented in early reports that American gunnery was horrible. These accounts carried a heavy dose of Edwardian jingoism, came from the men who had made the same claims about the Germans right before Jutland, and didn't take into account that the Americans lacked the benefit of the Royal Navy's hard-won combat experience. The US Navy had worked hard to improve the dismal marksmanship displayed in 1898, and after learning from the British, were shooting quite well indeed[[/note]], turning the prospect of another German breakout attempt from a desperate long shot to certain suicide. Having no further role to play in the war, the High Seas Fleet was neglected. The sailors on larger vessels were confined to port, suffering from reduced rations and subjected to harsh discipline. The last straw came in 1918: the German admiralty, knowing that the war was all but lost, decided to send out the fleet for a last, glorious (and completely futile) action. This led the sailors of the High Seas Fleet to mutiny, hastening the collapse of the German war effort. The German fleet eventually scuttled itself at the British anchorage at Scapa Flow on June 21, 1919: 52 ships were scuttled in all, including 10 battleships and 5 battlecruisers.

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After Jutland, the Royal Navy remained in control of the North Sea and maintained their NavalBlockade of Germany. The Germans never challenged the Royal Navy again. After a ([[UnreliableNarrator heavily biased, with egregious methodological and computational errors]]) study claimed that 'unrestricted' (indiscriminate) anti-commerce submarine warfare could cripple the Entente's war effort the Reichstag went along with the recommendations of the Navy and OHL (Army High Command, headed by Hindenburg and Ludendorf) and voted in favour of it in early 1917. This ultimately and predictably, not least by Chancellor Bethman Hollweg, backfired when it drew the United States decisively into the war against them ([[RightHandVersusLeftHand when combined with the blundering of the independently-acting diplomatic service]], [[WhatAnIdiot which tried to persuade Mexico to attack the USA]]).USA). The powerful, if untested, US Navy added its battleships and cruisers to the Home Fleet under British command[[note]] British commanders commented in early reports that American gunnery was horrible. These accounts carried a heavy dose of Edwardian jingoism, came from the men who had made the same claims about the Germans right before Jutland, and didn't take into account that the Americans lacked the benefit of the Royal Navy's hard-won combat experience. The US Navy had worked hard to improve the dismal marksmanship displayed in 1898, and after learning from the British, were shooting quite well indeed[[/note]], turning the prospect of another German breakout attempt from a desperate long shot to certain suicide. Having no further role to play in the war, the High Seas Fleet was neglected. The sailors on larger vessels were confined to port, suffering from reduced rations and subjected to harsh discipline. The last straw came in 1918: the German admiralty, knowing that the war was all but lost, decided to send out the fleet for a last, glorious (and completely futile) action. This led the sailors of the High Seas Fleet to mutiny, hastening the collapse of the German war effort. The German fleet eventually scuttled itself at the British anchorage at Scapa Flow on June 21, 1919: 52 ships were scuttled in all, including 10 battleships and 5 battlecruisers.


In the Spanish-American War (1898), the new all-steel ships of the U.S. Navy [[FlawlessVictory sank two Spanish fleets and seized their Caribbean and Pacific colonies without losing any ships of their own,]][[note]]not counting the sinking of the ''Maine'' before the war, which most modern historians consider to be caused by an accidental explosion rather than a hostile attack[[/note]] despite [[ATeamFiring admittedly poor gunnery]]--the Americans missed most shots, while the Spanish ''[[EpicFail couldn't hit anything]]''. The only damage the American ships received in battle was when the blast from ''Texas's'' main battery blew holes in her own superstructure. In the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar (1904-05) [[{{Foreshadowing}} (opened with a surprise torpedo attack against the Russian fleet in Dalian/'Port Arthur', Liaoning province)]] the [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Imperial Japanese]] managed to sink [[UsefulNotes/RussiansWithRifles Imperial Russia's]] (smaller-than-Japan's) Pacific Fleet with land-based artillery and destroy Russia's (slightly-larger-than-Japan's) Baltic fleet, [[CurbStompBattle the latter in less than an hour]].

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In the Spanish-American War (1898), the new all-steel ships of the U.S. Navy [[FlawlessVictory sank two Spanish fleets and seized their Caribbean and Pacific colonies without losing any ships of their own,]][[note]]not counting the sinking of the ''Maine'' before the war, which most modern historians consider to be caused by an accidental explosion rather than a hostile attack[[/note]] despite [[ATeamFiring admittedly poor gunnery]]--the Americans missed most shots, while the Spanish ''[[EpicFail couldn't hit anything]]''. The only damage the American ships received in battle was when the blast from ''Texas's'' main battery blew holes in her own superstructure. In the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar (1904-05) [[{{Foreshadowing}} (opened with a surprise torpedo attack against the Russian fleet in Dalian/'Port Arthur', Liaoning province)]] province) the [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Imperial Japanese]] managed to sink [[UsefulNotes/RussiansWithRifles Imperial Russia's]] (smaller-than-Japan's) Pacific Fleet with land-based artillery and destroy Russia's (slightly-larger-than-Japan's) Baltic fleet, [[CurbStompBattle the latter in less than an hour]].


In the Spanish-American War (1898), the new all-steel ships of the U.S. Navy [[FlawlessVictory sank two Spanish fleets and seized their Caribbean and Pacific colonies without losing any ships of their own,]][[note]]not counting the sinking of the ''Maine'' before the war, which most modern historians consider to be caused by an accidental explosion rather than a hostile attack[[/note]] despite [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy admittedly poor gunnery]]--the Americans missed most shots, while the Spanish ''[[EpicFail couldn't hit anything]]''. The only damage the American ships received in battle was when the blast from ''Texas's'' main battery blew holes in her own superstructure. In the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar (1904-05) [[{{Foreshadowing}} (opened with a surprise torpedo attack against the Russian fleet in Dalian/'Port Arthur', Liaoning province)]] the [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Imperial Japanese]] managed to sink [[UsefulNotes/RussiansWithRifles Imperial Russia's]] (smaller-than-Japan's) Pacific Fleet with land-based artillery and destroy Russia's (slightly-larger-than-Japan's) Baltic fleet, [[CurbStompBattle the latter in less than an hour]].

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In the Spanish-American War (1898), the new all-steel ships of the U.S. Navy [[FlawlessVictory sank two Spanish fleets and seized their Caribbean and Pacific colonies without losing any ships of their own,]][[note]]not counting the sinking of the ''Maine'' before the war, which most modern historians consider to be caused by an accidental explosion rather than a hostile attack[[/note]] despite [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy [[ATeamFiring admittedly poor gunnery]]--the Americans missed most shots, while the Spanish ''[[EpicFail couldn't hit anything]]''. The only damage the American ships received in battle was when the blast from ''Texas's'' main battery blew holes in her own superstructure. In the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar (1904-05) [[{{Foreshadowing}} (opened with a surprise torpedo attack against the Russian fleet in Dalian/'Port Arthur', Liaoning province)]] the [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Imperial Japanese]] managed to sink [[UsefulNotes/RussiansWithRifles Imperial Russia's]] (smaller-than-Japan's) Pacific Fleet with land-based artillery and destroy Russia's (slightly-larger-than-Japan's) Baltic fleet, [[CurbStompBattle the latter in less than an hour]].


Ultimately the end result of the battle of the Atlantic (which lasted from the beginning of the war in 1939 to the end in 1945, making it the longest battle in human history) was defeat for Germany. But that didn't mean it wasn't a near-run thing. And despite all the gee-whiz gadgetry the true key to victory proved to be the German's heavy dependence upon radio to control their Wolfpacks, which left the U-boats vulnerable to both high-tech code-breaking and low-tech radio direction finding. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the United States, despite having been drawn into two world wars largely over their objections to the unrestricted submarine warfare conducted by Germany, was ironically enough engaged in an unrestricted submarine campaign of their own against another island nation-state: UsefulNotes/ImperialJapan. This time with the technological balance firmly on their side the result was a resounding victory for the submarines. U.S. submarines sank thousands of Japanese ships, far more than all other arms combined, despite having spent the first 21 months of the war with defective (and often ineffective) torpedoes. Nor was the Pacific submarine war entirely one sided: early Japanese successes against major U.S. warships [[note]]sinking carriers ''Yorktown'' and ''Wasp'' and damaging carrier ''Saratoga'' and battleship ''North Carolina''[[/note]] critically reduced U.S. aircraft carrier strength during the pivotal Guadalcanal campaign and ensured that there were no carrier battles in 1943.

After the war, somebody came up with the idea that the newly-invented nuclear reactor would make a fine, nearly unlimited, energy source for a submarine, allowing the sub to stay underwater almost as long as its crew wanted to. And then, somebody got the idea -- first proposed by, again, the Germans (they even had prototypes) -- to arm them with rockets, this time [[AtomicHate nuke-tipped.]] And thus, thanks to wonders of nuclear physics, the sub was promoted from highly dangerous seaborne nuisance to strategic threat (Creator/HGWells saw it coming). As a nearly unintentional side-benefit, nuclear power also made the noisy, clanky machinery of submarines much, much quieter, making true stealth under the water possible. Ironically there some water conditions where some of the quietest submarines, such as the United States' ''Ohio'' class, can be detected by a particularly skilled and alert sonar operator by being quieter than the surrounding water. Non-nuclear submarines can also shut down any mechanical equipment, potentially rendering them entirely quiet at the cost of not being able to do anything. A nuclear sub cannot shut down its coolant pumps while the reactor remains hot.

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Ultimately the end result of the battle of the Atlantic (which lasted from the beginning of the war in 1939 to the end in 1945, making it the longest battle in human history) was defeat for Germany. But that didn't mean it wasn't a near-run thing. And despite all the gee-whiz gadgetry the true key to victory proved to be the German's heavy dependence upon radio to control their Wolfpacks, which left the U-boats vulnerable to both high-tech code-breaking and low-tech radio direction finding. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the United States, despite having been drawn into two world wars largely over their objections to the unrestricted submarine warfare conducted by Germany, was ironically enough engaged in an unrestricted submarine campaign of their own against another island nation-state: UsefulNotes/ImperialJapan. This time with the technological balance firmly on their side the result was a resounding victory for the submarines. U.S. submarines sank thousands of Japanese ships, far more than all other arms combined, despite having spent the first 21 months of the war with defective (and often ineffective) torpedoes. Nor was the Pacific submarine war entirely one sided: early Japanese successes against major U.S. submarines, in the meantime, were focused primarily on attacking warships [[note]]sinking carriers ''Yorktown'' rather than supply chains. Though they had periodic successes, this strategy was ineffective in the long run, and ''Wasp'' and damaging carrier ''Saratoga'' and battleship ''North Carolina''[[/note]] critically reduced U.S. aircraft carrier strength during instead made the pivotal Guadalcanal campaign and ensured that there were no carrier battles in 1943.

submarines vulnerable to attack themselves.

After the war, somebody came up with the idea that the newly-invented nuclear reactor would make a fine, nearly unlimited, energy source for a submarine, allowing the sub to stay underwater almost as long as its crew wanted to. And then, somebody got the idea -- first proposed by, again, the Germans (they even had prototypes) -- to arm them with rockets, this time [[AtomicHate nuke-tipped.]] And thus, thanks to wonders of nuclear physics, the sub was promoted from highly dangerous seaborne nuisance to strategic threat (Creator/HGWells saw it coming). As a nearly unintentional side-benefit, nuclear power also made the noisy, clanky machinery of submarines much, much quieter, making true stealth under the water possible. possible [[note]] Ironically there are some water conditions where some of the quietest submarines, such as the United States' ''Ohio'' class, can be detected by a particularly skilled and alert sonar operator by being quieter than the surrounding water.water [[/note]]. Non-nuclear submarines can also shut down any mechanical equipment, potentially rendering them entirely quiet at the cost of not being able to do anything. A nuclear sub cannot shut down its coolant pumps while the reactor remains hot.\n


The pace of combat accelerated considerably over each of these periods, as each new advance in technology allowed ships to travel and fire farther and faster. Steam power freed ships from from dependence upon the winds, though it did not free them completely from the affects of the sea (one reason Bismarck fared so poorly in her final battle was her loss of steering left her crew unable to plot a course that would minimize the effect of the waves on their gunnery.) Breach loading guns replaced muzzle loaders, turrets replaced manual training, gun directors replaced manual aiming, rates of fire increased. Maneuvers that took hours under sail now took only minutes, and high rates of fire meant a battle could be over in seconds if the enemy found your range. A single well-aimed salvo from ''Bismarck'' totally destroyed HMS ''Hood'', and when the Japanese destroyer ''Amatsukaze'' attracted the attention of USS ''Helena'' at the Naval battle of Guadalcanal when her captain left his searchlights on too long she was riddled by 20-30 hits and near misses in just over a minute and a half, only surviving because the burning USS ''San Francisco'' obstructed ''Helena''[='s=] line of fire.

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The pace of combat accelerated considerably over each of these periods, as each new advance in technology allowed ships to travel and fire farther and faster. Steam power freed ships from from dependence upon the winds, though it did not free them completely from the affects of the sea (one reason Bismarck fared so poorly in her final battle was her loss of steering left her crew unable to plot a course that would minimize the effect of the waves on their gunnery.) Breach Breech loading guns replaced muzzle loaders, turrets replaced manual training, gun directors replaced manual aiming, rates of fire increased. Maneuvers that took hours under sail now took only minutes, and high rates of fire meant a battle could be over in seconds if the enemy found your range. A single well-aimed salvo from ''Bismarck'' totally destroyed HMS ''Hood'', and when the Japanese destroyer ''Amatsukaze'' attracted the attention of USS ''Helena'' at the Naval battle of Guadalcanal when her captain left his searchlights on too long she was riddled by 20-30 hits and near misses in just over a minute and a half, only surviving because the burning USS ''San Francisco'' obstructed ''Helena''[='s=] line of fire.


-->The last known words of Commander Howard Gilmore, Captain of USS ''Growler'' (SS-215). Wounded during a surface gun battle with a Japanese escort vessel Gilmore ordered his crew to dive ''[[HeroicSacrifice while he was still on top of the submarine and outside the pressure hull]]'', [[HeroicSacrifice sacrificing his own life to save the ship.]]''

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-->The last known words of Commander Howard Gilmore, Captain of USS ''Growler'' (SS-215). Wounded during a surface gun battle with a Japanese escort vessel Gilmore ordered his crew to dive ''[[HeroicSacrifice while he was still on top of the submarine and outside the pressure hull]]'', [[HeroicSacrifice sacrificing his own life to save the ship.]]''
]]



It was realised that nuclear power was not only useful for submarines, but other vessels too, which would not need to be refueled at sea. And fuel occupies space and weight that ship designers would often prefer to use for other things. Even burning fuel can cause problems if the empty tanks are not ballasted to maintain stability. Aircraft carriers especially benefit from nuclear power, since the tanks not used to carry fuel for the ship can instead be used to carry fuel for the aircraft. The United States proved the concept with USS ''Enterprise'' followed over a period of five decades by the ten-ship ''Nimitz''-class, the last of which is now entering service. Another class, the ''Gerald R. Ford''-class (named after Ford more or less because he happened to have died shortly before the construction contract was awarded, and also because he had served on a light carrier in the Pacific Theatre during WWII), is in the construction process; the lead ship, USS ''Gerald R. Ford'' (CVN-78) is due to be launched in spring 2016. Nuclear-powered cruisers and destroyers followed, but nearly none remain in service (bar two of the Soviet/Russian "''Kirovs''"), mostly due to the end of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar.

While there have been some safety concerns, especially early on and in the Soviet Navy (whose early nuclear shipbuilding program was ''very'' rushed), radiation has not proven to be the problem so much as cost. The major bar to nuclear powered ships is and always has been the expense. Nuclear ships are extremely expensive to build and even expensive to decommission after you are done with them. Nuclear powered ships are so expensive that only a few countries were ever able to afford them, and even then a few. It's been calculated that the total cost of running a nuclear ship over its lifetime becomes lower than that of a conventional ship only for the fairly large ones: starting at about 12 to 15 kilotons of displacement, and few modern warships are that big. Basically only heavy cruisers and aircraft carriers can be justified to be made nuclear, and so they did.

to:

It was realised that nuclear power was not only useful for submarines, but other vessels too, which would not need to be refueled at sea. And fuel occupies space and weight that ship designers would often prefer to use for other things. Even burning fuel can cause problems if the empty tanks are not ballasted to maintain stability. Aircraft carriers especially benefit from nuclear power, since the tanks not used to carry fuel for the ship can instead be used to carry fuel for the aircraft. The United States proved the concept with USS ''Enterprise'' followed over a period of five decades by the ten-ship ''Nimitz''-class, the last of which is now entering service.''Nimitz''-class.. Another class, the ''Gerald R. Ford''-class (named [[note]]named after Ford more or less because he happened to have died shortly before the construction contract was awarded, and also because he had served on a light carrier in the Pacific Theatre during WWII), is in the construction process; the lead ship, USS ''Gerald R. Ford'' (CVN-78) is due WWII[[/note]] continues to be launched built, the first ship having been commissioned in spring 2016.2017. Nuclear-powered cruisers and destroyers followed, but nearly none remain in service (bar two of the Soviet/Russian "''Kirovs''"), mostly due to the end of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar.

While there have been some safety concerns, especially early on and in the Soviet Navy (whose early nuclear shipbuilding program was ''very'' rushed), radiation has not proven to be the problem so much as cost. The major bar to nuclear powered ships is and always has been the expense. Nuclear ships are extremely expensive to build build, their crews are expensive to train, and they are even expensive to decommission after you are done with them. Nuclear powered ships are so expensive that Consequently, only a few countries were ever able to afford them, and even then a few. It's been calculated that the total cost of running a nuclear ship over its lifetime becomes lower than that of a conventional ship only for the fairly large ones: starting at about 12 to 15 kilotons of displacement, and few modern warships are that big. Basically only heavy cruisers and aircraft carriers can be justified to be made nuclear, and so they did.


To some degree, development of the ironclad (wooden-hulled ships encased in iron armor, as opposed to complete iron hills) came from the French Navy attempting to use technology to offset the numerical superiority of [[FriendlyEnemy the English Navy]]. The French built the (unarmored) 90-gun steam-powered line-of-battle ship ''Napoleon'' in 1850, and several French-designed ironclad floating batteries were fielded in the Crimean War. Putting the two together, the French commissioned ''Gloire'' in 1859, an oceangoing 36-gun ironclad that would easily lay waste to the unarmored Royal Navy. The British countered with HMS ''Warrior'' in 1860, the first iron-hulled warship.

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To some degree, development of the ironclad (wooden-hulled ships encased in iron armor, as opposed to complete iron hills) hulls) came from the French Navy attempting to use technology to offset the numerical superiority of [[FriendlyEnemy the English Navy]]. The French built the (unarmored) 90-gun steam-powered line-of-battle ship ''Napoleon'' in 1850, and several French-designed ironclad floating batteries were fielded in the Crimean War. Putting the two together, the French commissioned ''Gloire'' in 1859, an oceangoing 36-gun ironclad that would easily lay waste to the unarmored Royal Navy. The British countered with HMS ''Warrior'' in 1860, the first iron-hulled warship.


There were also two engagements of where battleships managed to get within gun range of carriers. The first (HMS ''Glorious'' vs KM ''Scharnhorst'' and ''Gneisenau'') took place in 1940 and was won by the battleships; the second (the Battle Off Samar) took place in 1945 and was won by the carriers. (See the UsefulNotes/WW2 CrowningMomentOfAwesome for the details of the latter.) But by 1945 battleships were no longer a match for even escort carriers. The swan song of the battleship was written in the final, futile sortie of IJN ''Yamato'', which was literally obliterated by swarms of aircraft less than halfway to her objective, having never justified the vast resources expended on her construction. Barely one month later the last operational major Japanese warship, the heavy cruiser ''Haguro'', was sunk off Penang by a British destroyer squadron in the world's last mass torpedo attack. Ironically, the navy that launched the era of seaborne air power suffered its final defeat in history's last traditional surface battle.

to:

There were also two engagements of where battleships managed to get within gun range of carriers. The first (HMS ''Glorious'' vs KM ''Scharnhorst'' and ''Gneisenau'') took place in 1940 and was won by the battleships; the second (the Battle Off Samar) took place in 1945 and was won by the carriers. (See the UsefulNotes/WW2 CrowningMomentOfAwesome for the details of the latter.) But by 1945 battleships were no longer a match for even escort carriers. The swan song of the battleship was written in the final, futile sortie of IJN ''Yamato'', which was literally obliterated by swarms of aircraft less than halfway to her objective, having never justified the vast resources expended on her construction. Barely one month later the last operational major Japanese warship, the heavy cruiser ''Haguro'', was sunk off Penang by a British destroyer squadron in the world's last mass torpedo attack. Ironically, the navy that launched the era of seaborne air power suffered its final defeat in history's last traditional surface battle.


The torpedo[[note]] Specifically, the self-propelled torpedo. The word originally referred to mines, and only took on its modern definition when somebody had the idea of putting a motor on a mine and setting it to drive itself into a target instead of the other way around[[/note]], originally meant as a short-range weapon for battleships and cruisers, was quickly realized as a very mobile weapon that could be carried by vehicles that couldn't possibly carry a heavy gun. Countries that couldn't afford battleships quickly adapted the torpedo to smaller craft such as torpedo boats and (eventually) submarines -- very inexpensive vessels that could easily sneak up on an unsuspecting battleship and sink it. Torpedo boats were further divided into "fleet" torpedo boats capable (somewhat) of blue-water operations on the high seas, and the smaller and faster "motor torpedo boats" or "PT boats" that stayed closer to shore. This in turn lead the big navies to develop "Torpedo Boat Destroyers;" fast, maneuverable ships able to keep up with torpedo boats and carrying enough guns to readily overpower them before they could do any damage. In response, fleet torpedo boats got bigger and mounted more guns, while torpedo boat destroyers soon mounted torpedo tubes in case they got a chance to sucker-punch an enemy capital ship. The two types soon merged, and "torpedo boat" was dropped from the name, giving us the modern Destroyer[[note]] Except for the Germans, who insisted on calling their destroyers "fleet torpedo boats" through both World Wars, and were still doing it when Hitler ate his pistol[[/note]]. Thus, shortly before UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, the TypesOfNavalShips had been well-developed -- the battleship, the cruiser, the destroyer, the submarine, and the torpedo boat.

to:

The torpedo[[note]] Specifically, the self-propelled torpedo. The word originally referred to mines, and only took on its modern definition when somebody had the idea of putting a motor on a mine and setting it to drive itself into a target instead of the other way around[[/note]], originally meant as a short-range weapon for battleships and cruisers, was quickly realized as a very mobile weapon that could be carried by vehicles that couldn't possibly carry a heavy gun. Countries that couldn't afford battleships quickly adapted the torpedo to smaller craft such as torpedo boats and (eventually) submarines -- very inexpensive vessels that could easily sneak up on an unsuspecting battleship and sink it. Torpedo boats were further divided into "fleet" torpedo boats capable (somewhat) of blue-water operations on the high seas, and the smaller and faster "motor torpedo boats" or "PT boats" that stayed closer to shore. This in turn lead the big navies to develop "Torpedo Boat Destroyers;" fast, maneuverable ships able to keep up with torpedo boats and carrying enough guns to readily overpower them before they could do any damage. In response, fleet torpedo boats got bigger and mounted more guns, while torpedo boat destroyers soon mounted torpedo tubes in case they got a chance to sucker-punch an enemy capital ship. The two types soon merged, and "torpedo boat" was dropped from the name, giving us the modern Destroyer[[note]] Except for the Germans, who insisted on calling their destroyers "fleet torpedo boats" through both World Wars, and were still doing it when Hitler ate his pistol[[/note]]. Thus, shortly before UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, the TypesOfNavalShips UsefulNotes/TypesOfNavalShips had been well-developed -- the battleship, the cruiser, the destroyer, the submarine, and the torpedo boat.



The dreadnought increased the range at which battles could be fought to approximately eleven miles or all the way out to the visible horizon.[[note]] The advent of radar in WWII extended these ranges even further. The German ''Scharnhorst'' hit the aircraft carrier HMS ''Glorious'', and in a separate battle HMS ''Warspite'' achieved a hit on the Italian battleship ''Giulio Cesare'', at 25,000-26,000 yards (15 miles), USS ''Iowa'' straddled Japanese destroyer ''Nowaki'' with five out of ten salvos at 35,000-38,000 yards (20 miles) and USS ''White Plains'' received a damaging near miss at 32,000-33,000 yards (19 miles) when a salvo of 18.1 inch shells from ''Yamato'' exploded under her bilge.[[/note]] Dreadnought battleships and the counters developed against them created the TypesOfNavalShips that we use today. Tactics no longer resembled land warfare in the slightest, focusing instead on good scouting so you could discover the enemy first and place your own battleships in the most advantageous position.

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The dreadnought increased the range at which battles could be fought to approximately eleven miles or all the way out to the visible horizon.[[note]] The advent of radar in WWII extended these ranges even further. The German ''Scharnhorst'' hit the aircraft carrier HMS ''Glorious'', and in a separate battle HMS ''Warspite'' achieved a hit on the Italian battleship ''Giulio Cesare'', at 25,000-26,000 yards (15 miles), USS ''Iowa'' straddled Japanese destroyer ''Nowaki'' with five out of ten salvos at 35,000-38,000 yards (20 miles) and USS ''White Plains'' received a damaging near miss at 32,000-33,000 yards (19 miles) when a salvo of 18.1 inch shells from ''Yamato'' exploded under her bilge.[[/note]] Dreadnought battleships and the counters developed against them created the TypesOfNavalShips UsefulNotes/TypesOfNavalShips that we use today. Tactics no longer resembled land warfare in the slightest, focusing instead on good scouting so you could discover the enemy first and place your own battleships in the most advantageous position.


This was around the time the United States -- having been predominantly a frigate navy for its entire history[[note]] The US Navy built several (nowhere near as many as the British, French, or Spanish) ships of the line after the war of 1812. They were prohibitively expensive to operate, only putting to sea for their initial sea trials before being relegated to the Mothball Fleet, and had all been converted to barracks ships (a couple of which lasted through WWI), depot ships, or gunboat tenders by the time the Civil War broke out, never facing an enemy in their intended role[[/note]] -- began to build itself into a significant naval power. In response to Brazil's launching of the battleship ''Riachuelo'' in 1883 (which by itself made Brazil the most powerful Navy in the Americas by a wide margin), the US Navy launched the battleship USS ''Texas'' and her half-sister, the "Second-Class Battleship" (often considered an armored cruiser with bigger guns than usual) ''Maine''.

In the Spanish-American War (1898), the new all-steel ships of the U.S. Navy [[FlawlessVictory sank two Spanish fleets and seized their Caribbean and Pacific colonies without losing any ships of their own,]] despite [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy admittedly poor gunnery]]--the Americans missed most shots, while the Spanish ''[[EpicFail couldn't hit anything]]''. In the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar (1904-05) [[{{Foreshadowing}} (opened with a surprise torpedo attack against the Russian fleet in Dalian/'Port Arthur', Liaoning province)]] the [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Imperial Japanese]] managed to sink [[UsefulNotes/RussiansWithRifles Imperial Russia's]] (smaller-than-Japan's) Pacific Fleet with land-based artillery and destroy Russia's (slightly-larger-than-Japan's) Baltic fleet, [[CurbStompBattle the latter in less than an hour]].

to:

This was around the time the United States -- having been predominantly a frigate navy for its entire history[[note]] The US Navy built several (nowhere near as many as the British, French, or Spanish) ships of the line after the war of 1812. They were prohibitively expensive to operate, only putting to sea for their initial sea trials before being relegated to the Mothball Fleet, and had all been converted to barracks ships (a couple of which lasted through WWI), depot ships, or gunboat tenders by the time the Civil War broke out, never facing an enemy in their intended role[[/note]] -- began to build itself into a significant naval power. In response to Brazil's launching of the battleship ''Riachuelo'' in 1883 (which by itself made Brazil the most powerful Navy in the Americas by a wide margin), the US Navy launched the battleship USS ''Texas'' and her half-sister, the "Second-Class Battleship" (often considered an armored cruiser with bigger guns than usual) ''Maine''. \n\n[[note]]The primary difference between the two ships was that ''Texas'' carried a main battery of two 12-inch guns in her two turrets, and ''Maine'' carried a main battery of four 10-inch guns in her turrets.[[/note]]

In the Spanish-American War (1898), the new all-steel ships of the U.S. Navy [[FlawlessVictory sank two Spanish fleets and seized their Caribbean and Pacific colonies without losing any ships of their own,]] own,]][[note]]not counting the sinking of the ''Maine'' before the war, which most modern historians consider to be caused by an accidental explosion rather than a hostile attack[[/note]] despite [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy admittedly poor gunnery]]--the Americans missed most shots, while the Spanish ''[[EpicFail couldn't hit anything]]''.anything]]''. The only damage the American ships received in battle was when the blast from ''Texas's'' main battery blew holes in her own superstructure. In the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar (1904-05) [[{{Foreshadowing}} (opened with a surprise torpedo attack against the Russian fleet in Dalian/'Port Arthur', Liaoning province)]] the [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Imperial Japanese]] managed to sink [[UsefulNotes/RussiansWithRifles Imperial Russia's]] (smaller-than-Japan's) Pacific Fleet with land-based artillery and destroy Russia's (slightly-larger-than-Japan's) Baltic fleet, [[CurbStompBattle the latter in less than an hour]].



By the turn of the 20th Century, the Royal Navy had made several important observations about battleship engagements in the 1890s and early 1900s, particularly the Russo-Japanese war mentioned before. First, speed was an undervalued asset - the faster fleet can control of many important aspects of battle. (Whether or not to engage, what range to fight at, etc.) Second, the effective range of even pre-existing naval guns was quite a lot larger than expected - the Russian and Japanese fire directors at the Battle of the Yellow Sea maxed out at 4 and 6 km, respectively, and yet they each made solid hits at distances up to 13 km. Additionally, longer-range torpedoes made it too dangerous for battleships to fight closer than 4 km. Both of these trends seemed likely to continue. At these ranges, however, all but the main batteries were minimally effective.

to:

By the turn of the 20th Century, the Royal Navy had made several important observations about battleship engagements in the 1890s and early 1900s, particularly the Russo-Japanese war mentioned before. First, speed was an undervalued asset - the faster fleet can control of many important aspects of battle. (Whether or not to engage, what range to fight at, etc.) Second, the effective range of even pre-existing naval guns was quite a lot larger than expected - the Russian and Japanese fire directors at the Battle of the Yellow Sea maxed out at 4 and 6 km, respectively, and yet they each made solid hits at distances up to 13 km. Additionally, longer-range torpedoes made it too dangerous for battleships to fight closer than 4 km. Both of these trends seemed likely to continue. At these ranges, however, all but the main batteries were minimally effective.
effective. Further, the Battle of Tsushima aptly demonstrated the value of the new wireless telegraph, as Japanese scouts were able to immediately notify the Japanese fleet when the Russians were spotted, allowing them to quickly respond at the place of their choosing.

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