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Sunday, 29 April 2012


The British Royal Navy launched the world's first iron-hulled armoured battleship, HMS Warrior in 1860, It was built to counter the French Navy's La Gloire, the world's first ironclad warship.

SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm (see below) was one of the first ocean-going battleships of the Imperial German Navy. Named for Prince-elector Friedrich Wilhelm, she was completed in 1893 at a cost of 11.23 million marks. She served as the flagship of the Imperial fleet from her commissioning in 1894 until 1900. SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm was sold to the Ottoman Empire in 1910; she served the empire until the second year of World War I, when she was sunk off the Dardanelles.

The first major confrontation between modern steel battleship fleets took place in the Battle of the Yellow Sea in 1904 during the Russo-Japanese War.

The dreadnought was the predominant type of battleship in the early 20th century. The first of the kind, the Royal Navy's HMS Dreadnought, was launched by King Edward VII on February 10, 1906. It represented such a marked advance in naval technology that her name came to be associated with an entire generation of battleships.

HMS Dreadnought 

The British lost their first battleship of World War I on October 27, 1914 when the dreadnought battleship HMS Audacious, was sunk off Tory Island, north-west of Ireland, by a minefield laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin.The loss was kept an official secret in Britain until November 14, 1918. The sinking was witnessed and photographed by passengers on RMS Olympic sister ship of RMS Titanic.

The crew of Audacious take to lifeboats to be taken aboard Olympic.

SMS Nassau was the first dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial German Navy, in response to the launching of the British battleship HMS Dreadnought. Nassau was laid down at the Imperial Shipyard in Wilhelmshaven and launched on March 7, 1908. Three more battleships followed in the same class: Posen, Rheinland, and Westfalen. Assigned to the First Battle Squadron of the German High Seas Fleet, Nassau saw service in the North Sea in the beginning of World War I.

SMS Moltke (see below) was the lead ship of the Moltke-class battlecruisers of the German Imperial Navy. Commissioned on September 30. 1911, the ship participated in most of the major fleet actions conducted by the German Navy during the First World War, including the Battles of Dogger Bank and Jutland in the North Sea, and the Battle of the Gulf of Riga and Operation Albion in the Baltic.

Most of the original dreadnoughts were scrapped after the end of World War I under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. Large dreadnought fleets only fought once, at the Battle of Jutland.

The Royal Navy’s HMS Duke of York and her escorts sank Germany’s battleship Scharnhorst off Norway's North Cape on December 26, 1943. Only 36 men were pulled from the icy seas, out of a crew of 1,968.

The Battle of the North Cape took place in the Arctic Ocean and was the last between big-gun capital ships in the war between Britain and Germany. The British victory confirmed the massive strategic advantage held by the British, at least in surface units.

Schlachtschiff "Scharnhorst"
The Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest battleship ever constructed, was sunk by American planes 200 miles north of Okinawa while en-route to a suicide mission in Operation Ten-Go in 1945.

The Japanese battleship Settsu simulated the radio traffic of all six aircraft carriers of the 1st Air Fleet at the beginning of the Pacific War in an effort to deceive the Allies as to their location.

The Italian battleship Dante Alighieri, named after the medieval Italian poet, was the only battleship ever named for a poet.

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