Soviet Admirals Shunned Stalin’s Favorite Battlecruiser
The Soviet navy was not in great shape at the onset of the German invasion on June 22, 1941. Stalin had decimated the ranks of the naval officer corps, which greatly complicated planning, and the invasion forced many warship projects to a halt. The Soviets envisioned one of these... Read more
Japan Dreamed of Supercarrier-Size Battleships
In January 1936 Japan announced its intention to withdraw from the London Naval Treaty, accusing both the United States and the United Kingdom of negotiating in bad faith. The Japanese sought formal equality in naval construction limits, something that the Western powers would not give. In the wake of... Read more
The Battlecarrier Was Part Battleship, Part Aircraft Carrier
This story originally appeared on Dec. 6, 2013. In the early 1980s, four Iowa-class fast battleships originally built during World War II—Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin—were taken out of mothballs and returned to active duty. Nearly 900 feet long and displacing close to 60,000 tons, the battlewagons could... Read more
The HMS ‘Queen Elizabeth’ Was an Unlucky Battleship
Earlier this week HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest aircraft carrier ever built for the Royal Navy, began sea trials. The Queen Elizabeth class represents a massive leap forward for the Royal Navy, and the success or failure of the class will structure British seapower for the rest of the 21st century.... Read more
It’s Too Late to Save the Battleship
There’s a mystique to battleships. Whenever inside-the-Beltway dwellers debate how to bulk up the U.S. Navy fleet, odds are sentimentalists will clamor to return the Iowa-class dreadnoughts to service. Nor is the idea of bringing back grizzled World War II veterans as zany as it sounds. We aren’t talking... Read more
America’s Super Battleships That Never Were
In the early 1940s, the U.S. Navy still expected to need huge, first rate battleships to fight the best that Japan and Germany had to offer. The North Carolina, South Dakota, and Iowa-class battleships all involved design compromises. The Montanas, the last battleships designed by the U.S. Navy, would... Read more
History’s Most Innovative Warships
Earlier this month the Zumwalt began sea trials. The first of a probable three ships, Zumwalt once represented the future of U.S. naval surface warfare. Budget shortfalls, changed priorities and predictable cost overruns cut the projected purchase from a fleet-sustaining 32 units to an experimental trio of ships. Still, Zumwalt represents... Read more
What Happened After ‘Peak Battleship’?
In many ways, the battleship represented the greatest-ever concentration of naval power in a single vessel. Between World War I and World War II, the big, fast, thickly-armored and heavily-armed warships dominated the world’s oceans. And then, very quickly, the battleship became practically obsolete. Why is a complex question... Read more