World War II was the largest naval war in history. It was also the largest air war in
history, but that's another story...Ships that fought in the second world war
established technology, and patterns that would be used throughout the 20th century.
thousands of ideas that would have never been tried on ships during peace time were
applied in the then emergency state of the world.

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Battleships. Well into the twentieth century Battleships were the most feared vessel
in the sea. They were by those days standards very large, weighing in at a minimum
of 20,000tons. Their armor was enormous in some cases 12 inch thick belts of steel
along their sides! They were armed with 8 to 12 of the heaviest caliber cannon
possible the largest of these were18.1 inchers that shot shells that weighed 3,200 lbs.
To counter the threat of surface attack from light and extremely fast torpedoe boats
was countered with a secondary armament, the mini gun. Which today has evolved
into the phalanx gun system, which is a last resort point-defense weapon. There are
three main types of battleships. The lightest of these being the battlecruiser. These
were usually very light and therebye very fast. To obtain this maneuverability, they
gave up a lot of armor, although they still had a deadly armament. These forms of
battleships proved very unaffective. They were too light to do battle with a true
battleship. and their speed mattered not against aircraft. Plus they were very expensive
because of the engines, and light weight material they used. Thus, making them not
only an east target, but a good one too. By the end of the war, only 1 of the 40 or so
of these ships that were built was still in service. Next up from these we have the
battleship battleships. These were the regular old descendents of the ship of the line,
back from the day of Admiral Nelson, and John Paul Jones. They usuall weighed
from 17,000 tons to 21,000. They were of medium armor, medium speed, and
medium armament. But one must keep in mind that they were anything but a
medium/normal ship. These ships were before the age of the carrier, the second most
feared ship on the seas, as they carried roughly a dozen 12 inchers, and 1/2 a dozen 5
inchers. One step above this, and the king of all kings was the battlewagons. These
were the equivelant of the 19th century Flag Ship. They were expensive, big, and
could take an unbelievable amount of damage without going down. The two/three
most famous of these were the USS Iowa, and the JIN(Japanese Imperial
Navy)Yamato. 4 Yamato class battleships were scheduled to be made, but only 2
were, before the japanes realized that for the same price they could have 3 Shimanto
class carriers including planes. The Yamato was 244 (800ft, 2 1/2)football fields
meters long, had 9 18.1 inch guns! 12 6.1 inchers, for use against smaller, quicker
ships, and 12 5 inchers, foruse as an Anti Aircraft, or Surface gun. Its crew was
2,500 strong. And it had 16.1 inch thick armor belting around its waterline. The
Yamato class battleships are the biggest ever made. But they were not the best. The
best was the USS Iowa. which was the last battleship ever to fire a shot in time of
war. Doing so in the Persian Gulf as a part of Operation Desert Storm. The Uss Iowa
was longer than the Yamato, went 7 knots faster (32 knots) and at the same time had
roughly the same armament, and armor(a little smaller in both categories...9
16inchers, 13 inch belt).
Cruisers were and are the descendant of frigayes from the navies of past. Cruisers
were much smaller than Battleships, but at the same time 2 or 3 times larger than a
destroyer. Cruisers more than anything were to show the flag in places where locals
needed to be impressed, as they otherwise did not have near as well defined role as the
battleships, or destroyers. Their only real purpose was as a scout with firepower for
the fleet. But the Japanese put cruisers into use as the head of destroyer
squadrons.Light Cruisers were and where from 2500 to 10000 tons,