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Ships with Guns

Updated on October 20, 2015


From the very earliest days of recorded history men and woman have realised the great advantages of projecting force with the use of ships, from arming them with bows and arrows to the present day when ships are heavily armed with missiles and guns.

After all was this not what the British completed very successfully in building what was then known as the British Empire it was all built on the Naval force assembled at the time both military in the form of the Royal Navy and in the form of the great force of armed Merchant Men of the East India Company, and most other European countries had the same if not somewhat smaller forces.

Great warships have always been at the cutting edge of technology and some of these innovations have past on to some peaceful benefits, so the race always goes on to produce the most powerful weapons of the worlds ocean’s.

Now as awesome as these vessels are I would never try and glorify them, no I look at them from a shipbuilders perspective and I see the amazing complexity of building such vessels, never fails to amaze me what man could really achieve if we could put our efforts into ships of a more peaceful nature, but as long as the world is spinning around we shall surly require the means to defend our interests and this was some defending at the time.

Projected Power

Concusion on the water from the 16 inch guns of the USS Iowa Battleship
Concusion on the water from the 16 inch guns of the USS Iowa Battleship | Source

Not invincible at all!

The most frighteningly powerful vessels of all time are also very susceptible to attack from the air as the Japanese and the Italian’s proved in battles with what were known as the Capital ships both in the Pacific and in the waters of the Mediterranean no matter how big they could be brought down, by determined air attacks.

Scary projection of power

US Capital Ships in the Pacific
US Capital Ships in the Pacific | Source

Old Times

When guns were first assembled on ships they formed a row or two or three of single shot cannon placed on both sides of the ship, very effective at the time although it meant that to be successful the ships had to line up opposite each other and just blast away until one or the other was damaged enough to claim a victory.

Such was the day of what became to be known in the British Isles as Nelson's time due to his succses against almost all of the known navies of the world at the time.

Nelson's Ship HMS Victory


Sail to Steam

As steam power was taking over from the days of the sailing ships, more and more powerful ships where being built and in particular in the British Isles where the lead in the industrial revolution led by Britain resulted in the raise of the Dreadnought Class of ship, and when first launched in 1905 she immediately rendered all other ships as obsolete, such was the advance incorporated into her new design.

First real Battleship


Everyone wants a Battleship

The Royal Navy was not the only force to have battleships of course and although the amount of ships was meant to be restricted by agreements made by the countries of the world following the horrors of World War One, countries such as Germany and Japan just decided to ignore this new agreement and continued to design and build ever more powerful ships.



Short career at Sea

The German battleship Bismark was a name to strike fear into all sailors who may have been on the end of her massive Armaments capability and she was very advanced for her time, creating havoc in the North Atlantic until being hunted down as a matter of priority by the Royal Navy, to end her short but very destructive time at sea.

HMS Rodney at Fleet review 1937

Royal Navy Fleet reviews

Each year it was something of a tradition for the Royal Navy to display there power as the largest fleet in the world at the time, they would all gather at spithead to be paraded in front of the hob knobs of the Admiralty and the Royal Family.

Who said Britain was not ready for World War Two as the Royal Navy was always ready.

Royal Navy

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's principal naval warfare force. Tracing its origins back to the 16th century, it is the oldest service and is known as the Senior Service. From the end of the 17th century until well into the 20th century it was the most powerful navy in the world.

The Royal Navy played a key role in establishing the British Empire and through what was known as “Gunboat Diplomacy” helped to control this vast tracked of the world under the control of Britain which was known as the British Empire.

They also acted as the world’s police force, a role now somewhat less tacken up by the naval forces of the United states.

Due to this historical prominence, it is usual – even among non-Britons – to refer to it as "The Royal Navy" without qualification.

Italian Battleship Littorio


HMS King George V


Not just Battleships

The navies of the world did not just have the mighty Battleship at there disposal but a collection of all types of armed ships, which will feature in the course of this Hub.

HMS Hood


The Mighty Hood

The pride of the Royal Navy built on the Clyde at the John Brown shipyard, she was not a full Battleship as she was classed as an Admiral Class Battle-cruiser, with her keel laid down during the dark days of the First world war, she was completed and into service with the Royal Navy by 1922.

This powerful ship arrived too late to participate in World War One, but she did take part with terrible consequences in the second world war.

She was some 860 feet and a bit in length, and her four powerful steam turbines could move her 47,000 tons through the seas at around 30 knots.

She carried a crew of some 1,129 men rising to more than 1,400 in wartime,and she was well armed it was thought at the time.

To be continued


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