What started in the last years of the 19th century in the form of the pre-dreadnought battleships culminated during the Second World War as the modern battleship which, compared with the counterparts from the Great War, was generally faster, built with a narrower hull, better protected, better armed and equipped with early advances in electronics to improve fire control and warning systems. Naturally, these ships were of heterogeneous qualities; many of them were built during the 1920s and early 1930s and they had to be modernized to keep up with the warfare of the 1940s.

Still, all of the aforementioned advantages were insufficient to save battleships from obsolescence. They were costly to build and maintain and relatively weak against the most modern weapons, particularly the aviation. The apparition of antiship missiles during the Cold War would definitely prevent the return of armored ships to the battlefield, because these missiles could carry tremendously powerful warheads and could reach the battleships from above, hitting them on their more vulnerable parts, and from distances of hundreds of kilometers.

USS Iowa battleship USS Missouri battleship

American battleships of the IOWA class (1942-1944)

USS Washington battleship

American battleship USS WASHINGTON in 1944

HMS Nelson battleship

British battleship HMS NELSON in 1945

HMS King George V battleship

British battleship HMS KING GEORGE V in 1940

Dunkerque battleship

French fast battleship DUNKERQUE in 1937

Richelieu battleship

French battleship RICHELIEU in 1950

Bismarck battleship

German battleship BISMARCK in 1941

Vittorio Veneto battleship Vittorio Veneto battleship

Italian battleship VITTORIO VENETO in 1943

Yamato battleship

Japanese battleship YAMATO in 1945

~ Return to Military Ships ~