The battleship is the most formidable artillery-based vessel in naval service. It has the largest guns and the most armor for survival in combat. Though initially constructed to duel other battleships, they are also expedient in interdicting near-shore routes favored by the enemy and are excellent support vehicles for landing forces during a contested assault on a foreign shore. This entry describes the designs, uses, armament, and speeds of battleships from the early 20th century to the modern age.

Early History

The modern battleship came of age after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905. Both the increasing size of the secondary armament (smaller caliber than the main battery but intended for battle line combat) and the decisive naval battle of Tsushima (May 1905) gave evidence for the need ...

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