The sea has been a pathway for many vessels to perform varying actions like transportation of goods, searching for food and even fighting wars. Human history has seen the development of millions of ships being built; in some cases, these ships were built for civilian purposes and act as cruise liners and carrier vessels. In other circumstances, these vessels were built for military purposes, like battleships. These battleships aided various countries in protecting their borders and even conquering new ones. Any nation looking to have dominance of the sea had to be equipped with a fleet of battleships.
These armored ships have developed from being wooden vessels to ironclad armor-plated machines, ready to defend against high explosive shells. These ships have aided in the surrender of empires, as is the case of the USS Missouri, or Might Mo battleship. This ship fostered the surrender of Japan’s empire and ended World War II. Another notable battleship was the Santa Maria which aided Columbus in acquiring many lands. Battleships were built to dominate naval waterways and none did so more remarkably than the German battleship, The Bismarck. This infamous battleship struck fear in the hearts of its enemies and stood at 823 feet with a top speed of 30 knots.
While it's fun to talk about battleships, they mean nothing if you don't know what the vessel looks like. So, can you match the pictures of these battleships to their names? Take this quiz to find out.
Built in 1765, the HMS Victory was Lord Nelson's flagship during the battle of Trafalgar during 1804. During that battle, 57 of her crew were killed, including Nelson, and 103 injured.
One of the most famous battleships ever, the Missouri saw action in three conflicts - the Second World War, the Korean War and finally the Gulf War. Perhaps her biggest claim to fame, however, is as the ship on which the Japanese signed their surrender at the end of World War Two.
Built in 1920, the HMS Hood was considered the British Navy flagship entering World War Two. Sadly, she was no match for the modern German ships and was sunk by the Bismarck in 1941.
The Bismarck was commissioned in 1940 and along with the Tirpitz, it was the pride of the German Navy. She was responsible for sinking the HMS Hood, the flagship of the British Navy. She was crewed by 2,192 men, was around 824 feet in length and weight over 50 tons. Over 50 guns made the Bismarck feared by all. She was eventually sunk by the British in 1941.
The Roma was an Italian battleship that entered service in 1942. Strangely enough, after the Italians surrendered in 1943, the Roma was to be interned on Malta but was sunk by the German air force while attempting to get there.
The Orient was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Martin during the Battle of Genoa in 1795. It was a large battleship with 118 guns. She was destroyed by the British Navy under Lord Admiral Nelson in 1798 while anchored near the Nile River in Egypt.
The Barnham entered service in 1915, seeing out World War One as well as the beginning stages of World War Two. This Queen Elizabeth-class fast battleship was sunk by a German U-Boat on 25 November 1941 with the loss of 841 men.
Built in 1936, the Admiral Graf Spee was a pocket battleship serving in the German Navy. Interestingly, she fought and then was chased by the HMS Ajax, Exeter and Achilles into Montevideo Harbor where her captain, Hans Langsdorff, ordered her scuttled. He took his own life rather than return to Germany having lost his ship.
A veteran of the First World War, the Queen Elizabeth served during the Second World War, where she was damaged by midget submarine attacks carried out by the Italian special forces. She was refitted and survived the conflict, eventually to be sold in 1949 to be scrapped.
One of the biggest battleships ever produced at the time, the Santisima Trinidad had 112 guns in her early days. She was launched in 1769 and by 1795, this had extended to between 130 and 140. The added guns made the Santisima difficult to maneuver, however. She was captured during the Battle of Trafalgar and sank in a storm while under tow back to Britain.
The Duke of York entered service during 1941. This ship was 745 feet long and weighed 42,075 tons. It was powered by 4 x Parsons geared turbines that produced 110,000 horsepower! The Duke of York survived the war and was scrapped in 1958.
Built in 1939, the Scharnhorst was over 700 feet long and weighed around 26,000 tons. This battleship is credited with the longest ever hit on an enemy ship ever recorded (26,000 yards). The Scharnhorst was defeated in combat in 1943 after a long battle with a number of different ships from the British Navy. She finally sank as a result of four direct torpedo hits from HMS Scorpion and a ship from the exiled Norwegian Navy, the Stord.
Built in 1941, the Prince of Wales was with the HMS Hood when both ships attacked the Bismarck, a German battleship. Although the Hood sank, the Prince of Wales managed to retreat only to be sunk later that year in a Japanese air raid near Singapore with many lives lost.
The sister ship of the Bismarck, the Tirpitz was slightly larger. The British knew of her significance to the German war cause and chased her relentlessly. The Tirpitz spent much of her operational life trying to avoid attacks but in 1944, she was eventually bombed by the Royal Air Force and sunk while trapped in a Norwegian fjord.
Entering service in 1942, the Alabama was 680 feet in length, weighed 35,000 tons and was crewed by a complement of 1,793 men. She served in a number of theatres during the war including the Meditteranean and the Pacific including the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the 'Marianus Turkey Shoot' which saw the US Navy destroy over 400 Japanese aircraft. After the war, the Alabama served as part of the Pacific reserve fleet until decommissioned in 1962.
The Arkansas, a dreadnought battleship, was commissioned in 1912, and saw service in both the First and Second World War. She was 562 feet long, weighed 26,000 tons and was crewed by a complement of over 1000.
This Italian battleship entered service in 1940 and saw much action during the Second World War, mostly in the Mediterranean theatre. Once Italy surrendered in 1943, the Vittorio Veneto was sent to Malta where she remained until 1946. She was eventually handed to the British Navy and scrapped in 1948.
The Richelieu entered service in 1940 with the French Navy and had an interesting career, to say the least. After the fall of France at the hands of Germany, the Richelieu entered service with Vichy French Government which had been established by the Nazis. The British then tried to sink the Richelieu, and although she was damaged in a torpedo attack she did not sink. This battleship eventually fell into Allied hands in 1942 serving with the British Navy in a number of theatres before returning to France after the war where she was eventually scrapped in 1968.
The Fuso served with the Imperial Japanese Navy from as early as 1915. She was 673 feet in length and weighed close to 30,000 pounds. The Fuso underwent extensive modernization before the Second World War before serving in various parts of the Pacific and as a training vessel. The Fuso was lost with most of her crew in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944.
The Arizona was part of the US Navy from 1916. She was lost in 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The ship was torn apart when a bomb exploded near the armament store. The resultant explosion killed 1,177 men. The Arizona now sits as a memorial to that fateful day.
The Iowa entered service in 1943, first in the Atlantic before moving to the Pacific where she eventually ended up in Tokyo Bay at the end of the war. This battleship was decommissioned in the late '40s only to be called back to active duty for the Korean War in 1951. The Iowa was 887 feet in length, weighed 48,500 tons and was crewed by a complement of close to 2,000 men.
This Italian battleship survived both the First and Second World War. She was eventually decommissioned in 1958. The Andrea Doria was 554 feet long, weighed 25 tons and had a crew of 1,233 men.
At 801 feet in length, a displacement of 72 tons and a crew of 2,767, the Yamato was not only one of the biggest battleships the Second World War but one of the most powerful as well. This ship fought in various battles throughout the Pacific, taking direct hits on some occasions but fighting on. She was eventually sunk in April 1945 after taking 13 torpedoes and six direct hits from bombs. Only 280 of her crew survived.
The Nelson entered service with the Royal Navy in 1927. Incredibly, at the start of the war, she was struck by 3 torpedoes from a German submarine with none of them exploding! The Nelson fought throughout the war, seeing service in the Atlantic, Meditteranean, and the Pacific before she was sold for scrap in 1949.
This famous ship is credited with sinking more enemy ships than any other during the Second World War. She served in the Atlantic and the Pacific, covering an impressive 239,000 miles during the war.
Commissioned by George Washington, the USS Constitution first set sail in 1798. She played a massive part during the War of 1812 against Britain, defeating five British warships and capturing numerous merchant ships. The Constitution is now a museum in Boston Harbor.
The Texas was launched in 1914. During the Second World War, she saw service in the Atlantic, Meditteranean as well as the Pacific. She is currently a museum ship in Houston.
The Roberts entered service in the British Navy in 1941. This battleship was not as large as others. It only reached 373 feet while it weighed just 8,100 tons. Her main job was as a gun platform with a single primary turret holding two 15-inch guns. She saw service in the Mediterranean as well as on D-Day. The Roberts was scrapped in 1965, while one of her guns still stands outside the Imperial War Museum in London.
The Hiei entered service with the Japanese Navy in 1914 and was originally based on a British design. As the Second World War approached, the Hiei was modernized through a refit. She formed part of the convoy that launched the attack on Pearl Harbor but met her demise in 1942 during the Battle of Guadalcanal.
The Utah first entered service with the US Navy in 1911. She was lost during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. 64 of her crew died on that fateful day.
The USS Tennessee entered service with the US Navy in 1920. She survived the Second World War, seeing action in the attack on Pearl Harbor, as well as a kamikaze attack in the Pacific. She was scrapped in 1959.
Entering service in 1942, the South Dakota was a thoroughly modern battleship for its time. She was often referred to as Battleship 'X' or 'Old Nameless' to protect sensitive information from the Japanese. The South Dakota saw extensive action during the war in the Pacific theatre and was placed on reserve after the war before being scrapped in 1962.
The Moreno entered service with the Argentinian navy in 1915, performing various roles until she was scrapped in 1956.
The 'Pennsy' as she was affectionately known, entered service with the US Navy in 1915 and served with distinction during the Second World War. Damaged during the attack on Pearl Harbor, she went on to serve near Alaska and in the Pacific where she was severely damaged toward the end of the war.
This ship has an interesting history. She started out life as the HMS Royal Sovereign from 1916 and through the First World War before being handed to the Russian Navy in 1944 and to officially become the Arkhangelsk. She survived the war serving as a flagship in the Arctic Ocean performing convoy protection duties. In 1947, the ship was returned to Britain and scrapped.
After seeing service during the Second World War, the Oklahoma was sunk in the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The Maryland first entered service with the US Navy in 1921. Although present during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Maryland survived despite taking two direct hits. She returned to active service in June after repairs, making her the first ship from the attack to return to sea. She spent much of the war in the Pacific theatre.
The Kongo entered service with the Japanese Navy in 1913. She fought for much of the Second World War in the Pacific theatre before sinking at the hands of the submarine, USS Sealion.
This battleship entered service with the US Navy in 1941. Serving in the Pacific, she became the most decorated battleship in the fleet and is now a floating museum in Wilmington.
The New York entered service with the US Navy at the start of the First World War. She saw service during the Second World War and afterward, was one of 70 ships that withstood two nuclear tests at the Bikini Atoll. The New York returned to the United States and was eventually used as target practice in naval and air force exercises in 1948.
The Rodney entered service with the British Navy in 1927. During the Second World War, the Rodney served on convoy patrol duty in the Atlantic, hunted the Bismarck (and recorded torpedo hits on the German battleship) and served in North Africa and during D-Day.
The New Jersey is the most decorated ship in the naval history of the United States, serving in the Second World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War before finally leaving service in 1990. She is now a floating museum
The Missouri only entered the Second World War in 1944 and served in Pacific. She was present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. Her career continued for many years after the war, including service during the Korean War and Gulf War. She is now a museum ship.
Although the Jean Bart was commissioned to serve with the French Navy in the early 1940s, by the time of the German invasion, she was not complete. She only joined the French Navy in 1949 and served till 1957 before being placed in the reserve fleet.
Another of the US Navy battleships to serve in both World War One and World War Two, the Nevada also survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor although she was badly damaged. After repairs, the Nevada served in Alaska and during the D-Day landings as well as in the Pacific.
This Italian battleship served during both World Wars. After the Italian surrender in 1943, she was moved to Malta with the rest of the fleet. After the war, she once again served the Italian Navy before being scrapped in 1957.
This French battleship entered service in the middle of the First World War. During the Second World War, she was sunk by the HMS Hood at the fall of France to stop her from falling into German hands after France declined to turn their navy over to the British. Sadly, over 1,000 lives were lost.
At 920 feet in length and a displacement of 66 tons, the Montana was to be the biggest battleship in the US fleet. The whole program was canceled however once Navy command saw the importance of aircraft carriers over battleships.
The USS Massachusetts entered service in 1942 and saw action both the Atlantic and Pacific during World War Two. She was affectionately known as 'Big Mamie'.
Don't be fooled by the name, the Ville de Paris was a battleship in the British Navy. The name was intended as an insult to the French who had lost their Ville de Paris, captured by the British in 1782. This ship served with the British Navy until 1824.