battleship(redirected from Battleships)
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See S. Breyer, Battleships and Battle Cruisers, 1905–1970 (tr. 1973) and Battleships of the World (1980).
(1) Ship of the line, or line-of-battle ship, in the sailing fleet of the 17th to mid-19th centuries; large, three-masted warships with two and three gun decks. They had from 60 to 135 guns mounted in lines along the sides and crews of up to 800 men. They fought in a wake column (battle line), which is how they received the name, which, by tradition, was passed on to ships of the steam-powered navy.
(2) Battleship in the steam-powered armored navy, one of the basic classes of the largest surface artillery ships, designed to destroy ships of all classes in battle at sea and to deliver powerful artillery strikes against targets on shore.
Battleships appeared in many of the world’s navies to supplant early forms of armor-clad ships after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. At first they were called dreadnoughts. In Russia this class of battleship was established in 1907. Battleships were used in World War I. By the start of World War II battleships had a standard displacement of 20,000–64,000 tons and were armed with up to 12 turret guns of the main caliber (280–460 mm), up to 20 torpedo-defense, antiaircraft, or multipurpose artillery guns with calibers of 100–127 mm, and up to 80–140 small-caliber automatic antiaircraft cannon and large-caliber antiaircraft machine guns. The traveling speed of the battleships was 20–35 knots (37–64.8 km/hr) and wartime crews included 1,500–2,800 men. The side armor was up to 440 mm thick, and the weight of all the armor was up to 40 percent of the total weight of the ship. Battleships had one to three aircraft on board and catapaults for launching them. During the war, because of the increased role of naval aviation (especially carrier-based) and submarine forces and the loss of many battleships to aviation and submarines, these ships lost their importance. After the war all navies scrapped almost all their battleships.
B. F. BALEV