The firepower of a battleship demonstrated by USS Iowa (c. 1984). The muzzle blasts distort the ocean surface.
A battleship is a large armoredwarship with a main battery consisting of large caliber guns. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the battleship was the most powerful type of warship, and a fleet centered around the battleship was part of the command of the sea doctrine for several decades. By the time of World War II, however, the battleship was made obsolete as other ships, primarily the smaller and faster destroyers, the secretive submarines, and the more versatile aircraft carriers came to be far more useful in naval warfare. While a few battleships were repurposed as fire support ships and as platforms for guided missiles, few countries maintained battleships after World War II, with the last battleships being decommissioned at the end of the Cold War.
The term battleship came into formal use in the late 1880s to describe a type of ironclad warship, now referred to by historians as pre-dreadnought battleships. In 1906, the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought into the United Kingdom's Royal Navy heralded a revolution in battleship design. Subsequent battleship designs, influenced by HMS Dreadnought, were referred to as "dreadnoughts", though the term eventually became obsolete as they became the only type of battleship in common use.
Battleships were a symbol of naval dominance and national might, and for decades the battleship was a major factor in both diplomacy and military strategy. A global arms race in battleship construction began in Europe in the 1890s and culminated at the decisive Battle of Tsushima in 1905, the outcome of which significantly influenced the design of HMS Dreadnought. The launch of Dreadnought in 1906 commenced a new naval arms race. Three major fleet actions between steel battleships took place: the long range gunnery duel at the Battle of the Yellow Sea in 1904, the decisive Battle of Tsushima in 1905 (both during the Russo-Japanese War) and the inconclusive Battle of Jutland in 1916, during the First World War. Jutland was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of dreadnoughts of the war, and it was the last major battle in naval history fought primarily by battleships.
The Naval Treaties of the 1920s and 1930s limited the number of battleships, though technical innovation in battleship design continued. Both the Allied and Axis powers built battleships during World War II, though the increasing importance of the aircraft carrier meant that the battleship played a less important role than had been expected. (Full article...)
At the start of World War I, Australia was tasked with finding and destroying the German East Asia Squadron, which was prompted to withdraw from the Pacific by the battlecruiser's presence. Repeated diversions to support the capture of German colonies in New Guinea and Samoa, as well as an overcautious Admiralty, prevented the battlecruiser from engaging the German squadron before the latter's destruction. Australia was then assigned to North Sea operations, which consisted primarily of patrols and exercises, until the end of the war. During this time, Australia was involved in early attempts at naval aviation, and 11 of her personnel participated in the Zeebrugge Raid. The battlecruiser was not at the Battle of Jutland, as she was undergoing repairs following a collision with sister ship HMS New Zealand. Australia only ever fired in anger twice: at a German merchant vessel in January 1915, and at a suspected submarine contact in December 1917.
On her return to Australian waters, several sailors aboard the warship mutinied after a request for an extra day's leave in Fremantle was denied, although other issues played a part in the mutiny, including minimal leave during the war, problems with pay, and the perception that Royal Navy personnel were more likely to receive promotions than Australian sailors. Post-war budget cuts saw Australia's role downgraded to a training ship before she was placed in reserve in 1921. The disarmament provisions of the Washington Naval Treaty required the destruction of Australia as part of the British Empire's commitment, and she was scuttled off Sydney Heads in 1924. (Full article...)
Operation Majestic Titan is the code name for a long-term Wikipedian project with two primary objectives, the first of which is to create the single largest featured topic on Wikipedia, centered around the battleships considered, planned, built, operated, canceled, or otherwise recorded. There are probably a few hundred articles of this nature which will be included, from the earliest pre-dreadnoughts to the last of the dreadnoughts. Once all articles are featured this project will reorient to ensuring that the articles remain up to standard. If you're interested, please view the project page to familiarize yourself with the guidelines, and simply pick an article to improve! There is also ongoing discussion you can participate in.