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World War II Database

World War II Ships

Battleships and Battlecruisers

These ships of the line were still considered the central components of the navies of all world powers at the start of the war, but by the war's end, these floating fortresses found their roles dramatically changed at the face of air power.


At Taranto, Kuantuan, and Pearl Harbor, the world powers realized major naval combat was no longer restricted to surface engagements only. Aviation vessels of all different sizes turned from a novelty of the 1930s to the centerpieces of fleets.


Situated between the size of battleships and agility of destroyers, cruisers played a flexible role. They were equally well suited as task force flagships as anti-aircraft screens.


Though lightly armored and carried small guns compared to their larger cousins, destroyers were present in all theaters of WW2. Submarine hunter, forward torpedo attacker, anti-aircraft screen ship, search and rescue ship, and amphibious support were some of destroyers' capabilities.


In WW1, submarines nearly strangled Britain into submission. In this new war, technology advances made these undersea predators even more ferocious and dangerous for all nations.


These ships of other classifications, whether transports, minelayers, or landing ships were considered by many as "miscellaneous" ships, but their importance in the war could not be discounted.

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Famous WW2 Quote
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945

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