The term battleship came into 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 the field of battleship design. Subsequent battleship designs, influenced by HMS Dreadnought, were referred to as "dreadnoughts", though the term eventually became obsolete as dreadnoughts 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 in that conflict. (Full article...)
The Yamato-class battleships were a class of Imperial Japanese Navy battleships constructed and operated during World War II. Displacing 72,000 long tons (73,000 t) at full-load, the vessels of the class were the heaviest and most heavily-armed battleships ever constructed. The class carried the largest naval artillery ever fitted to a warship, nine 460-millimetre (18.1 in) naval guns, each capable of firing 2,998-pound (1,360 kg) shells over 26 miles (42 km). Two battleships of the class (Yamato and Musashi) were completed, while a third (Shinano) was converted to an aircraft carrier during construction. Due to the threat of American submarines and aircraft carriers, both Yamato and Musashi spent the majority of their careers in naval bases at Brunei, Truk, and Kure—deploying on several occasions in response to American raids on Japanese bases—before participating in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, as part of Admiral Kurita's Centre Force. Musashi was sunk during the course of the battle by American carrier airplanes. Shinano was sunk ten days after her commissioning in November 1944 by the submarine USS Archer-Fish, while Yamato was sunk in April 1945 during Operation Ten-Go.
Albert Edward Pryke "Ted" Briggs, MBE (1 March 1923 – 4 October 2008) was a seaman and officer in the Royal Navy and final survivor of the sinking ofHMS Hood. As a 12-year-old, he saw Hood (then the pride of the Navy) at anchor and volunteered for service, but was forced to wait until his fifteenth birthday in March 1938 to enlist and train on HMS Ganges. To his delight, he was assigned as a messenger on Hood on 29 July 1939, and patrolled the north Atlantic and Mediterranean as part of Force H.
Image 25This section of SMS Bayern shows a typical dreadnought protection scheme, with very thick armour protecting the turrets, magazines and engine spaces tapering away in less vital areas (from Dreadnought)
Image 26HMS Dreadnought shows the low freeboard typical for early ironclad turret-ships. This ship, launched in 1875, should not be confused with her famous successor, launched in 1906, marking the end of the pre-dreadnought era. (from Pre-dreadnought battleship)
Image 27The working of a triple-expansion steam engine. High-pressure steam is used three times to produce motive power, gradually cooling as it goes. (from Pre-dreadnought battleship)
Image 35Schematic section of a typical pre-dreadnought battleship with an armoured upper and middle deck and side belt (red), lateral protective coal bunkers (grey), and a double-bottom of watertight compartments. The machinery was arranged in the protected internal void. (from Pre-dreadnought battleship)
Image 38Punch cartoon from May 1876 showing Britannia dressed in the armor of an ironclad with the word Inflexible around her collar and addressing the sea god Neptune. Note the ram sticking out of Britannia's breast plate. The caption reads: OVER-WEIGHTED. Britannia. "Look here, Father Nep! I can't stand it much longer! Who's to 'rule the waves' in this sort of thing?" (from Ironclad warship)
Image 43The gun trials of the Brazilian dreadnought Minas Geraes in 1910, where all the guns capable of training to the port side were fired, forming what was at that time the heaviest broadside ever fired from a warship (from Dreadnought)
Image 44Mikasa, a typical pre-dreadnought in many respects; note the positioning of secondary and tertiary batteries, and the concentration of armour on turrets and engineering spaces (from Pre-dreadnought battleship)
Image 48A plan of Bellerophon(1907) showing the armament distribution of early British dreadnoughts. The main battery is in twin turrets, with two on the "wings"; the light secondary battery is clustered around the superstructure. (from Dreadnought)
During that battle, it's interesting that you have a preponderance on each side of their preferred weapon of choice. The Americans bring much heavier gun power to the fight [9 × 16in vs. 8 × 14in guns]; the Japanese, for their part, bring much heavier torpedo firepower, and yet in this particular fight the Japanese are not able to make that advantage in torpedoes tell.
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.