Questions tagged [naval]

Of or pertaining to ships and or the sea, especially military vessels.

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On 1941 Dec 7, could Japan have targeted the Panama Canal instead of Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack?

This question comes from a slightly related one. At the time of WW2, most US industry was on the East Coast, including all of the shipbuilding for Carriers and Battleships. If the Panama Canal went ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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86 votes
2 answers
17k views

Why did the British scuttle the u-boats surrendered after WWII?

Between November 1945 and February 1946 the British scuttled 116 of the 156 German u-boats surrendered at the end of WWII during Operation Deadlight. They were towed to deep water off Ireland and sunk....
Tom's user avatar
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84 votes
2 answers
12k views

Why were ships-of-the line not supposed to open fire on frigates during fleet actions?

Found this passage in the book Patrick O'Brian's Navy (p. 57) In the era of fighting sail there was an unspoken convention that line-of-battle ships did not fire on frigates during any fleet action ...
user69715's user avatar
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60 votes
3 answers
14k views

Were ancient ships named?

Nowadays almost all civilian and military vessel have a name. Was this so in the antiquity, did the ships of Athens, Carthage or Rome have formal individual names?
b.Lorenz's user avatar
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57 votes
8 answers
20k views

Why didn't Hitler have more submarines in the English channel?

Hitler was expecting an invasion somewhere on the coast of north of France. So why didn't he have more submarines there that could torpedo the invading allied fleet when they were crossing the channel?...
dan-klasson's user avatar
56 votes
6 answers
15k views

Why didn't battleship Bismarck have more support?

The primary objective of battleship Bismarck was to sink transporters coming from the U.S. and sailing to Europe transporting goods (oil, food). It encountered HMS Hood and sank it. German cruiser ...
Eugen Sunic's user avatar
54 votes
4 answers
22k views

When did humans develop the ability to sail any direction regardless of wind direction?

When did humans develop the sail technology and skills to be able to use the wind to sail in any direction, including using techniques such as beating to effectively sail into the wind? I checked ...
JoshuaD's user avatar
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51 votes
5 answers
21k views

How did they cook on ancient ships?

In ancient times, ships would often be at sea for extended periods of time. During this time, I'm assuming they must have done some form of cooking, otherwise they would have just eaten cold, pre-...
rhughes's user avatar
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47 votes
9 answers
15k views

Why did navies abandon armour?

Over the Cold War the many navies of the world moved away from significantly armoring their ships besides splinter protection for some vital spaces, with a few exceptions. What prompted the shift from ...
SMS von der Tann's user avatar
45 votes
11 answers
16k views

Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

Having a brief look at civilization history, I find that Europeans have a significant dominance over other regions when it comes to sailing. This becomes more obvious after the 15th century when ...
Dionis Beqiraj's user avatar
45 votes
5 answers
15k views

How did passengers keep warm on sail ships?

Trans-Atlantic passenger travel was not very popular until the advent of the steamer, and yet men and women crossed the ocean periodically, including the affluent. From what I've been able to gather,...
Ricky's user avatar
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44 votes
8 answers
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In WW2, why did Germany sink allied supply convoys instead of capturing them?

When reading about naval warfare in WW2, it suddenly struck me that sinking supply convoys was a huge waste of resources, especially in the later years when Germany was desperate for oil and other ...
Yosef Waysman's user avatar
41 votes
3 answers
8k views

In the Battle of the Coral Sea, how could two Japanese scouts grossly mis-identify two American ships?

I've been reading the Wikipedia pages about the Pacific theatre in WW2; in the page describing the battle of the Coral Sea there is the following passage: [...] the scout [from Shōkaku] confirmed ...
Vorbis's user avatar
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38 votes
4 answers
14k views

How much evidence is there regarding the naval punishment of keelhauling?

Keelhauling is a famous naval punishment under which the offender would by dragged beneath the hull of the ship. This would have been encrusted with shellfish such as barnacles which would - at the ...
Bob Tway's user avatar
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36 votes
5 answers
10k views

Did a kamikaze ever impact the hull of a ship, as opposed to the deck?

All kamikaze videos I've seen show the plane dive bombing into the deck of a ship. The photos I've seen also appear to always show a burning deck or tower. What I want to know is, did any kamikaze ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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36 votes
2 answers
6k views

Has there been a naval battle where a boarding attempt backfired?

In the War of 1812 battle between the USS Chesapeake and HMS Shannon, the Shannon outgunned the Chesapeake decisively, then closed to board the enemy ship. Hand-to-hand fighting ensued before the USS ...
Allure's user avatar
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35 votes
2 answers
10k views

How were horses disembarked from sail ships?

Back in late 18th century, ship of the line embarked soldiers (e.g. royal marines) that can perform land actions. To disembark, they took place into longboats. If a specific land action was planned, ...
Manu H's user avatar
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34 votes
2 answers
7k views

Why were British ships not of the same quality as French and Spanish ships until the latter part of the 18th century?

In Patrick O'Brian's 'Men-of-War', it says (apparently referring to around the time the Victory was built [1759-65]), ...most of the British ships were not nearly so well built as the French or the ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
34 votes
6 answers
14k views

How did people travel to remote islands like Easter Island?

Easter Island is extremely remote, being thousands of kilometers from its nearest neighbor. How did people get there safely, and how did they even know it was there?
Harley Holcombe's user avatar
32 votes
6 answers
15k views

What was the role of the Soviet Navy during WWII?

Most books about WWII speak of the naval battles of Allied and Axis powers during the war, but none about the Soviet Navy. The Soviets had an active fleet at the time - why did it not engage the ...
The Byzantine's user avatar
32 votes
6 answers
8k views

Was the tugboat ever part of a WWII battle group?

It would seem a pretty logical addition to a WWII battle group to have one of more tugs for the capital ships (heck, any ship), yet I don't see much evidence of that. Let me elaborate. I was an Army ...
ds_practicioner's user avatar
31 votes
9 answers
5k views

Are there any documented examples of wooden ships which were in active service for 100 years or more? If not, what is the longest?

I’ve found two examples (HMS Rupert at 103 years and HMS Warspite at 105 years, both launched in 1666) but I’m not sure if these should qualify as they were rebuilt, and the Wikipedia entry on HMS ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
31 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why were Royal Navy ships forbidden to attack the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in Argentinian waters?

I watched this video on the British hunt for the Argentinian aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo, during the Falklands war. Involved, among other ships, was the Royal Navy nuclear submarine HMS ...
fgysin's user avatar
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31 votes
5 answers
14k views

Did the U.S. and Soviet Union have a submarine battle in 1968?

There are books and articles about the Soviet submarine K-129 and the USS Scorpion in 1968, with various stories of attempted nuclear attacks and reprisals. Is there a factual narrative about these ...
xpda's user avatar
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29 votes
4 answers
8k views

Why didn't the British Grand Fleet force an engagement with the German Imperial Navy in WW1?

I'm watching the channel The Great War on YouTube, which documents the goings on of the First World War week by week (careful, it's addictive and there are literally hundreds of episodes). It is my ...
fgysin's user avatar
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28 votes
4 answers
6k views

How difficult was to escape from a naval battle after engaging into one during the Age of Sail?

So, I am designing a board game which includes pirates/imperial battles during the age of sail. While I have found a lot of information on the internet as well as books, papers and of course other ...
Spyros's user avatar
  • 381
28 votes
1 answer
3k views

Capturing a much larger ship?

In Master and Commander (book 1 of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series), the 54-man, 14-gun Sophie captures the 319-man, 32-gun Cacafuego. Is this really plausible? How would it work? Is it the ...
DavidC's user avatar
  • 403
28 votes
3 answers
11k views

What was the longest a World War II submarine stayed at sea without being resupplied at a port?

The US Balao-class and Gato-class submarines had enough provisions to stay on patrol for 75 days under normal operating conditions. Information on other long-range submarines has proved hard to find, ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
27 votes
6 answers
7k views

Why hasn't Russia maintained significant numbers of aircraft carriers?

The United States has 11 aircraft carriers in total. Russia has only one. This is reflective of the past, in which we saw that the USSR also didn't put much importance on constructing aircraft ...
user avatar
25 votes
9 answers
17k views

Why weren't aircraft carriers utilized during D-day?

Why were aircraft carriers not used during and following D-Day? They could have added a great deal of range to the air support operations.
Sardathrion - against SE abuse's user avatar
25 votes
4 answers
5k views

What made the Russian Navy suspect Japanese torpedo boats were in North Sea in 1904?

I'm finding several references that during the Russia - Japanese war of 1904/1905 that the Russians had intelligence that suggested the Japanese either had torpedo boats present in the North Sea or ...
Twelfth's user avatar
  • 2,722
25 votes
3 answers
8k views

How did the British Navy pass orders to its fleet before radio?

During the 18th and 19th century, the British Navy had ships all over the world, and communicating with them had to be difficult. After all, the Battle of New Orleans happened after the British had ...
Bruce James's user avatar
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24 votes
5 answers
11k views

How did ships acquire targets beyond the horizon in WWI?

From "The World Crisis, 1911-1928" (Winston Churchill): ... the 5th Battle Squadron had begun to fire, at the long range of 17,000 yards, upon Admiral von Hipper's last two ships. If the horizon ...
C Camerini's user avatar
24 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why did US Navy WW2 torpedoes detonate at the end of their run?

I'm listening to James Scott's "The War Below". In World War II, US Navy torpedoes detonated at the end of their range if they hadn't hit anything. So if a torpedo was fired and went its maximum ...
raindog308's user avatar
24 votes
5 answers
2k views

Were there ever actual organizations of pirates?

You can see depictions of pirate organizations in popular media a fair bit. For example, in many movies, and the Captain Morgan commercials. But I get the impression from my readings that most pirate ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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24 votes
5 answers
6k views

What was the last battle fought mainly by sail-powered ships?

When and where has the last battle between sail-powered ships been fought? If possible, please include the countries involved as well as the armament and types of ships.
quant_dev's user avatar
  • 1,147
23 votes
3 answers
7k views

What was the "Favorable result" that the German admiralty was expecting from the naval attack on the Royal Navy in 1918?

The infamous order from 24th October 1918 was planning to slam the German High Seas Fleet against the British Royal Navy. If I recall correctly, this was the second time Germany tried to even the odds ...
Yasskier's user avatar
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23 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why did piracy thrive in the late 17th and early 18th centuries?

Why did piracy thrive in the late 17th and early 18th centuries? Was it because the sailors in the Royal Navy and privateers were not satisfied with their pay? Was it because since many wars were ...
Shrey Joshi's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
4k views

Could the Russians Have Done Better at the Battle of Tsushima Straits Than They Actually Did?

In 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War, a Russian fleet sailing all the way from the Baltic was annihilated by the Japanese fleet in the Tsushima Straits. The Russian fleet was larger, with thirteen ...
Tom Au's user avatar
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23 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why did the Monitor and Merrimac (aka Virginia) have such radically different designs?

This is something that's always baffled me. You have one ship that appears to sit just above the water with one little canon on a turret (the Monitor) and a second that sits high and is brimming with ...
Doug T.'s user avatar
  • 1,077
22 votes
2 answers
11k views

Why didn't the British consider the USS President's attempted flight as a fake surrender?

In the War of 1812, the USS President was captured by the Royal Navy. Wikipedia gives the final actions of the day: President ceased fire at 7:58 pm and hoisted a light in her rigging, indicating ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 6,285
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

Did firing trials of pre-WW1 British dreadnoughts involve actually firing at them?

On the Wikipedia page of HMS Dreadnought it is mentioned that during firing trials against HMS Hero there were some vulnerabilities of its fire control systems revealed: namely, wiring and voice tubes ...
b.Lorenz's user avatar
  • 4,364
22 votes
1 answer
4k views

What effect did the Attack on Mers-el-Kébir have on Great Britain's international relations during WW2?

The Attack on Mers-el-Kébir/Battle of Mers-el-Kébir was an action that took part between the Royal Navy and the French Navy on July 3rd 1940 that was a result of Winston Churchill ordering that the ...
Kobunite's user avatar
  • 4,800
21 votes
7 answers
24k views

Were slave rowers ever chained to the ship?

UPDATE I want to know whether there is any evidence that rowers were ever chained to the ships or oars in Ancient Greece and Rome. In my view it could be too expensive to chain people at that time, ...
Anixx's user avatar
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21 votes
3 answers
9k views

Did the US and Soviet navies really come close to blows in the Indian Ocean in 1971?

In December 1971, Pakistan and India were at war over what would become Bangladesh. President Nixon ordered Task Force 74, led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and ...
Bruce James's user avatar
  • 5,144
21 votes
2 answers
2k views

To what extent were Polynesians in contact with one-another before European contact?

Motivation Pacific islanders (Polynesians, Melanesians, Micronesians) before contact with Europeans were able seafarers that had discovered and settled virtually all Pacific islands that could ...
0range's user avatar
  • 2,716
20 votes
1 answer
4k views

About how many immigrants were on the Titanic?

All that I can find is that the majority of the 709 third class passengers were immigrants. Was it the vast majority, or nearly all of them? Would there have been any immigrants in second class? Is ...
John Dee's user avatar
  • 3,348
20 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why wasn't sauerkraut used to combat scurvy?

While reading about age of sail, I've read about scurvy and how it was 'cured' by 'acidity' of citrus. It come to my mind - why didn't they try to use sauerkraut? It seems that it should be more ...
Maciej Piechotka's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
6k views

Was a bomb or shell ever dropped directly down the funnel of a warship?

I was surprised to learn in this awesome video about the USS New Jersey that the funnel on an Iowa-class battleship is not a straight line, there's a bit of a zig-zag in it. The idea was that, unlike ...
Ryan_L's user avatar
  • 1,948
20 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is the large blue object on the right in this picture showing Greek fire?

This well-known image showing a Byzantine dromon type ship using Greek fire has a blue object behind or on the ship on the right for which I have not been able to find any explanation: Image source: ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar

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