Sunday, April 27, 2014

German light cruiser SMS Bremen in 1907.

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French cruiser Dupuy de Lôme, the first armoured cruiser, Brest arsenal drydock, early 1890s.

The French navy suffered major defeats at the hands of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars and subsequently looked for ways to remedy its inferiority. It was thought initially that steam power and iron-plated ships could equalize the field through 'quality over quantity' but the British naval industry soon built ships with those same qualities and at a much faster rate, so this proved to be a blind alley. During the latter decades of the 19th century, officers of the so-called Jeune Ecole devised a strategy called Guerre de Course, according to which the best way to defeat Great Britain was to destroy its merchant fleet and isolate the British Isles from trade and from the resources of its colonies. As a result, France began to build a series of powerful commerce raiders, fast enough to evade the battleships of the time but with strong enough armament and armour to overcome cruisers and smaller vessels.

Dupuy de Lôme was the first of this new breed of warship, the armoured cruiser.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Italian light cruiser Alberto da Giussano, 1930s.

A very fast ship with a nominal maximum speed of 37 knots, she reportedly reached 42 knots during testing but was limited to 33 knots under full load, and and this at the cost of very limited protection (which was corrected somewhat in later ships of the class). On her catapult, you can see a CANT 25AR scout seaplane.
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Battleship HMS Royal Oak departing the Grand Harbour, Valetta, Malta, circa 1937.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser USS Long Beach.

Long Beach was the world's first nuclear-powered surface warship. As designed, she was also the first warship destined to have an armament consisting solely of guided missiles, however two 5"/38cal turrets were added amidships in 1962-1963 for shore bombardment and/or antiaircraft closer-range defense (these guns had very limited arcs of fire due to their position on the vessel). Two Phalanx close-in weapon systems can be seen and the superstructure lacks the so-called billboard radars, so the photo must postdate Long Beach's 1980-1983 conversion.
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German predreadnought battleship SMS Weissenburg.

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