- This is about the warships. For the video game, see Super Battleship.
Super battleship is an unofficial classification of battleships encompassing the largest types constructed or planned, displacing roughly 60,000 tons or more. Only two such battleships were ever constructed, though many more were planned by several navies of the world before and during the Second World War. Their design emphasized thick armor and big-caliber guns, the most ideal warships for the decisive battle doctrine between battleships, which then had large currency. However the advent of the aircraft carriers compromised their use, and the only two ever built (both by the Japanese Empire) were both sunk during World War II.
After World War I, the major naval powers of the world at that time (United States, Britain, Japan, France and Italy) signed the Washington Naval Treaty to contain the naval arms race that had begun during the First World War. The treaty placed certain restrictions on the displacement and the number of Capital ships a country was allowed to have. However, after Japan exited the League of Nations it refused to renew the naval treaty. The birth of an ultranationalist movement in Japan called for an expansion of the Imperial Japanese Navy to include huge naval vessels to cow down the rivals of the country. It called for a large battleship design to attain one-on-one superiority of Japanese ships against any other battleship. Work started on it before World War II and five such ships were eventually planned to constitute the Yamato-class battleships. Two were built at the beginning of the conflict, after Japan itself became involved. Displacing 70,000 tons at full load, with an armament of nine 18.1 inch guns, the ships were the largest battleships to ever be constructed, with no other battleship as-of-today having ever matched them in armour, weight and firepower.
Subsequently, however, even these giants of the sea were shown to be no match for aircraft carriers. As the dominance of the carriers became more and more apparent, even the super battleships were rendered helpless and obsolete against them. Thus the Japanese converted the third vessel of the class (Shinano) into an aircraft carrier and cancelled the remaining two vessels of that class. Musashi was sunk on 24 October 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf (taking 17 bomb and 20 torpedo hits) while Yamato was sunk on 7 April 1945 during Operation Ten-Go (taking 6 bomb and 11 torpedo hits). Significantly, both warships were sunk by aircraft deployed from carriers.
Sovetsky Soyuz class
- Fooks, H. E. (1949). The Battle for Leyte Gulf. Royal United Services Institution Journal, 94(573), 67-81
- Wark, W. K. (1986). In search of a suitable Japan: British naval intelligence in the pacific before the Second World War. Intelligence and National Security, 1(2), 189-211
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