The Greatest Naval Battle in History

General naval discussions that don't fit within any specific time period or cover several issues.

Which was the greatest naval battle in history?

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RF
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby RF » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:03 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:Jutland was bigger but indecisive (albeit it confirmed to Britain the supremacy at sea).

At Tsushima, Japan took over the role of Eastern Naval power from Russia and the consequence and dramatic outcome of the battle is still unsurpassed.

Bye, Alberto


Two comments here. I think that Jutland was the greatest naval battle in the European theatre, in terms of the ships and firepower deployed. Whether it wasn't that important because it was indecisive is an interesting point, however it could be argued that in one aspect the Battle of Jutland was decisive - namely in that the British seaborne blockade of Germany was and remained unbroken and helped doom Germany towards its eventual defeat, in the words of the New York Times, ''the German Fleet has assaulted its jailor but it is still in jail.'' It provides I think the illustration of the stupidity of the Schlieffen Plan that the Kaiser and his generals so arrogantly applied in 1914.

Secondly, with respect to Tsushima I would judge that it was the greatest naval battle in Asia before the advent of aviation. But whether it had a lasting impact in my view is doubtful, seen in the context of Japan's eventual defeat in WW2.
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tameraire01
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby tameraire01 » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:24 pm

Taranto showed the world that the battleship was dead and that aircraft carriers was going to be the driving force of the future.
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby Garyt » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:50 am

I don't see the interest in Leyte, other than it was a really really big battle, but the Japanese were pretty well doomed from the start. You have a surface fleet with no airpower going against perhaps the largest carrier fleet to hit the waves and it's pretty easy to figure out the winner, even before combat started. For number of ships and men it's probably pretty good, but the outcome was known before the battle.

Midway was not that significant either, as the war still would have ended the same even with a substantial Japanese victory. They just could not replace their pilots fast enough and would die of pilot attrition, plus they could not put out new ships anywhere as fast as the US did, and even if they did they did not have the fuel to support them.

Trafalgar - good choice, but I think the French were pretty well outclassed and the outcome was not a surprise.

Jutland was big, but really it was a draw and did not influence the war.

I'd have to go with Lepanto or Salamis, two battles where the outcome seemed to be in doubt, and both had major consequences.

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RF
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby RF » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:17 am

Garyt wrote:Midway was not that significant either, as the war still would have ended the same even with a substantial Japanese victory. They just could not replace their pilots fast enough and would die of pilot attrition, plus they could not put out new ships anywhere as fast as the US did, and even if they did they did not have the fuel to support them.


Japan would have to be defeated in major battle somewhere. Wherever that battle happens it would be a major significant event.

Jutland was big, but really it was a draw and did not influence the war.

On the contrary it had a major impact on the result of the First World War. The British blockade on Germany was confirmed and reinforced, with the resulting food and strategic raw material shortages that pushed Germany into defeat and near revolution. Also the High Seas Fleet confirmed that strategically it was now unable to adequately challenge British supremacy in its own back yard and win.
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby aurora » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:22 am

The Battle of Leyte Gulf, formerly known as the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, is generally considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II and, by some criteria, possibly the largest naval battle in history, excluding the Battle of Red Cliffs in 208 BC which was the largest in terms of numbers.

It was fought in waters near the Philippine islands of Leyte, Samar and Luzon from 23–26 October 1944, between combined American and Australian forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy. On 20 October, United States troops invaded the island of Leyte as part of a strategy aimed at isolating Japan from the countries it had occupied in Southeast Asia, and in particular depriving its forces and industry of vital oil supplies.

The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) mobilized nearly all of its remaining major naval vessels in an attempt to defeat the Allied invasion, but was repulsed by the US Navy's 3rd and 7th Fleets. The IJN failed to achieve its objective, suffered very heavy losses, and never sailed to battle in comparable force thereafter. The majority of its surviving heavy ships, deprived of fuel, remained in their bases for the rest of the Pacific War.

The battle consisted of four separate engagements between the opposing forces: the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle of Cape Engaño and the Battle of Samar, as well as other actions.

It was the first battle in which Japanese aircraft carried out organized kamikaze attacks. By the time of the battle, Japan had fewer aircraft than the Allied forces had sea vessels, demonstrating the difference in power of the two sides at this point of the war.
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby Garyt » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:06 pm

Japan would have to be defeated in major battle somewhere. Wherever that battle happens it would be a major significant event.


Or it could have been defeated in a battle of attrition not requiring a "major" battle such as the Solomon's campaign. Lose a ship here and there, some planes here and there and you will be beat by the production capacity of the US, and the other thing that will cause Japan to lose is the inability to replace pilots at any decent rate.

The Marianas Turkey Shoot was lost in the Solomon's campaign. The Solomon's campaign chewed up Japan's airpower and pilots, leading the the horrid performance in the Marianas.

But just look at aircraft carrier production. Let's say Japan had a significant win at Midway, reversing the fortunes of that battle. Japan loses 1 carrier to the US losing all 3 of it's carriers. By Jan 1944 we have 5 Essex class carriers comissioned, 9 Independence class CVL's, Plus we probably bring over the Ranger and Saratoga.

Even the losses of the pilots was not as bad as one would think. Per Parshall and Tully, only 25% of the 4 Carriers aircrews perished at Midway. Heavy losses yes, but not really any heavier than at Coral Sea or Santa Cruz. I think Santa Cruz even caused more losses for the aircrews. Losing 40% of the mechanics and technicians was probably just as heavy of a blow given the fact that Japan in general was less industrialized and far less of their population had exposure to operation and repair of heavy machinery.

So the Pacific war was an eventuality, making Midway while important not a huge issue in the overall scheme of things. A Japanese victory would have only delayed things maybe 6 months to a year.

On the contrary it had a major impact on the result of the First World War. The British blockade on Germany was confirmed and reinforced, with the resulting food and strategic raw material shortages that pushed Germany into defeat and near revolution. Also the High Seas Fleet confirmed that strategically it was now unable to adequately challenge British supremacy in its own back yard and win.


My thought here - before Jutland, Germany was embargoed and their fleet was largely holed up other than some minor actions. After an indecisive battle, GErmany was embargoed and their fleet holed up. It really did not change anything. Nor did it result in any major changes as to how it was thought naval wars would be fought. Perhaps some better Fire Control resulted, or more precisely better implementation of existing fire control technology, and a little more attention paid to damage control for things such as magazine flash fires, but that's really about it. I'd say Tsushima from this time period was more important, curtailed Russian Naval Power and set up Japan as a player for power in the World's Navies.

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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby aurora » Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:31 pm

I am inclined to agree Gary :ok:
The Battle of Tsushima Strait was one of the most decisive naval battles in history. In July of 1904 Admiral Rozhdestvenski set sail with the Russian Baltic fleet to replace losses incurred by the Far East Fleet in the Pacific at the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War. After sailing around the Cape of Good Hope and across the Indian Ocean, the Russians were sighted by Admiral Togo's Japanese Combined Fleet on May 26, 1905, who then engaged the Russians the following day. Of the 45 ships in the Russian fleet, only two destroyers, a light cruiser, and six other smaller vessels survived the ensuing battle, while the Japanese only lost three torpedo boats. Japanese casualties were approximately 600 compared to the 6000 Russians killed or wounded.
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby VoidSamukai » Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:29 am

Not only that, but the battle of Tsushima meant the end of the Russo-Japanese war. It was one of the few naval battles where the looser was forced to surrender in the short time after. Jutland was inconclusive and German could've still strangle the British if they had played their cards right, while Midway the Japanese still could fight back in a way and the war would end 3 years after.

Even Leyte, the Japanese could still fight on, although at this stage, Japanese defeat was unavoidable. It was just a matter of when and how.


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