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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neil hilton
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby neil hilton » Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:00 pm

Jutland is underestimated here I think because it is mostly seen as a draw in its historical outcome. The real effect on history should be considered if the High Seas Fleet had somehow managed a crushing defeat on the Grand Fleet, what would have happened then? The British blockade of Imperial Germany would have been lifted and they wouldnt have needed to go to unrestricted submarine warfare, the US wouldnt have been provoked enough to join the allies, WW1 probably have continued into the 1920s before it finally fizzled out in stalemate and a certain Austrian corporal probably wouldnt have decided to enter politics and WW2 probably wouldnt have happened. If that isnt a global historical event I dont know what is. Hypothetically.

Lepanto is also underestimated because it stopped Ottoman expansion into the western Med by seapower, forcing them to try the land route method which ended at the Siege of Vienna. If Lepanto had been a Ottoman victory they could have invaded any of the Italian city states, southern France or Eastern Spain. Where would that lead world history?

Leyte Gulf IMO is a campaign and not strictly speaking a battle, just like the Battle of the Atlantic. It consisted of three separate and distinct battles, Sibuyan Sea, Suriagao Strait and Cape Engano. Each of these engagements took place at different times, where in different locations and were under different commands. That makes it a campaign not a battle.
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Ersatz Yorck
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby Ersatz Yorck » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:11 am

I would say it is hard to imagine Jutland being anything more than a draw. Naval engagements in WW1 were usually indecisive.

I think Tsushima is underestimated. Tsushima:

* Was a decisive battle, where one side was utterly crushed.
* Determined the outcome of the RJW, thus setting the stage for the rise of Japan and the Russian revolution.

With a Russian victory, or even a draw resulting in an operational Russian fleet in Vladivostok, the outcome of the war would maybe have been a compromise peace, and neither the Russian revolution or the runup to WW2 would have happened the way we know them.

An even more underestimated battle is Yellow Sea. Tsushima was a bit late, as Port Arthur had already fallen, but if the Russians had won at Yellow Sea...

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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby alecsandros » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:21 pm

Ersatz Yorck wrote:I would say it is hard to imagine Jutland being anything more than a draw. Naval engagements in WW1 were usually indecisive.


From a tactical point of view, the British lost twice as many tonnage and men.
From a strategic point of view, it was a defeat for the Germans, as they failed to destroy the bulk of the Home Fleet and end the blockade.

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neil hilton
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby neil hilton » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:59 am

Ersatz Yorck wrote:I would say it is hard to imagine Jutland being anything more than a draw. Naval engagements in WW1 were usually indecisive.

I think Tsushima is underestimated. Tsushima:

* Was a decisive battle, where one side was utterly crushed.
* Determined the outcome of the RJW, thus setting the stage for the rise of Japan and the Russian revolution.

With a Russian victory, or even a draw resulting in an operational Russian fleet in Vladivostok, the outcome of the war would maybe have been a compromise peace, and neither the Russian revolution or the runup to WW2 would have happened the way we know them.

An even more underestimated battle is Yellow Sea. Tsushima was a bit late, as Port Arthur had already fallen, but if the Russians had won at Yellow Sea...


The Russo-Japanese war no doubt sowed the seeds for the Russian Bolshevik revolution but if the Imperial Russian Navy hadn't lost it so catastrophically I dont think it would have meant the revolution wouldnt have happened. The military disasters in WW1 were just so overwhelming for the Russians a major upheaval of some kind was inevitable.
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RF
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby RF » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:04 pm

There nearly was a revolution in 1905, which many historians have seen as acting as a template for the revolutions of 1917.

Had the Russians been less severely defeated in this battle I think that would mean the war lasting longer, possibly beyond 1905. In such a scenario I think revolution would have been more and not less likely. Also bear in mind that Russia at that time was not allied to France or Britain; indeed Britain was allied to Japan. If the war had lasted longer, with serious threat of revolution, it is likely that Germany could have joined in the war as an ally of Japan..... and Romania and Turkey could then have declared war on Russia as well.
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Ersatz Yorck
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby Ersatz Yorck » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:36 am

I agree on the risk of revolution increasing on a longer war, maybe a successful revolution in 1906 and the Czarist regime overthrown?

But Germany declaring war on Russia? I am not so sure, Germany was neutral but the Kaiser was kind of egging the Russians on, I have gotten the impression they would rather have supported the Russians. And I don't think the other Emperors would have been entirely comfortable with a revolution in Russia.

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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby RF » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:31 am

Germany would have had its own agenda, in eastern Europe, along with Austria-Hungary and possibly also Romania and Turkey.

Remember that this was around the time that fears of a two front war with France and Russia were starting to develop, leading to the inception of the Schlieffen Plan. Any attempt to overthrow the Tsar or the emergence of a bolshevik regime would have likely to lead to German intervention, especially if it was seen as a move hostile to Germany.
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neil hilton
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby neil hilton » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:56 pm

So, having considered Tsushima as being varying degrees of Russian defeat and the possible outcomes, how about considering Tsushima as a Russian victory how would that affect world history? Japan under Russian influence during the early twentieth century?
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RF
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby RF » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:32 pm

Russia would have little means of following it up. They couldn't invade Japan.

The most likely result is a stalemate.

The other possibility is British intervention, as they were allied to Japan.
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby tommy303 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:10 pm

Quite possibly, the most profound effect of a Russian victory might have been on the Japanese psyche. Without the overwhelming victory over the Russians at Tsushima, the Japanese might not have been quite so Blythely willing to enter into a major naval war in 1941.

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RF
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby RF » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:31 pm

This offers a very big ''if'' and there are almost limitless possibilities of a different course of history that could still bring Japan round to its position in 1941.

To say that the PH attack couldn't have happened without the victory at Tsushima is conjecture based on unsafe assumptions.
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby Djoser » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:59 am

RF wrote:I don't understand why you believe that a German victory at Jutland gives them automatic control of the English Channel. They could try - as per the Flandern flotilla - but the narrowness of the Straits of Dover turns the Manche into something of a mousetrap for the German dreadnoughts. Apart from the fact that the French Navy will be there to oppose them (they were not involved at Jutland) there is the risk, particulary at night, from small torpedo carrying craft operating out of a large number of ports either side of the Manche. And the further the Germans penetrate, the further to go back.

Scheer I suspect will have learned from the Duke of Medina Sidonia that to control the Manche properly you need to control the land entrances......

The Germans winning at Jutland is more critical for control of the North Sea.


Yeah they didn't need to control the Channel--just breaking the blockade would have been enough. That would have been unlikely though, from Jutland. Maybe if they'd wiped out the 6 BCs of the Battle Cruiser Fleet and the 5th Battle Squadron without suffering more losses than they did. Even that would have been a tall order for the HSF at the time. A much more likely scenario for achieving parity with the British would have been the near miss of a portion of the British fleet with the entire HSF during that one battlecruiser raid on the British coast.

I'd say it's a tossup between Salamis and Lepanto. But we could debate this a long time without even a near unanimous decision.

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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby Mostlyharmless » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:29 pm

I am going to suggest the Battle of Red Cliffs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Red_Cliffs as another possibility for the poll. This is just because it wins the prize for a battle on a river even if it cannot compare to such critical events as the Battle of Valcour Island.

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RF
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby RF » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:43 am

I would have my doubts about that - this was a very long time ago and its impact on the course of world history was negligible. However in looking at this it does demonstrate how difficult it is to compare ancient battles with more modern conflicts.
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jesse espinosa
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Postby jesse espinosa » Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:59 am

the battle leyte gulf maybe an engagement but it could be and exception from other naval
engagement. first, in the american side, the seventh fleet and third fleet primary aim is
to guard the landing invasion in leyte. second, japanese side, the northern force and southern
force primary aim is to to lure the seventh fleet and third fleet out of position in order the
central force can wreck havoc of the americans landing force and remaining american naval
forces guarding the landing force. Therefore, both forces have the same aim, control of
leyte gulf. Further, with the massive array of naval ships of both sides those not make the battle
of leyte gulf as mere engagement. in addition the japanese plan that their 3 fleets will coincide
their attack of the their on the same date was not materialized its because of miscommunication
of the japanese commanders particularly of their central and southern force. it is only the
japanese northern force that really serve their purpose as decoy.

again unlike any other naval battles were tactics is really used, it is only in leyte gulf all ships
in all kinds were engage. pt boats, submarines, destroyers, cruisers, battleships and all
kinds of aircrafts carriers were used. further engagements ships against planes, planes
against planes, ships against ships, in vast array were used. no question the battle of
leyte gulf is the greates naval warfare in history.


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