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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Javier L.
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The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by Javier L. »

Hello all,

Considering the following factors:

> Number of warships involved
> Number of men involved
> Number of warships and men lost
> Consequences and importance of the battle result.

What do you think was the greatest naval battle in history?

Salamis (480 BC)
Lepanto (1571)
Trafalgar (1805)
Tsushima (1905)
Jutland (1916)
Midway (1942)
Other (say which one)

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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by Tiornu »

I believe Leyte had the greatest number of ships involved, but Jutland had a greater tonnage of ships involved.
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Ulrich Rudofsky
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Post by Ulrich Rudofsky »

I would say Trafalgar was the most decisive. It put an end to Napoleon's plans to invade England or Ireland, which would have had some very serious consequences for the entire world. Most of the others you mention were great historic contests of naval power, but they did not change the world at that instant all by themselves.
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Javier L.
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Re: The Greatest Naval Battle in History

Post by Javier L. »

Tiornu wrote:I believe Leyte had the greatest number of ships involved, but Jutland had a greater tonnage of ships involved.
Hi Tiornu,

I didn't put Leyte because I consider it a naval campaign consisting of many small engagements (not a single battle), like Guadalcanal, or the battle of the Atlantic 1941-43.
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Post by cascoskuro »

It´s not easy.

At the first, Lepanto, when de Liga Santa stopped the ottoman expansion and also Trafalgar.
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Post by _Derfflinger_ »

I'd vote for Midway. Not the largest number of ships, but huge resulting consequence. Turned the Pacific war around.

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Javier L.
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Post by Javier L. »

My vote is for Lepanto.


> Number of warships involved: About 600 galleys and smaller ships.
> Number of men involved: More than a hundred thousand.
> Number of warships lost: About 30 galleys sunk (15 Christians and 15 Turkish). 190 Turkish galleys captured later.
> Number of men lost: About 38,000 dead (30,000 Turks and 8,000 Christians).
> Consequences and importance of the battle result: Turk expansion stopped and the Western world saved.
Alfonso Arenas
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The Armada

Post by Alfonso Arenas »

Hi, all

I'm in favour of the spanish 'armada' versus the QE fleet (1588 or circa, I don't remember now). Not only because number of ships, amount of losses and men involved, but for the consequences. Best for England, to be free of catholicism till now. Worst for Spain, to suffer catholicism till now. As many other I suspect that God doesn't exist, by if He exist definetely he is english!

Happy sunday, beware of the blue mondays...

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Post by tommy303 »

I think I would throw Salimis into the list, as the victory of the Atenian navy prevented the conquest of Greece by the Persians.

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Post by Sergio »

Hello, for me it is LEPANTO.
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Post by Plamen74 »

I vote for Lepanto - the giant clash of the Cross v. Crescent many ships were destroyed and many thousand were dead.
I wish to add more battles 4 day battle between Dutch and British fleets more than 7000 dead, 21 ships detoyed and captured, Chesma 1770 between Tukish ships and Russian 7000 Turks died and 10 Rrussians
The battle in Vigo bay 7000 Spaniards died in 1704
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Post by marcelo_malara »

I think Jutland is the greatest CONVENTIONAL (ie: no aircraft carriers) naval battle of all times. This puts Midway and Leyte Gulf out of the discussion.
Think of it: almost 60 battleships and battlecruisers fighting in the North Sea, two British battlecruisers lost with 3000 lives in a matter of minutes.
For comparision, the Kriegsmarine only have 4 battleships in WWII.
I believe that if the losses were no greater was because of the German decision of not fully engaging with the British fleet.
I think, with my limited knowledge of naval history, that there is no other battle in history in which so much firepower was called upon.
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Post by Matthias »

I put Jutland as the biggest, but it was not a decisive battle; infact the Hochseeflotte after Jutland remained in her port, while the naval power of the Grand Fleet was unthouched.

I agree the most decisive battle ever fought has been Trafalgar.And a revolutionary tactic too, when Nelson decided to abandon old line-to-line battle scheme and, as he loved to say, he "headed towards the enemy".
That unespected step and the superiority or british crews and gunnery gave them....the Victory. :angel: :wink:
"Wir kämpfen bis zur letzten Granate."

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Karl Heidenreich
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Post by Karl Heidenreich »

Jutland. Even if no one had a full victory the consequences were such that, in the end, favored Britain and led Germany to it´s defeat. (WWI was a defeat in that meaning?).
Well, considering it maybe Lepanto, Trafalgar and Midway had the same efect over History and Society.
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Post by Djoser »

I voted Salamis--on the basis of consequences.

It was probably the closest to altering history radically. And more was at stake than the others--in my opinion.

I have read differing opinions of Lepanto--certainly decisive, but I believe the Turks did rebuild their forces rapidly afterwards. Though of course they might have been so intimidated they never tried so hard again to do what they were trying to do at Lepanto.

Trafalgar was decisive of course, but the French and Spanish were so inferior in the crew and leadership quality as to make an alternative victory over the British navy unlikely, and a successful invasion even more so.

Tsushima was pretty close as well. Certainly the Russians never tried to become a serious naval power after that--until after WW II, that is.

Midway certainly turned the war in the Pacific around, but the Japanese never really stood a chance to win it anyway.

Jutland, in terms of massed firepower, yes--and if the Germans had done substantial damage it could have had disastrous consequences. But that would have been difficult to pull off.

A far more dangerous situation for the British was during one of the raids on the coast--when a substantial but not nearly powerful enough segment of the British fleet came close to being overwhelmed by the Germans. But that's a what-if scenario. Furthermore I believe the Germans came close to having their battlecruisers similarly overwhelmed in the same raid. There were two very close calls, for each side respectively. Sorry to digress, though...
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