The nineteenth century saw the assertion of Habsburg sea power over the Adriatic from the Austrian inheritance of the Venetian fleet in 1797 to Rear Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff's stunning victory over a superior Italian force at the Battle of Lissa in 1866 to the gradual creation of a modern battle fleet beginning in the 1890s. Austria-Hungary did not have an overseas empire; its empire lay within its own boundaries and the primary purpose of its navy until the beginning of the twentieth century was the defense of its coastline. As its merchant marine dramatically grew in the late nineteenth century, Austro-Hungarian admirals believed that the navy should take a more proactive policy of defense, defending not only the coastline but the greater Adriatic and even the Mediterranean waters which the empire's merchant ships plied. The 1890s saw the beginning of a series of naval building programs that would create a well-balanced modern fleet. Cruisers were constructed for the protection of overseas trade and for "showing the flag" but the decisive projection of Austria-Hungary's commitment to control the Adriatic was the construction of a force of modern battleships. Compared to the British, French, Germans, and even Italians, the Austro-Hungarians were relative latecomers to the design and construction of battleships. Austro-Hungarian naval policy tended to be reactionary rather than proactive; its admirals closely followed Italian naval developments and sought appropriate countermeasures even though the two nations were tenuously bound together by the Triple Alliance pact of 1882. Despite the naval arms race throughout Europe at the time, the navy had difficulty obtaining funds for new ships as the Hungarian government was reluctant to fund a fleet that principally served the maritime interests of the ethnically German portion of the empire. The difficulties experienced in battleship funding and construction mirrored the political difficulties and ethnic rivalries within the empire. Nevertheless by August of 1914, the Austro-Hungarian fleet had a force of nine battleships, three pre-dreadnoughts, and one dreadnought (three more in the final stages of construction). This book will survey the five classes of Austro-Hungarian battleships in service during the First World War.
During World War II, Germany, Japan, and Italy built approximately 2,000 small, inherently stealthy, naval craft to perform special operations and conventional naval missions. Much more numerous and more technically advanced than their Allied counterparts, they saw service worldwide, operating in the Pacific, Mediterranean, Black Sea, Indian Ocean, North Sea, and the English channel. Manned by courageous crews, these vessels made daring attacks on Allied ships in heavily protected anchorages using torpedoes and mines. Most notable were attacks against Gibraltar - launched from an Italian cargo vessel interred in nearby neutral Spain that had been converted into a clandestine support base and equipped with an underwater hatch - and Pearl Harbor. They were used against shipping in coastal waters and, near the end of the war, in desperate attempts to offset their opponents' overwhelming naval superiority during the US advance across the Pacific and the Allied amphibious landings in France and Italy. This volume will detail the history, weapons, and operations of German, Japanese, and Italian midget submarines.
The breakout of the German battleship Bismarck into the North Atlantic in May 1941 was one of the most dramatic naval episodes of World War II (1939-1945). It took place at a time when the resources of the Royal Navy were stretched thinly, and the British Home Fleet were hard pressed to counter this powerful German warship, which was vaunted as the most powerful battleship in the world. For nine days she became the most sought-after vessel afloat, as the Home Fleet and Force H, based in Gibraltar, combed the seas in search of her. After days of fruitless searching, the lone German warship was spotted by a reconnaissance aircraft some 300 miles to the south-west of Ireland. Admiral Tovey, who commanded the Home Fleet from his flagship HMS Rodney ordered his warships to intercept her, and a great naval race began, with the Bismarck speeding towards the safety of the French ports, and the British doing their utmost to stop her.Despite overwhelming odds, with most Home Fleet craft too far away to intercept the German ship's flight to France, the Royal Navy ultimately managed to locate, damage and ultimately sink the great German battleship. In this new addition to Osprey's Campaign series, author Angus Konstam sheds new light on this race-to-the-finish, detailing the original plans, the British efforts to locate and damage the Bismarck, the Bismarck's extensive armor systems and her ultimate defeat in a highly illustrated format.
Battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland revealed critical firepower, armor, and speed differences in Royal Navy and Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) Battlecruiser designs.Fast-moving and formidably armed, the battlecruisers of the British and German navies first encountered one another in 1915 at Dogger Bank and in the following year clashed near Jutland in the biggest battleship action of all time. In the decade before World War I Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race that saw the advent of first the revolutionary dreadnought, the powerful, fast-moving battleship that rendered earlier designs obsolete, and then an entirely new kind of vessel - the battlecruiser. The brainchild of the visionary British admiral John 'Jacky' Fisher, the battlecruiser was designed to operate at long range in 'flying squadrons', using its superior speed and powerful armament to hunt, outmanoeuvre and destroy any opponent. The penalty paid to reach higher speeds was a relative lack of armour, but Fisher believed that 'speed equals protection'. By 1914 the British had ten battlecruisers in service and they proved their worth when two battlecruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, sank the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the Falklands in December 1914.Based on a divergent design philosophy that emphasised protection over firepower, the Germans' battlecruisers numbered six by January 1915, when the rival battlecruisers first clashed at Dogger Bank in the North Sea. By this time the British battlecruisers had been given a new role - to locate the enemy fleet. Five British battlecruisers accompanied by other vessels intercepted and pursued a German force including three battlecruisers; although the battle was a British tactical victory with neither side losing any of its battlecruisers, the differences in the designs of the British and German ships were already apparent. The two sides responded very differently to this first clash; while the Germans improved their ammunition-handling procedures to lessen the risk of disabling explosions, the British drew the opposite lesson and stockpiled ammunition in an effort to improve their rate of fire, rendering their battlecruisers more vulnerable. The British also failed to improve the quality of their ammunition, which had often failed to penetrate the German ships' armour.These differences were highlighted more starkly during the battle of Jutland in May 1916. Of the nine British battlecruisers committed, three were destroyed, all by their German counterparts. Five German battlecruisers were present, and of these, only one was sunk and the remainder damaged. The limitations of some of the British battlecruisers' fire-control systems, range-finders and ammunition quality were made clear; the Germans not only found the range more quickly, but spread their fire more effectively, and the German battlecruisers' superior protection meant that despite being severely mauled, all but one were able to evade the British fleet at the close of the battle. British communication was poor, with British crews relying on ship-to-ship flag and lamp signals even though wireless communication was available. Even so, both sides claimed victory and the controversy continues to this day.
The launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 changed the face of naval warfare. This revolutionary new battleship was in a league of her own, capable of taking on any two "pre-dreadnought" battleships in a straight fight. A naval arms race followed between Britain and Germany, as both countries hurriedly built a fleet of these powerful new warships. This race led inexorably to the outbreak of a world war. During World War I these dreadnoughts formed the backbone of the British Grand Fleet. In May 1916, these battleships put to sea to intercept their counterparts in the German High Seas fleet. The result was the battle of Jutland, a bruising high-stakes encounter where the design and construction of Britain's revolutionary new battleships was put to the test. The first half-dozen dreadnoughts were all improvements of the basic Dreadnought design, all carrying ten 12-inch guns. It was only in 1911, with the launch of HMS Neptune that the layout of this powerful armament was altered as a result of practical experience. Two more versions of the Neptune entered service later that same year. These nine improved dreadnoughts formed the core of the British High Seas Fleet. They would soon, however, be outclassed by a new breed of "super dreadnoughts", the subject of the second volume in this two-part story. While these new battleships carried larger 13.5-inch guns, they proved less successful as all-round battleships than their more lightly-armed predecessors. Naval architects were slowly learning that with modern battleships, design involved a compromise between firepower, protection and speed. One last 12-inch gun dreadnought entered service in 1914, when a seven turret battleship being built for the Turks was commandeered by the Royal Navy, and re-named HMS Agincourt. This New Vanguard title, the first of two covering these famous warships will uncover the full story of the British battleships of World War I. The book will look at their revolutionary design, the 12-inch guns that provided them with their firepower, and the way these guns were fired in anger.
With the outbreak of World War II, Britain's Royal Navy and her fleet of battleships would be at the forefront of her defence. Yet from a fleet of 12 battleships, ten were already over 20 years old, venerable veterans of World War I. Extensive modifications throughout the 1930s allowed these ships to perform a vital service throughout the six long years of conflict, and further improvements made during the course of the war enabled them to hold their own against their German and Italian counterparts. This title offers a comprehensive review of the development of these British battleships from their initial commissioning to their peacetime modifications and wartime service. Detailed descriptions of the main armament of each ship will offer further analysis of individual battleships' effectiveness, discussing how the guns were manned when engaging the enemy. Describing HMS Warspite during the battle of Matapan in 1941, the author details how this British battleship, together with other Royal Navy and Australian vessels, defeated the might of the Italian navy so that they never again threatened Allied fleets within the Mediterranean. With specially commissioned artwork and a dramatic retelling of key battleship engagements, this book will highlight what it was like on board for the sailors who risked their lives on the high seas.
This book recounts the history of the first destroyers of the Royal Navy, which revolutionised this service and changed the way war was fought at sea. Moreover, between 1892, when the first destroyers were laid down, and 1918 destroyers evolved radically from 27 knot, 250-ton ships into 35 knot, 1,530-ton ships. All these ships were involved in some form during World War I; the smaller, original destroyers in an auxiliary support role and the newer larger destroyers at some of the greatest sea battles of the war. Indeed, this book will highlight the role destroyers played in the North Sea during the crucial battles to control the Heliogoland Bight as well as the major fleet action at the battle of Jutland in 1916. Complete with a detailed description of the technical evolution of each class of destroyer from the 27-knotters to the Tribal and Marksman classes, this book offers a complete overview of the vessels that helped to maintain Britain's supremacy at sea.
The idea of a heavy cruiser emerged in the aftermath of the First World War, and was closely linked to the limits set by the inter-war Washington Treaty on naval armament. The pre-Great War concept of armoured cruisers had been abandoned, but in their stead the Admiralty saw a place for powerful cruisers, able to patrol the sea lanes of the British Empire, and which were well-enough armed that they could destroy enemy commerce cruisers of the kind used by the Germans in the last war.The result was a group of British warships which were collectively known as the "Washington Treaty Cruisers", which did everything the Admiralty wanted, but which fitted within the limits imposed by the Washington Treaty - an armament of 8-inch guns, and a displacement of less than 10,000 tons. These impressive cruisers were high-sided, spacious and stately - perfect peacetime ambassadors for British power. In war they also packed a considerable punch. While they all carried powerful 8-inch guns, they were also given an effective armoured belt, making them proof against any foreign cruisers then in service. During the Second World War the Royal Navy's thirteen heavy cruisers saw service in every theatre of war, whether taking part in major sea battles in the Mediterranean, delivering the coup de grace to the Bismarck in the North Atlantic, or enduring the unwanted attention of kamikaze pilots in the Pacific.
Cruisers became Britain's essential vessel for protecting battleships, carriers, and convoys versus Japanese, Italian, and Nazi German commerce raiders, submarines, aircraft, and destroyers. The light cruiser was a natural development of the sailing frigate - a fast multi-purpose warship that could patrol the sea lanes, protect convoys and scout for enemy battle fleets. By the inter-war period the need for this type of ship was even more important, given the increasing need for protection from aircraft, and the need to screen the fleet from submarines or destroyers. During the 1930's a new group of British light cruisers were commissioned, designed to replace an earlier generation of warships designed during the Great War. These new ships were sleek, fast, and relied on the 6-inch gun - a tried and tested weapon that combined hitting power with a high rate of fire. A second generation of light cruisers followed during the late 1930's, armed with twelve 6-inch guns apiece. One of these - HMS Belfast - is still afloat today. Finally the threat posed by German aircraft led to the conversion of some older warships into anti-aircraft cruisers - a stopgap measure until a new class of these powerful and much-needed warships entered service. By this time wartime experience had shown that the British light cruiser was one of the most versatile types of ship in the Royal Navy, able to protect other warships, bombard enemy shores, guard life-saving convoys and intercept and destroy enemy warships. These were truly the workhorses of the wartime Royal Navy. While the battleships and carriers grabbed the headlines, these sleek, elegant warships quietly got on with the job of securing control of the seas.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Supported by official documents, personal accounts, official drawings and specially commissioned artwork, this volume is an enlightening history of the key classes of Kaiser, K¿nig and Bayern that formed the backbone of the German Imperial Navy throughout World War I. It details the technological revolution that had taken place to ensure the building of these largest dreadnought classes, in particular the developments in size and armament as well as the steps taken to prevent battle damage as Germany readied herself for war. This account of design and technology is supplemented by individual ship histories detailing combat experience complete with first-hand accounts. The specially commissioned artwork also brings this history to life with a cutaway recreation of the fleet's flagship and the Battle of Moon Sound in the Baltic in 1917 where the battleship Konig caused the destruction of the Russian battleship Slava.
When war broke out in 1812, neither the United States Navy nor the Royal Navy had more than a token force on the Great Lakes. However, once the shooting started, it sparked a ship-building arms race that continued throughout the war. This book examines the design and development of the warships built upon the lakes during the war, emphasizing their differences from their salt-water contemporaries. It then goes onto cover their operational use as they were pitted against each other in a number of clashes on the lakes that often saws ships captured, re-crewed, and thrown back against their pervious owners. Released in 2012 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the outbreak of the war, this is a timely look at a small, freshwater naval war.
During the Pacific War, arguably the most successful component of the Imperial Japanese Fleet was its destroyer force. These ships were generally larger than their Allied counterparts and were better armed in most cases. Armed with a large, long-range torpedo (eventually called Long Lance by the Allies), these ships proved themselves as formidable opponents. In the first part of the war, Japanese destroyers were instrumental in an unbroken string of Japanese victories. However, it was not until the Guadalcanal campaign that these ships fully demonstrated their power. In a series of night actions, these ships devastated Allied task forces with a number of daring night attacks using their deadly torpedoes. This volume will detail the history, weapons and tactics of the Japanese destroyers built before the war. This includes the famous Fubuki class (called "Special Type" by the Japanese, which were, when completed in the late 1920's, the most powerful class of destroyers in the world. This design forced all other major navies to follow suite and provided the basic design for the next many classes of Imperial Navy destroyers. This book will also cover the three classes built before the Special Type which were based on a German World War I design as well as two classes built after the advent of the Special Type. All of these ships had a rich history as they fought from the first battles of the Pacific War up until the very end when several accompanied the superbattleship Yamato on her death sortie. The final part of the book will be an analysis of the destroyer designs covered in the book which will include an examination of their strengths and weaknesses. The success (or lack of success) of these designs will be discussed and they will be compared to comparable Allied destroyer designs.
Designed with little more than a passing nod to the international naval treaties of the inter-war period, the Imperial Japanese Navy's heavy cruisers were fast and heavily armed. Like the other vessels of the Japanese Navy, the heavy cruisers were technologically superior to and far more innovative than their Allied rivals, whom they met in many of the major Pacific Theatre battles, including Midway and Leyte Gulf. Mark Stille continues his study of the IJN of WWII with this fascinating topic, addressing the design and development of all 18 ships in the six heavy cruiser classes, from pre-war construction and mid-war alterations, to their operational histories and eventual fates.
Like their heavy cruiser brethren, the light cruisers built by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the build-up to WWII paid little more than lip service to the international naval treaties that were intended to keep the naval powers on a level playing field. The eight classes of light cruiser developed by the IJN were fast, well-armed, and technologically superior to the fleets the Allied powers could bring to bear. Serving with distinction across the Pacific Theatre, the IJN's light cruisers were committed to such actions as Midway and Leyte Gulf. Mark Stille continues Osprey's coverage of the IJN of WWII, with this concise and complete study of all 25 ships of the 8 light cruisers classes, from their design and development through to their ultimate fates. Detailed Osprey artwork and rare period photographs from the Fukui collection held in Kure, Japan, illustrate this discussion and provide great visual references for some of the most advanced naval vessels of WWII.
Often overlooked as a naval power of WWII, Italy's Regia Marina was, upon the declaration of war against France, the fourth largest navy in the world. Despite its numbers, the Italian fleet was made up of largely obsolete vessels, none being equipped with radar, and had a reputation for having inadequately-trained crews. Added to these drawbacks, the Italian commanders did not enjoy the discretion of command at sea that their counterparts in the service of other nations did, being directed closely by the Supermarina (Italian Naval Headquarters). Despite these obstacles, and the heavy losses inflicted upon the fleet by the Royal Navy while in harbour at Taranto, the battleships of the Italian Navy enjoyed a good reputation for being well-designed, and served with courage and determination at Punto Stilo/Calabria, Sirte, Cape Spartivento, and Cape Matapan. Mark Stille details, with the aid of many stunning photographs, including several from the Italian Navy's own archives, the battleships of one of the forgotten navies of WWII.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Nimitz class aircraft carrier is the ultimate symbol of the United States superpower status. A true behemoth, this is an unsurpassed weapons platform that overshadows all of its nearest rivals. A history of the largest aircraft carriers in the world, with runways over 300 meters long, this book looks at the development and deployment of the nuclear-powered Nimitz class aircraft carriers from 1975 when the USS Nimitz, the lead ship of the class, was commissioned, to the present day.All of the class are still operational and the tenth and last of the class, the USS George H. W. Bush, was commissioned in 2009. Here, Brad Elward provides a detailed overview of their design and development, highlighting their unique features, from jet blast deflectors to cutting edge radar systems, and a history of the Nimitz class in service, from deployment in the Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, through to the enforcement of the no fly zone over Bosnia.From the Trade Paperback edition.
At the start of the 20th century the Ottoman Navy was a shadow of its former might, a reflection of the empire as a whole - the "Sick Man of Europe". Years of defeat, nepotism, and neglect had left the Ottoman Navy with a mix of obsolete vessels, whilst the list of prospective enemies was ever-growing. An increasing Russian naval presence in the Black Sea and the alarming emergence of Italy and Greece as regional Naval powers proved beyond all doubt that intensive modernization was essential, indeed, the fate of the Empire as a naval power depended on it. So the Ottoman Navy looked to the ultimate naval weapon of the age, the dreadnought battleship, two of which were ordered from the British with extreme alacrity. But politics intervened, and a succession of events culminated in the Ottoman Navy fielding a modern German battlecruiser and state-of-the-art light cruiser instead - with dramatic consequences. In this meticulous study, Ryan Noppen presents a fresh appraisal of the technical aspects and operations of the warships of the Ottoman Navy in World War I. It is the first work of its kind in the English language - produced with a wealth of rare material with the cooperation of the Turkish Consulate and Navy. Packed with precise technical specifications, revealing illustrations and exhaustive research, this is an essential guide to a crucial chapter in the Aegean arms raceFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
The rapid development of modern technologies is having profound implications on modern-day policing. Recent innovations include the proliferation of sophisticated communication and surveillance devices, developments in road traffic and crime investigation techniques, personal safety equipment, the internet and network and computer forensics, all of which are accompanied by often complex new legislative and regulative requirements. This book ensures that policing students are fully informed and completely up to date with changes, and understand the implications and impact that changing technology brings to practice. Each chapter includes clear objectives, links to the NOS, practical and reflective tasks, case studies and summaries.
In Prison Profiteers, co-editors Tara Herivel and Paul Wright "follow the money to an astonishing constellation of prison administrators and politicians working in collusion with private parties to maximize profits" (Publishers Weekly). From investment banks, guard unions, and the makers of Taser stun guns to health care providers, telephone companies, and the U.S. military (which relies heavily on prison labor), this network of perversely motivated interests has turned the imprisonment of one out of every 135 Americans into a lucrative business.Called "an essential read for anyone who wants to understand what's gone wrong with criminal justice in the United States" by ACLU National Prison Project director Elizabeth Alexander, this incisive and deftly researched volume shows how billions of tax dollars designated for the public good end up lining the pockets of those private enterprises dedicated to keeping prisons packed."An important analysis of a troubling social trend" (Booklist ) that is sure to inform and outrage any concerned citizen, Prison Profiteers reframes the conversation by exposing those who stand to profit from the imprisonment of millions of Americans.
Supercarriers became the ultimate in aircraft carrier design after World War II. Naval aviation allows fleets to project mobile power across vast distances, and these floating cities epitomize this mission design. The Forrestal class (Forrestal, CV-59; Saratoga, CV-60; Ranger, CV-61 and Independence, CV-62) was the first completed class of US Navy supercarriers, so-named for their 25 percent size increase over the World War II-era carriers such as the Midway class, and the strength of their air wings (80-100 aircraft, compared to 65-75 for the Midway, and fewer than 50 for the Essex class). Design-wise, the Forrestals were a huge improvement over their predecessors, being more stable and comfortable, while maintaining advancements such as the armored flight decks that had been introduced with the Midway. The Kitty Hawk class was an improvement on the Forrestal-class designs, and four were built in the 1960s - Kitty Hawk (CV-63), Constellation (CV-64), America (CV-66) and John F. Kennedy (CV-67). These were even longer than the Forrestals, and fitted with advanced defensive weapons systems and an improved elevator layout. John F. Kennedy, while originally intended as one of the Kitty Hawk class, received so many modifications during construction that she essentially formed her own class, and was originally planned to become the US Navy's first nuclear-powered carrier. This plan never came to fruition, however, and that honor was left to her successor, USS Enterprise (CVN-65). The only ship of her class, Enterprise holds several other distinctions - the longest naval vessel in the world, the second-oldest commissioned vessel in the US Navy (after the USS Constitution), and, when retired in 2013, will have served 51 years - far longer than any other US carrier. All nine of the carriers covered by this volume are icons, and hold a much-respected place in US naval history. They are also some of the more well-known vessels outside of the military, for their long service histories, as well as for some of the more unfortunate events that seem to follow them - from Kitty Hawk's infamous 1972 "grilled cheese" race riot, to the fires that ravaged Forrestal in 1967 and Enterprise in 1969. Though swiftly superseded, first by each other, then by the Nimitz class, these vessels were the US Navy's backbone during the Cold War.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, destroyers have been all-purpose ships, indispensable in roles large and small - from delivering the mail at sea to screening other vessels and, where larger ships were not present, forming the front line in battle. This title details the 169 ships of ten classes introduced in the 1930s: early 1,500-tonners and 1,850-ton destroyer leaders designed to conform to the 1930 London Naval Treaty, plus the successor 1,570-ton Sims class and 1,620- and 1,630-ton Benson and Gleaves classes. In wartime, most 1,500-tonners and leaders initially saw front line duty in the Pacific but were relegated to secondary assignments as newer vessels arrived; while the later 1,620- and 1,630-tonners became the standard destroyers of the Atlantic War. This volume reveals the fascinating design story behind these pioneering classes - from the constraints of peacetime treaties to advances in propulsion engineering, and wartime modifications. With an operational overview of their service and tables listing all ships by class, builder, and initial squadron, this is the definitive guide to the pre-war US destroyer classes.
Few if any 20th century warships were more justly acclaimed than the destroyers of the US Navy's Fletcher class. Admired as they were for their advanced and rakish design, it was their record as workhorses of the Pacific War that placed them among the most battle-tested and successful fighting ships of all time. This title describes the Fletchers and their Allen M. Sumner- and Gearing-class derivatives, their machinery, armament, and construction, with a listing of all 343 ships by hull number and builder. It features an operational history of the 287 ships commissioned during World War II, which traces the evolution of night surface action tactics in the Solomon Islands and the parallel development of the Combat Information Center; the drive across the Pacific and liberation of the Philippines with tables showing the rapid introduction of new squadrons; and the radar pickets' climactic stand against kamikaze aircraft at Okinawa. With summaries of losses and decorations and specially commissioned artwork, this is a definitive book on the wartime US destroyer classes.From the Trade Paperback edition.
American Navy cruisers built prior to World Wat II saw extensive action throughout the Pacific War, in both surface actions like Guadalcanal, and carrier battles like Midway.Designed and produced under the regulations of the Washington Naval Treaty, the heavy cruisers of the Pensacola, Northampton, Portland, New Orleans and Wichita classes were exercises in compromise. While they possessed very heavy armament, the Pensacolas, for example, carrying a main battery of ten 8" guns, this came at the cost of protection - armor was the same thickness as a gun cruiser, and incapable of protecting the vessels from enemy 8" fire. As the classes evolved, these flaws began to be corrected, with the main battery being reduced, and increased protection being added to the vital areas of the ship. Despite these drawbacks, the pre-war heavy cruiser classes served with distinction throughout World War II.
US Heavy Cruisers provides a detailed, illustrated look at the wartime and post-war-built heavy cruiser classes of the US Navy of World War II.Fast and heavily armed, the Baltimore class was an evolution of the heavy cruiser designs from before World War II, but without the limitations imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty. Versatile vessels, the heavy cruisers of the Baltimore class, and their successors in the Oregon City and Des Moines classes, commonly acted as carrier escorts throughout World War II, but also performed bombardment duties in support of amphibious landings. Post-World War II, the heavy cruisers continued to see service, chiefly in Korea and Vietnam. Even after the heyday of the heavy cruiser had passed, the ships continued to serve - several were converted into the earliest examples of guided missile cruisers, and established an enduring legacy in the US Navy.
When the United States went to war with Spain in April 1898, few European observers believed the small and relatively inexperienced American navy could achieve a decisive naval victory over an established European colonial power. In less than five months however, two Spanish naval squadrons lay at the bottom of the seas and the once great Spanish Empire ceded its last colonies in Asia and the New World to the upstart Americans. Admiral George Dewey, victor at the battle of Manila Bay, became a demigod in the eyes of the American media and public overnight and the excitement of new conquests overseas breathed new life into the traditional American expansionist doctrine of Manifest Destiny. The American naval hubris that developed in the wake of the Spanish-American War in reality rested on only a handful of modern battleships in a navy that was an obsolescent coastal defense force only ten years before. No one understood this better than Theodore Roosevelt. An expansionist who fought with distinction during the war with Spain and an advocate of the sea power theories of Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, Roosevelt knew the present American navy was not strong enough to defend American shores against the larger navies of Europe let alone those of a new empire. European powers still skirted the Monroe Doctrine as evidenced by the British-German-Italian blockade of Venezuela from 1902-03 and the Dutch FI Venezuela War of 1908, and the United States was increasingly threatened in the Philippines, Samoa, and the Caroline and Marshall Islands by the imperial ambitions of Germany and Japan. To remedy the lack of naval preparedness for America's sudden emergence as a world power, Roosevelt and the United States embarked on rapid naval building program. To emphasize America's growing naval prowess and to demonstrate his "speak softly and carry a big stick" approach to foreign policy, Roosevelt sent the Great White Fleet, a squadron composed of sixteen battleships (all commissioned after 1898), to circumnavigate the globe, a great technical and logistical feat for the time. As impressive as the spectacle of the Great White Fleet was, all of the ships in it were quickly being rendered obsolescent by the dreadnought-type battleships coming into service in Great Britain and Germany. This did not catch the United States off-guard however for as the Great White Fleet was completing its world cruise, the USS South Carolina, America's first dreadnought whose design pre-dated that of HMS Dreadnought, was already fitting out. By the beginning of World War I, the United States possessed the third largest navy in the world and had ten dreadnoughts in service with four more under construction.
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