History of Warship by Rick Delfavero
Military vessels can be traced back all the way to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Phoenicia, Crete, Greece and Rome. Between 2000 and 500 B.C., oar powered ships ruled the Mediterranean Sea. Mainly these crafts, known as Galleys, were used to carry warriors. They often had masts and sails but were still primarily powered by slaves working the oars.
As time advanced , armies grew and so did the ships that had to transport them. Vikings developed their own Longboat, which could carry up to 60 men. Pointed at bow and stern, they could be used to ram other vessels. Recent theories suggest they were designed with an almost flexible bow to help in handling the large waves of the North Atlantic.
The Middle Ages however, were a great time for the development of sailing ships. By the 1400s larger ships with several masts and many sails were able to use the wind more efficiently, thereby replacing the muscle and oars of slaves. Gunpowder and cannons were used to arm these great warships. A strong Navy could control all transportation by water and therefore elevate a country to great power.
The Caravel was the first, a basic 3 master with the largest mast up front. Although they were not warships, Christopher Columbus? Nina and Pinta were Caravels. Others were outfitted with cannon. After the Caravel came the Galleon, made famous by the Spanish and Portuguese.
In the 1600s the Frigate was introduced. It was a light, fast and well armed fighting ship, a forerunner of the Destroyers and Cruisers of today. Larger ships, some with up to 4 decks armed with cannon, were the line ships. They carried many sails and were the battleships of the day. The Corvette was also a battle craft but was smaller and had less powerful artillery than the Frigate. They were used for various assault and hit & run operations.
Ships grew in size, complexity and speed as well as firepower( up to 60 cannon). The major powers, England, France, Spain and Portugal all vied for mastery of the seas. Great names of fighting ships began to be known. The Victory ( Admiral Horatio Nelsons flagship at Trafalgar), The Constitution ( The US heavy Frigate in the War of 1812), and The Cutty Sark (a Sleek Clipper ship). The sail too, passed into obsolescence in warfare like the oar before it. Steam engines, once only experimental, were finally reaching perfection. Robert Fultons Clermont was one of the first to reach that level, steaming down the Hudson River. The modern military warships evolved quickly from there.
In WW I, warships transported troops and did battle on the sea. Submarines, Destroyers, Light and Heavy Cruisers as well as a variety of smaller craft were employed by both the Allied Forces and Central Powers. Near the end of the war, the first Aircraft Carrier made it?s appearance, the English Carrier Argus.
WW II had many great Naval battles and mastery of the seas played a very big part in the overall outcome. The devastation of the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, the great battles at Midway and Leyte Gulf, the U-boat action in the Atlantic and the many large scale invasions of Europe and the Pacific Islands with massive transportations of troops, arms and supplies, illustrated the importance of naval power.
Today, nuclear powered ships patrol the seas. Ships and Submarines are armed with nuclear warheads and other incredibly high-tech firepower. Giant Aircraft carriers with the ultimate in space-age equipment and computerization handle supersonic jets and have become virtual floating citieS.
Whether your interest as a military modeler is in past history, with the romance of the Galleons, Frigates and Clippers, or in the awesome power and might of today’s vessels, you will find models in kit form at Megahobby.Com to recreate them accurately in miniature. Click here to see all of our Warship Models!