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fleets of the world include many highly
individualized types of ships. There are the
main fighting vessels, there are such specialized
types as torpedo boats, minelayers and
minesweepers. There are such auxiliary vessels
as oil tankers, transports, seaplane tenders,
coastal and river patrol boats. There are
vessels of every conceivable size and type to
fill the individual requirements of each fleet.
The fighting ships fall into five principal
Machine Gun Battery
types. They are battleships, aircraft carriers,
cruisers, destroyers and submarines. Within
each type is considerable variation. This depends
on the specific purpose for which the
ship was constructed, the naval strategy and
productive ability of the nation building her
and the stage of advancement of shipbuilding
engineering at the time she was conceived.
The following figures only approximate the
size and characteristics of each type.
Weight: 15,000 to 33,000 tons for ships built to be
carriers. Ship converted into a carrier may be
much smaller or larger depending on its original
Crew: 1800 to 2200 men on regular carrier. 500 men on
Aircraft: 80 planes and up for regular carrier. 15 to 20
for small vessel.
Speed: 30 to 35 knots *
Armor: No armor
Armament: 6 to 8 5-inch guns
12 and more machine guns
Designed as sea-going airports these vessels are fast,
and highly maneuverable.
Weight: 25,000 to 48,000 tons
Crew: 1200 to 1800 men
Aircraft: Usually 3 or 4 seaplanes
Speed: 20 to 30 knots
Armor: Up to 16 inches over vital spots. This heavy
armor is a distinguishing characteristic which is
lacking in other fighting ships.
Armament: 8 to 9 16-inch guns
10 to 20 5-inch guns
10 to 20 anti-aircraft guns
Battleships are constructed and armed to give and
take the greatest possible punishment.
Weight: 4,000 to 10,000 tons
Crew: 500 to 900 men
Aircraft: 3 or 4 planes
Speed: 32 to 35 knots
Armor: This type of protection is greatly reduced compared
to the battleship in order to gain speed.
Armament: The difference between light and heavy
cruisers is principally in armament.
The heavy cruiser has 9 or 10 8-inch guns.
The light cruiser has 12 to 15 6-inch guns.
Both have 12 or more anti-aircraft guns.
Cruisers are designed for speedy long-range operations,
to raid enemy merchant shipping, protect the
nation's own commerce and to stand up against
enemy ships other than battleships. Lighter cruisers
may carry some torpedo tubes.
Weight: 1000 to 2100 tons
Crew: 150 to 250 men
Speed: 30 to 40 knots
Armor: Not armored
Armament: 4 to 8 5-inch guns
6 to 16 21-inch torpedo tubes
Numerous machine guns. Depth charges.
Speed and maneuverability are chief characteristics.
Ships are used against subs, torpedo boats, to
lay smoke screens and shield heavier ships and
Weight: 250 to 800 tons
A huge French sub of 2800 tons was built but this
was principally an experimental design.
Crew: 20 to 90 men
Speed: 7 to 12 knots under water when it is driven by
electric motors. 15 to 23 knots on the surface
when it is driven by Diesel engines.
Armor: No armor
Armament: 4 to 12 torpedo tubes
One 3 to 5-in. gun and anti-aircraft machine guns.
Submarines have been designed to carry planes. They
can submerge to about 300 feet in order to escape
detection from aircraft and surface vessels. Main
purpose is torpedoing of enemy merchant ships
and war vessels and light shelling of merchant
ships and coastal areas. Submarines are also used
as fleet scouts since they can lie off enemy harbors
no surface vessel could approach without
detection. They can usually remain under water
from 24 to 36 hours.
The Japanese 2-man midget subs are considered closer
to animated torpedoes than to true submarines.
Weight: About 40 tons-70 to 90 feet long
Crew: 9 men
Speed: 40 to 70 knots
Armor: No armor
Armament: 2 to 4 torpedo tubes. Carries 2 to 6 torpedoes.
Anti-aircraft machine guns in modified turret.
Purpose is to harass the enemy by dashing in and out
quickly launching torpedoes.
*A knot is one nautical mile per hour. A nautical mile is
6080.20 feet or 1.15 statute miles.
Planes On Carrier
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11 Count C ConCo.
These Are the Principal Combat Ships
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[United States]. Army Orientation Course. Newsmap. Monday, June 29, 1942 : week of June 19 to June 26. [Washington, D.C.]. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1023/. Accessed March 8, 2014.