Sea Warfare
United Kingdom
At the turn of the 20th century, the Royal Navy still ruled the waves as it had since Nelson's days. Its contribution to the defeat of the Central Powers and the Axis during the two world wars was enormous, and it has been a pioneer in many elements of naval warfare and technology up to today. Post-war cuts forced the Royal Navy to become a more compact force, but with a long and proud tradition of success and innovation.

The defeat of Napoleon's navy during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 left the Royal Navy with indisputable mastery of the oceans, which it used to police its growing colonial empire. But as the century came to a close, it became increasingly challenged by rival powers, most notably Germany. One of the most revolutionary events in naval history was the launching in 1905 of the HMS Dreadnought, the first true all-big-gun battleship which instantly rendered every other warship in the world obsolete. From there began an all-out naval race with Germany which climaxed during the Battle of Jutland in World War I where the Royal Navy won a key strategic victory (despite losing more ships) over the Kaiser's High Seas Fleet. This forced the Germans to undertake unrestricted submarine warfare – a policy that would ultimately drag the US into the war on the Allied side.

The interwar period saw Britain suffering from severe financial difficulties, which led to it accepting naval parity with the US through the Washington Naval Treaty in 1922. Additionally and despite having invented the aircraft carrier in the final stages of World War I, it fell behind both the US and the Japanese in the development of naval aviation. When World War II broke out, the Royal Navy became immediately engaged in what would be longest campaign of the war: the Battle of the Atlantic against Hitler's U-boats, which just as in the last war threatened to cut off Britain's links to its empire and its allies. The battle became a showdown of both brains and brawn, resulting in the development of groundbreaking technologies related to anti-submarine warfare, such as sonar. Elsewhere, the Royal Navy would enjoy considerable success in the Mediterranean against the Italian fleet and once the German U-boat threat had subsided, sent a powerful carrier-based fleet to the Pacific to fight alongside the US against the Japanese. By this time however, the US Navy was vastly superior in size and strength and this disparity would only increase in the years ahead. Nevertheless, the Royal Navy could pride itself in having fought and prevailed in the biggest naval war in the country's history.

The post-war years saw the Royal Navy significantly reduced in size to reflect Britain's shrinking global commitments but it continued to contribute tremendously to naval technology. For example, steam catapults, angled flight decks and optical landing systems were all British inventions that would reinvent the aircraft carrier for the jet age. Throughout most of the Cold War, the UK maintained the second largest navy in NATO even though in some aspects it remained dependent on the US, such as through its Trident nuclear deterrent. Controversially, a Labour government scrapped its last fleet carriers in the late 1970s but partly made up for it through the design of "Harrier carriers" that would become a model for smaller fleets around the world. The ability of the Royal Navy to successfully wage a naval campaign during the Falklands War (the most intense engaged by any country since World War II), as well as its contributions to US-led wars in Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere highlight its enduring global role. Despite post-crisis budget cuts, the construction of two new fleet carriers (the first since the 1950s) plus a new generation of nuclear submarines bode well for the Royal Navy's future.

There are currently 150 entries, data on 64 warship types, and 2,481 individual warships in the registry.

The Grand Fleet goes into action against the Germans at Jutland
The Royal Navy has been a pioneer in carrier warfare
Modern EraCold WarWorld War IIInterwarWorld War I
» Aircraft carriers
CVA Queen Elizabeth 2
CVL Invincible 3
CVA Audacious 2
CVL Centaur 4
CVL Majestic 5
CV Ark Royal 1
CV Illustrious 4
CV Implacable 2
CVE Activity 1
CVE Attacker 11
CVE Audacity 1
CVE Avenger 4
CVE Nairana 3
CVE Pretoria Castle 1
CVE Ruler 23
CVL Colossus 8
CVL Unicorn 1
CV Courageous 2
CV Eagle 1
CV Furious 1
CVL Argus 1
CVL Hermes 1
» Capital ships
---BB Vanguard 1
BB King George V 5
BB Nelson 2
BM Roberts 2
BB Queen Elizabeth 5
BB Revenge 5
BC Hood 1
BC Renown 2
BM Erebus 2
» Surface ships
DDG Daring (Type 45) 6
DDG Sheffield (Type 42) 12
FFG Duke (Type 23) 16
OPV River 8
CL Tiger 3
DD Daring 11
DDG Bristol (Type 82) 1
DDG County 8
FF Blackwood (Type 14) 15
FF Leopard (Type 41) 4
FF Rapid (Type 15) 30
FF Rothesay (Type 12M) 14
FF Salisbury (Type 61) 4
FF Tenacious (Type 16) 12
FF Tribal (Type 81) 7
FF Whitby (Type 12) 6
FFG Amazon (Type 21) 8
FFG Broadsword (Type 22) 14
FFG Leander (Type 12I) 26
OPV Castle 2
OPV Island 7
CA County 13
CA York 2
CL Arethusa 4
CL Crown Colony 11
CL Leander 8
CL Minotaur 6
CL Town 10
CLAA Bellona 5
CLAA Dido 11
CM Abdiel 6
CM Adventure 1
DD A/B-class 20
DD Battle 16
DD C/D-class 14
DD Ch/Co/Cr-class 24
DD E/F-class 18
DD G/H-class 24
DD I-class 13
DD J/K/N-class 24
DD L/M-class 16
DD O/P-class 16
DD Prototypes 2
DD Q/R-class 16
DD S/T/U/V/W-class 40
DD Tribal 27
DD Weapon 4
DD Z/Ca-class 16
DDE Hunt 87
DDE Town 50
FF Bay 26
FF Captain 78
FF Colony 21
FF Loch 30
FF River 151
FS Castle 44
FS Flower 225
FS Modified Flower 69
SL Banff 10
SL Bittern 7
SL Black Swan 33
SL Bridgewater 2
SL Egret 3
SL Grimsby 12
SL Hastings 6
SL Shoreham 8
CA Hawkins 5
CL Birmingham 4
CL C-class 28
CL Danae 8
CL Emerald 2
DD Modified W-class 16
DD R-class 62
DD S-class 67
DD Scott 8
DD Shakespeare 5
DD V-class leaders 5
DD V/W-class 46
» Submarines
SSBN Vanguard 4
SSN Astute 7
SSBN Resolution 4
SSK Oberon 27
SSK Porpoise 8
SSK Upholder 4
SSN Dreadnought 1
SSN Swiftsure 6
SSN Trafalgar 7
SSN Valiant 5
SM Grampus 5
SS Amphion 16
SS Odin 9
SS P611-class 4
SS Parthian 6
SS Rainbow 4
SS S-class 62
SS T-class 53
SS Thames 3
SS U-class 49
SS V-class 22
SS H-class 42
SS L-class 27
» Amphibious ships
LPD Albion 2
LPH Ocean 1
LSD Bay 4
LPD Fearless 2
LSL Sir Galahad 1
LSL Sir Lancelot 6
LCC LSH(L)-type 5
LSC LSC-type 2
LSC LSG-type 3
LSC LSS-type 2
LSF LSF-type 10
LSI LSI(H)-type 10
LSI LSI(L)-type 13
LSI LSI(M)/(S)-type 14
LST LST Mk. II 115
LST Maracaibo 3