Development Of Naval Warfare: From Medieval Time To Modern Era
This is the Development Of Naval Warfare starting From Medieval Time To Modern Era. Read below.
Any community that has primitive boats must of cause use it for war because boats and canoes provides an easier way through which you can get to the battle scene fast and surprise your enemy. We cannot say that it is naval warfare until boast now becomes very large enough to be used to fight in battle. That is to say that the ships used in the earliest time were very small, fragile and man powered till the advent of industrialization and technology which helped advanced and developed this boats/ships.
Naval warfare can however be defined as a military compact in and on the sea, ocean or any other battle space involving major body of water such as large lake, wide river. Of cause, mankind has fought battles on the sea for thousands of years now just as they fight both on land and in the air. The use of boats for sea battles started as a result of trade and transportation through the sea.
Before the advent of extensive railroads, transportation for trade largely depended upon rivers, canals and other navigable river large or sea vessels, thus could conflict especially when boats (piracy boats) collide (meet) on the sea, they might intend to fight against each other. This resulted to empires and kingdoms of the primitive time to start assign boat and water / sea ways for battle.
The first datable recorded sea battle occurred about 1210 BC when the- king of Hetites defeated the fleet from Cyprus and burned their ship at sea. Also in the battle of the Delta, the Ancient Egyptians under Recesses III defeated the sea peoples in a sea battle using a naval ambush and archers firing from both ships and shores.
Development Of Naval Warfare
The development of Naval warfare cannot be over emphasized starting from the classical times to the medieval period, Renaissance age, the age of industrialization and finally the 20th century. We shall quickly look into those various development during these periods.
Classical Time/ Medieval Time Naval Warfare
During the classical age and the medieval time, there were series of seas battles fought using long narrow wooden ships powered by banks of oarsmen (a person who rows a boat). These period had their strategies or method through which they achieve victories in the sea battle. One of the strategy used this period is ramming the enemy ship by sinking it. The second method is to grapple the enemy ship so that marines can board it and slaughter the crew. Such strategies continued until the battle of the Lepanto in 1871.
Renaissance Period/Age of Sail Naval Warfare
During the renaissance age, naval warfare took another shape, improvement was made in ship designs and firearms were invented. This development led to the shift in naval strategy (naval strategy is the planning and conduct of war at the sea. It is the overall strategy in achieving victory on sea). Sea wars in this era was fought by large tall mastered sailing ships packed to the brain with cannons (cannon is a type of gun classified as artillery that launches a projectile using propellant) firing iron shots.
The age of sail had a stronger hulls and more efficient sails unlike the classical and medical era. Ships now use sail power alone for propulsion and could travel quiet long distance though not without risk. The strategy used this period is called “maneuver” which involves a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill. Warship could literally take hours maneuvering into a position where they could profitably employ broadside.
This method was used by Britain at Trafalgar and it took them almost all day. The age of sail lasted till 1800s until sometime between the end of the Napoleonic war and the beginning of the American civil war. One of the major sea wars fought in this period is the battle of Lepanto in 1571.
The battle was a naval engagement between the Holy League (The Christian fleet: coalition of European catholic maritime states arranged by pope Pius V and the Ottoman empire of which the Holy League defeated the Ottoman empire in the Gulf of Petras.
Age Of Industrialization Naval Warfare
The industrial revolution of the 19th century played a very crucial role that cannot be over emphasized in the development of naval warfare. Major changes occurred in regards to sea battle, such changes were. Explosive shell were developed for naval guns greatly increasing their destructive power. Gun designs was improved. The range was increased including the weight of projectiles, accuracy and rate of fire. Fewer but bigger guns became the norm.
New mechanical recoil, reloading, aiming and fire – control systems allowed guns to be placed in turrets able to point in any direction. With this, naval gunners could now hit targets at range even on pitching seas and ship designers were freed from having to place all the guns on the side of the ship.
The steam engine freed ship from dependence upon the wind and screw propellers soon replaced inefficient and vulnerable paddle wheels. The steam propelled armored ship, the Ironclads allowed ships to operate at higher speeds irrespective of wind conditions.
The ironclad is the combination of steam power with an iron hull and heavy armor. This ship became superior to long narrow wooden ship used during the classical and medieval era and the age of renaissance respectively. The Crimean war, the Napoleonic wars and the American civil war saw this sophisticated ship during the war.
However, armored warship continued to be constructed until the development of steel ship building in the 1870s. The steel ship was however used during Spanish-American war in 1898. The new steel ship of U.S navy Sank two Spanish fleets and seized the Caribbean and pacific colonies without loosing any ship of their own. The steel ship wars also used in Russo – Japanese war (1904-1905).
Twentieth Century Naval Warfare
During the 20th century, naval warfare was transformed as a result of technological revolutions in both weapons and platforms putting sea power at the heart of the victories in the world wars and cold war. Naval warfare had a technological development from torpedoes and battleships to Nuclear – powered submarines. Despite the challenges posed to navies by the advent of nuclear weapons, they thrives in the cold war periods both as a means of delivery for nuclear armed aircraft and missiles and forces for more limited contingencies.
Some of the sea battles fought during the 20th century
- Battle of Leyte Gulf between combined U.S Australian forces and the imperial Japanese Navy during world war I which lasted for four days
- Battle of Midway between U.S mid – pacific base at midway Atoll.
- Battle of the Philippines between U.S navy and Japanese Navy.
Before the world wars and cold wars that saw the sea power U.S Navy and Japanese Navy. Britain was strong and economically stable because they were very strong in the sea. You may defeat them on land but they remained the most powerful sea power that was why they decided to join the alliance with Russia and France when she noticed that Germany was building up her natal force.
Modern Naval Warfare
We probably won’t see another major naval warfare in which large fleet of ships fight for control of the sea because: Modern merchant ships have grown very large and difficult to sink. Control of the sea is not necessary to wage an effective modern war.
Estimated result from the U.S Navy suggests that 100, 000 plus tons vessels can absorb multiple missile and torpedo hit without sinking as confirmed during the tanker war (1984 – 1988) between Iran and Iraq. Based on modern naval innovation, the days of naval battles involving fleets attacking other fleets with gunfire from the big guns is over.
All the major world navies have assumed different roles such as surface to air attacks and minor ship to ships engagements. Many destroyers today are designed to destroy incoming aircraft and projectiles such as missiles. Naval battles are however more likely to involve a ship on one side and a squadron of fighters on the other. Given that the US navy has about 10 carrier groups makes it the most powerful navy in the world right now.
Naval warfare has evolved over time with the development in naval technology, industrialization, and the evolution of stronger warships. The old model of long narrow wooden ship has been replaced by modern steam ship, Ironclad and the steel ships, the old method of ramming a ship or grapping a ship to slaughter the crew has been replaced with the modern steel ship that can withstand even missile attack without sinking. Invention of sophisticated naval guns with missiles thereby making sea battle in modern times almost impossible but tactical.
- Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty first century by Geoffery till page 179
- The influence of Seapower on ancient by Starr, Chester
- potter, E.B.Sea power: A Naval History (1982 world history)