From the very moment when a caveman suddenly realized that a tree can swim and not sink, the sea has become an integral part of human history. Starting from hollowed out pie and ending with modern ships with nuclear engines, the man did not lose contact with the ships. Until the era of steam engines, it was, in fact, the only way to move goods around the world.
You can safely say that ships are an integral part of civilization. Yes, and as a military tool, they were actively used. With the improvement of the design of the ship, all innovations in maritime history are related – from steam power to construction equipment. Thus, the ships continue to fascinate us, having at times a mystical attraction to themselves.
To imagine the future without them is simply inconceivable. For millennia, mankind has managed to build millions of ships, some of which managed to influence history. Some of the ships became famous for their achievements, while others became a kind of symbol uniting the peoples. All these legends survived the centuries, they will be described below.
Although this vessel was only about 70 feet (21.4 meters) long and, by and large, it was slow and inconspicuous, few could deny its fame. It was he who brought Christopher Columbus to the New World. Although the traveler and eventually acquired a bad reputation, especially for his brutality as governor of Hispaniola, but, despite all his weaknesses, fame brought him courage. After all, Columbus was not afraid to go into the unknown, having managed to cross the Atlantic as a result of as many as 4 times. Unfortunately, the fragile Santa Maria could not repeat the journey of her captain – she ran aground for Christmas in 1492. Her wood was saved, she was preparing to build a new ship, La Navidad, which means “Christmas”, since the crash just happened on that date. The original legendary ship had long since disappeared, but from those at least four copies of Santa Maria were built and all of them could go to sea. Unfortunately, none of them can be called an exact copy, since there are no records about the original design of the ship. This gave the opportunity to create different configurations of the former Santa Maria.
This early prototype of the submarine was actually more dangerous for its own fleet crews than for the adversaries. However, it was this ship that started the revolution in naval engineering, the fruits of which we still use. The boat was created by the Confederates in 1863 specifically to flood the ships of the northerners, who blocked a number of ports. The boat made only a few flights, during which 13 crew members were killed, including the creator himself, HL Hunter. The first baptism of fire was scheduled for the evening of February 17, 1864. Few wanted to serve on Hanley, so a team of men with suicidal tendencies crept up. To the bow of the ship was attached a peak with a lethal charge attached to it. Captain Dickson chose the target – the steam sloop Khausatonic. The peak was thrust into the rod, the submarine reversed, and the trigger cord caused detonation of the charge. As a result of the explosion, Khausatonic sank, becoming the first ship in history, sunk by a submarine. Unfortunately, the small boat did not return to the dock, sinking for unknown reasons. For 136 years she stayed at the bottom with eight crew members. Only 136 years later in the harbor of Charleston, HL Hanley was discovered and raised in August 2000 with great fanfare. The vessel is surprisingly well preserved, today it is stored in a special container. And before the novel by Jules Verne “20 thousand leagues under the water” was a whole 5 years …
USS “Monitor” and CSS “Virginia” (or “Merrimack”).
Let the long battle between these battleships in Hampton, Virginia, and was relatively uninventive and ended in a draw. But this battle is considered one of the most important in the history of the navy.For the first time in a duel two ships, made not of wood, but of iron, descended. The monitor also had the honor of being the first ship with a rotating gun turret. Such a design in the next century changed the direction of building ships. Battleship Confederation, Virginia, was built on the basis of the frigate raised from the bottom of the frigate Merrimak, which was previously flooded. This determined the confusion with the names. Merrimack was flooded when Norfolk was captured by the Southerners in April 1861. The lifted ship was equipped with massive metal plates. It proved to be not only impenetrable to the cannon fire, but also became a dangerous weapon used by the southerners to flood a pair of traditional wooden ships of the Union the day before the historic battle. Neither “Monitor” nor “Virginia” played a significant role in the war, soon sinking. Virginia was blown up in May 1862, when the Allied forces recaptured Norfolk. The monitor was lost during the storm at Cape Hatteras for the New Year in the same year of 1862. Then drowned and 16 crew members. By the way, the crash site of this vessel at the headland in Virginia in 1973 was marked by a national monument. Since then, many artifacts from the ship have been found, including towers, cannons, a screw, an anchor, an engine, personal belongings of the crew. Currently, all things are demonstrated at the Naval Museum in Newport News, Virginia. USS “Constitution”.
In America, this vessel is known as “Old Ironsides”. The vessel, thanks to its sturdy construction, is the oldest untouched ship of the country and serves as a museum in Boston, Massachusetts. The constitution has been afloat for 213 years, its unusual life is long. The ship was in operation from 1797 until the Civil War, after which a training ship was made of it. The Constitution periodically went into the sea until its final retirement in 1881. During her life she managed to take part in two conflicts. First, in the first Barbarians war, when the “Constitution” fought against the most real pirates in the Mediterranean and in the war of 1812, when the ship distinguished itself, defeating the British frigates “Guerier” and “Java”. It was these circumstances that gave the “Constitution” a reputation as a ship that could repel the British in a personal battle. At that time it was no small feat, considering that the Royal Navy was at that time the largest and most powerful in the world. It was the glory that saved the ship from destruction and since 1907. He began to act as a museum on the water. “The Constitution” was restored and repaired so many times that today even the keel contains only a part of the remaining original. The remaining parts for decades have changed many times. The “Constitution” is still on the go, which proves every year when it is towed to Boston Harbor. There she demonstrates her boards in all beauty, meets regattas. Officially, the “Constitution” still remains a warship, today it is served by sixty crew members who are full members of the US Navy.
Let this ship and was not an active participant in major naval battles. Nevertheless, “Moguchi Mo”, as it was called among the crew members, was honored to become the very vessel on which documents were signed about the end of the Second World War. It happened in the Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. But not only this war was noted in the fate of the ship. Battleship with a displacement of 48 thousand tons for a long time was at sea. After being written off after the war, he resumed his activities during the war in Korea, and then in 1984, when he became part of Ronald Reagan’s plan for 600 ships. “Missouri” was in service during the first Gulf War in 1991, when the ship launched cruise missiles and 16-inch shells against targets in Iraq. Today the ship is on an eternal peaceful parking lot in Pearl Harbor, serving as a museum and military memorial.Interestingly, the mooring site is only a few hundred meters from the wreck of the battleship Arizona. In fact, from the deck of the ship you can see the places where the Americans started the war and where it ended.
HMS stands for “Her Majesty’s ship”. No other ship served better as a symbol of the power that the Royal Navy possessed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. After all, Victoria was the famous and, in fact, the legendary flagship of Lord Nelson. The ship is one of the largest wooden ever built. He saw significant action in the last decades of the eighteenth century, namely the struggle with both the French and the Spanish fleets. “Victoria” went down in history during the famous Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It was on board that Admiral Nelson was mortally wounded, having already defeated the combined fleet of French and Spanish before. This victory made it possible to save England from a military invasion. The ship was originally planned to be written off after the end of the Napoleonic wars. The story goes that Victoria was rescued by the wife of the maritime minister, who, having learned that a ship that had served so long and bravely, would be destroyed, simply burst into tears and demanded that her husband cancel the scrapping of the ship. The official was not a fool, he understood how to maintain family balance, and did exactly what his spouse wanted him to do. As a result, the next hundred years the ship became a training school for seamen. In 1922, the British government made great restoration work. Now the ship operates as a museum in Portsmouth, which makes Victoria one of the oldest ships afloat in the world.
Some ships became famous not for what they did, but for what they generally imagined. The Battleship Maine was tiny compared to those battleship monsters, which on its basis will appear later. But the death of this ship was the reason for the beginning of the Spanish-American war. Those events united the nation. The ship was located in the shallow harbor of Havana, when on February 15, 1898, it was torn in two by a mysterious explosion. Of the 355 crew members, only 89 people were saved, while the Maine itself sank in a matter of minutes. The cause of the explosion remained unclear. Today, some historians and naval engineers suggest that it could be the result of accidental detonation of ammunition inside the ship due to coal ignition. However, the authorities immediately suspected a deliberate diversion. Allegedly the Spaniards have set a mine in advance. These events involved the country in the next few months into a war, short, but incredibly successful. Participation of the Spaniards in the incident in the end was never proved, it would be disadvantageous for them. But experts say that a mine would have formed a hole in the hull of the ship, while it was torn in half. In any case, the Americans received a battle cry “Remember Maine”, which remained popular for several decades after that. As for the vessel itself, in 1911 its remains were taken up from the bottom of the Havana port together with mud, since they became dangerous for other ships. Pieces of “Maine” were taken to the open sea and flooded with all military honors. Thus, the end of the battleship became worthy. Although he did little in his time, he caused many consequences and redistribution of colonial possessions.
German battleship “Bismarck”.
“Bismarck” became the main storm of the British fleet in the spring of 1941. A 823-foot vessel with a maximum speed of 30 knots was the fastest one to be afloat. In late May, “Bismarck” left the base in Polish Gdynia, intending to hunt for trading British ships. Further events became the largest naval hunting in the history of the Royal Navy, which was remembered by both sides for a long time.In the morning of May 24, near the coast of Iceland, the battle of Bismarck took place with the English cruiser Hood and the battleship Prince of Wales. After a brief exchange of fire, “Hood” exploded – the projectile, apparently, fell into the cellar. As a result of the ship’s death, 1,417 crew members drowned, only three of them managed to survive. “The Prince of Wales” received heavy damage and was forced to flee the battlefield. The “Bismarck” itself was damaged and aspired to the French coast for repairs. During the hike the ship was also attacked by English torpedo bombers. As a result, the German ship was overtaken by the British battleships “Rodney” and “King George V”. Their firepower could send Hitler’s pride to the bottom. As a result of a two-hour battle and so the wounded ship was finally finished off. Drowned about 2,000 members of his crew, only about 200 sailors remained alive. The place of Bismarck’s death was discovered only in 1989 by Robert Ballard, who discovered Titanic three years earlier. The German battleship was thoroughly studied. Despite the past years, it turned out that the heavy damage during the last battle his body was virtually untouched. Nevertheless, serious design errors were found that led to loss of control when the steering wheel was damaged. This made it possible to assume that the battleship was not sunk by the British, but was flooded. The last battle of Bismarck showed that battleships have lost their importance – the main role at sea was transferred to aircraft carriers.
Among American veterans, there are few such ships that cause emotions of a special kind. One of them is “Arizona”, which was named after one of the states. The ship managed to take part in the First World War, not mentioning anything special, and its active participation in the Second World War lasted only 15 minutes. That’s what it took for Japanese bombers to sink this battleship. During the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor in Arizona, four heavy air bombs fell right away. They pierced several decks and exploded deep inside, where the shells and fuel supplies were located. A spooky shot ripped the battleship apart, forming a wave like a tsunami. As a result of the 1,400 crew members, 1,177 were killed, including the captain and the admiral. The remains of the ship burned a few more days. Arizona was so badly damaged that it no longer made sense to restore it. The ship remained in the harbor of Pearl Harbor and to this day, already as a war memorial, which is visited annually by millions of people. Given the popularity of the ship today, it is interesting that little is even the Americans themselves aware of the fate of Arizona for several years after the war. Military censors held back the fact that the battleship lay forgotten in shallow water for decades after that attack. The memorial arose only in the late 1960s. becoming a symbol of America’s determination and tribute to the fallen. Every year on December 7 there is a prayer service for the dead, the newly elected president of the country traditionally visits him. For a long time, engine oil is dripping from the engine room of the ship, dropping into the water with a lilac stain. “Arizona” crying for his crew …
British liner “Titanic.”
Calling the most famous ship in history is easy – it’s the Titanic. This luxury vessel was designed to show with brilliance all the technological capabilities of a person at that time. Instead, there was only a demonstration of arrogance. “Titanic” became the largest and fastest passenger ship of its time. The steamer of the company “White Star Line” left England on April 10, 1912, making its first flight to New York. However, after five days, the giant collided with an iceberg, and the ship sank. Although it seemed that two and a half hours from the time of the collision until the Titanic dived under the water should be enough to evacuate all 2,300 people on board, in reality it turned out that there were only half the lifeboats on the ship.This caused the death of 1,500 people who found themselves a watery grave in the North Atlantic. The catastrophe was a shock to the entire maritime community, as a result, radical changes were made to the rules of mandatory number of lifeboats on board, and other security measures also increased. In the end, the name “Titanic” was not only a synonym for tragedy, but also greed, indifference and class privilege. After all, most of the dead were passengers of the third class. The history of the Titanic is covered with mystery, which only grows with the years. In 1985, the ship was discovered at a depth of 3,750 meters, since then serving as an even greater source of inspiration for both documentary and feature films. It is quite possible to say that the Titanic taught a hard lesson to mankind, the consequences of which we are experiencing to this day.
It is probably impossible to tell about all known courts. The Russian battleships Potemkin and Aurora (which became symbols of the revolutions of 1905 and 1917), and HMS Bounty (a British frigate famous for its insurgency), and HMS Endeavor (on which Captain Cook studied the islands of the Pacific and the “May Flower” (pilgrims were transported to Massachusetts in 1620), “Louisitania” (its death in 1915 served as a catalyst for the entry of the USA into the First World War), USS “Independence” (the most outstanding aircraft carrier of the Navy) USA in the Second World War), the Japanese battleship Yamato (the largest built battleship ) or the English galleon “The Golden Doe” (on it Sir Francis Drake made his first full round-the-world trip in 1577-1580).