Monday, October 13, 2008


A rare occurrence of a 5-country multinational fleet, during Operation Enduring Freedom in the Oman Sea. In four descending columns, from left to right: MM Maestrale (F 570), De Grasse (D 612); USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Charles De Gaulle (R 91), Surcouf (F 711); USS Port Royal (CG-73), HMS Ocean (L 12), USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), HNLMS Van Amstel (F 831); and ITS Luigi Durand de la Penne (D 560).
A rare occurrence of a 5-country multinational fleet, during Operation Enduring Freedom in the Oman Sea. In four descending columns, from left to right: MM Maestrale (F 570), De Grasse (D 612); USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Charles De Gaulle (R 91), Surcouf (F 711); USS Port Royal (CG-73), HMS Ocean (L 12), USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), HNLMS Van Amstel (F 831); and ITS Luigi Durand de la Penne (D 560).

A navy is the branch of a nation's military forces principally designated for naval warfare and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It includes operations conducted by surface ships, amphibious ships, submarines, and seaborne aviation, as well as ancillary support, communications, training, and other fields; recent developments have included space related operations. The strategic offensive role of a Navy is projection of force into areas beyond a country's shores (for example, to protect sea-lanes, ferry troops, or attack other navies, ports, or shore installations). The strategic defensive purpose of a Navy is to frustrate seaborne projection-of-force by enemies. The strategic task of the navy also may incorporate nuclear deterrence by use of nuclear missiles.



[edit] Etymology

"Navy" came via Old French from Latin navigium = "fleet of ships" from navis = "ship" and agere = "to drive" (as in driving a herd of animals) or "to get something done".

"Naval" came from Latin navalis = "pertaining to ship" (which it means in the biological name Teredo navalis), but due to resemblance became changed to "pertaining to navy".

[edit] History

Main article: Naval warfare
HMS Victory, the oldest warship still in commission in the world.
HMS Victory, the oldest warship still in commission in the world.

The first practical military submarines were developed in the late 19th century and by the end of World War I had proven to be a powerful arm of naval warfare. During World War II the German Navy's submarine fleet of U-boats almost starved the United Kingdom into submission and inflicted tremendous losses on US coastal shipping. The [[German battleship Tysis; Dec2001, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p259-265"> Weighing the US Navy Defense & Security Analysis, Volume 17, Issue December 3, 2001 , pages 259 - 265 Throughout the rest of the 20th century The United States Navy would maintain a tonnage greater than that of the next 17 largest navies combined.[1]

[edit] Operations

HMS Invincible sails towards the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War. The Falklands War was the largest naval conflict since World War II.
HMS Invincible sails towards the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War. The Falklands War was the largest naval conflict since World War II.

Historically a national navy operates from one or more bases that are maintained by the country or an ally. The base is a port that is specialized in naval operations, and often includes housing for off-shore crew, an arsenal depot for munitions, docks for the vessels, and various repair facilities. During times of war temporary bases may be constructed in closer proximity to strategic locations, as it is advantageous in terms of patrols and station-keeping. Nations with historically strong naval forces have found it advantageous to obtain basing rights in areas of strategic interest.

Navy ships normally operate with a group, which may be a small squadron of comparable ships, or a larger naval fleet of various specialized ships. The commander of a fleet travels in the flag ship, which is usually the most powerful vessel in the group. Prior to the invention of radio, commands from the flag ship were communicated by means of flags. At night signal lamps could be used for a similar purpose. Later these were replaced by the radio transmitter, or the flashing light when radio silence was needed.

A "blue water navy" is designed to operate far from the coastal waters of its home nation. These are ships capable of maintaining station for long periods of time in deep ocean, and will have a long logistical tail for their support. Many are also nuclear powered to save having to refuel. By contrast a "brown water navy" operates in the coastal periphery and along inland waterways, where larger ocean-going naval vessels can not readily enter. Regional powers may maintain a "green water navy" as a means of localized force projection. Blue water fleets may require specialized vessels, such as mine sweepers, when operating in the littoral regions along the coast.

[edit] Traditions

Ship bell of ORP Iskra II - Polish Navy school tall ship
Ship bell of ORP Iskra II - Polish Navy school tall ship

A basic tradition is that all ships commissioned in a navy are referred to as ships rather than vessels, with the exception of submarines, which are known as boats. The prefix on a ship's name indicates that it is a commissioned ship. For example, USS is an acronym which expands to United States Ship; in the Royal Navy, HMS expands to Her Majesty's Ship (or when a King reigns, His Majesty's Ship), and so forth.

An important tradition on board British naval vessels (and later those of the U.S. and other nations) has been the ship's bell. This was historically used to mark the passage of time on board a vessel, including the duration of four-hour watches. They were also employed as warning devices in heavy fog, and for alarms and ceremonies. The bell was originally kept polished first by the ship's cook, then later by a person belonging to that division of the ship's personnel.

Another important tradition is that of Piping someone aboard the ship. This was originally used to give orders on warships when shouted orders could not have been heard. The piping was done by the ship's boatswain and therefore the instrument is known as the boatswain's Pipe. The two tones it gives and the number of blasts given off, signify the order given. It is also used in a ceremonial way, i.e., to "pipe" someone aboard the ship - usually captains, including the ship's captain, and more senior officers.

In the United States, in a tradition that dates back to the Revolutionary War, the First Navy Jack is a flag that has the words, "Don't Tread on Me" on the flag.

By European tradition, ships have been referred to as a "she". However, it was long considered bad luck to permit women to sail on board naval vessels. To do so would invite a terrible storm that would wreck the ship. The only women that were welcomed on board were figureheads mounted on the prow of the ship. In spite of these views, some women did serve on board naval vessels, usually as wives of crewmembers.

Even today, despite their acceptance in many areas of naval service, women are still not permitted to serve on board U.S. submarines. The major reasons cited by the U.S. Navy are the extended duty tours and close conditions which afford almost no privacy. [1] The UK Royal Navy has similar restrictions. Australia, Canada, Spain and Norway have opened submarine service to women sailors, however. [2]

By ancient tradition, corpses on board naval vessels were buried at sea. In the past this involved sewing the body up in a shroud that had a weight at one end, often a cannonball. (During the age of sail, the final stitch was placed through the nose of the victim, just to make sure they were really dead.) The body was then placed on a pivoting table attached to the outer hull, and shrouded by a national ensign. After a solemn ceremony, the board was tilted and the body dropped into the deep. Later ceremonies employed the casket or crematory urn.

The custom of firing cannon salutes originated in the British Royal Navy. When a cannon is fired, it partially disarms the ship, so firing a cannon for no combat reason showed respect and trust. The British, as the dominant naval power, compelled the ships of weaker nations to make the first salute. As the tradition evolved, the number of cannon fired became an indication of the rank of the official being saluted.

[edit] Naval organization

[edit] Ships

Ships of the multinational fleet Combined Task Force-150
Ships of the multinational fleet Combined Task Force-150
HMCS Vancouver and USS John C Stennis
HMCS Vancouver and USS John C Stennis

Historically, navy ships were primarily intended for warfare. They were designed to withstand damage and to inflict the same, but only carried munitions and supplies for the voyage (rather than merchant cargo). Often, other ships which were not built specifically for warfare, such as the galleon or the armed merchant ships in World War II, did carry armaments. In more recent times, navy ships have become more specialized and have included supply ships, troop transports, repair ships, oil tankers and other logistics support ships as well as combat ships. So long as they are commissioned, however, they are all "ships".

Modern navy combat ships are generally divided into seven main categories: aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines, and amphibious assault ships. There are also support and auxiliary ships, including the minesweeper, patrol boat, and tender. During the age of sail, the ship categories were divided into the ship of the line, frigate, and sloop-of-war.

Naval ship names are typically prefixed by an abbreviation indicating the national navy in which they serve. For a list of the prefixes used with ship names (HMS, USS, etc.) see ship prefix.

Today ships are significantly faster than in former times, thanks to much improved propulsion systems. Also, the efficiency of the engines has improved a lot, in terms of fuel, and of how many sailors it takes to operate them. In World War II, ships needed to refuel very often. However, today ships can go on very long journeys without refueling. Also, in World War II, the engine room needed about a dozen sailors to work the many engines, however, today, only about 4–5 are needed (depending on the class of the ship). Today, naval strike groups on longer missions are always followed by a range of support and replenishment ships supplying them with anything from fuel and munitions, to medical treatment and postal services. This allows strike groups and combat ships to remain at sea for several months at a time.

[edit] Boats

Many people make the mistake of calling a ship a "boat". The term "boat" refers to small craft limited in their use by size and usually not capable of making independent voyages of any length on the high seas. The old navy adage to differentiate between ships and boats is that boats are capable of being carried by ships. (Submarines by this rule are ships rather than boats, but are customarily referred to as boats reflecting their previous smaller size.) The Navy uses thousands of boats, ranging from 9-foot (2.7 m) dinghies to 135-foot (41 m) landing craft. They are powered by either diesels, out-board gasoline motors, or waterjets. Most boats are built of aluminum, fiberglass, or steel. Newer Navy boats are designed and built using the International System of units (also known as SI or metric), but older craft were designed using the English units system (feet, inches etc.)

Standard Boats A standard boat is a small craft carried aboard a ship to perform various tasks and evolutions.

Landing Craft These boats, carried by various amphibious ships, are designed to carry troops, vehicles, or cargo from ship to shore under combat conditions, to unload, to retract from beach, and to return to the ship. They are especially rugged, with powerful engines, and they are armed. They are usually referred to by their designations such as LCPL (landing craft, personnel) LCM (landing craft mechanized) or LCU (landing craft, utility) rather than by full name. The most common in today's Navy are the LCMs. there are two types of LCMs. Both types have a power operated bow ramp, a cargo well, twin engines, and after structures that house enginerooms, pilot houses, and stowage compartments. The larger version, designated LCM-8 and often called "mike 8", is 74 feet (23 m) long, has a 21-foot (6.4 m) beam, and is capable of carrying a heavy tank or 60 tons of cargo. The LCM-6 ("mike 6") is 56 feet (17 m) long, has a 14-foot (4.3 m) beam and a cargo capacity of 34 tons.

Landing Craft, Air Cushioned Known as LCAC also most commonly called a hover craft. Floats on a cushion of air that allows travel over water and land. It can deliver troops, equipment, and supplies. They are 81 feet (25 m) long and carry a load more than 70 tons. Powered by four gas turbine engines, they are capable of speeds as high as 50 knots (93 km/h).

Work Boats(WB) There are two types of WBs, the 35-foot (11 m) and the 15 meter (or 50 foot). The 35-foot (11 m) WB is a twin screw craft with a forward cargo well and a bow ramp. The 35-foot (11 m) WB is normally carried on board salvage ships and is used to assist ships in salvage operations, underwater exploration,coastal survey, repair of other craft, and cargo transport between ship to shore. A portable "A frame" is used to assist with cargo handling. The 15-meter (50 ft) WB is a twin screw craft with steel hull construction and is a shallow draft craft cargo carrier. The 15-meter (50 ft) WB is intended for general purpose missions and transportation of cargo. the craft has a pilot house aft and forward cargo well deck.

Rigid hull Inflatable Boats Known as the RHIB they are versatile boats designed for service as a standard ship's boat. The seven meter (24 ft) RHIB is a turbocharged, diesel powered craft with a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) hull. The hull form is a combination of a rigid planing hull with an inflatable tube. The craft are manned by three man crew and are provided with a canvas canopy forward.

Personnel Boats (PE) These are fast, V bottomed, diesel powered boats with enclosed spaces specifically designed to transport officers, although smaller types are used for shore party boats, lifeboats, and mail boats. They come in 8,10, and 12 meter (26,33, and 40 foot) lengths. The 8 meter (26 ft) boats have one enclosed cabin. The 10 and 12 meter (33 and 40 foot) boats have enclosed cabins forward and aft, and open cockpits amidships where coxswains steer by wheel. Those designed for officers are painted haze gray with white cabins. Those assigned for use by commanding officers, chief of staff, and squadron, patrol, or division commanders are called gigs and have a red stripe added just above the waterline. Personnel boats assigned to flag officers (admirals) are called barges. They have black hulls and a white stripes just above the waterline.

Utility Boats These boats, varying in length from 18 feet (5.5 m) to 15 meters (50 ft) are mainly cargo and personnel carrier or heavy duty work boats. Many have been modified for survey work, tending divers, and minesweeping operations. In ideal weather, a 15-meter (50 ft) UB will carry 146 people, plus crew. Utility boats are open boats, though many of the larger ones are provided with canvas canopies. The smaller utility boats are powered by outboard engines. The larger boats have diesel engines.

Punts These are open square enders, 14 feet (4.3 m) long. They are either rowed or sculled, and are generally used in port by side cleaners.

Special Boats These boats, used by shore stations and for special missions, are not normally carried aboard ships a are the standard boats discussed above. They include line handling boats, buoy boats, aircraft rescue boats, torpedo retrievers, explosive ordnance disposal craft, utility boats, dive boats, targets, and various patrol boats. Many standard boats have been modified for special service.

Mark V Special operations craft (SOC) This craft is also used for insertion and extraction of special warfare personnel. The craft is 82 feet (25 m) long, and has twain diesel engines driving waterjets. The craft is capable of speeds in excess of 50 knots (93 km/h) and is air deployable.

Patrol Boats, River (PBR) This is a 31-foot (9.4 m), 25 knots (46 km/h), twin diesel boats with a fiberglass hull and waterjet pump propulsion that permits it to operate in 15 inches (380 mm) of water. The PBR is highly maneuverable and can reverse course in its own length. It carries radar, communications equipment, and machine guns

[edit] Units

Naval forces are typically arranged into units based on the number of ships included, a single ship being the smallest operational unit. Ships may be combined into squadrons or flotillas, which may be formed into fleets. The largest unit size may be the whole Navy or Admiralty.

[edit] Ranks

Main article: Naval officer ranks

A navy will typically have two sets of ranks, one for enlisted personnel and one for officers.

Typical ranks for commissioned officers include the following, in ascending order (Commonwealth ranks are listed first on each line):

"Flag officers" include any rank that includes the word "admiral" (or commodore), and are generally in command of a battle group or similar flotilla of ships, rather than a single ship or aspect of a ship. However, commodores can also be temporary positions. For example, during World War II, a Navy captain was assigned duty as a convoy commodore, which meant that he was still a captain, but in charge of all the merchant vessels in the convoy. The most senior rank employed by a navy will tend to vary depending on the size of the navy and whether it is wartime or peacetime, for example, few people have ever held the rank of Fleet Admiral in the U.S. Navy, the chief of the Royal Australian Navy holds the rank of Vice Admiral, and the chief of the Irish Naval Service holds the rank of Commodore.

[edit] Marine troops

Main article: Marine (military)
British Royal Marines on exercise.
British Royal Marines on exercise.

During the era of the Roman empire, the naval forces included legionaries for boarding actions. These were troops primarily trained in land warfare, and did not need to be skilled at handling a ship. Much later during the age of sail, a component of marines served a similar role, being ship-borne soldiers who were used either during boarding actions, as sharp-shooters, or in raids along the shore.

The Spanish Infantería de Marina was formed in 1537, making it the oldest current marine corps in the world. The United States Marine Corps became a separate arm in the United States military, with their own equipment. However the U.S. Navy SEALs and the British Royal Marines now serve a similar function, being a ship-based force specially-trained in commando-style operations and tactics as part of the navy. The Royal Marines also have their own special forces, the SBS (Special Boat Service); similar to the US Navy SEALs and the Boat Troops of the SAS.

List of navies

Current navies

Country ↓ Navy ↓ Endonym ↓
Albania Naval flag of Albania Albanian Naval Defense Forces Forcat e Mbrojtes Detare Shqipetare
Algeria Naval flag of Algeria Algerian National Navy
Argentina Naval flag of Argentina Argentine Navy Armada de la República Argentina
Australia Naval flag of Australia Royal Australian Navy
Azerbaijan Naval flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Navy Azərbaycan hərbi dəniz qüvvələri
Bahrain Naval flag of Bahrain Royal Bahraini Navy
Bangladesh Naval flag of Bangladesh Bangladesh Navy
Belgium Naval flag of Belgium Belgian Navy Composante Marine/Marinecomponent
Brazil Naval flag of Brazil Brazilian Navy Marinha do Brasil
Brunei Naval flag of Brunei Royal Brunei Navy Tentera Laut Diraja Brunei
Bulgaria Naval flag of Bulgaria Bulgarian Navy Български Военноморски Флот
Canada Naval flag of Canada Canadian Forces Maritime Command
Chile Naval flag of Chile Chilean Navy Armada de Chile
People's Republic of China Naval flag of People's Republic of China People's Liberation Army Navy 中国人民解放军海军
Colombia Naval flag of Colombia Colombian National Armada Armada Nacional de Colombia
Croatia Naval flag of Croatia Croatian Navy Hrvatska Ratna Mornarica
Denmark Naval flag of Denmark Royal Danish Navy Søværnet
Egypt Naval flag of Egypt Egyptian Navy
Estonia Naval flag of Estonia Estonian Navy Merevägi
Finland Naval flag of Finland Finnish Navy Suomen merivoimat, Finländska marinen
France Naval flag of France French Navy Marine Nationale
Georgia Naval flag of Georgia (country) Georgian Navy საქართველოს სამხედრო საზღვაო ძალები
Germany Naval flag of Germany German Navy Deutsche Marine
Greece Naval flag of Greece Hellenic Navy Πολεμικό Ναυτικό
Iceland Naval flag of Iceland Icelandic Coast Guard Landhelgisgæsla Íslands
India Naval flag of India Indian Navy
Indonesia Naval flag of Indonesia Indonesian Navy Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut
Iran Naval flag of Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Navy
Iraq Naval flag of Iraq Iraqi Navy
Ireland Naval flag of Republic of Ireland Irish Naval Service Serbhís Cabhlaigh na hÉireann
Israel Naval flag of Israel Israeli Sea Corps חיל הים הישראלי
Italy Naval flag of Italy Marina Militare Marina Militare
Japan Naval flag of Japan Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force 海上自衛隊
South Korea Naval flag of South Korea Republic of Korea Navy 대한민국 해군
Latvia Naval flag of Latvia Latvian Naval Forces Latvijas Jūras Spēki
Libya Naval flag of Libya Libyan Navy
Lithuania Naval flag of Lithuania Lithuanian Navy Karinės Jūrų Pajėgos
Malaysia Naval flag of Malaysia Royal Malaysian Navy Tentara Laut di Raja
Malta Flag of Malta Maritime Squadron Armed Forces of Malta
Mexico Naval flag of Mexico Mexican Navy Armada de México
Morocco Naval flag of Morocco Royal Moroccan Navy
Netherlands Naval flag of Netherlands Royal Netherlands Navy Koninklijke Marine
New Zealand Naval flag of New Zealand Royal New Zealand Navy
Nigeria Naval flag of Nigeria Nigerian Navy
Norway Naval flag of Norway Royal Norwegian Navy Sjøforsvaret
Pakistan Naval flag of Pakistan Pakistan Navy پاک بحری
Peru Naval flag of Peru Peruvian Navy Marina de Guerra del Perú
Philippines Naval flag of Philippines Philippine Navy Hukbong Dagat ng Pilipinas
Poland Naval flag of Poland Polish Navy Marynarka Wojenna RP
Portugal Naval flag of Portugal Portuguese Navy Marinha de Guerra Portuguesa
Romania Naval flag of Romania Romanian Naval Forces Fortele Navale Române
Russia Naval flag of Russia Russian Navy Военно Морской Флот
Saudi Arabia Naval flag of Saudi Arabia Royal Saudi Navy
Singapore Naval flag of Singapore Republic of Singapore Navy
South Africa Naval flag of South Africa South African Navy
Spain Naval flag of Spain Spanish Navy Armada Española
Sri Lanka Naval flag of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Navy
Sweden Naval flag of Sweden Swedish Navy Marinen
Republic of China (Taiwan) Naval flag of Republic of China Republic of China Navy 中華民國海軍
Thailand Naval flag of Thailand Royal Thai Navy กองทัพเรือ
Turkey Naval flag of Turkey Turkish Navy Türk Deniz Kuvvetleri
Ukraine Naval flag of Ukraine Ukrainian Navy Військово-Морські Сили України
UAE Naval flag of United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates Navy
United Kingdom Naval flag of United Kingdom Royal Navy
United States Naval flag of United States United States Navy
Uruguay Naval flag of Uruguay Uruguayan Navy
Venezuela Naval flag of Venezuela Venezuelan Navy
Vietnam Naval flag of Vietnam Vietnam People's Navy

[edit] Historical Navies

Country Navy Period
Austria-Hungary Naval flag of Austria-Hungary Austro-Hungarian Navy 1867–1919
Byzantine Empire Byzantine Empire 330-1453
Flag of Denmark Denmark–Norway Flag of Denmark Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy 1509-1814
Confederate States of America Naval flag of Confederate States of America Confederate States Navy 1860–1865
Flag of Italy Kingdom of Italy Flag of Italy Regia Marina 1861–1946
Empire of Japan Naval flag of Empire of Japan Imperial Japanese Navy (大日本帝國海軍) 1869–1947
German Empire Naval flag of German Empire Kaiserliche Marine 1871–1919
Weimar Republic Naval flag of Weimar Republic Reichsmarine 1918–1935
Nazi Germany Naval flag of Nazi Germany Kriegsmarine 1935–1945
German Democratic Republic Naval flag of East Germany Volksmarine 1955–1990
Flag of Scotland Scotland Naval flag of Scotland Royal Scots Navy c.1000–1707
SFR Yugoslavia Naval flag of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia SFR Yugoslav Navy 1946-1990
Serbia and Montenegro Naval flag of Serbia and Montenegro Serbia and Montenegro Armed Forces 2003–2006
Soviet Union Naval flag of Soviet Union Soviet Navy (Военно-морской флот СССР) 1920–1991
Qing Dynasty Naval flag of Qing Dynasty Beiyang Fleet (北洋艦隊) 1871–1895

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