Officers take responsibility for leadership in the Navy. They are
responsible for the management, development and coordination of the teams
and posts that they are assigned to.
Officers, in most instances, lead projects to improve the capabilities and
design plans of the way forward. At sea, officers fill various leadership
roles including being the officer on the bridge, who is in charge of the
ship, or responsibility for the engineering department.
Essentially your qualifications and duration of your time in the Navy
contribute to your rank and progression path. In most cases officers start
at midshipman rank for the first two years (and while undertaking Junior
Officer Common Training). The next step is to be promoted to Ensign, and
then one year later, depending on your entry scheme, to Sub Lieutenant.
Promotion to Lieutenant is usually made after six years service. Again, the
speed of progression may vary dependent on any previous qualifications
and/or your duration in the Navy.
Promotion to Lieutenant Commander, and above, is based on merit, providing
you have eleven years of qualifying service. Entry schemes can affect
timing but this is a rough guide to give you an indication of the ranks you
could progress through.
Vice Admiral (VA)
Rear Admiral (RA)
Lieutenant Commander (LT CDR)
Sub Lieutenant (SLT)
Find out more
about becoming an
and the possible
Sailors, otherwise known as Naval Ratings and ranked as such, are the
practical people who provide specialist hands-on skills in their chosen
field. Naturally duties and responsibilities increase with rank. As you
gain promotion your tasks become more complex, and at higher levels, you’ll
have your own staff and be responsible for managing them and looking out for
All sailors have to complete task books for promotion. You will become
eligible for a higher rank once you have passed the various courses and
examinations; and have been recommended for promotion by your Commanding
Officer. Promotion itself takes place under a roster system when a vacancy
occurs (with the exception of Able Rating).
You can complete additional training for extra qualifications to broaden
Rankings and specialisations are combined. Essentially your specialisation
will follow your rank. For example WOCH equals Warrant Officer, Chef.
Warrant Officer (WO)
Chief Petty Officer (CPO)
Petty Officer (PO)
Leading Hand (LH)
Able Rating (AB)
Ordinary Rating (O)
Find out more about each job and the progression options within each trade:
Logistics, Hospitality and
Specialised Sailor Roles
After a period of service, there are opportunities for internal transfer to
a number of specialised sailor roles. Candidates for transfer will only be
considered after first attaining competence in their original career
streams. It is therefore not possible to join and start your career in these
roles; they are ‘progression only’ based.
The specialised roles available are helicopter crewman, Naval police and
physical training instructors.
Naval Police are responsible for the preservation and maintenance of
discipline and standards within the Navy. Naval Police serve at sea and
ashore and are a vital part of the Naval Leadership structure. Naval Police
develop expertise in conducting investigations, and traffic operations.
Physical Training Instructor
Otherwise known as PTIs, Physical Training Instructors are responsible for
physical, recreational training, and sea survival training. They serve at
sea and develop skills in planning and conducting physical sessions.
to your branch career path there are opportunities to qualify for additional
operational skills. Each skill requires differing levels of qualification
and experience and includes Defence Diver, Flight Deck Officer and Damage
The Helicopter Crewman is an integral member of a three person crew onboard
the Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters. Their duties include assisting
in search and rescue operations, vertical replenishment, winch operations,
warfare duties, and airborne photography.
The term today means someone
who is honest, forthright. It's origin comes from the days when pirates
would masquerade as honest merchantmen, hiding most of their crew behind the
bulwark (side of the ship on the upper deck). They hid below the boards.
This old traditional
greeting for hailing other vessels was originally a Viking battle cry.
In wooden ships, the
"devil" was the longest seam of the ship. It ran
from the bow to the stern. When at sea and the "devil" had to be caulked,
the sailor sat in a bo'sun's chair to do so. He was suspended between the
"devil" and the sea — the "deep" — a very precarious position, especially
when the ship was underway.
"God made the vittles but
the devil made the cook," was a popular saying used by seafaring men in the
19th century when salted beef was staple diet aboard ship.
This tough cured beef,
suitable only for long voyages when nothing else was cheap or would keep as
well (remember, there was no refrigeration), required prolonged chewing to
make it edible. Men often chewed one chunk for hours, just as it were
chewing gum and referred to this practice as "chewing the fat."
The raven, or crow, was an
essential part of the Vikings' navigation equipment. These land-lubbing
birds were carried on aboard to help the ship's navigator determine where
the closest land lay when weather prevented sighting the shore. In cases of
poor visibility, a crow was released and the navigator plotted a course
corresponding to the bird's flight path because the crow invariably headed
The Norsemen carried the
birds in a cage secured to the top of the mast. Later on, as ships grew and
the lookout stood his watch in a tub located high on the main mast, the name
"crow's nest" was given to this tub. While today's Navy still uses lookouts
in addition to radars, etc., the crow's nest is a thing of the past.
Josephus Daniels (18 May
1862-15 January 1948) was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President
Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Among his reforms of the Navy were inaugurating the
practice of making 100 Sailors from the Fleet eligible for entrance into the
Naval Academy, the introduction of women into the service, and the
abolishment of the officers' wine mess. From that time on, the strongest
drink aboard Navy ships could only be coffee and over the years, a cup of
coffee became known as "a cup of Joe".
the expression "devil to pay" is used primarily to describe having an
unpleasant result from some action that has been taken, as in someone has
done something they shouldn't have and, as a result, "there will be the
devil to pay." Originally, this expression described one of the unpleasant
tasks aboard a wooden ship.
The "devil" was the wooden
ship's longest seam in the hull. Caulking was done with "pay" or pitch (a
kind of tar). The task of "paying the devil" (caulking the longest seam) by
squatting in the bilges was despised by every seaman.
Aboard Navy ships, bells are struck to designate the hours of being on
Each watch is four hours in length. One bell is struck after the first
half-hour has passed, two bells after one hour has passed, three bells after
an hour and a half, four bells after two hours, and so forth up to eight
bells are struck at the completion of the four hours. Completing a watch
with no incidents to report was "Eight bells and all is well."
The practice of using bells
stems from the days of the sailing ships. Sailors couldn't afford to have
their own time pieces and relied on the ship's bells to tell time. The
ship's boy kept time by using a half-hour glass. Each time the sand ran out,
he would turn the glass over and ring the appropriate number of bells.
Fathom was originally a land measuring term derived from the Ango-Saxon word
"faetm" meaning to embrace. In those days, most measurements were based on
average size of parts of the body, such as the hand (horses are still
measured this way) or the foot (that's why 12 inches are so named). A fathom
is the average distance from fingertip to fingertip of the outstretched arms
of a man — about six feet. Since a man stretches out his arms to embrace his
sweetheart, Britain's Parliament declared that distance be called a "fathom"
and it be a unit of measure. A fathom remains six feet. The word was also
used to describe taking the measure or "to fathom" something. Today, of
course, when one is trying to figure something out, they are trying to
If you are sad and describe yourself as "feeling blue," you are using a
phrase coined from a custom among many old deepwater sailing ships. If the
ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would
fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when
returning to home port.
The appropriate pronunciation for this word is fo'ksul. The
forecastle is the forward part of the main deck. It derives its name from
the days of Viking galleys when wooden castles were built on the forward and
after parts the main deck from which archers and other fighting men could
shoot arrows and throw spears, rocks, etc.
The galley is the kitchen of the ship. The best explanation as to its origin
is that it is a corruption of "gallery". Ancient sailors cooked their meals
on a brick or stone gallery laid amidships.
Gun salutes were first fired as an act of good faith. In the days when it
took so long to reload a gun, it was a proof of friendly intention when the
ship's cannon were discharged upon entering port.
The "head" aboard a Navy ship is the bathroom. The term comes from the days
of sailing ships when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all
the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, the integral part of the
hull to which the figurehead was fastened.
In the very early days, this phrase was written on a seaman's discharge to
indicate that he was still a novice. All he knew about being a sailor was
just the names and uses of the principal ropes (lines). Today, this same
phrase means the opposite — that the person fully knows and understands the
operation (usually of the organization).
The last Navy ships with teak decks were the battleships, now since
decommissioned. Teak, and other wooden decks, were scrubbed with a piece of
sandstone, nicknamed at one time by an anonymous witty sailor as the
"holystone." It was so named because since its use always brought a man to
his knees, it must be holy! However, holystones were banned by the Navy by
General Order Number 215 of 5 March 1931 because they wore down the
expensive teak decks too fast.
The term meaning everything is O.K. was coined from a street named "Honki-Dori"
in Yokohama, Japan. Since the inhabitants of this street catered to the
pleasures of sailors, it is easy to understand why the street's name became
synonymous for anything that is enjoyable or at least satisfactory. And, the
logical follow-on is "Okey-dokey."
Today it means to be dull or without pep. It comes from the days of sail
when a ship was becalmed and rode on an even keel .... without the port or
starbord list experienced under a good breeze. No wind, no list; no list,
the early days of sailing ships, the ship's records were written on shingles
cut from logs. These shingles were hinged and opened like a book. The record
was called the "log book." Later on, when paper was readily available and
bound into books, the record maintained it name.
Today it's a gambling term
for an event that would take an inordinate amount of luck. It's origins are
nautical. Because ships' guns in early days were very inaccurate except at
close quarters, it was an extremely lucky shot that would find its target
from any great distance.
"Mayday" is the internationally recognized voice radio signal for ships and
people in serious trouble at sea. Made official in 1948, it is an
anglicizing of the French m'aidez, "help me".
"No quarter given" means
that one gives his opponent no opportunity to surrender. It
stems from the old custom by which officers, upon surrender, could ransom
themselves by paying one quarter of a year's pay.
Sailors who have to endure pea-soup weather often don their pea coats but
the coat's name isn't derived from the weather. The heavy topcoat worn in
cold, miserable weather by seafaring men was once tailored from pilot cloth
— a heavy, course, stout kind of twilled blue cloth with the nap on one
side. The cloth was sometimes called P-cloth for the initial letter of
"pilot" and the garment made from it was called a p-jacket — later, a pea
coat. The term has been used since 1723 to denote coats made from that
word "port hole" originated during the reign of Henry VI of England (1485).
King Henry insisted on mounting guns too large for his ship and the
traditional methods of securing these weapons on the forecastle and
aftcastle could not be used.
A French shipbuilder named
James Baker was commissioned to solve the problem. He put small doors in the
side of the ship and mounted the cannon inside the ship. These doors
protected the cannon from weather and were opened when the cannon were to be
used. The French word for "door" is "porte" which was later Anglicized to
"port" and later went on to mean any opening in the ship's side, whether for
cannon or not.
origin of the word "scuttlebutt," which is nautical parlance for a rumor,
comes from a combination of "scuttle" — to make a hole in the ship's hull
and thereby causing her to sink —- and "butt" — a cask or hogshead used in
the days of wooden ships to hold drinking water. The cask from which the
ship's crew took their drinking water — like a water fountain — was the
"scuttlebutt". Even in today's Navy a drinking fountain is referred to as
such. But, since the crew used to congregate around the "scuttlebutt", that
is where the rumors about the ship or voyage would begin. Thus, then and
now, rumors are talk from the "scuttlebutt" or just "scuttlebutt".
Contrary to popular notion, the letters S.O.S. do not stand for "Save Our
Ship" or "Save Our Souls". They were selected to indicate a distress
because, in Morse code, these letters and their combination create an
unmistakable sound pattern.
In the age of sail, ship's rigging was a favorite target during sea battles
because destroying the opponent's ability to maneuver or get away would put
you at obvious advantage. Therefore, the first and most important task after
a battle was to repair damaged rigging (also known as lines- but never
"rope"!). Examples of lines include braces (lines that adjust the angle at
which a sail is set in relation to the wind) and stays (lines supporting the
The main brace was the principal line controlling the rotation of the main
sail. Splicing this line was one of the most difficult chores aboard ship,
and one on which the ship's safety depended. It was the custom, after the
main brace was properly spliced, to serve grog to the entire crew. Thus,
today, after a hard day (or, not so hard day), the phrase has become an
invitation to have a drink.
The Vikings called the side of their ship its board, and they placed the
steering oar, the "star" on the right side of the ship, thus that side
became known as the "star board." It's been that way ever since. And,
because the oar was in the right side, the ship was tied to the dock at the
left side. This was known as the loading side or "larboard". Later, it was
decided that "larboard" and "starboard" were too similar, especially when
trying to be heard over the roar of a heavy sea, so the phrase became the
"side at which you tied up to in port" or the "port" side.
One of the hazards faced in days of sailing ships has been incorporated into
English to describe someone who has been jolted by unpleasant news. We say
that person has been "taken aback." The person is at a momentary loss;
unable to act or even to speak. A danger faced by sailing ships was for a
sudden shift in wind to come up (from a sudden squall), blowing the sails
back against the masts, putting the ship in grave danger of having the masts
break off and rendering the ship totally helpless. The ship was taken aback.
The original three-mile limit was the recognized distance from a nation's
shore over which that nation had jurisdiction. This border of international
waters or the "high seas" was established because, at the time this
international law was established, three miles was the longest range of any
nation's most powerful guns, and therefore, the limit from shore batteries
at which they could enforce their laws. (International law and the 1988
Territorial Sea Proclamation established the "high seas" border at the
We use the term "three sheets to the wind" to describe someone who has too
much to drink. As such, they are often bedraggled with perhaps shirttails
out, clothes a mess. The reference is to a sailing ship in disarray, that is
with sheets (lines — not "ropes" — that adjust the angle at which a sail is
set in relation to the wind ) flapping loosely in the breeze.
Often we use "took the wind out of his sails" to describe getting the best
of an opponent in an argument. Originally it described a battle maneuver of
sailing ships. One ship would pass close to its adversary and on its
windward side. The ship and sails would block the wind from the second
vessel, causing it to lose headway. Losing motion meant losing
maneuverability and the ability to carry on a fight.
When the French burned the
town of Brighton, England, in the 1500s, King Henry VIII send Admiral Wallop
to retaliate and teach the French a lesson. He so thoroughly wrecked the
French coasts, that ever since, a devestating blow is said to be an "awful
Traditionally, a 24-hour day is divided into seven watches. These are:
midnight to 4 a.m. [0000-0400], the mid-watch; 4 to 8 a.m. [0400-0800],
morning watch; 8 a.m. to noon [0800-1200], forenoon watch; noon to 4 p.m.
[1200-1600], afternoon watch; 4 to 6 p.m. [1600-1800] first dog watch; 6 to
8 p.m. [1800-2000], second dog watch; and, 8 p.m. to midnight [2000-2400],
evening watch. The half hours of the watch are marked by the striking the
bell an appropriate number of times.
WARSHIP & NAVAL TERMS
By Chuck Hawks
the final arbiter of sea power. Descended from "battle ship of the line,"
which were the largest and most heavily gunned sailing warships (ex:
H.M.S. Victory). After the end of the age of sail, the most heavily
armed and protected warships were just called "battleships."
advent of H.M.S. Dreadnought, battleships were also called,
generically, "dreadnoughts." (See below under Miscellaneous Terms for more
about the Dreadnought.) This term basically just means a battleship
armed with one size of big gun.
also carry the heaviest armor of all warships, generally intended to protect
them from guns of the approximate size they themselves carried.
expected that in war, battleships would endeavor to meet their enemy in the
sort of battle where one battle line would steam parallel to the enemy
battle line and they would shoot it out until one battle line was sunk. This
practically never happened (Tsushima and Jutland being the two times I can
think of when it did, except that the Germans fled at Jutland and the battle
In WW II, BB's
seldom fought each other, and in much smaller engagements when they did,
usually just one or two battleships at a time. By then what is now called
the 3rd generation of battleships were known as "fast battleships." (Dreadnought,
and battleships like her armed with all 11" or 12" guns represented the
first generation. The 2nd generation were the super Dreadnoughts with 13.5"
to 16" guns, but speed still limited to the range of 20-24 knots.)
With the fast
battleship, the battlecruiser and battleship types had merged. Battle line
speeds were now 27 to 30 knots, about as fast as destroyers and cruisers
could travel in a seaway. The battlecruiser H.M.S. Hood was really
the precursor to all the fast battleships that followed. Improvement in
power plants and the increase in size made high speed and heavy armor
possible in the same ship. By treaty, the 3rd generation battleships built
just before WW II were about 35,000 tons displacement. Read the introduction
to my essay about the Treaty Battleships for more on this subject.
rigid sort of battle as envisioned for the battle line led to the
development of the battlecruiser. Battlecruisers, along with battleships,
are classed as "capital ships." The battlecruiser was a ship about as large
as a battleship and with battleship size guns, but protected against cruiser
(6" or 8") gunfire, not against battleship gunfire. In the first and second
generation ships, the weight that would have been devoted to additional
armor was instead devoted to additional propulsion machinery. This allowed
cruiser speeds (26 to 30 knots).
battlecruiser could outshoot cruisers, it could sink enemy scout cruisers,
and brush aside enemy cruiser screens to scout the enemy fleet's
disposition. Of course, this only applied as long as the enemy did not also
have battlecruisers. Since both sides built the type, they evolved toward
the fast battleship. Protection against the enemy battlecruiser's big guns
became important. This was driven home to the British in WW I at the Battle
of Jutland, where they lost 3 CC's to enemy gunfire, which hastened the
development of H.M.S. Hood. Hood was the first CC to carry the same
thickness of armor as contemporary battleships. In order to combine heavy
armor with high speed (given the efficiency of steam turbines at the time
she was designed--during WW I), she was about 10,000 tons bigger than
contemporary battleships (31,000t vs. 41,000 tons).
operates modern, guided missile equipped battlecruisers today. Read the
introduction to my essay about battlecruisers for more information about
these fascinating ships.
cruiser (CB), super cruiser, pocket battleship:
All terms used
for ships that were basically battlecruisers, built at a time when it was
politically incorrect to build battlecruisers. After the loss of three
lightly armored battlecruisers at Jutland, the type came into serious
question. Yet the need for the type still existed. So navies found other
names for the type, names for which politicians would appropriate money. The
smallest were the German "pocket battleships" (more properly "pocket
battlecruisers") at about 13,000 tons (11 in. guns), and the biggest about
30,000 tons (12 " to 14" guns). Again, read my essay "Battlecruisers, Large
Cruisers . . . ."
biggest surface combatant after the capital ships. During the interwar years
cruisers were limited by treaty to a maximum size of 10,000 tons standard
displacement. Two types were defined by treaty: heavy cruisers
(CA)--cruisers with 8 inch guns, and light cruisers (CL)--cruisers with 6
many roles. One was literally cruising the world; showing the flag, and
representing overwhelming force that could be brought to bear far from home
in colonial times. In wartime cruisers were to operate alone on the high
seas to interdict enemy commerce; also to protect the battle line against
enemy scout (light) cruisers. These were mostly heavy cruiser roles. Heavy
cruisers are the smallest warships to which the term "heavy ships" is
were primarily scout cruisers, intended to operate far in front of the
battle line to find the enemy battle line and report its position. Also to
drive off enemy destroyers that might attempt to torpedo friendly capital
ships. Also to patrol lines of commerce against raiders. As they grew
larger, their role tended to merge with that of the heavy cruisers.
Both wound up
about 10,000 ton ships; the heavy cruisers carried 8 to 10 8" guns, the
light cruisers carried 12 to 15 6" guns, and both carried a heavy battery of
secondary and AA guns. Some cruisers also carried torpedo tubes. Both types
usually had top speeds in excess of 30 knots. For more information, read the
introduction to my essay "Heavy Cruisers of WW II."
cruisers are primarily guided missile warships, ranging in size from around
7,000 to 10,000 tons. Only the world’s largest navies can afford to build
and operate modern cruisers, principally the United States and Russia.
called torpedo boat destroyers. Destroyers came about after the invention of
the whitehead (self-propelled) torpedo. Suddenly there was a weapon that
could be carried on a small, fast, cheap motorboat type of craft that could
strike a capital ship underwater, bypassing all its armor protection (which
at that time was designed to protect against gunfire above the surface, not
threats below), and sink it.
that could not afford capital ships built torpedo boats to defend against
them. Naturally, the major naval powers that did have battleships moved to
build small, fast, vessels that were larger and much better armed (with
guns) than torpedo boats, and which were blue water ships that could travel
with the fleet to defend it against torpedo boats.
torpedo boat destroyer came about. Later the name was shortened to just
"destroyer." Soon, the destroyer itself was armed with torpedoes as well as
guns. This allowed it to torpedo bigger enemy warships beyond the range of
the small coastal torpedo boats. Torpedo boats were revived by all
combatants in WW II--we called ours "PT" (Patrol Torpedo) boats, and John F.
Kennedy commanded one. As it turned out, torpedo boats did little damage in
any war, but destroyers became the jack of all trades among warships. Today,
they are the largest surface combatants operated by most navies, ranging in
size up to about 6,000 tons.
submarines became practical, the destroyer was equipped with depth charges,
SONAR, and other ASW weapons, and became their major enemy. Destroyers were
used to protect convoys and larger warships against submarines. When
aircraft became a major threat to ships, destroyers became AA ships as well.
WW II destroyers ran around 2,000 tons, and were armed with a main battery
of 4 to 6-4" to 5" guns, AA guns, torpedo tubes, and depth charges and other
AS weapons. They were fast ships, generally capable of 30+ knots in calm
Destroyer Escort (DE):
destroyer, typically designed more for antisubmarine warfare than general
purpose fleet defense. Along with frigates, DE's were the smallest blue
water surface combatants. They were mass produced in great numbers during
the Second World War, primarily as convoy escorts, but served in many
capacities and in every theater. WW II DE's ran around 1,200 tons or
smaller. DE’s carried a lighter main battery than destroyers (3-3" or 2-5"
guns would be typical), plus AA guns, and perhaps a small battery of torpedo
tubes. Their AS weapons fit was usually their strength. They were generally
slower than fleet destroyers, with top speeds of 20-24 knots.
for Destroyer Escort. Most European nations, including the British, called
their DE's "frigates." Today, the U. S. Navy has abandoned the destroyer
escort nomenclature, and also calls this class of warship frigates. Like all
other classes of warships, frigates have grown in size. Today they are
larger than WW II destroyers, often displacing up to 3,000 tons, and are
usually capable of top speeds of 27 to 30 knots.
Ship. Modern submarines, if not nuclear powered, are sub-classed as
"coastal" (short range) or "fleet" (oceanic patrol) types. Nuclear powered
submarines are designated "SSN" if they are attack (anti-shipping) boats,
and "SSBN" (boomers) if they carry ballistic missiles.
stern (rear) of the ship.
A column of
armor that protects the ammunition hoist, and upon which the turret rotates.
The guns that
can fire to one side of the ship. Also the act of firing all the guns on one
side of the ship.
This is the
U.S. Navy's Bureau of Ordinance.
on warships which are protected on all sides by armor. The gun in a casemate
fires through a slit or aperture in the armor.
Navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair.
and battlecruisers, period. Literally, the ships that took the greatest
investment of capital to build. In a sense analogous to capital in the
financial sense (where capital gives clout or the ability to get things
done), as the fleet's battleships and battlecruisers also represented the
fleet's ability to get things done.
The number of
people that serve on board a ship.
The place from
which a warship is controlled in battle. On a "heavy ship" (like a
battleship or cruiser) it is usually armored, unlike the bridge (which is
The weight of
a ship, which is determined by the amount of water displaced by the ship.
which means to fear nothing. Should be in any good dictionary.
Dreadnought of 1906 was a revolutionary ship, the first modern
battleship. She incorporated many firsts: the fastest BB of the time, at 20
knots; the first all big gun battleship (10-12" main battery guns instead of
a mix of heavy and medium bore guns); the first BB powered by steam turbine
engines. All previous battleships immediately became obsolete after the
advent of the Dreadnought. After Dreadnought, all similar
battleships (with just one size of main battery gun) were also called,
Later the term
became "super dreadnought," as main battery size increased to 13.5" guns, or
larger. By WW II, main battery guns were typically 14", 15", or 16". The 11"
gunned Scharnhorst and the 18" gunned Yamato classes were the
The weight of
a ship fully loaded with stores, fuel, and ammunition.
Majesty's Ship. All British warships are "H.M.S. Hood," etc.
A term used to
refer to the largest surface combatants; includes battleships,
battlecruisers, and heavy cruisers.
detail in Norman Friedman's book U.S. Battleships. Basically, the
zone (typically in thousands of yards) within which a ship's armor is
intended to defeat enemy projectiles. So a certain BB might have armor
designed to protect it against 14 inch shells from 15,000 yards to 22,000
yards. This means that closer than 15k yards, a 14 inch shell will probably
have enough energy to penetrate the ship's side armor, but beyond 15k yards
it does not--until the trajectory of the shell becomes so steep so that as
it plunges out of the sky that it has enough energy to penetrate the armor
on the deck. This happens at 22k yards in my example. At 20k or 21k yards, a
shell may hit the deck, but the angle of impact and the armor on the armored
deck are sufficient to prevent it from penetrating into the ship's vitals.
But at 22,000 yards and farther, it can plunge through the deck armor. So my
hypothetical BB is (relatively) protected from 14 inch gunfire between 15k
and 22k yards: that is her immune zone. Read Friedman's books for more on
per hour. A nautical mile is somewhat longer than a statute (land) mile at
6080 feet, or 1,856.5m. Therefore, one knot is approximately 1.15 statute
miles per hour
The space in a
warship where ammunition and powder are stored.
between a ship's center of gravity and the point through which the ship
heels at small angles. The greater the metacentric height, the more stable
measured with the ship fully equipped, but carrying only one-third of its
Overall; As in
the overall length of a ship.
Post to post;
the length of a ship measured between perpendiculars. In practice, this is
measured between the rudder post and the bow load waterline. It is a
measurement that tends to ignore the form of the bow and stern.
name for underwater sound detection equipment. The British name was Asdic.
Sonar can be active (as when "pinging") or passive (listening only).
treaty as the measurement of a ship's displacement (weight) when she was
ready for sea, but without reserve feed water and fuel. See my Treaty
Battleships essay for a brief summary of the Washington Naval treaty.
structure of the ship above the hull.
part of an armored gun mount. Turrets are commonly seen on tanks and
warships, and are designed to protect the guns and gun crews from enemy
gunfire and the environment.
Ship. All US warships are properly "U.S.S. Alaska," etc
Water line; as
in waterline length of a ship (which varies somewhat with displacement).