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National Navies   |  Cruisers & Destroyers   |  Weapons   |  Propulsion

Wars & Battles   |  Freak Warships   |  Dreadnoughts   |  Submarines

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R E C E N T    A R T I C L E S

The Spanish Fleet Comes Out to Die, by Walter Millis
WEB EXCLUSIVE! Classic Account of Naval Battle of Santiago

 The Adventurous Career of the Battlecruiser Goeben
Turkish Flagship 1914 - 1950

NEW! in a burst  France's Coast Defense Warships, 1865 - 1905

NEW! in a burst  The South American Navies
Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Perú, 1860 - 1920

NEW! in a burst  Men of the U.S. New Navy, 1890 - 1914

BBB's Online Battleship Video Directory
     And Online Videos on Related Topics

C O M P L E T E    I N V E N T O R Y

Anatomy of a Pre-Dreadnought: HMS Glory of 1900

Basic History of Battleship Development, 1860-1908     (This page - use nav at left.)

Semi-Dreadnought Battleships

Britain's Royal Navy, 1860 - 1920

The American Civil War Navies

The U.S. New Navy, 1885 - 1910

The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1897 - 1945

The French Navy, 1850 - 1916

The Imperial German Navy, 1869 - 1919

The Italian Navy, 1860 - 1945

The Imperial Russian Navy, 1868 - 1919

The Navy of Austria-Hungary, 1856 - 1918

NEW! in a burst  The Minor Navies of Europe

The Navy of the Ottoman Empire, 1856 - 1918

NEW! in a burst  The South American Navies
Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Perú, 1860 - 1920

 The Chinese Steam Navy by Richard N.J. Wright - The Definitive Source

S U P P O R T I N G    W A R S H I P S

Cruisers of the Pre-Dreadnought Age

The Invention and Evolution of the Destroyer

British Torpedo Gunboats, 1887 - 1894

FREAKS: Pre-Dreadnought Inventions and Oddities

   W E A P O N S   &   S Y S T E M S

Gunnery Department: Guns and Mountings

Rams and Ramming Tactics, 1860 - 1918

NEW! in a burst  The Armored Ram in the British Fleet, 1871 - 1893

Invention of the Locomotive Torpedo, 1866

Anti-Torpedo Nets in the British Fleet

The Engine Room: Triple-Expansion Steam Engines

The Engine Room: The Adoption of Turbine Engines

The Boiler Room: Common Boiler Types, 1870 - 1910

Cabins, Interiors and Life Aboard

NEW! in a burst  Men of the U.S. New Navy, 1890 - 1914

Figureheads & Decorative Scrollwork in the Ironclad Era

Figureheads & Frou-Frou in the U.S. Navy

W A R S   &   N A V A L    B A T T L E S

Notable Naval Battles, 1860 - 1918

The Sino-Japanese War, 1894 - 1895

The Spanish-American War, 1898

The Russo-Japanese War, 1904 - 1905: Greatest Pre-WWI Naval Conflict

The Sand Pebbles: Western Gunboats in China, 1902 - 1941


HMS Dreadnought: A Naval Revolution (1906)

Illustrated Lists of WWI Dreadnought Warships

The Cost of the Naval Arms Race, 1890 - 1919

The Ignominious Fate of the German High Seas Fleet, 1918 - 19

The Washington Treaty for Naval Disarmament, 1922

Pre-Dreadnoughts of World War II

USS Texas (1914): Sole Remaining Dreadnought

A N N E X E S   &   A P P E N D I C E S

Post Postscript: USS Marblehead: Escape from the Jaws of Death (1942)

Appendix A: Submarine Warfare in WWI

Appendix B: U-Boat Gallery: Picture History of the WWI Sub Campaign

Appendix C: Mine Warfare

Appendix D: The Birth of Naval Aviation

Fisher's Large Light Cruisers - Britain's First Full-Size Aircraft Carriers

About the Author: Identity Reveal'd by Popular Demand!

Tinplate German battleships, circa 1890 - courtesy Steve Cady
Antique toys by Spenkuch of Nürnburg, painted & photographed by Steve Cady. Welcome header by Larry Neilson.

Welcome to, the Web's leading pictorial tribute to pre-World War I warships: pre-dreadnought and dreadnought battleships, cruisers, and destroyers.

Nav within each national navy is by the colored nav-bar in your lower left frame. In some cases, subsections have nav menus on their opening pages: cruisers, battles, Russo-Japanese and Spanish-American wars. Links are at the foot of each article and most of the longer articles have text nav at the top of the scroll that can take you to Links, Photos, etc. with a single click. If you want to bail on any subject, there are abundant links in the text, plus one at the foot of the Nav panel at left. To exit the frames, simply right-click any link and choose Ípen Target in New Tab, or Window, as desired.

Although is not a definitive source, it does feature representative ships and technologies from all the world's major navies in a richly pictorial noncommercial site. You will search long and hard to find a better collection of pictures from the era. Links to other informative or special-interest resources abound in our site, to ease -- or deepen -- your inquiry into naval history and the broader context of the period from 1860 to 1918. So bookmark BBB and make it the starting point for your explorations of those wonderfully weird warships of yesteryear!

Each ship profile contains a history of the ship placing it in context; complete specifications of the ship and its class-mates; and an abundant gallery of photos and graphics of the ship, its crew, and its times. In addition, we offer picture essays on the tecnhologies that made the battleship viable: guns, rams, engines, anti-torpedo protection, living quarters -- even ship decoration and fancywork. And that's not all! Famous battles. Naval heroes. The battleship in film and folklore. Scholarly essays on the course of the pre-World War I naval arms race. Racy cards of the Kaiser's cadets and their molls in imaginative costume. But if you want Ginsu steak knives, you'll have to look elsewhere ( would be a good place to start).

That completes the preliminaries. Ladies and gentlemen, train your turrets, limber up your mice, and alert your Black Gang to lay in some ready coal -- the pursuit is on!

USS IOWA (BB-4) color postcard, 1898.

The first USS Iowa, victorious in battle, 1898.

Who Writes This Stuff, Anyway?

The Armchair Admiral, author of the BigBadBattleships[TM] WebsiteBy popular demand, we announce for the first time the identity of the author of this website -- the armchair admiral responsible for content and vision at He now stands revealed as none other than the Rt. Hon. Sir Percival Poppycock, KCIE, Vice Commodore of the Royal Tasmanian Yacht Squadron and lifelong maritime history buff. Sir Percy (as he's known at the polo grounds) sports a history degree from Vassar College and is intimately familiar with life at sea. A recognized expert on practically everything, he is eminently qualified to pass judgment on virtually any naval, socioeconomic, or political development of the last millennium. "It's all been downhill since 1912," he said famously in his address to 500 of the nation's historiographic élite at the swank Olympic Hotel in Seattle. The subject of his presentation: the sinking of the Titanic which first tried his faith in man's works. Sir Percival holds 14 decorations from eight nations, including Knight Commander of the Indian Empire (U.K.) and the Order of the Pixellated Star (Fallopia). A long-time Oxonian, the extroverted baronet is a member of the Royal Cowes Yacht Squadron, the Pola Polo Club, the Commonwealth Club, the Reform Club, and the Hasty Pudding Club. A decorated veteran of the Falklands War (in which he dropped a half-dozen Exocet missiles from flight using only his service revolver), he holds the rank of LT CDR in the Royal Tasmanian Naval Reserve.

Ross Radetzky under the USS TEXAS' big gunsSir Percy's electronic amanuensis, Ross "Radar" Radetzky (right), has been indispensable in restoring the antique illustrations used in the site. Videographer, maverick yachtsman, wreck diver, and big game hunter, "Triple-R" is leading an active retirement from his military career as a Navy Seal and soldier of fortune. Radar matches encyclopedic knowledge of the sources of old photos, with world-class wizardry in reviving damaged or aging images. In many cases he has actually resorted to old-fashioned chemical photography, risking lungs, eyesight, and honour to coax latent details from fading negatives. Merely so you may better appreciate the ships! "All in the line of duty, actually" Radar mumbles, averting his eyes and nervously drying chemical-coated fingers on a badly stained lab coat. It has been Sir Percy who has supplied the overarching vision of BBB, however. His has been the restless, probing energy that strove steadily, powerfully, relentlessly, rhythmically toward the consummation of this labour of love: his the cold, dispassionate intelligence that has built this sprawling electronic empire we call Indeed, in his position of Ultimate Trust, Sir Percy Poppycock has trekked intrepidly to the furthest frontiers of cyberspace. Mission: to recover little-known documentation, some of it never heretofore seen online. For this site, he has rescued, restored, and published rare material originally preserved in five languages and over 1267 file formats. No stone has been left unturned to bring you unprecedented insight into our topic of study.

So bung-ho, shipmates! Raise a glass to those amazing warships of the past, and all who sailed in them!