Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

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Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

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Total Votes : 11

Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by mayexplains on Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:42 pm

I personally believe the British Empire at it's height.
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by DuceMoosolini on Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:44 pm

It's a difficult comparison, since navies have held different roles in different time periods. But I'll say the US, due to its overwhelming contemporary advantage in rapid deployment and airstrike capabilities.
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by mayexplains on Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:45 pm

DuceMoosolini wrote:It's a difficult comparison, since navies have held different roles in different time periods. But I'll say the US, due to its overwhelming contemporary advantage in rapid deployment and airstrike capabilities.

Yeah I figured, hence why I said relative to their time period, but I understand it still wouldn't be a fair comparison.
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by Mr Trolldemort on Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:08 pm

Personally, I think the British had the most powerful navy, simply because of the sheer power it had compared to the rest of the world. Not only that, but navies back then were even more important than now because of aircrafts and missiles also being important for invasions. Nobody had any hope of beating the UK and actually invading the country simply because of their navy alone, which is why it tops my list
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by DuceMoosolini on Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:12 pm

Evaluating naval strength in comparison to contemporary competitors gives the trophy to the US.

In terms of basic tonnage, the US outweighs the next sixteen nations combined. Of course, tonnage means much less today than it ever has in the past. Our next competitor, China's PLAN, has only one combat ready aircraft carrier and is still considered a green water navy. To put it delicately, the US would probably curb-stomp China. Our nearest blue water competitor is the Royal Navy, which has only 77 hulls versus almost 250 American. The US navy currently has 70 nuclear submarines, which are notoriously hard to track, and it has 11 carrier strike groups. This latter point is vital, as a strike group is composed of a supercarrier with a wing of about 60-70 planes and a destroyer squadron which provides defensive cover. The sheer firepower and tactical flexibility of a strike group makes it all but invincible. Meanwhile, the US Marine Corps has stockpiles of supplies and weapons in strategic locations around the world, meaning we can get boots on the ground just about anywhere within 24-48 hours of initiating hostilities.

I may have gaps in my knowledge, but I can't think of any other navy which has ever enjoyed such a unbeatable strategic advantage against all possible foes. Even the Royal Navy at its absolute height faced stiff competition from the German Empire.
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by mayexplains on Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:31 pm


You make an excellent point, and can even argue that the American Navy was strong in the 19th Century as well, but I still believe historically prior to to 19th century Britannia really ruled the waves.
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by mayexplains on Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:38 pm

DuceMoosolini wrote:Evaluating naval strength in comparison to contemporary competitors gives the trophy to the US.

In terms of basic tonnage, the US outweighs the next sixteen nations combined. Of course, tonnage means much less today than it ever has in the past. Our next competitor, China's PLAN, has only one combat ready aircraft carrier and is still considered a green water navy. To put it delicately, the US would probably curb-stomp China. Our nearest blue water competitor is the Royal Navy, which has only 77 hulls versus almost 250 American. The US navy currently has 70 nuclear submarines, which are notoriously hard to track, and it has 11 carrier strike groups. This latter point is vital, as a strike group is composed of a supercarrier with a wing of about 60-70 planes and a destroyer squadron which provides defensive cover. The sheer firepower and tactical flexibility of a strike group makes it all but invincible. Meanwhile, the US Marine Corps has stockpiles of supplies and weapons in strategic locations around the world, meaning we can get boots on the ground just about anywhere within 24-48 hours of initiating hostilities.

I may have gaps in my knowledge, but I can't think of any other navy which has ever enjoyed such a unbeatable strategic advantage against all possible foes. Even the Royal Navy at its absolute height faced stiff competition from the German Empire.

And a lot of the information you are quoting is very modern, of course in this day in age America is the most powerful force in military of all time. But the same could be said about Alexander the Great and his force when conquering all of the Persian region, not the Navy, but a good comparison of how dominant they were in the world relative to others and the time period
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by Cold War Communist on Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:12 pm

I have to say the British Empire's Royal Navy because, frankly, it was unmatched in every singe capacity at the time. Everybody was below the bar it set until the 20th century saw the rise of more powerful ships and rampant militarism.

The U.S. would be second, but it's not close since for most of its existence the USSR was a competitor (that weighs heavily on my decision due to the topic being about naval strength relative to the era in which it operated).
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by Crazy Boris on Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:20 pm

Britannia rules the waves!
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by Adolf Francolini on Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:09 pm

mayexplains wrote:
DuceMoosolini wrote:Evaluating naval strength in comparison to contemporary competitors gives the trophy to the US.

In terms of basic tonnage, the US outweighs the next sixteen nations combined. Of course, tonnage means much less today than it ever has in the past. Our next competitor, China's PLAN, has only one combat ready aircraft carrier and is still considered a green water navy. To put it delicately, the US would probably curb-stomp China. Our nearest blue water competitor is the Royal Navy, which has only 77 hulls versus almost 250 American. The US navy currently has 70 nuclear submarines, which are notoriously hard to track, and it has 11 carrier strike groups. This latter point is vital, as a strike group is composed of a supercarrier with a wing of about 60-70 planes and a destroyer squadron which provides defensive cover. The sheer firepower and tactical flexibility of a strike group makes it all but invincible. Meanwhile, the US Marine Corps has stockpiles of supplies and weapons in strategic locations around the world, meaning we can get boots on the ground just about anywhere within 24-48 hours of initiating hostilities.

I may have gaps in my knowledge, but I can't think of any other navy which has ever enjoyed such a unbeatable strategic advantage against all possible foes. Even the Royal Navy at its absolute height faced stiff competition from the German Empire.

And a lot of the information you are quoting is very modern, of course in this day in age America is the most powerful force in military of all time. But the same could be said about Alexander the Great and his force when conquering all of the Persian region, not the Navy, but a good comparison of how dominant they were in the world relative to others and the time period

The British navy, or any other, for that matter, was never so dominant in its time as the US is today. The British Empire throughout its history was rivaled by Spain, Germany, etc. to a far greater degree than the US is today rivaled by China, Britain, etc.
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by Cold War Communist on Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:16 pm

The RN ran through the German navy at the Jutland. Even then, that was the only competition it faced after France lost the 7 years war. There were no competitors for over 200 years to British naval supremacy. That is unparalleled in history, even accounting for the last 20 years of U.S. naval domination (consider that the U.S. navy was challenged by Japan, the Soviet Union, and the RN until it weakened following WWII).

This doesn't even feel like a discussion. Maybe if it were, "who was the second best navy in history after the Royal Navy..."
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by Adolf Francolini on Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:28 pm

Cold War Communist wrote:The RN ran through the German navy at the Jutland. Even then, that was the only competition it faced after France lost the 7 years war. There were no competitors for over 200 years to British naval supremacy. That is unparalleled in history, even accounting for the last 20 years of U.S. naval domination (consider that the U.S. navy was challenged by Japan, the Soviet Union, and the RN until it weakened following WWII).

This doesn't even feel like a discussion. Maybe if it were, "who was the second best navy in history after the Royal Navy..."

You don't have to compete for supremacy. No one is really competing with USA for naval supremacy except maybe China. The question would be, "Was the Royal navy ever more powerful than the next ten navies in the world combined?" I could be missing a specific time period but I doubt the Royal Navy was ever quite so dominant, even though it maintained superiority over other navies for a long time.
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by DuceMoosolini on Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:44 pm

The RN didn't quite run through the German navy at Jutland, considering they lost more ships and more men. They certainly won, but it wasn't a curb-stomping.

What I'm about to say isn't about technology. I'm simply showing how much more dominant the US is now than the RN was then. Due to our massive modern submarine fleet, our offshore missile capabilities, and our preponderance of carrier strike groups, the US navy could, under most circumstances, rip through just about any other fighting force in the world without so much as losing a ship. These aren't the gentlemanly days where battleships would plug away at each other from a range of a few miles. By the time a strike group's Aegis defense system decides to launch something at you, you're already dead. And you'll never have the chance to throw anything back, because they'll have done it from several hundred miles away.

The only thing which can actually prove to be a problem for the US navy is submarines. And our submarine fleet is still much larger and much more advanced than anyone else's by a long shot.

Like I said above, it's an unfair comparison. But it is a true one.


Last edited by DuceMoosolini on Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : for accuracy)
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by Cold War Communist on Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:08 pm

Adolf Francolini wrote:You don't have to compete for supremacy. No one is really competing with USA for naval supremacy except maybe China. The question would be, "Was the Royal navy ever more powerful than the next ten navies in the world combined?" I could be missing a specific time period but I doubt the Royal Navy was ever quite so dominant, even though it maintained superiority over other navies for a long time.

I would agree if it were, "The best navies of all time". The thread accounts for the relative power of the navies at the time, though, and yes the Royal Navy was more powerful than any other navy with a much longer time at the top than other navies on this list. That is how I rationalized that they were the best, but others will disagree (and that is something I won't debate too fiercely).

DuceMoosolini wrote:The RN didn't quite run through the German navy at Jutland, considering they lost more ships and more men. They certainly won, but it wasn't a curb-stomping.

Yeah, you're right. I exaggerated. My point was that the Royal Navy went unchallenged up until that point, which was really the first time another power was able to come close to its strength.
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

Post by Kim Jong-un on Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:39 pm

Definitely the British Royal Navy. Because of the insular nature of Great Britain, the bulk of the British military force has, since early modern times, been invested in its navy. It is for this reason that the United Kingdom controlled the largest empire in all of human history at its maximum extent ca. 1920, and it is today the only remaining empire on which the sun never sets.
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Re: Who had the strongest Navy in history (relative to their time period.)

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