5 most powerful naval forces ever
5 most powerful naval forces ever

The first full-fledged naval force is thought to have formed about 3,000 years ago. At each historical moment, the world witnessed a nation with the most powerful navy.

1. Greek navy in confrontation with the Persian empire

The resounding victory over the Persian invasion at the Battle of Salamis (480 BC) helped the Greek navy make their mark on world history. The scale of the Salamis naval battle was extremely large, which surprised even modern military analysts.

In 491 BC, the great Darius – the king of the Persian empire – sent envoys to the Greek cities to ask for two things: land and water (which implies submission to Persia). Most of the Greek cities at that time were afraid of the power of the Persian army, with the exception of Athens and Sparta.

Proud Persian messengers sent to these two city cities were executed. The action of Athens and Sparta was a war against Persia – the army considered to be the most powerful in the world at the time.

Greek ship in the naval battle of Salamis (photo: History)
Greek ship in the naval battle of Salamis (photo: History)

Determined to use force to invade Athens and Sparta and all of Greece, the Persian empire dispatched more than 1,200 trireme warships – the standard warship at the time – to attack Athens.

Although it lost about one-third of its ships due to the storms, Persia still had more than 800 ships left for the attack. On the opposite side, the Greek navy, led by Athens and Sparta, had only about 380 warships.

After losing the battle at Thermoplylae and Artemisium, the Greek Navy chose Salamis as the battlefield for their final battle with Persia. The powerful Persians were lured into the narrow Salamis, and fell into chaos. Taking advantage of that opportunity, the entire Greek army, had a vicious battle with the Persian forces many times larger and won.

The victory of the Greek navy against the Persians was very important, regarding the survival of Western civilization.

2. The Chinese Navy in the 15th century

The Chinese navy in the 15th century was considered the most powerful in the world. Under the command of eunuch Zheng He during the Ming Dynasty, from 1405-1433, the Chinese navy made seven expeditions around the Indian Ocean region and into East Africa.

The Chinese Navy at that time was equipped with extremely modern weapons. 7 trips of Zheng He have expanded China’s trade relations and Chinese vassal system. During the journey, the Chinese navy also defeated many powerful pirate groups and conquered a number of smaller nations.

Chinese warship technology in the Ming Dynasty was also very developed. They were able to build ships with 3 to 4 masts in a short time. The first expedition fleet led by Zheng Hea had 317 ships. Six of these large ships are described as having up to 9 masts and 12 sails, each of which was filled with jewels.

Paintings of large warships that Zheng He used in expeditions (photo: Sohu)
Paintings of large warships that Zheng He used in expeditions (photo: Sohu)

3. British Royal Navy

In 1815, the Napoleonic War in Europe ended, the British Royal Navy rose to become the largest and most powerful naval force in the world at that time. As an island nation, Britain always focused on its navy to conquer colonies in North America, India and Africa.

During the war with France, the British navy gradually improved and made an important contribution to the British victory against the French army, which was considered “invincible” in Europe at that time, under the leadership of military genius Napoleon.

The Royal Navy in the 18th century (photo: BBC)
The Royal Navy in the 18th century (photo: BBC)

4. Japanese Imperial Navy

When World War II broke out in 1939, the Japanese empire was considered to have the most powerful navy.

Like the United Kingdom, Japanese territory consists of many large and small islands linked together. As a result, the navy has always been a priority for Japan.

Beginning World War II, Japan owned 10 light aircraft carriers. Japan also had 12 large warships, many cruisers, destroyers and submarines, which were among the most modern in the world at the time.

The Japanese navy at that time had excellent training with steel discipline and high fighting strength. The victories of the Japanese navy at Malaya, Solomon and especially the Battle of Pearl Harbor proved their strength. However, a series of wrong decisions in World War II made the Japanese navy increasingly weakened and eventually lost to the United States.

A Japanese aircraft carrier during World War II (photo: NI)
A Japanese aircraft carrier during World War II (photo: NI)

5. US Navy

In 1945, the United States emerged as the winner after World War II. Earlier, the US Navy defeated the Japanese navy in the Pacific and confirmed its position.

After the failure at Pearl Harbor, the Americans stepped up the shipbuilding industry to compensate for the losses and serve the war.

American aircraft carrier (photo: NI)
American aircraft carrier (photo: NI)

In 1941, the US Navy had only 790 warships, by 1945, this number had increased to 6,768 warships of all kinds. Coming out of World War II, the United States owned 7 aircraft carriers, 17 heavy warships and hundreds of destroyers and submarines.

Since the battle of Pearl Harbor, the US Navy has never lost any naval battle.

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