The battleship reigned supreme in naval warfare from the start of this century to 1945 and, though only the Dardenelles and Jutland provided action in World War I, German rearmament ensured the heavily armed queen of the seas would play a major part in the second conflict.
The Royal Navy won early successes: the mighty Graf Spee was scuttled off South America, while half of Raeder's fleet was destroyed at Narvik. U-boats and air power posed a real threat to battleship superiority, as proved by British torpedo bombers at Taranto, but Britain had to destroy France's capital ships off North Africa to prevent them falling into enemy hands.
Admiral Cunningham's fleet, led by HMS Warspite, ensured the Royal Navy's mastery of the Mediterranean, crushing Italy at Cape Matapan. Battleships later played a leading role in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and the D-Day landings as floating weapons platforms pounding shore-based enemy positions.
The US Navy proved all-powerful in the Pacific, Leyte Gulf leaving the Japanese with only one surviving battleship. Fittingly, the final act of the war took place on USS Missouri as Japan signed the surrender. The Allies had secured ultimate victory - a triumph in which the battleship had played its part.