How Did the US Navy Get So Powerful? – Evolution from the 13 Colonies to WWII

which of the following is attributed to countries who raced to build up their navies after 1900?
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today the US Navy stands as one of the strongest military forces on the planet in this video we will explore the critical moments of its evolution that saw its transformation from this to this a huge thanks is owed to world of warships for sponsoring our video if youd like to experience epic battles between 20th century fleets I highly suggest you check out our sponsor world of warships you get the opportunity to command iconic warships from various navies including the USA Japan Germany the UK the USSR and France fight tactical and epic battles across over 15 Maps with huge fights against the AI or against humans online they are constantly introducing new and improved features such as the upcoming announced submarine fleets world of warships is free to play on PC Xbox and ps4 register today to receive 250 doubloons 1 million credits the Langley carrier ship one port slot and three days premium time when you use the code Langley 2019 check the description below for additional details the US Navy traces its origins back to the colonial period in these early days the 13 colonies belonged to the British Empire and worth us associated with its Royal Navy this fleet was one of the strongest of its time with the force of several hundred ships that campaigned across the world the Royal Navy would operate in the American theater to maintain its dominions with large scale deployments during the war of Jenkins ear against the Spanish in the 1740s and during the Seven Years War against the French in the 1750s however due to the great distances between the old world and the new most of the time the ships in operation in the Americas were of local make the colonies boasted a large number of commercial vessels for fishing and trade which were jerry-rigged into lightly armed schooners and sloops for naval operations when the need arose the captains of such vessels were often American privateers who had obtained letters of marque and reprisal from the to prey upon the enemies of Great Britain in times of war it is this early maritime tradition that would ultimately give rise to the US Navy the official creation of the US Navy is tied to the American Revolution of 1775 while preparations were being made to fight the British on land a similar scramble was taking place to combat them at sea to this end the colonies turned to their ragtag force of privateers over 2,000 Commissions would be put out calling on captains to answer the call to battle local governments also cobbled together their own small forces like the Massachusetts naval militia meanwhile the Continental Congress discussed the formation of an official navy to serve all, 13 colonies for over five months however they drag their heels in heated debate proponents argued that a navy was necessary for the war effort and to win over allies while detractors argued that it was a foolish diversion of precious resources that was doomed to fail eventually on October 13th 1775 the Continental Congress passed the resolution creating the Continental fleet and a seven member naval committee over the following months a series of warships were bought retrofitted or constructed the Continental Navy would remain small with the maximum strength of 34 ships whose size ranged between eight to thirty guns by comparison the Royal Navy had several hundred ships at its disposal which included many first-rate ships of the line carrying more than 100 cannons on board this incredible imbalance in power was partially made up by the colonial privateers which fielded several hundred of their own small ships the naval component of the American Revolution saw a few traditional pitched battles in these rare cases were Lions of colonial and British ships faced off the Royal Navy showed its supremacy as is demonstrated at the Battle of Valcour Island most of the action instead consisted of smaller encounters and raids on shipping lines or ports here the Continental Navy and in particular the privateers actually proved quite effective and took a pretty serious toll on the already strained British supply lines colonial forces didnt just operate along their own Shores instead they frequently sailed out into the Atlantic in 1776 for instance colonial forces launched an amphibious assault on the south in the Caribbean targeting a munitions depot in 1777 famed Captain John Paul Jones would sell the, 18 gun Ranger to attack the British coast and even land troops on enemy soil whilst in the European theater he would gain even more renown by winning a tactical duel with a superior Royal Navy frigate in which he was told to surrender by the enemy commander only to shout back I have not yet begun to fight despite scoring some symbolic victories the plucky colonial fleet had a rather checkered performance in the war it was only in 1778 that the balance of power at sea would favour the revolution when France officially joined the war against the British Franco American squadrons now tore into British shipping lines while the big guns of the French fleet entered the fight in the American theater this aid would prove critical to the war effort the French managed to defeat the Royal Navy at the Battle of the Chesapeake which allowed the British forces of Lord Cornwallis to be surrounded besieged and forced to surrender at Yorktown these victories proved to be turning points which soon brought about the end of the war with the cessation of hostilities came a drawdown in naval activities Congress were called all of its privateers and official frigates only a handful of which had survived the war by 1785 the Continental Navy was officially disbanded and its remaining ships auctioned off over the following decade the newly formed United States would find itself incredibly vulnerable at sea almost immediately American merchant shipping lines fell prey to attacks Corsairs from the Barbary States of North Africa in particular made a habit of seizing American ships and holding their cruise for ransom however the bankrupted Congress was hard-pressed to raise a fleet in defense or even to simply pay the ransom pressure continued to mount finally the naval Act of 1794 was passed or during the construction of six frigates of which only three were completed meanwhile tensions were escalating with European powers the French monarchy had just been overthrown in the midst of revolution and was now back to fighting the British the United States was caught in the middle and became the target of privateers from both sides a quasi war even developed with France when Congress refused to pay its debt to the new Revolutionary Government for two years American and French forces would joust across the Atlantic this had the effect of forcing the United States to finally take the Navy more seriously in preparation for the action ahead on April 30th 1798 Congress authorized the creation of the Department of the Navy and the office of the Secretary of the Navy at the start of the conflict the US Navy boasted 25 vessels which patrolled the coast and set off to hunt down French privateers in the Caribbean this new force was far superior to the ragtag force of the Continental Navy its ships now carried more firepower with over 40 guns apiece and its crews were far better trained in action this proved decisive by the end of the conflict in 1800 the French had lost two frigates and several dozen privateers at the cost of just one American warship though it should be noted that most of Frances attention in this time was distracted elsewhere next the newly expanded US fleet would be turned to deal with the Barbary war in 1801 the engagement here was one of blockade with peace being settled by 1805 when Marines invaded the shores of Tripoli in these Affairs the Navy had proved its worth but was once again forced to reduce in size for budgetary reasons once victory was achieved however this drawdown would only last a short time due to the outbreak of renewed conflict with the British in the war of 1812 the US Navy at this time had a fleet of just 12 frigates and 14 smaller ships which were once again supplemented by a large body of about 500 privateers the opening stages of the war saw ships like the USS Constitution the USS Wasp and the USS United States best their opponents repeatedly in one-on-one combat however when the main British fleet arrived towards the end of 1812 with 11 ships of the line 34 frigates and 55 smaller craft the balance of power swung decisively towards the Royal Navy the US Navy still managed to pull off some victories such as the Battle of Lake Erie but by-and-large command of the Seas was yielded to the crown after all the Royal Navy was still one of the most powerful forces in the world that had won great battles like Trafalgar just a few years earlier naval superiority allowed the British forces to blockade or raid coastal towns and support the action of the

Royal Army which dealt the Americans several humiliating defeats including the burning of Washington DC ultimately the conflict drew to a close by 1814 when neither side could gain a decisive advantage and grew weary of the rapidly escalating costs as peace was concluded the US Navy would avoid being disbanded as it happened in 1785 and instead took its place as a permanent feature of the American armed forces the following decades would be a time of great expansion for the United States as its territory rapidly spread across the continent this was by no means a bloodless affair as many wars would be fought to defeat the native tribes that stood in the way a war was even fought with Mexico in 1846 to ensure that Texas would be included in the manifest destiny of America during this time the US Navy would be sub to the rising tide of an expanding American military agenda Congress recognized the importance of a long-term naval buildup and allocated funds to build six new seventy-four gunships of war and 1248 gun frigates the largest amongst these the USS Pennsylvania actually boasted 120 guns and would be the largest sailing ship ever to serve in the US Navy however without a war with any major naval power construction on these new vessels was rather slow this all coincided with the advent of new technology coming out of the Industrial Revolution the end was fast approaching for the age of sale and one wondered if the current generation of ships being built wouldnt just be obsolete by the time they hit the water the u.s. naval department recognized this dilemma and was sure to begin experimentation with the latest in steam-powered ships the first of these new vessels would be the demo logos warship that launched in 1814 though slow and unwieldy it served as an important indicator of things to come over the following years methods of propulsion were improved paddle wheels helped provide auxiliary power to the primary sail before eventually being capable of replacing it outright however these outboard wheels were susceptible to enemy fire and thus new screw driven propellers were adopted to move the propulsion system within the body of the ship but the 1840s virtually all new warships were outfitted with some form of this new steam-powered technology but while the scientists and engineers were busy preparing for the future the US fleet had hard work to do in the here-and-now its first priority was to protect Americas expanding maritime commerce anti-pirate campaigns were launched across the Caribbean the West Indies the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico naval squadron sailed up rivers to support army activities against inland Indian tribes and also conducted important blockade and amphibious assault operations during the Mexican War the US Navy yet further expanded its reach by sending expert across the world in the hip new trend that was gunboat diplomacy the most famous amongst these was Admiral Perrys visit to Japan which resulted in the strong-armed opening of the country to foreign trade but while the US Navy could bully less developed nations its fleet was still far smaller and less technologically advanced than the leading powers of the day as we shall see though upcoming war would serve to Alba catalyze the next wave of naval development outward expansion had not come without cost for the United States they were no longer so United especially when it came to the issue of slavery this and many other contributing factors led to the outbreak of civil war in 1860 with the country split there would now be two navies each would have its own strategy for winning the war the Union which controlled most of the industrial and shipping centers sought to leverage its numerically superior fleet to suffocate the south into submission with what was referred to as the Anaconda plan this strategy called for a strict blockade of the enemys ports which was to be followed up by a drive down the Mississippi to split the rebellion in half to this end Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles purchased or leased any ship that would float and armed it for duty his efforts would rapidly increase the size of the US fleet from 90 to 260 ships within the first year of the war with hundreds more to come the Confederacy on the other hand lacked the resources to mount a similar blockade their efforts instead were aimed at blockade running capabilities and creating a small but powerful fleet of advanced ironclads they were not starting completely from scratch since roughly half of the US Navys officer Corps had defected and a trove of Union ships and equipment was captured at Norfolk when it was seized by the Virginia militia blockade running efforts were mostly conducted by fast steamer ships operating out of England and manned by British sailors who had an interest in not only making a profit from the flicked but also finding a way to knock the u.s. down a peg as for the Confederacys goal of a small but powerful fleet this would fall into the hands of the Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stefan Mallory he said about arming and purchasing a fast steamer squadron to assist in blockade busting and to prey on the Union merchant fleet out at sea closer to home Mallory would launch an ironclad program aimed at building ships so tough it would render the enemys vessels useless the basic idea being to load up a steam-powered ship with as much armor as possible to withstand incoming shots while also boasting strong cannons and even ramming capabilities the first ship would be the CSS Virginia which was actually a retrofitted build of the USS Merrimack that had been captured at Norfolk it was a casemate design which basically just means at a giant armored shell with fixed cannon holes in it this is to be contrasted with the USS Monitor which featured a revolving turret that was being rushed through construction once news got out of the Confederates plan opponents completion the monitor sped south to intercept the Virginia which had already taken out three Union frigates blockading Hampton Roads what resulted was a nearly three hour duel between ironclads though neither side could inflict significant damage on one another and ultimately parted ways the brief clash gained worldwide attention and had immediate effects on navies around the world it was clear to all that naval Wars of tomorrow would be won by this new class of warship the battleship had been born for the rest of the Civil War the Union and the Confederacy would compete in the development of iron clads this arms race also involved the development of other naval technologies like torpedoes mines and submarines overall however the south was unable to match the unions investment in resources and manpower by 1865 the Union had taken control of the Mississippi and New Orleans while the blockade had gotten significantly stronger such that the success rate of blockade runners dropped from 90% to less than 30% the Confederacy was slowly succumbing to the anacondas coils but the South would not go down without a fight at sea and on the rivers ironclads played an ever increasing role in naval warfare over the course of the war the Union would field over 50 of these ships while the Confederacy boasted 33 the Battle of Mobile Bay proved just how dominating they could be on the battlefield when it took about a dozen Union warships to take down the mighty CSS Tennessee eventually thanks in part to u.s. naval actions the Confederacy would ultimately be defeated and forced to surrender on April 9th 1865 the Civil War had raised the u.s. Navy – never before seen levels of development at its height in 1865 it had nearly 50 1000 men in uniform almost 700 ships afloat and roughly 60 ironclads altogether this made it the second largest in the world after the Royal Navy however the exorbitant costs could not be maintained and the post-war years saw a huge drawdown in naval strength within a decade the US Navy would only have a fleet of about 50 operational ships crewed by around 6,000 men the deterioration would continue as American priorities turn to other matters by the late 1870s most of the ironclads were laid up in dock yards that were ill-equipped and maintained in world standings the US Navy had dropped to 12th place however foreign danger would once again prompt action in 1873 an uptick in tensions with Spain coupled with the presence of a Spanish ironclad in the New York Harbor freaked out the Navy so much that it ordered the repair of several of its old ironclads while issuing contracts for the construction of five new battleships four of these were the m48 class monitors which should be starting to look quite familiar to us while these would have been impressive bastions of modernity much of the rest of the fleet was still composed of outdated wooden vessels in 1882 the Secretary of the Navy William hunt requested funds for the construction of

ships five new protected cruisers were built along with the very first battleships the USS Texas and the USS Maine with more to follow in the years to come in keeping with the latest in a military thinking they carried armored protection along their sides and around vital equipment while sporting guns with ever-increasing range yet further attention was brought to the Navy with the 1890s release of Alfred Thayer Maines influential book on sea power clearly if the US were to be taken seriously as a world player in the upcoming century it had to be prepared to dominate the waves the truth of this lesson was driven home with the outbreak of the spanish-american war in April of 1898 fighting would largely be fought at sea around the territorial possessions of the Caribbean and the Philippines out west the United States Asiatic squadron under Commodore George Dewey would engage the Spanish Pacific Fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay the Spanish squadron was composed of outdated and inferior ships which were out ranged and outgunned by their American counterparts the result was one of the most decisive naval battles in history where an enemy fleet was crushed at the cost of only one slightly damaged vessel and a single death due to heat stroke u.s. naval power proved similarly decisive in the Caribbean theater and the war was brought to a swift conclusion in just over two months in this new world clearly those who failed to keep up with the technological evolutionary race would not survive coming off the back of its victory in the spanish-american war the United States had lofty Imperial aspirations in the 20th century in this regard President Theodore Roosevelt would lead the charge with his famous motto speak softly but carry a big stick this meant a huge investment in the Navy that would see it jump back up to being the second largest in the world as a way of celebrating Roosevelt would parade the new wait fleet around the world for all to see consisting of 16 battleships and numerous escorts it was a formidable show of power the epic 14 month journey also served as a training exercise for the Navy and taught it much about the logistics behind operating at such a large scale with World War 1 just around the corner this sort of experience would be invaluable however by the time the famed Great White Fleet was done showing off it was already at risk of being rendered obsolete the Royal Navy had just rolled out with its new revolutionary ship the HMS dreadnought what was so important about this ship was that in the past naval designers had always had to find a compromise with regards to speed versus armor and armament battleships were slow but powerful while cruisers were fast but weak the dread-nots managed to combine the two by producing a ship that was both fast and powerful it did so by introducing a brand-new type of steam turbine engine in addition the HMS dreadnought featured uniform main batteries for the first time which were controlled by an advanced fire control system immediately navies around the world raced to retrofit their fleets with the new design whilst engaging in a feverish dreadnought arms race America would start work on its own ships in 1909 called the USS Michigan South Carolina Delaware and North Dakota but it wasnt just on this front that the Navy would have to play catch-up the battle at sea now expanded to include the space above and below the waves in 1903 the Wright brothers had flown the worlds first plane by 1910 the US would be experimenting with launching biplanes from its ship decks and in 1911 awarded its first contract for receiving aircraft meanwhile underwater submarines were also being deployed the US Navy acquired its first modern one with the commissioning of the USS Holland in 1900 its descendants would become the plunger class sub five of which formed the first u.s. submarine fleet more would be produced but it would be the German u-boat that really led the pack in submarine technology the first world war broke out in 1914 but the United States under President Woodrow Wilson remained neutral with the general policy of appeasement however as Germanys submarine warfare took a greater and greater toll at sea including killing 128 Americans with the sinking of the Lusitania Wilson began to seriously plan for war the following year Congress passed the naval Act of 1916 which was to fund the construction of ten battleships six battle cruisers thirty submarines fifty destroyers and other support craft this would do much to catch up to the other major powers of the day which had just fought the massive naval Battle of Jutland however when the u.s. finally entered the war in 1917 it would not go on to partake in any pitched battles at sea rather the US Navy mostly focused on safely moving troops and material through u-boat infested waters the production of battleships thus quickly gave way to the mass production of two hundred and seventy-three destroyers and four hundred submarine chasers for convoy protection and u-boat suppression activities the new Navy Air Corps also got it in on the action when it came to flying reconnaissance and hunting submarines when the First World War ended on November 11th 1918 the US Navys sixth battle squadron would join the Royal Navy as it watched the German fleet sail across the North Sea to formally surrender many of the ships in attendance on both sides would soon be decommissioned as the post-war years saw nations reduce their military budgets and the international community attempted to impose arms limitations the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 in particular prescribed a specific ratio of capital ships between treaty nations as a testament to how far the United States Navy had come it was recognized as co-equal to the Royal Navy with an allowance for up to five hundred twenty-five thousand tons of capital ships and 135 thousand tons of the emerging aircraft carrier type but only a couple decades would pass before the world erupted and to another globe conflict for the United States Navy this was a scenario that was the constant source of discussion and war plans would be developed to handle this eventually one of these the famous war plan orange looked across the Pacific towards a showdown with Japan which had in recent years been building itself up as a regional powerhouse to be reckoned with the Great Depression risked deteriorating the Navys preparedness but President Roosevelt an old Navy man earmarked 238 million dollars from the National Industrial Recovery Act to build 32 new ships included in this count were two new aircraft carriers the USS Yorktown and the enterprise these would join the four carriers already in the US fleet as a growing recognition of the importance of air dominance in naval combat in the ensuing years leading up to World War two the US would build two more carriers six battleships three heavy cruisers, 13 light cruisers 83 destroyers and 38 submarines when world war ii broke out in Europe the United States was once again faced with the dilemma of whether or not to become involved but as Axis forces overran Western Europe and threatened eastern asia the u.s. was forced to consider the very real possibility that it would soon face a two-front war in response Congress passed the – ocean Navy bill in 1940 which pledged two billion dollars to double the size of the combat fleet by adding 257 ships and 15,000 naval aircraft the vast industrial capabilities of the United States now begin to turn official US involvement in the war would be kicked off upon the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 which triggered declarations of war with Japan and Germany in these matters u.s. naval efforts would first be directed towards Japan initially the Imperial Japanese Navy began with a stronger force in the Pacific but by the end of the war would be absolutely dwarfed by the immense numbers of ships pouring out of American factories and dock yards to illustrate this point Ill refer you to a fantastic video produced by military history last suffice to say the Second World War was a truly transformative time for the u.s. Navy which propelled it to becoming the strongest in the world many new technological and doctrinal advancements would take place that were further developed over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries for now this is where we will conclude our video on the cusp of the final great leap of the US Navy but so far I hope weve been able to shed light on the many steps which led up to this critical moment in history stay tuned for more exciting content on this front and again a special thanks to all of our sponsors our researchers our writers and our editors if you like this video be sure to LIKE and subscribe for more content and check out the rest of our videos on the channel thanks for watching

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