The end of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe left the Royal Navy the largest, most powerful navy in the world.
Founded in the 17th century, with precursors dating back to the Middle Ages, the French Navy is one of the oldest navies still in continual service. It has taken part in key events in French history, and played a critical role in establishing and securing the French colonial empire for over 400 years.
By the end of August 1914, 14 battleships, 6 armoured cruisers, destroyers and submarines were based at Malta and patrolling the southern Adriatic Sea to prevent any attack by the Austrian Fleet. They also shelled Cattaro and Lissa.
|August 1914 Strength||83|
From the middle decades of the 17th century, and through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and later with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century, it was the world’s most powerful navy until the Second World War.
United States Navy was founded on 27 March 1794 and has its recognition as the strongest and most powerful navy in the world.
How strong is France military?
It has the largest armed forces in size in the European Union. According to Credit Suisse, the French Armed Forces are ranked as the world’s sixth-most powerful military.
By the outbreak of the Second World War the French Navy was a strong force. Between 1926 and 1939 two battlecruisers, seven heavy cruisers and 12 light cruisers had been built. Their large battleships were either new or had recently been modernized. It also had 71 destroyers and 76 submarines.
Before the Nine Years’ War, in the Franco-Dutch War, the French Navy managed to score a decisive victory over a combined Spanish-Dutch fleet at the Battle of Palermo (1676). During the War of the Grand Alliance, Admiral Tourville won a significant victory in the Battle of Beachy Head (1690, Bataille de Bévezier).
French Navy (Marine nationale)
The Royal Navy is made up of 32,450 regular, trained personnel (including Royal Marines); compared with the French Navy’s 35,000. :: Combat and Support Ships – 69 French (excluding training vessels and tugs) vs 73 British. :: Nuclear-capable ballistic missile submarines – 4 each.
In 1940, the French fleet was the fourth largest naval force in the world after Britain, the United States and Japan. Its strength included seven battleships, 19 cruisers, 71 destroyers and 76 submarines.
Although there was no decisive battle, the Royal Navy and the Kaiserliche Marine fought many small engagements: the Battle of Heligoland Bight, the Battle of Coronel, the Battle of the Falkland Islands, and the Battle of Dogger Bank. The one great confrontation came in 1916 with the Battle of Jutland.
Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941
The start of the war saw Japan with ten aircraft carriers, with 1,500 of the best carrier pilots in the world. It had twelve battleships, including the powerful Nagato class, and many modern cruisers, destroyers and submarines.
At the beginning of World War II, the Royal Navy was the strongest navy in the world, with the largest number of warships built and with naval bases across the globe. It had over 15 battleships and battlecruisers, 7 aircraft carriers, 66 cruisers, 164 destroyers and 66 submarines.