Naval battle



A naval battle is a battle fought using ships or other waterborne vessels. Most naval battles have occurred at sea, but a few have taken place on lakes or rivers.

The French battleship Orient burns, 1 August 1798, during the Battle of the Nile

Although the nature of the ships involved has changed drastically, from triremes to sailing ships to battleships and aircraft carriers, many of the tactical principles remain the same, such as the importance of maneuver before the engagement proper, and the desirability of breaking off combat rather than risking the complete loss of a fleet.

Unlike land combat, naval battles tend to be brief affairs, in some cases lasting less than an hour, as with some of the famous duels between two ships. What constitutes as the largest naval battle of all time is a somewhat controversial issue. See Largest Naval Battle in History for discussion.

See also: Naval history, List of naval battles