Naval Encyclopedia

ww2 USN Aviation

Grumman F2F (1933)

ww2 US Navy

Landing Craft Infantry (1942)

ww2 US Navy

Benham class Destroyers (1938)

Coldwar Soviet Ships

Kara class cruisers (1969)

ww1 US Navy

Wickes class destroyers (1917)

WW1 Royal Navy

26-Knotters

cold war us navy

Cold War USN Aircraft Carriers

ww2 French Navy

Commandant Teste (1929)



Naval Encyclopedia is an online warship museum, dedicated to the history of all ships of the industrial era, roughly since 1820 to this day. It is focusing on the 20th century through until the end of the cold war. It covers also the classical antiquity, medieval, renaissance and enlightenment eras as well as naval engineering and technology. It covers also history through battles and campaigns, with tactic and strategic overview.
warships ww1

⚒ Tech

Naval-related technology, and associated tactics & statistics
Naval Tech

naval battles from the XIX to WW1, WW2 and cold war sea fights

⚔ Battles

Full history of naval battles, strategies, tactics, fleets and ships
Naval Battles

merchandisiding, plans, photos, illustrations

☘ Medias

Photos, blueprints and dedicated illustrations, also some merchandising to support this site !
All Posters

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About Naval Encyclopedia

Naval Encyclopedia is the first online warship museum (1997), with 2,600+ pages for now, and counting. Dedicated to the history of all ships of the industrial era and 20th century, so 1820 to 1990, but also earlier times. The main difference for this early period is to study ships types through some famous examples. The latter is a work in progress since more than twenty years. This current version is #5. After its last refit in the summer 2022, the present website is:

  • ☑ SNAPPIER: Better server
  • ☑ SECURE: Back to a safer wordpress version
  • ☑ PRETTIER: It’s a matter of subjectivity
  • ☑ MORE FEATURES: Forum in the way…
  • ☑ BETTER MENUS: Reworked and customized.
  • ☑ INTERACTIVE: Comments are Back
  • ☑ TEAM FRIENDLY: Back Office is Back

About Naval History

Naval History is indeed very ancient, warships constantly evolving, just as tactics adapting to existing sources of power:

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Wind and human power first, and from the 19th century, steam power (fossil fuels based, also a crucial fact in naval calculations, explaining a part of geopolitics in the XXth cent.), up to the dominance of nuclear energy for the most valuable assets.

Relations between the Civilian & Military at Sea:
There has been path of divergence and convergence also between civilian ships and their navy counterparts, like the  amous Galleons of the 16-17th century that blended the role of cargo and warship. This survived well into the 20th century on civilian ships, first as a precaution (like fake ports) then as a tradition on mixed and tall ships. In fact relations always had been blurry.

Nowadays the most complex hand-built moving crafts ever designed by mankind, arguably, are nuclear submarines. Specialization and optimization helped global trade in the last XXth century, and especially the XXIth one frequently called “globalized”, based on the consumer society.

The challenges world’s fleets are facing are huge, traducing like always the shifting weight of nations in geopolitics, in ever growing tensions born from dwindling resources. So, Naval Encyclopedia is about ships, mostly military, because what does kaboom seems to draw more interest… Than the “invisible” container ship and their anonymous boxes going A to B.

And the “kaboom” subject is quite large to cover already as it goes so far back in time. There are also many suggestions that the lines between civilian and military ships were blurred most of the time as said above. It was still true in 1982 when the Royal Navy going to the Falklands requisitioned passengers ships and ferries to supplement their troopship delivery.

In fact, modern experts do the maths for a possible invasion of Taiwan and count also all passengers ships and ferries that could be requsitioned by the PLAN. And in WW2, countless civilian vessels were armed and thrown into action, from huge liners converted to fast troophips, to armed merchant cruisers, merchant raiders, and converted vessels, notably to aircraft carriers but so many other types. And this goes straight down to the small armed trawlers.

What to find here and long term objectives

the main goal is cover at least each class of ship that was ever recorded, and each and every type, category model or variant. By “type” it could be a simple administrative denomination, but here we mostly designates a “generic” type, for example a battleship, aircraft carrier, cruiser (many sub-types), destroyer and submarine for the recent past, and corvettes, frigates, gunboats, torpedo boat, and many others, including old sailing terms.

The panel of eras covers nowadays, with the limit of the end of the cold war, but many ships planned and designed in 1990-91 are treated too, down to the bronze age, with little we have to figure out these early types. For the XXth, the goal is to not only have all classes covered, but the ship’s histories and careers too. For large vessels, cruisers, capital ships and aircraft carriers this is possible on the medium term, but to detail the individual classes of destroyers, submarines, minesweepers and the like, it is planned from 2023 onwards.

It is even dubious that very small patrol vessels would be also covered individually, because in part of lackof interest, logs and details, and time to collect these informations. Treatment in that case would be merely statistic. How many were sunk, completed at that date, equipped that way, modified this way, etc.

So in short, we will discuss classes mostly from the XIXth century onwards, and “types” before that, and “classes” for convenience when the individual ships for example had a similar displacement and were ordered based on the same number of guns or caracteristics. The more we go into the past, the more we only find “types”.

Other Sites of the Portal

TANK Encyclopedia is since 2011 the reference for tanks nerds with more than 1500 pages, 8,000,000 visitors and counting. It’s not only about famous tanks but down also to the most obscure armoured car or prototype.
Truck Encyclopedia is Tank Encyclopedia’s independent section on military trucks and staff cars from WWI to this day, from all countries and specialities, like AA vehicles and Transporter Erector Launchers.
plane encyclopedia
Plane Encyclopedia is the main aviation center of the portal, with many prototypes and land-based models as well as helicopters. (In complement to the naval aviation section of this site !)