Most Revolutionary Naval Vessel of the 20th Century

The most revolutionary ship of the 20th century was, ahem, the Potemkin.

Well played sir, well played.

That would be the aforementioned USS Nautilus.

Yes- I think you win for the celverest answer (although the Potemkin was laid down in 1898 :slight_smile: ).

Thanks for all the answers folks and I accept what Cal meachem and RNATB have said- the vessels can be rvolutionary without being influential. I could have made it clearer but it has allowed a lot of diverse answers.

Originally Posted by Captain Lance Murdoch View Post
The most revolutionary ship of the 20th century was, ahem, the Potemkin.
Yes- I think you win for the celverest answer (although the Potemkin was laid down in 1898 ).
Ha! Boo-yah! See? You don’t know jack!

Seriously, fellow dopers, where else can you have an intellectual discussion that keeps you honest and makes you fact check and be as tight as here? I love this place.

I am still laughing at the reply and the cleverness. If only I could tighten my questions to exclude such wit- but then that is half the fun :smiley:

I think I would go a bit more pedestrian on this question and would venture to say that RO/RO’s would probably count in terms of moving the boots to the battlefield.

If not them, then I would think the Virginia/Merrimack and the monitor would have started the ball rolling. HMS warrior looked like it was evolutionary, so even if it was technically the first ironclad, for the nitpickers :slight_smile:


But Declan- weren’t the Merrimac etc from the previous century?

If thats the case then fair point, perhaps instead of the twentieth century we could have put a more specific date such as ww1, or more specifically 1900. The civil war vessels are 35 years or so from the technical start of the twentieth, but I can probably see people making a case that the twentieth would have started in the 1850s and ending in the 1950’s while the 21st would start with atomic powered vessels.


IMHO the Nautilus wins not so much because of its technical differences but because of the completely changed strategic options it offered.

The Dreadnought was essentially a tactical improvement – better at slugging it out at the point of encounter, but reaching that point not much faster, and still tied to coaling stations that sharply limited radius of action (curiously, Nelson’s sailing ships had been much less restricted in cruising range).

Nautilus was lmited in her radius of action and station-keeping more by the human element than the technology. Faster than any surface ship, with unlimited range, freed from the disabling weaknesses of earlier submarines, able to maneuver in 3 dimensions. Soon, married to ship-killing cruise missiles and even ballistic nuclear missiles, these ships offered a commander an awesome range of options in dealing with enemies, from stealthy info-gathering right up to ending the world.


No. We use other terms like “Atomic Age” and “Space Age” to describe the “periods of time” related to those kinds of advances. Anybody who seriously proposed that the Twentieth Century started in the 1850s would be in some serious need of education about how we measure time.

And yet for the purposes of the op, every ship commisioned after 1900 until 1950 was evolutionary in nature based on the genisis of the monitor/merrimack.

Steam or coal/oil power plants, explosive shells, armor plating, enclosed turrets did not change much till the 50’s with atomic power plants, missle systems being designed in , instead of bolted on.

Submarine’s did not become independent of the surface until the atom age.

Carrriers on the other hand are what I would go with if, for no other reason than it was a ship that would never have been thought of, had the airplane not existed.