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Meaning of Dreadnught


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  • a battleship in which most of the firepower is concentrated in large guns that are of the same caliber. Before completion of the British battleship Dreadnought in 1906, battleships had two or four guns of the largest caliber, usually 11 inches or greater, and a large array of smaller, quick-firing guns. This pre-Dreadnought approach made accurate long-range naval gunnery much more difficult, because the different guns had different ballistic characteristics. The Dreadnought type's standardization of the main battery made accurate long-range fire much easier. Also, shells from the heavier guns were more likely to penetrate the target ship's armor. Whether or not to go to an all big-gun ship was hotly debated among naval experts until Japanese battleships soundly defeated a Russian fleet in the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, mainly by relatively long-range gunnery with the largest caliber guns.
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia



Dread"nought` (?), n. 1. A British battleship, completed in 1906 -- 1907, having an armament consisting of ten 12-inch guns, and of twenty-four 12-pound quick-fire guns for protection against torpedo boats. This was the first battleship of the type characterized by a main armament of big guns all of the same caliber. She has a displacement of 17,900 tons at load draft, and a speed of 21 knots per hour.

2. Any battleship having its main armament entirely of big guns all of one caliber. Since the Dreadnought was built, the caliber of the heaviest guns has increased from 12 in. to 13½ in., 14 in., and 15 in., and the displacement of the largest batteships from 18,000 tons to 30,000 tons and upwards. The term superdreadnought is popularly applied to battleships with such increased displacement and gun caliber.

Dread"nought` (?), n. 1. A British battleship, completed in 1906 -- 1907, having an armament consisting of ten 12-inch guns, and of twenty-four 12-pound quick-fire guns for protection against torpedo boats. This was the first battleship of the type characterized by a main armament of big guns all of the same caliber. She has a displacement of 17,900 tons at load draft, and a speed of 21 knots per hour.

2. Any battleship having its main armament entirely of big guns all of one caliber. Since the Dreadnought was built, the caliber of the heaviest guns has increased from 12 in. to 13½ in., 14 in., and 15 in., and the displacement of the largest batteships from 18,000 tons to 30,000 tons and upwards. The term superdreadnought is popularly applied to battleships with such increased displacement and gun caliber.

- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)



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