For millennia, naval battles have been some of the most important military conflicts. Controlling the seas gives the victors control of major ports and shipping routes, and the ability to encircle their opponents.
With such key strategic importance, military commanders throughout time have committed huge numbers of ships and troops to key naval battles. These conflicts are some of the most significant events in the history of war, turning the tide of some of the largest wars in human history.
To identify the largest naval battles in history, 24/7 Tempo used a variety of resources such as History and Encyclopedia Britannica to compile a list of naval military engagements that had the greatest number of participants and casualties as well as significant importance to world history.
Though many of these naval battles took place during the 20th century amid the World Wars, others happened centuries earlier. These ancient naval battles often shaped the course of world history, determining which empires rose and fell. Often, the casualty reports or troop counts for these battles may have been either exaggerated by the victors or lost to time.
Naval warfare can be especially tricky, as ships can be vulnerable to attacks from planes, submarines, land-based artillery, and other ships. One strike in the wrong place can sink an entire ship, jeopardizing the lives of the entire crew, and potentially pushing casualties into the thousands. These are the deadliest battles in U.S. history.
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