Whats the most decisive naval battle or incident in history?

Mark Conley

Active member
Im so glad all you cadets and Regulars of the Navy are on the forum now...lets have some real navy knowledge come through!

The topic is the most decisive naval battle or incident in history. I do mean incident, because there has been events at sea that have moved whole nations to react,,some great...some imfamous.

Post the event and why you believe its the most significant...anyone can just throw a name out there!

To start this off...I say the most significant incident was the Somers Mutiny. The reason it was significant was it was the main reason that the US Naval Academy was started in the US.

view the ships history here:


view the story of the mutiny here:


The gaunlets been cast: good luck! :D
Trafalgar. It ended Napoleans hopes of conquering Britain and dominating Europe.

I can't recall the battle, but another important one would be where Roman fleet defeated the Carthaginian fleet. It gave Rome the descive edge in the Punic Wars.
The Battle of Midway was one of the largest land, sea, and air battles of all time. An awesome victory for the USMC that should not be forgotten.
Yeah I would definitely go along with the sea battle of Trafalgar. Stopped Napolean from conquering England and main sea just as Scondren said. I would not say the battle b/w the Merrimack and the Monitor (Virginia) is as significant because if I remember correctly, neither of them was sunk.. They just kept blasting at each other with cannons that could not pierce the sides.
I would have to say Trafalgar...although it wasn't much of a challenge for the Brits, Napoleon sucked at naval planning. A Midshipman 4th class could have beaten him.

Damn shame that sharpshooter took out Lord Nelson though...he would have been a very powerful man. :rambo:
well me not having sea legs and not being extremely knowledgeable about past naval battles, wouldnt the American attack in Santiago during the Spanish American war be one of the tops? 1800 Spanish dead and 1 American death and 1 American wounded with all Spanish beached, burning, or sunk? 2 weeks later the war was over due to the Santiago defenders surrendering.
santiago..yep gave the US cuba and the phillipines...almost sank spain as a world power...yep!

Good work soldier! :D
The defeat of the Armada. It prevented -another time- an invassion of England from the Spanish Netherlands, and the poorly equiped English militia would have been crushed if the Tercios achieved to cross the channel.

There's a very interesting novel, called 'Ruled Britannia', that begins with that premise.
Santaigo wasn't the most influentual naval engagement... it would have to be Midway or the Armada

Mod Edit: Well thats his opinion, and he's intitled to it. remember, be nice: Its a discussion, not an absolute. :D
the defeat of the Spanish Armada - it created England as the great naval power it was ever since till the WW2. The British Empire as we know it couldn't be there if england hadn't beaten the spanish fleet in first place.
airmanpatroler said:
battle of monitor and merrimack

That battle itself was a draw, do you mean because it started the age of the Ironclads as opposed to the wood hauled whips?
I don't know much about naval battles,let alone ancient ones, but I would say the battle between Persia and athens. (pelloponesian war?) Athens stopped the persian invasion fleet in a stunning victory, greatly helping the Greeks to stay afloat (excuse the pun). Had they lost, and persia invaded greece with her however many thousands of ships, Greece would be lost, and ancient, and possibly modern history, would be completely different.
I agree with Sapper, the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English Navy was perhaps the most significent Naval Battle ever fought. It has not only changed the history of England but also the world. If the Spanish had invaded and conquered England, the British Empire would never have been created. English colonionists may not have inhabited North America and so the Western World would be speaking Spanish not English. The whole course of history would have changed. A slightly different and perhaps not as influential a situation would have occurred if England had lost Trafalgar. Two key Naval Battles in World History.
Though of course we should remember the sacrifices made by Sailors throughout history such as at Jutland and Midway, I believe it was the defeat of the Spanish Armada and Nelson's victory at Trafalgar, which has changed the course of history for ever.
I still don't know why the French had a large, heavy Iron chain tying their ships together at Trafalgar, can anyone explain to me why they did that? All it really did was allow the English to our maneuver them and use it to bog down the French Fleet. And when you think about it, that was the only battle Napoleon lost before he invaded Russia, but it was the most important one, it made the Continential system impossible to enforce.
well about that chain:

one of the tatics when ships met in massed battles was to form lines of the ships, and then try to break a line at the point where the guns of one fleet would be broadside to the enemy, while the enemy would at most only be able to bring their stern or bow weapons to bear at the ships that cut the line. The chain was to prevent this action. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. at trafalagar, it didn't.