Navy

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A navy (sometimes called a maritime force) is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval warfare and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It includes anything conducted by surface ships, amphibious ships, submarines, and seaborne aviation, as well as ancillary support, communications, training, and other fields; recent developments have included space related operations. The strategic offensive role of a navy is projection of force into areas beyond a country's shores (for example, to protect sea-lanes, ferry troops, or attack other navies, ports, or shore installations). The strategic defensive purpose of a navy is to frustrate seaborne projection-of-force by enemies. The strategic task of the navy also may incorporate nuclear deterrence by use of nuclear missiles.

Contents

Etymology

First attested in English c.1600, the word "navy" came via Old French navie, "fleet of ships", from the Latin navigium, "a vessel, a ship, bark, boat",[1] from navis, "ship".[2] The word "naval" came from Latin navalis, "pertaining to ship";[3] cf. Greek "ναῦς" (naus), "ship",[4] "ναύτης" (nautes), "seaman, sailor".[5]

History

Naval warfare developed when humans first fought from water-borne vessels. Prior to the introduction of the cannon and ships with sufficient capacity to carry the large guns, navy warfare primarily involved ramming and boarding actions. In the time of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, naval warfare centered on long, narrow vessels powered by banks of oarsmen (such as triremes and quinqueremes) designed to ram and sink enemy vessels or come alongside the enemy vessel so its occupants could be attacked hand-to-hand. Naval warfare continued in this vein through the Middle Ages until the cannon became commonplace and capable of being reloaded quickly enough to be reused in the same battle. The Chola Dynasty of medieval India was known as a one of the greatest naval powers of its time in the Indian Ocean. In ancient China, large naval battles were known since the Qin Dynasty (also see Battle of Red Cliffs, 208), employing the war junk during the Han Dynasty. However, China's first official standing navy was not established until the Southern Song Dynasty in the 12th century, a time when gunpowder was a revolutionary new application to warfare.

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