Key point: While theoretically possible to modernize and automate them, no serious study has been performed in how to adopt them to modern warfare.
The Second World War marked the end of the Age of Battleships. Aircraft carriers, with their flexible, long range striking power made battlewagons obsolete in a matter of months. American battleships, once expected to fight a decisive battle in the Pacific that would halt the Japanese Empire, were instead relegated to providing artillery support for island-hopping campaigns. Yet after the war America’s battleships would return, again and again, to do the one thing only battleships could do: bring the biggest guns around to bear on the enemy.
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The U.S. Navy ended World War II with twenty-three battleships of all types. By 1947, the Navy had shrunk to peacetime levels that preserved half of the number of wartime aircraft carriers but cut the number of battleships on active duty to just four. Of the four remaining ships, all were members of the latest—and last—run of battleships, the Iowa class: Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri and Wisconsin. By the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, only one battleship, Missouri, remained on active duty.