United States Navy, 1945
The United States Navy of 1945 emerged victorious from a two-ocean war, fighting two very different campaigns in each. In the Pacific, Japanese gains from the Philippines to the Solomons had to be reversed, while in the Atlantic the Navy was responsible for mitigating the U-boat threat and conducting invasions of North Africa, Italy, and France.
After Pearl Harbor, the American shipbuilding industry surged to replace losses and prepare for war. The U.S. Navy successfully managed growing from 790 ships in December 1941 to 6,768 ships by August 1945. The Navy went from 17 battleships, 7 fleet carriers, 171 destroyers and 112 submarines to 23 battleships, 28 fleet carriers, 377 destroyers, and 232 submarines.
A further 71 escort or “jeep” carriers and 2,547 amphibious ships further supported the war at sea. The U.S. Navy even had a land component, six Marine divisions and five Marine air wings that fought from Guadalcanal to Okinawa.
The resulting naval might meant the U.S. Navy never lost a battle after 1942. An ever-dwindling Imperial Japanese Navy was inexorably pushed farther and farther eastward, until the Japanese surrender in August 1945. At that time, the U.S. Navy was easily the most powerful navy in the world.
Kyle Mizokami is a writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch.
Image: Flickr/Official U.S. Navy