A navy is part of a country’s military force

June 13, 2011 1:04 pm
Have you ever wanted to look out over the ocean from the deck of an enormous ship? Or maybe you’ve dreamed of traveling in a submarine deep beneath the water. Sailors in a navy do these things every day.
A navy is part of a country’s military force. Navies are military forces on, under, and over the sea. They are made up of ships, submarines, airplanes, and sailors. Navies protect their country’s ships and shores. In war, navies attack enemy coasts and ships.
Navies have been around for a long time. Ancient countries such as Egypt, Phoenicia, Greece, and Rome fought naval battles in the Mediterranean Sea. Naval ships of the ancient world, called galleys, had sails that caught the wind in order to sail. They also had men rowing with oars. In battle, ships tried to ram one another. Archers fired arrows into enemy ships. Soldiers on board swarmed onto enemy vessels to fight.
By the 15th century, wooden ships had grown larger. New instruments such as compasses helped sailors navigate, or guide, their ships. Ships began to carry cannons to shoot at other ships.
The Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s again transformed naval ships. Steam engines replaced sails and allowed ships to go faster. Ships began to be made from iron, and later steel, instead of wood. Guns capable of shooting longer distances replaced cannons. New inventions like torpedoes and submarines carried warfare beneath the sea.
During World War II (1939-1945) aircraft carriers became the main naval weapon. These huge ships carried planes that swooshed off the decks and bombed enemy ships. Hidden submarines played a large role in sinking trade and warships. Radar helped find enemy ships and planes.
Today, some submarines and large navy ships are powered by nuclear energy. Submarines use nuclear power so they don’t have to carry a lot of fuel and can stay underwater longer. Big ships such as aircraft carriers use nuclear power so they can go faster and travel greater distances without refueling. Modern ships also use very accurate missiles. Computers tell the sailors exactly where the ship is and warn them when other ships and planes are nearby.
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