What Is the History of The Royal Navy?

The Royal Navy is the naval branch of the British armed forces. Its primary responsibilities include ensuring national security at sea, preventing attacks on commerce lanes, and adhering to international military treaties.

The oldest of the military forces that the United Kingdom has today is the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. It was the greatest and most powerful fleet in the world from the early 18th century to the middle of the 20th century, helping to create the British Empire as the dominating force of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. This lasted from the early 18th century to the middle of the 20th century. During the time of the Cold War, it was changed into an anti-submarine force with the primary mission of hunting down Soviet submarines, with the majority of its operations taking place in the North Atlantic Ocean. As a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the mission of this country in the 21st century will once again center on blue sea and other global expeditionary operations.

In terms of total tonnage, the Royal Navy ranks second in the world. The Royal Navy now has 90 commissioned ships, including aircraft carriers, submarines, mine countermeasures and patrol boats, as well as ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

History of the Royal Navy

Prior to AD 9th century, the Royal Navy had a long history. However, with King Charles II’s restoration to the throne in 1660, the current Royal Navy was established as the country’s national maritime force. After the Union of England and Scotland in 1707, which combined the considerably larger Royal English Navy with the much smaller Royal Scottish Navy, it became the naval force of the Kingdom of Great Britain. However, the two had been working together since the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

As a fleet of “King’s ships” collected and dispersed throughout the Middle Ages, the English Navy began to take shape as an established navy in 16th-century England and became a permanent institution during the tumultuous years of the 17th century. It was during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, that the art of naval warfare reached its pinnacle of development during the worldwide battle against France that began in 1690 and culminated in that conflict.

First Reformation of The Navy Royal

During Henry VII’s tenure in the 16th century, an import fee was used to pay the Navy Royal’s initial reforms, renaming it the Royal Navy. The Tower of London served as a home port for his ships. Thirty ships, including the Henri Grâce a Dieu (“Great Harry”) of 1500 tons and Mary Rose of 600 tons, were built by Henry VIII as part of a substantial expansion of the fleet. There were 27 new ships constructed with money raised from the selling of monasteries and forts and blockhouses after 1525 because of the rupture with Catholicism. One hundred and forty-four years ago, Boulogne was taken over. In 1545, the French fleet assaulted the Isle of Wight, but were repulsed at the Battle of the Solent, where the Mary Rose sank before they could complete their mission.

World War I

World War I

In 1914, the Royal Navy was by far the world’s strongest navy. The Royal Navy’s main jobs were to protect colonies and trade routes, defend coastlines, and put blockades on powers that were trying to hurt Britain. The British government thought that for the Royal Navy to do all of this, it needed a battlefleet that was bigger than the next two biggest navies in the world put together.

By the beginning of 1914, the Royal Navy had 18 modern dreadnoughts (6 more were being built), 10 battlecruisers, 20 town cruisers, 15 scout cruisers, 200 destroyers, 29 pre-dreadnought battleships, and 150 cruisers built before 1907.

After the First World War started, most of the Royal Navy’s big ships were stationed at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys or Rosyth in Scotland, ready to stop any large-scale German attempt to escape. Around the British coast were cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and light forces.

World War II

The Royal Fleet was the world’s most powerful navy at the start of World War II, with the biggest number of vessels produced and naval bases all over the world. More than 15 battleships and battlecruisers, seven aircraft carriers, 66 cruisers, 164 destroyers, and 66 submarines were part of this fleet. It had a huge merchant fleet, which accounted for nearly a third of the world’s total. Throughout the war, the Royal Navy fought on every front, from the Atlantic to Russia and the Pacific.

Following the conclusion of the Second World War, a decrease in the size and capabilities of the Royal Navy was necessary due to the waning of the British Empire and the difficult economic climate in Britain.

Post-Cold War

A progressive drop in Royal Navy fleet size started to take place after the end of the Cold War as the strategic environment in which it operated altered. Destroyers such as the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and the Astute-class submarines have all been put into service while the overall number of ships and submarines in service has gradually decreased. 

Cold War

Cold War

After World War II, the Royal Navy’s importance diminished as the United States grew in strength and the British Empire diminished. It was only with the Soviet Union’s rise to power and Britain’s global commitment that the Navy’s role changed. The Royal Navy got its first nuclear weapons in the 1960s and was subsequently responsible for maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrence. The Royal Navy was reorganized with three anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft carriers and a fleet of small frigates and destroyers in the latter phases of the Cold War. A Soviet submarine hunt and destruction mission in the North Atlantic was the mission’s stated goal.

The Surface Fleet

  • Aircraft carriers. There are two aircraft carriers of the Queen Elizabeth class in the Royal Navy’s fleet. Each carrier costs £3 billion and can transport 65,000 tonnes (64,000 long tons; 72,000 short tons)
  • Amphibious Warfare. Two landing platform docks are currently in use aboard amphibious assault ships (HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark). Even though their main function is amphibious combat, they have also been used in humanitarian assistance operations.
  • Escort Fleet. The main workhorse of the Navy, the escort fleet is made up of guided missile destroyers and frigates.
  • Mine Countermeasure Vessels. Royal Navy mine countermeasures boats are divided into two groups: five Sandown-class minehunters and six Hunt-class mine-hunting vessels. Hunt-class minesweepers combine the regular minesweeper’s duties with that of an active minehunter. The Sandown and Hunt-class ships may be used as offshore patrol boats if necessary.
  • Offshore Patrol Vessels. When the HMS Clyde was decommissioned in December 2019, the Batch 2 HMS Forth took up the Falkland Islands patrol ship duties.
  • Ocean Survey Ships. The nation’s responsibility to fulfill its mission to give assistance to the British Antarctic Survey is carried out by the HMS Protector, a specialized Antarctic patrol ship (BAS).
  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary. One Fleet Solid Support Ship, six Fleet Tankers (of which two are retained in reserve), and one aviation training and casualty receiving vessel that is scheduled to be converted into a Littoral Strike Ship make up the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
  • Submarine Service. The Royal Navy’s Submarine Service is the Navy’s submarine-based component. Submarines are sometimes referred to as the “Silent Service” because of the need that they operate quietly.

Today’s Royal Navy

At the start of the 1990s, the Royal Navy was a Cold War-era force that focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) in blue water. Its goal was to find and destroy Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic, and it was backed up by a force of nuclear-powered submarines. But the Falklands War showed that the Royal Navy needed to get back to being able to go on expeditions and patrol the coast, which would be hard with the resources and structure it had at the time. With the end of the Cold War, the UK government has been developing its foreign policy. This has been shown by a number of operations around the world that have needed an aircraft carrier. These include the Adriatic, Peace Support Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, Sierra Leone, and the Persian Gulf. Pirates have also been stopped with destroyers and frigates in the Malacca Straits and the Horn of Africa. So, during the 1990s, the navy started a series of projects to update the fleet. The goal was to bring its abilities into the 21st century and make it possible for it to change from an anti-submarine force based in the North Atlantic to an expeditionary force.