Military
346 voters

The Coolest (Military) Surface Ships Ever

Updated November 6, 2017 2.2k votes 346 voters 5.8k views20 items

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who get the appeal of floating fortresses, bristling with guns and missiles and all manner of things awesome - and those who drive Priuses. There is no middle ground. And if there were, most of the ships on this list would turn it into a giant, smoking crater.

Yes, there's definitely something about a big military ship that takes us back to the most primal part of ourselves. There's a bit of romance to that part; maybe a bit of the old idealist, who appreciates the aesthetic appeal of naval warfare. Maybe it's the risk-taker, the gambler who understands that all that lay between sailor and sea is one well-placed shot to the stern.  Maybe it's just the fact that big guns are cool, and ships carry the biggest guns of them all. 

But no matter what the appeal, you would have to be of a pretty small group not to find something to love about these cool military surface ships. And if you're one of those people, please park your Prius on the beach...we're working up a firing solution... Vote up the coolest military surface ships below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section!
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    U.S.S. Monitor (Ironclad)

    Photo: flickr / CC0
    Calling the Monitor "revolutionary" is the biggest understatement of all time. When this steam-powered "ironclad" joined the Union Nazy in 1861, it was as though aliens had landed in the middle of Virginia. Maybe the public appearance of the F-117 or SR-71 Blackbird would compare, but probably not. While the Monitor was the first ironclad steamship to hit the waves, it was actually built in response to spy reports that the Confederates had already begun building their own ironclads. Namely, the Virginia. The duel between the Monitor and Virginia at Hampton Roads is still the stuff of legends,. 
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  • 2

    C.S.S. Virginia, aka "Merrimack" (Ironclad)

    Photo: flickr / CC0

    The Virginia was actually the first irnonclad ship to be designed, and was created specifically to break the Union fleet's blockade of the vital Hampton Roads. You'll often hear the Virginia referred to by its previous name, "Merrimack." The Merrimack was a sailing frigate burned and sunk at its dock in 1855. The Confederate navy raised the hull of the Merrimack, and converted it into the steam-powered, slope-sided Virginia.

    Like an avenging wraith, the reborn Merrimack returned to wreak absolute havoc on the Union Navy; cannonballs simply ricocheted up and off of its sloped sides. The Virginia never did lose a naval engagement; even the duel with the might Monitor was considered a draw, with Virginia having done the most damage of the two. The Virginia was beached and dismantled by her crew near war's end to keep her out of Union hands. 
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  • 3

    Iowa Class Battleship

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    The Iowa Class battleship has got to be the worst named weapon in history. "Hellraiser Class" might be better. Then, you'd have to play "Bodies" by Drowning Pool every time the guns fired, while Chuck Norris and Seal Team 6 held a motorcycle chainsaw deathmatch on deck. That might do some justice to the 57,000 tons of pure, old-school ass-kicking that is the Iowa Class. Then again, it was built to one-up the Bismarck and Tirpitz, so you'd kind of expect that. 
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  • 4

    Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    If you like big, bad warships, then the Nimitz Class carrier is your boat. How big, exactly? A nuclear-powered Nimitz Class carrier is about 1,000 feet long, 250 feet wide, and displaces twice as much tonnage as the mighty Tirpitz. Because its nuclear powered, the Nimitz can carry its 6,000-person crew, 90 aircraft and 24 Sea Sparrow missiles an unlimited distance at 35 mph for up to 20 years without refueling. The current pride of America's fleet, and rightly so. 
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