The Coolest (Military) Surface Ships Ever

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!
  • 1
    148 VOTES

    Iowa Class Battleship

    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. 
  • 2
    114 VOTES

    Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier

    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. 
  • 3
    110 VOTES

    North Carolina Class Battleship

    North Carolina Class Battleship
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    Ask a kid to draw a picture of a battleship, and odds are good it would look something like the North Carolina Class. At 44,000 tons of displacement, this floating gun platform was an oceangoing tank. It's job was pretty straightforward - punch a lot of big holes in things, and don't get sunk in the process. Next to monsters like the Bismarck, North Carolina ships were probably the greatest gunslingers of the war. 
  • 4
    99 VOTES

    Essex Class Aircraft Carrier

    Essex Class carriers were the backbone of America's Pacific Fleet in the second World War, and remained so until larger super-carriers started entering the fleet in the 1970s. The Essex measured 820 feet long, carried about a hundred aircraft, and could cover 20,000 miles at 32 knots. A real classic, never once lost in action.