Battle Cruiser, a large, fast, heavily armed warship. The battle cruisers of World War I and World War II were the size of battleships and had the heavy guns of battleships, but were lightly armored, giving them the speed of cruisers. During World War I, they scored successes against smaller and older ships, but proved vulnerable against battleships and other battle cruisers. During World War II, only a few battle cruisers were used; most notable was the British vessel Hood, which was destroyed by the German battleship Bismarck in 1941. No more battle cruisers were built until the Soviet Union built two during the 1980's. They are the size of small battleships and their main armament consists of surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles.