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.
The successes of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero during the first six months of World War II stunned Western observers. Its dominance was frightening, but soon surpassed. Learn about the rise and fall of the A6M Zero, and its unique design specifications.
The Supermarine Spitfire was continuously improved throughout World War II, with 22,000 Spitfires produced. The Spitfire fought successfully in every theater of the war. See specifications for the Spitfire and read how this heroic airplane developed.