Why do different naval ship types exist?


I can obviously tell why you’d want a dedicated aircraft from a not, but trying to wrap my head around why you’d for example in the royal navy (UK) frigates are slightly specialised for anti submarine warfare whilst destroyers are slightly specialised for anti air warfare, why not have a single dedicated escort?.

And to mention historically, why would you have smaller ships alongside battleships (for example destroyers and torpedo boats in the battle of Jutland) when the battleships have a dedicated armament to combat destroyers?

Sorry if this seems stupid, I’m just doing my best to understand 🙂

In: 9

Smaller ships are better closer to shore. Less draft. You cant bring battleships into less then 30 feet of water (i made up the number since it varies so much, you get the idea). Conversely you want big ships to cross oceans.

As the old saying goes a jack of all trades is a master of none, in theory a specialised ship with a dedicated role and a crew trained for that role will outperform a multi role ship in that tasking.

In WWII, part of a destroyers mission was to run screen for cruisers and battleships. Its better mission wise if they take torpedoes than the big ships.

You can only fit a certain amount of stuff on a ship guns, missiles torpedoes, radar, sonar, other electronics, helicopters etc. So if the ship specialises in a role like anti aircraft they can have a special antiaircraft radar and anti aircraft guns and missiles all on a relatively small ship. Alternatively they can have a powerful sonar and an anti submarine helicopter and antisubmarine weapons fitted.

The answer is that you don’t want your tactics to be to just sit there and be able to respond to whatever the enemy brings, with a multipurpose ship. The whole idea of “I’m going to build a ship that’s prepared for every scenario” is a LOSING tactic in war.

The winning tactic in war is to “win the fight” before your ships even depart. You plan, you figure out what the enemy has in position, and you bring the exact ships or capabilities that COUNTER what the enemy has. The battle is won through planning, and you don’t actually send the ships until you’re SURE that your plan will be successful. An enemy who sits there in an “invincible” ship is a dead enemy in a dead ship.

What would you rather have, a fleet of all these heavy ships that can each defend (weakly) against everything, or a much larger fleet of missile destroyers? Are you trying to project power, put a threat on an enemy, or are you trying to parade your ships and brag about how much they cost?