Jump to content
You need to play a total of 10 battles to post in this section.
Syanda

WWII Ship naming conventions

25 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

Moderator
4,163 posts
1,874 battles

Just a brief explanation about the various ship names you see in World of Warships.

 

Imperial Japanese Navy

 

Imperial Japanese Navy battleships were traditionally named after Japanese provinces or names for Japan, often using poetic forms. For example, Fusou is named for the Chinese word Fusang, which was a classical way of referring to Japan. Likewise Yamato is named after the ancient Yamato province, Nagato for Nagato province, et cetera.

 

IJN cruisers are named after land features. This is split between capital-class cruisers, who bear the name of mountains, and light cruisers, who bear the name of rivers. For example, Kongou is named for Mount Kongou, given that she started out as a battlecruiser. The same applies for Amagi, who was also classified as a battlecruiser when she was laid out. Likewise, Aoba, Myoukou, Ibuki and Senjo also bear the name of mountains. Light cruisers, such as Tenryuu/Tatsuta and Kuma are named after various rivers. The cruiser Mogami, originally classified as a light cruiser (due to shenanigans and loophole exploitation) also bears the name of a river, despite being a heavy cruiser in the game.

 

Katori is a bit of an exception. As a training cruiser, she and her sister ships utilized a unique naming convention and were named after Shinto shrines.

 

IJN destroyers tend to have a more varied naming scheme, but typically follow a specific theme. They tend to be given poetic names based on the weather, seasons or natural phenomena. For example, Fubuki-class destroyers received names that had to do with snow, with Fubuki herself being the word for "blizzard". Mutsuki is the lunar calendar term for January (with her 11 sister ships all named after each month). Kagerou refers to the shimmering heat haze, Hatsuharu refers to the early spring season, while Shimakaze, like many destroyers, bears a poetic or literary reference to a type of wind.

 

IJN aircraft carriers have a slightly more varied naming convention. Purpose-built fleet carriers tend to utilize creatures associated with flight, such as the phoenix (Houshou, Taihou), dragon (Ryuujou, Hiryuu), or crane (Shoukaku, Zuikaku). However, converted aircraft carriers either tended to utilized their former names, or a slight modification to bring them in line with the carrier convention. For example, Kaga and Akagi use battleship and cruiser name conventions as they were converted from battleship and battlecruiser hulls respectively.

 

United States Navy

 

By law, all USN battleships are named after states in the U.S., apart from those who bore a legacy name. The names are rather self-explanatory, with U.S.S. Michigan named for the state of Michigan, U.S.S. Texas for Texas, U.S.S. Iowa named for Iowa, etc. The sole exception to this was the U.S.S. Kearsage, which was a legacy name and given in honour of the previous U.S.S. Kearsage which served in the civil war.

 

USN cruisers, being smaller than battleships, received the names of prominent towns or cities instead. This is also rather self-explanatory, with St Louis, Pensacola, New Orleans, Baltimore, etc all named after prominent towns. One interesting aspect of this naming convention was what happened when the USN put forward plans to build large cruisers/battlecruisers. As they were larger than regular cruisers, but not able to use the battleship naming convention, the decision was made to name them after US territories. Hence, U.S.S. Alaska was named after the Territory of Alaska, which only became a state after WWII.

 

USN Destroyers are all named for distinguished figures associated with the USN, USMC or USCG. Given how many of them there are, I won't list them out or detail their exploits as they can typically be found by searching online.

 

Like the IJN, USN carriers tended to have a rather varied naming convention, but in the context of WWII, they frequently utilized the convention of naming their fleet carriers after famous battles. This stemmed from the original plan to name battlecruisers after famous battles prior to the Washington Naval Treaty. When the U.S.S. Lexington and U.S.S. Saratoga (named for the Battle of Lexington and Saratoga respectively) were converted into aircraft carriers, the decision was made to utilize that naming convention for aircraft carriers. Some carriers deviated from this convention though, either through the use of legacy names (such as U.S.S. Enterprise) or similes that could be associated with flight operations (U.S.S Wasp and U.S.S. Hornet - indicating their air wings were like a swarm of insects or U.S.S. Ranger - indicating the way her planes could range out to scout and attack distant targets).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ST Coordinator
2,325 posts
2,196 battles

German ships were named after famous people iirc , like Prinz Eugen and Admiral Graf Spee / Admiral Hipper / Admiral Sheer etcetc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
6,604 posts
2,477 battles

RN ship naming conventions are all over the damned place, and attempting to determine conventions within it gives me a headache :p

 

Then give me Vanguard (explanation)
Edited by Harpoon01

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
4,163 posts
1,874 battles

 

Then give me Vanguard (explanation)

 

H.M.S. Vanguard was a legacy name in use since 1586. The Brits tend to recycle names a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
6,604 posts
2,477 battles

seems Adjective used for the battlecruisers too

HMS Courageous

HMS Incomparable

HMS Invincible

HMS Indefatigable

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
4,163 posts
1,874 battles

There was also Renown, Repulse, Revenge, Royal Sovereign, Royal Oak and Resolution as battlecruiser names.

 

Seriously, I think they just take the damned names out of a hat or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
6,604 posts
2,477 battles

"Good chaps, today we shall name our ships with "R" , tomorrow it will be "I""

 

and what with those destroyer with Letter name stand for?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Tester
142 posts
484 battles

Also note worthy is, in the majority of navies, ships are referred to as 'she', whereas certain German ships were referred to as 'he', such as the KM Bismarck and the KM Admiral Graf Spee.

 

Okay, probably a useless factoid, but I found it interesting....

 

Did any of you ever watch "Hornblower" BBC series? The HMS Indefatigable (sailing ship) starred in that. I really enjoyed that series....sorry, a little off topic.

Edited by Gr1zzly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Tester
142 posts
484 battles

There was also Renown, Repulse, Revenge, Royal Sovereign, Royal Oak and Resolution as battlecruiser names.

 

Seriously, I think they just take the damned names out of a hat or something.

 

We are talking about the British here, so it wouldn't surprise me if they were sitting around at tea making up the names. "Oh, don't you think Royal Oak is such a lovely name, Charles. Oh, please do name your next ship that dearest!"

 

However, about the RN Naming Convention...it's a bit chaotic, but this is the best I could get off Wikipedia:

 

The first Torpedo Boat Destroyer (TBD) in the Royal Navy was HMS Havock of 1893. From 1906, the term "torpedo boat destroyer" began to appear in the shortened form "destroyer" when referring to destroyer flotillas. There is no official Admiralty order pertaining to the change and the abbreviated term "TBD" is present in the Navy List up to 1919, even though destroyer was the term used in most official orders from 1917.

Up to 1913, names were allocated under no fixed system, leading to a heterogeneous array, although 2 groups were named systematically; after rivers and tribes (later the E and F classes, respectively). In 1913, with burgeoning numbers of TBDs, the Admiralty took the confusing situation in hand; Havock and her similar "27 knotter" sisters with 2 shafts were grouped as the A class, and similar groups of "30 knotter" TBDs were grouped as the B class (4 funneled ships), C class (3 funnels) and D class (2 funnels). Later classes of ships were grouped as the E to K classes, although there was no J class. These are ships that the observer would recognise as being the fore-runners of the modern destroyer, with the turtle back and low conning tower replaced by a forecastle and wheelhouse with a compass platform above.

 

The last class of ships built with mixed names were the Acasta or K class of the 1911 - 1912 program. From the L class of the 1912 - 1913 programme onwards, ships took the initial letter of their name from the class letter, although large classes such as the M, R and S were allocated more than one initial letter. Flotilla leaders were generally named after famed historical (and generally, naval) characters and vessels building for other countries that had been commandeered for the Royal Navy were not allocated into the letter system (e.g. ex-Turkish ships received "T" names and ex-Greek ships "M" names with a Greek mythology theme).

 

Post war, flotillas were ordered as eight ships and a separate leader (later 7 ships and a leader, later 8 ships and no specialised leader). Each class was allocated an initial letter from which names were taken, and leaders were again often named after historical figures. These ships, up to the I class, are known as the "interwar standard". Again, vessels appropriated from other nations were not allocated into the class letter system, but took letter names of similar Royal Navy designs. The programme of 1936 produced sufficiently novel ships to warrant a change in convention; "tribal" names again being applied, although subsequent ships returned to the letter system. The O through Z classes were ordered under the War Emergency Programme. Having exhausted the alphabet, the next emergency flotillas returned to the next unused letter start of the alphabet. This was C, the C class of 1930 having been completely transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy. As 5 flotillas were ordered, groups of 2 initial letters were used; Ca-, Ch-, Co-, Cr- and Ce-, although the latter flotilla were later cancelled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Tester
1,177 posts
4,099 battles

As far as I know, Imperial Russian warships are often named after geographical regions. For example, the battleship Borodino is named after the village Borodino in Moscow Oblast, while repair ship Kamchatka was named after the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East. Soviet warships are often named after famous war heroes or military men, for example, aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov or battlecruiser Kirov (named after Sergey Kirov).

Edited by benlisquare

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Tester
172 posts
58 battles

As far as I know, Imperial Russian warships are often named after geographical regions.

 

And then there are destroyers named after random adjectives, like Verniy - Faithful, Gremyashchiy - Reverberating, Sovremenniy - Modern, Stereguschiy - Guarding etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
416 posts
17 battles

Didn't think I saw it, but for those who don't know for Britian:

 

HMS = Her/His Majestys Ship

HMAS = Her/His Majestys Australian Ship

HMNZS = Her/His Majestys New Zealand Ship

 

I doubt any HMAS / HMNZS ships would be in, unless they were premiums. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Tester
1,177 posts
4,099 battles

I doubt any HMAS / HMNZS ships would be in, unless they were premiums. 

 

They would be shooting themselves in the foot by not introducing something that would entice the wallets of Australian players, but then again, it's been 3 years and we still haven't seen a Sentinel tank in WoT, even though the icon sprites and models are ready.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Tester
301 posts
113 battles

Uh, dunno if this is a reliable source, sure as heck ain't gon' pass a thesis defense, but here's something that talks about the British ship naming. tl;dr is capital ships bear traditional and inspirational names, and the other classes were named after the name ship of their class, which leads to the "they just take the damned names out of a hat or something" problem. For example, Tribal-class destroyers are named after, well, tribes (Maori, Zulu, etc.), while Weapon-class destroyers are named after weapons (Battleaxe, Broadsword, etc.). There were also letter classes, apparently, where B-class all start with B, D-class with D and so on.

 

It's kinda the same with tanks, I guess, and some planes. Where Vickers-built tanks were always named with "V" (Valiant, Valentine) while Handley-Page planes had "H" (Halifax, Hampden). Also if I remember correctly, there was one episode of the Think Tank WG talk where David Fletcher talks about a committee in Britain in charge of naming vehicles, which I guess would also include ships? Which just adds to the names out of a hat factor. Because it basically is.

 

Man, now I feel like the further explanation was unneeded... :hiding:

Edited by skittleslol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
523 posts
217 battles

"Good chaps, today we shall name our ships with "R" , tomorrow it will be "I""

 

This is actually how many classes of RN destroyer were named. But the order was roughly alphabetical, starting with the A class in the late 20s and working their way through much of the alphabet by the end of WWII. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
4,163 posts
1,874 battles

As far as I know, Imperial Russian warships are often named after geographical regions. For example, the battleship Borodino is named after the village Borodino in Moscow Oblast, while repair ship Kamchatka was named after the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East. Soviet warships are often named after famous war heroes or military men, for example, aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov or battlecruiser Kirov (named after Sergey Kirov).

 

Not *exactly* correct. Imperial Russian capital ships tend to bear names to commemorate great battles (Borodino), the royal family, great generals (any of the ships named Knyaz <something> is probably commemorating a general) or saints, with a few exceptions. Cruisers commemorate admirals or legendary/mythical persons.

 

When the Soviets took over, most of the names were changed to more republican or communist themes.

 

As for prefixes, we have His/Her Majesty's Ship (H.M.S.) for Royal Navy combat ships, Seiner Majestät Schiff (S.M.S.) for Imperial German Navy surface combatants, and United States Ship (U.S.S.) for commissioned USN combat ships. However, Kriegsmarine and Imperial Japanese navy ships do not use prefixes. It is acceptable to utilize KMS or HIJMS in texts for them, but the practice of the Kriegsmarine or IJN did not include the use of naval prefixes.

Edited by Syanda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Tester
301 posts
113 battles

Huh, never knew the Kriegsmarine and the Imperial Japanese Navy never used prefixes... I got used to prefixing them KMS and IJN for some reason... heck, even that torpedo piece I wrote had IJN Kitakami and IJN Ooi all over the place :ohmy:

Kek, at least I know now. The JSDF uses prefixes, though, right? Can't remember if it was JDS or JS or JMSDS...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
4,163 posts
1,874 battles

The JSDF uses prefixes, though, right? Can't remember if it was JDS or JS or JMSDS...

 

 Yup. Up until 2008, they used the prefix JDS for Japanese Defense Ship. After 2008, they use the prefix JS for Japanese Ship, to reflect the change in the Japanese Defense Agency being upgraded to a full Ministry of Defense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
73 posts
284 battles

Didn't think I saw it, but for those who don't know for Britian:

 

HMS = Her/His Majestys Ship

HMAS = Her/His Majestys Australian Ship

HMNZS = Her/His Majestys New Zealand Ship

 

I doubt any HMAS / HMNZS ships would be in, unless they were premiums. 

 

 

They would be shooting themselves in the foot by not introducing something that would entice the wallets of Australian players, but then again, it's been 3 years and we still haven't seen a Sentinel tank in WoT, even though the icon sprites and models are ready.

 

Personally I would expect them to introduce some sort of a system that combines the camouflage and inscriptions from WoT to allow you to style your vessel as a specific member of any given class. ie once you have the unlocked and purchased the Indefatigable you can purchase add on textures etc to have the Australia or the New Zealand.

 

Dan 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member
14 posts
5,643 battles

so DKM is actually not needed?

btw what is DKM stands for? I only know some Kriegsmarine's ships use DKM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Tester
172 posts
58 battles

btw what is DKM stands for?

 

AFAIK, "Deutsche Kriegsmarine" (German war navy), not official.

Edited by Kempf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
4,163 posts
1,874 battles

so DKM is actually not needed?

btw what is DKM stands for? I only know some Kriegsmarine's ships use DKM

 

It's the same as how HIJMS is used by some authors to help differentiate ship names and denote which nation they belonged to. Never officially used, but utilized for convenience in historical texts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×