HMS Dreadnought was a WW1 era battleship so awe-inspiring in its power that it literally changed the course of nautical combat forever. It was, for a time, the most powerful ship on the waves and it kind of sucked, like, a lot.
Dreadnought is a name that has been given to a number of ships commanded by the British Navy over the years that were deemed so massive and bristling with cannons that it was largely agreed that the the only thing thought to rival them in terms of sheer ocean-based destruction was Poseidon with a hangover. In fact, the word “Dreadnought” was coined when some smartass in the 16th century just stuck together the words dread and nought as a nod to the fact they felt the ship was too big to fear anything. Today the word is synonymous is some of the coolest shit in fiction, because it to be honest, it does sound pretty fucking cool.
Perhaps the most famous ship to bear this bitchin’ moniker was the one built in 1906 for the express purpose of fucking shit up. Sporting armor thicker than the Hulk’s erection, enough firepower to level a city and with an engine that could make it haul ass twice as fast as any ship of comparable size, Dreadnought was a revolutionary weapon that caused every Navy on Earth to shit a brick as soon as it hit the waves.
None of that is hyperbole by the way, Dreadnought outclassed every other ship in existence so hard it was literally placed into its own class of ships named after itself whereas every other battleship of the time was designated as being “pre-dreadnought“. Which makes it all the weirder that Dreadnought never actually faced off against another battleship during its entire career.
Despite being purpose-built to engage and turn enemy battleships into screaming hunks of metal wreckage, Dreadnought never encountered one during WW1. However, the ship does hold one rather unique honor, in that it’s the only battleship in history to sink an enemy submarine, by crashing right the fuck into it.
The story goes that in 1915 a German U-boat helmed by either the ballsiest or stupidest captain in history had the bright idea to attack the entire Royal Navy Grand Fleet while it was conducting a training exercise in the Orkneys. After launching a single torpedo the U-boat surfaced to survey the damage directly in the path of the 17,000 tons of fuck-you better known as THE DREADNOUGHT.
Rather than bothering to blow up the submarine with one if its 40 cannons, the Dreadnought just continued sailing in a straight line and cut the U-boat in half, the Dreadnought’s only confirmed enemy kill during the entire war.