The nineteenth century was an age of British naval dominance, yet also a period in which there were moves towards a challenge to Western naval superiority. Indeed, in 1905, the Japanese dramatically defeated the Russian navy. Yet, unlike the Oriental warships that competed in the same waters in the 1590s, the Japanese victor was organised on the Western model and, indeed, had been trained and equipped by the British. As another key instance of continuity, although naval technologies changed dramatically over the nineteenth century, especially those of propulsion, firepower and armour, the essentials of the Western naval model did not alter. The reliance throughout was on specialised warships, instead of armed merchantmen (although there was a place for the latter and for armed liners in naval plans); and the stress was on permanent naval forces, and not on units raised for particular conflicts. As another important element of continuity, navies depended on a sophisticated infrastructure of bases and supply systems and were the product of an advanced military-industrial system.
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