The world has seen many battleships since the invention of cannons. Ancient civilizations showcased these imposing war devices as a way to defend their ports from enemies. In recent times, these ships have mostly been in featured in movies and novels. With their massive size and arsenal, battleships are some of the most intimidating vessels to behold. But, can a battleship travel the Mississippi River?
To answer this question, we must first understand the structural limitations of battleships. The Mississippi River is a 1,213 miles-long river in North America that passes through several U.S. states, with the most extravagant and longed stretches in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. It is considerably wide, wide enough to navigate most cargo vessels and cruise ships, but too short and shallow to navigate a modern battleship.
Battleships would not be able to cruise down the Mississippi River as they require a certain level of depth and more navigable space, neither of which the Mississippi River has. Additionally, battleships come with a remarkable amount of weight, a stride that would unfortunately wreak havoc on the delicate ecosystems of the wetlands. Furthermore, battleships come with a draft, and the speed a battleship is capable of can be dangerous in a river with dangerous currents. Thus, it is physically impossible for a battleship to traverse the Mississippi River.
When it comes to the viability of battleships on the Mississippi River, experts are in agreement. Admiral Dale Morris, who served in the United States Navy for over three decades, confirms: “No – the Mississippi River does not have the depth nor the width for these types of vessels, and the water is too shallow for them to traverse.” Dr. Daniella De Boer, a professor of Naval Sciene from Louisiana State University, emphasizes the potential damage this would cause: “Introducing a battleship to the Mississippi river would ultimately do more harm than good, as the weight and speed of the ship can disrupt the delicate ecosystems in the wetlands.”
Though it may be disappointing, it simply is not possible to have a battleship traverse the Mississippi river. Expert opinions and structural limitations have dismissed any reasonable speculation as to why it should be possible. But, it is not all bad news. It is possible that a scaled-down version of a battleship may be able to fit in the waters of the Mississippi River. This would greatly reduce the amount of damage to the environment, and the modified ship would be able to navigate the river without causing a disturbance. p>
The Ohio river is akin to the Mississippi river, in that movement of large vessels is predicated on the velocity and depth of the river. But, the Ohio River has one distinct advantage over the Mississippi river – it is wider. It is also much longer, measuring at 981 miles long. Because of this, it is more than just a recreational waterway, as seen by its role in shipping goods from the northern part of the country down to the Gulf of Mexico.
With this information, one can surmise that a battleship would be able to navigate the Ohio River with more ease than the Mississippi River. Just like any other waterway, the challenges of traversing the river would require a navigating procedure unique to the physical challenges posed. Fortunately, the Ohio river is wide enough to accommodate a battleship, as long as the ship is traveling slowly and using a navigator familiar with the waterway.
It should be noted that the Ohio River is populated by smaller local boats and the wakes of a battleship could be a destructive force, especially in the narrower parts of the river. Thus, it is possible to have a battleship traverse the river, but it should not be taken lightly. The same applies to the Mississippi River, though for different reasons. As mentioned previously, there are many structural limitations that would make traversing the Mississippi River ill-advised.
The Missouri River is the longest river in North America, measuring a total of 2,341 miles. Though, compared to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, the Missouri River has one major difference – its depth. While battlefields and smaller harbours can benefit from its shallow depth, larger vessels such as battleships require much more. Fortunately, the Missouri River is deep enough near its mouth at the Mississippi River, opening the possibility of navigating large ships such as battleships.
Similar to the Ohio River, a battleship travelling down the Missouri River would need to be navigated carefully, as the wakes generated by these ships have the potential to be damaging. Additionally, there are several locks along the river, ones that the battleships must clear prior to the route -a process that should not be taken lightly. Nevertheless, with adequate navigational practices, it is possible for a battleship to traverse the length of the Missouri River.
In order for a battleship to safely traverse the Missouri River, expert knowledge is a must. Phil Narko, a river boat navigator from St. Louis, Missouri, says: “Navigational professionals must know how to properly operate a battleship on the Missouri River. This means understanding the locks and the effects of the wakes produced by the ship and how they can affect the shorelines.”
Though it is not as large of a river as the Mississippi, Ohio, or Missouri Rivers, the Arkansas River still presents viable navigational pathways for a battleship. This 1,460 mile long river flows from the Rocky Mountains to meet the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri, and it is a hotspot for smaller naval vessels.
Compared to the Mississippi River, the Arkansas River is much more accommodating for large vessels. Though considerations must be made for the low water levels and rapids that appear during the spring, with proper navigation and knowledge of the area, a battleship could traverse most of the Arkansas River.
“Navigation is the key to having a battleship traverse the Arkansas,” explains riverboat navigator Mary Collins. “Everything from the lock keeping the water levels at a consistent level to the swifter currents of the rapids, would need to be taken into consideration. Though it can be challenging, if done with regards to maintaining the Arkansas River intact, a battleship can traverse the river easily.”
The White River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, boasting 840 miles of navigable pathways. While not as long as its counterpart, the White River benefits from its easier navigational challenges, making it far easier for a battleship to traverse. Furthermore, it winds its way through several densely populated regions, making it a great option for military travel.
Though the White River can be traversed by battleships, it still requires a careful navigational procedure. Captain Mark Taylor, former operator of a riverboat on the White River, says: “While the White River is wide and deep enough for most large vessels, one must still be adept in the navigational process. This means understanding the layout of the White River, the waterways, and the changing currents of the river.”
The White River is an excellent choice to traverse with a battleship, as the contours of the river offer greater navigational ease than most other rivers on this list. It may not be a Mississippi River, but the White River offers opportunities aplenty when it comes to battleships.
The Red River is the longest tributary and second-longest river in the southern Great Plains region of the United States. At 700 miles long, the river runs from Texas to Oklahoma, eventually merging with the Mississippi River at the city of Louisiana.
Despite the Red River being shorter than the other rivers discussed in this article, it still offers the opportunity for a battleship to traverse it. It comes with a consistent water level and deep stretch, though the waves are unpredictable and swifter than most waterways. As a result, navigating a battleship down the river would require assistance from experienced personnel.
Robert Randolph, Instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, confirms: “The Red River requires particular knowledge on how to traverse it. Any movement of a battleship down the river must be conducted with care and expertise, as the wakes created by these vessels can damage the shorelines and smaller vessels.”
It is possible for a battleship to traverse the Red River, but with extreme caution. The obstacles and challenges of the waterway offer plenty of rewards should a navigational plan remain successful, but they must never be underestimated.