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Combat Ships:

Why This 17th-Century Warship Was a Disastrous Failure

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»Doomed Vessels

Why This 17th-Century Warship Was a Disastrous Failure

Short | 03:47

On August 10, 1628, the Swedish warship Vasa, billed as the most advanced warship in the world, set sail on its maiden voyage from Stockholm Harbor. Within a mile, it had sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

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More About This episode

Throughout the ages, combat ships were built to be fast and deadly, combining clever design, raw firepower and human heroism to carve out glory in battle. But some vessels, let down by bad design or bad luck, would go on to become bywords for failure: from the 16th-century Swedish warship that sank on its maiden voyage, to the Royal Navy's HMS Hood--a WWI cruiser with so little armor, she was easily dispatched by Germany's legendary Bismarck. It's a sobering account of the greatest tragedies in naval history.

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