Here's some stats I compiled a while back about battleship sinkings in World War 2. I thought some might find it interesting.
Battleships in service during WW2:
Royal Navy - 20 total
5 Queen Elizabeth class
5 Revenge class
2 Repulse class
1 Hood class
2 Nelson class
5 King George V class
United States Navy - 27 total
2 New York class
2 Nevada class
2 Pennsylvania class
3 New Mexico class
2 Tennessee class
4 Colorado class
2 North Carolina class
4 South Dakota class
4 Iowa class
2 Alaska class
Kriegsmarine - 9 total
2 Deutschland class
2 Bismarck class
2 Scharnhorst class
3 Deutschland class (Panzerschiffe)
French Navy - 10 total
3 Courbet class
3 Bretagne class
2 Dunkerque class
2 Richelieu class
Italian Navy - 7 total
2 Cavour class
2 Andrea Doria class
3 Littorio class
Imperial Japanese Navy - 12 total
4 Kongo class
2 Fuso class
2 Ise class
2 Nagato class
2 Yamato class
Soviet Navy - 4 total
1 Revenge class on loan from the Royal Navy
3 Gangut class
Danish Navy - 1 total
1 Niels Juel class - History of the World's Navy's
reports that this battleship was sunk in Eckenforde by air bombing on May 3, 1945 but I can't find any more info.
Greek Navy - 2 total
2 Battleships, the Kilkis (formerly USS Mississippi, BB-23) and the Limnos (formerly USS Idaho, BB-24), both Mississippi class battleships.
Royal Dutch Navy - 1 total
Operated some coastal defense battleships such as HNLMS De Zeven Provincien.
Norwegian Navy - 2 total
2 Eidsvold class coastal defense battleships
Finnish Navy - 2 total
2 Vainamoinen class coastal defense battleships
Battleships sunk during WW2:
Sunk by air attack, in open water:
-HMS Repulse, sunk by Japanese aircraft off Malaya, December 10 1941 with loss of 436 crew.
-HMS Prince of Wales, sunk by Japanese aircraft off Malaya, December 10 1941 with loss of 327 crew.
-Italian battleship Roma, sunk by Luftwaffe Fritz-X glider bombs on September 9, 1943 with loss of 1,353 crew.
-INS Hiei, sunk by US Navy and USAF aircraft off of Guadalcanal, November 13, 1942 with loss of 188 crew.
-INS Musashi, sunk by US Navy aircraft during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 24, 1944 with loss of over 1,000 crew.
-INS Yamato, sunk by US air attacks off of Okinawa April 7, 1945 with loss of 2,475 men.
-Greek battleship Kilkis, sunk by Germany Ju-87 bombers in the Salamis Channel on April 23, 1941.
-Greek battleship Limnos, sunk by Germany Ju-87 bombers in the Salamis Channel on April 23, 1941.
-HNLMS De Zeven Provincien was sunk by Japanese bombers off of Surabaya, February 18, 1942. Raised by the Japanese and used as a floating battery, then sunk by allied bombers in 1943.
Sunk by air attack, in port:
-USS Oklahoma, sunk by Japanese aircraft in Pearl Harbor, December 7 1941, with loss of 415 crew. Raised and re-fitted, but eventually scrapped.
-USS Arizona, sunk by Japanese aircraft in Pearl Harbor, December 7 1941, with loss of 1,177 crew.
-USS California, sunk by Japanese aircraft in Pearl Harbor, December 7 1941 with loss of 98 crew. Raised, repaired and returned to duty.
-USS West Virginia, sunk by Japanese aircraft in Pearl Harbor, December 7 1941 with loss of 106 crew. Raised, repaired and returned to duty.
-German battleship Schleswig-Holstein, sunk by RAF bombers in Gotenhaven Harbor December 19 1944.
-German pocket battleship Admiral Hipper, sunk by RAF bombers in Kiel, April 9 1945 with loss of 32 crew.
-German pocket battleship Lutzow, sunk by 3 Tallboy bombs in Swinemunde, April 1945. Raised and scuttled in May.
-Italian battleship Conte di Cavour, sunk by RN aircraft in Taranto, November 11 1940. Raised but never returned to active duty.
-INS Haruna, sunk by USAF bombers in Kure July 28, 1945 with loss of 65 crew.
-INS Ise, sunk by USAF bombers in Kure July 28, 1945.
-Soviet battleship Murat, sunk by Hans Ulrich-Rudel in Kronstadt harbor, September 22, 1941.
-Danish battleship Niels Juel, sunk in Eckenforde by allied bombing May 3, 1945.
Sunk in surface combat:
-HMS Hood, sunk by German battleship Bismarck in the Battle of the Denmark Straight with loss of 1,415 crew.
-German battlecruiser Scharnhorst sunk by HMS Duke of York and cruisers HMS Belfast, HMS Jamaica and HMS Norfolk off of Norway on December 26, 1943 with loss of 1,803 crew.
-French battleship Bretagne, sunk by Royal Navy warships at Mers-el-Kebir with loss of 977 crew.
-INS Kirishima, sunk by USS Washington off of Guadalcanal November 15, 1942.
-INS Fuso, sunk by destroyer USS Melvin in the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 25, 1944 with loss of around 1,400 crew.
-INS Yamashiro, sunk by six US battleships in the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 25, 1944.
-HNoMSA Eidsvold, sunk by German destroyers in Narvik harbor, April 9, 1940 with loss of 175 crew.
-HNoMSA Norge, sunk by German destroyers in Narvik harbor, April 9 1940, with loss of 101 crew.
Sunk by combination of surface and air attack:
-German battleship Bismarck, sunk by combination of RN torpedo bombers, battleships and destroyers on May 27, 1941 with the loss of around 2,200 crew.
-German battleship Tirpitz, attacked over several months by a combination of RN mini-sub attacks, RN aircraft, RAF bombers and finally sunk by RAF bombers in Tromso Harbor, Norway, November 12, 1944 with loss of 1,204 crew.
Sunk by submarine:
-HMS Royal Oak, sunk by U-47 in Scapa Flow Naval Base, October 14 1939, with loss of 833 crew.
-HMS Barham, sunk by U-331 off of Sollum, November 25 1941 with loss of 862 crew.
-INS Kongo, sunk by USS Sealion off of Formosa, November 21 1944 with loss of 1,250 crew.
Sunk by other:
-HMS Queen Elizabeth, sunk by Italian frogmen in Alexandria harbor, Egypt December 18th 1941 with loss of 9 crew. Raised, repaired and returned to duty.
-HMS Valiant, sunk by Italian frogmen in Alexandria harbor, Egypt December 18th 1941. Raised, repaired and returned to duty.
-German battleship Schlesien, sunk by mine and Soviet bomber attack and then scuttled near Swinemunde in the Baltic, May 5 1945.
-INS Mutsu, mysteriously exploded in Oshima bay on June 8, 1943 with the loss of over 1,100 men. No cause has ever been proven although the Japanese blamed sabotage.
-Finnish battleship Ilmarinen, sunk in minefield after shelling Estonian coastal islands September 13, 1941 with loss of 271 crew.
-German battleship Graf Spee, scuttled to prevent capture in the River Plate December 17, 1939.
-French battleship Dunquerque, scuttled to prevent capture in Toulon November 27, 1942.
-French battleship Provence, scuttled to prevent capture in Toulon November 27, 1942.
-French battleship Strasbourg, scuttled to prevent capture in Toulon November 27, 1942.
-German battleship Gneisnau, scuttled as a blockship in Gotenhaven Harbor, March 23, 1945
-German pocket battleship Lutzow, scuttled May 4, 1945
-French battleship Courbet, scuttled as a breakwater in Normandy, June 9, 1944.
-INS Hyuga, run aground in Kure Bay to prevent being sunk, July 28, 1945
-USS Nevada, run aground in Pearl Harbor to prevent being sunk, December 7 1941. Raised and returned to duty.
Total number of battleships serving: 97
Battleships sunk by country:
Imperial Japanese Navy: 10
Royal Navy: 7
United States Navy: 4
Italian Navy: 2
Norwegian Navy: 2
Greek Navy: 2
Soviet Navy: 1
French Navy: 1
Finnish Navy: 1
Danish Navy: 1
Royal Dutch Navy: 1
Sunk by air attack, in port: 12
Sunk by air attack, in open water: 9
Sunk in surface combat: 8
Sunk by submarine: 3
Sunk by combination of surface and air attack: 2
Sunk by other: 5
Total sunk: 39
Battleships sunk in combat as percentage of total battleship force:
Norwegian Navy: 2/2, 100%
Greek Navy: 2/2, 100%
Danish Navy: 1/1, 100%
Royal Dutch Navy: 1/1, 100%
Imperial Japanese Navy: 10/12, 83%
Kriegsmarine: 7/9, 78%
Finnish Navy: 1/2, 50%
Royal Navy: 7/21, 33%
Italian Navy: 2/7, 29%
Soviet Navy: 1/4 25%
United States Navy: 4/27, 15%
French Navy: 1/10, 10%
Sources: Welcome to the website of the Force Z Survivors Association History of the World's Navy's Naval History and Heritage Command USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL: Remembrance World Battleships List: Russian and Soviet Dreadnoughts List of World War II ships - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Obviously, the most damage was done by air attack. Aircraft had a hand in sinking 24 of the 39 battleships sunk in combat during the war.
When it comes to massive loss of life, however, being sunk by submarine or surface combat seemed to be the worst way to go.
Submarines accounted for surprisingly few sinkings of capital ships. Many capital ships survived being torpedoed, such as the USS North Carolina, the Lutzow, the Littorio, the Vittorio Veneto and the Richelieu. Their massive armor meant they could withstand damage that would have sunk a lesser ship.
Generally, battleships could survive a few bomb or kamikaze hits as well. Heck, it took 17 bombs and 19 torpedoes to bring down the Musashi. What usually got a battleship was a massive air attack, against which capital ships had no defense.
Only one Japanese battleship survived the war. The rest were sunk, along with most of the rest of the Japanese navy.