LAST EDITED ON Jul-15-15 AT 09:55 PM (EDT)
HMS Barbican - The Royal Navy has a tradition of naming its most significant shore installations as if they were ships (the traditional term is "stone frigate"). HMNB Folkestone is fictitious, but many similar naval bases existed in the British Isles in wartime (and a few still operate today). A "barbican" is a type of medieval fortification.
Zuiun - More formally the Aichi E16A Zuiun ("Lucky Cloud"), a single-engine reconnaissance seaplane employed by the Imperial Japanese Navy toward the end of World War II. Aviation battleships such as Hyūga and Ise carried them. Intended as the replacement for the E13A, which was itself the successor to the Mitsubishi F1M biplane (one of which Mio Sakamoto can be seen flying in Strike Witches the Movie). The 501st JFW has one as part of its small fleet of conventional aircraft for training and (as seen here) liaison purposes.
Atago - Second of the Takao-class heavy cruisers. The real one was sunk by American submarines in October 1944.
Chikuma - Second of the Tone-class heavy cruisers. Sunk the day after Atago.
Nagato - Name ship of the Nagato-class battleships. Survived the war only to be used as a target ship in the Operation Crossroads nuclear tests. Likes to snuggle with destroyers.
Amagi - The second Unryū-class fleet carrier, completed near the end of the war. Not to be confused with the scrapped-before-completion name ship of the abandoned pre-war battlecruiser class by the same name, the second hull of which was converted into the fleet carrier Akagi. The wartime Amagi appears late in season 2 of Strike Witches, and in the movie.
Zuihō - Name ship of the Zuihō-class light aircraft carriers. Should not be confused with Zuikaku, second of the Shōkaku-class fleet carriers.
Katsuragi - Amagi's sister ship, the fourth planned but third-and-last-completed ship in the class. In this setting, with Fusō one of the most prosperous and militarily productive members of the Alliance, one expects the other planned Unryū-class ships actually were (or are still in the process of being) built, making her the fourth of, eventually, seven.
more destroyers than you can shake a stick at - Since they were smaller than capital ships, cheaper and quicker to produce, less costly to operate, required much smaller crews, and could do a number of different jobs, WWII-era navies had hordes of destroyers. Depending on how you count them, the wartime Imperial Japanese Navy had either 20 or 24 destroyers of the Fubuki class, and 15 or 16 other classes of destroyer besides. (Admittedly, one of those classes, the Shimakaze class, had only one ship in it, but still.) Meanwhile, the US Navy had hundreds of the damn things, including a hundred and seventy-five of the Fletcher class alone! (One of which, interestingly enough, was the USS Hutchins. No relation.)
Kyōto - Evidently the capital of Fusō didn't move to Tokyo during their version of the Meiji Restoration.
polar convoy system - Based on a similar strategy for getting supplies and equipment to the Russians during WWII.
Baltland - The Strike Witches world's equivalent of a combined Sweden and Norway.
Satō - No relation; Satō is the most common surname in both Japan and Fusō.
that doesn't stop a certain sort of girl from trying - In real life, too, women have been finding ways into military roles reserved for men pretty much as long as there have been military roles reserved for men. It isn't the source material's intent or function to explore the social and political implications of witches' special place in society, but I find it interesting to consider, since they're simultaneously privileged and much-demanded of - and I suspect that in the setting, the dividing line in terms of taking part in the war effort would particularly rankle some young women who didn't happen to be born with magical ability. In that world, the tagline on this infamously patronizing WWI recruiting poster is probably "Gee! I wish I were a Witch" - and gets on just as many people's nerves as the real thing. Hence, young women like Megumi Satō, while not exactly common, are - as Admiral Sugita observes - far from unknown.
Mogami - Name ship of the Mogami class of heavy cruisers. In real life, sunk two days after Atago and one after Chikuma during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Akebono - The real Akebono (a Fubuki-class destroyer) rescued Mogami's survivors before scuttling the wreck with a torpedo. She was herself sunk only a couple of weeks later.
oh, a long time ago - Or a long time in the future, depending on how you reckon it; he's talking about his time in the Morita Navy in Aegis Florea.