I think the short story was in an anthology of stories...something like "best science fiction short stories" or the like. Basically, a battleship (US but country not mentioned) was ordered to surrender to the enemy (Prob. Japan) but pretended not to hear the order and went to meet the enemy armada alone...but armed with some new technology. It was probably written in the 1930's. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
The story is "Politics" by Murray Leinster, published in 1932. The innovation was automatic rangefinders that allowed a ship's guns to be adjusted and fired immediately on the enemy after a single ranging salvo. Pacifists in the government wanted to accept onerous surrender terms, but the navy turned the war around by decimating the enemy fleet with the new technology.