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Staff Sergeant
Jan 16, 2004
Saco, MAINE!!!!
This is to continue the discussion on the carriers that we had in the Aircraft section.

I hope we can keep this topic going, as it is a main force in Wold War two events.

I hope this is not oversteping others who were going to start this topic.

Plan_D, the British are not the sole developer for the flat top just as it is not only the RN atack on the Italians that helped The IJN plan it's attack t Pearl. Yamamoto was developing that before durring and affter and it helped to show a harbor could be hit as they planned.

I am interested in the thought of them being used in WWI, I do not think ty would have been much help, but for convoys maybe ;)
There was little need for carriers in a convoy escort role during WW1. Airships could carry a greater load and remain on station longer. And as there was no air threat to convoys, fighter cover was irrelevant.
The British invented the AIRCRAFT CARRIER and the first purpose built AIRCRAFT CARRIER was the H.M.S Ark Royal. All those before it were either converted ships or LIGHT CARRIERS.

On top of that, the British invented the angled-deck, steam-catapult, ski-jump and mirror sight.

Yamamoto's chief of Staff was in Taranto at the time of the raid. You honestly think he didn't go tell Yamamoto how successful it was?!
plan_D said:
The British invented the AIRCRAFT CARRIER
honestly think he didn't go tell Yamamoto how successful it was?!
The first purpose built Carrier was HMS Hermes laid down In 1918 D. As MP rightly said the Taranto raid proved the concept of shallow water torpedo attacks in confined harbours, although the Japanese official did as you very correctly point out did report back his findings how ever the Japanese had already war gamed the Pearl Habour raid, as had indeed the Taranto raid been before the middle east campaign had commenced.
Development of the carrier was very much a international thing The US introduced the crash barrier and deck landing control officer (batsman)
it also produce the most efficient recovery and launch systems indeed before the US had sent observer/officers to advise the British the normal interval between take offs was 30 seconds this fell too 10 seconds by adopting US methods.
The US navy was far in advance of the British in there Officer training and recruitment of flyer's where as the British had gone about it piece meal in fact large numbers of trained pilots ended up transferring over to the RAF this left the Royal Navy with a big short fall in flyer's just before the start of hostilities.and senior ranks with flying Knowledge where virtually unknown on the other hand the USN had Admirals who had been flyer's this gave them a huge advantage in tactical awareness.


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H.M.S Hermes had the armament of a Cruiser. It wasn't a sole Aircraft Carrier, it had extra armament. The H.M.S Ark Royal was the first purpose built Aircraft Carrier with no other intended role.

I never stated the Pearl Harbour raid was a sole invention from their viewing of the Taranto raid. The raid had been war-gamed but it was the Taranto raid that proved to the Japanese that it would work.
The Ark Royal completed 1938 had 16x 4.7inch 32x 2pdr Pom Poms the first Ark royal was a Seaplane carrier completed in 1914 The Hermes had 10x 6 inch 4x4inch AA it was designed as the first purpose built flush deck carrier the weapon size was a reflection of the difference in time with the Idea of having some self defense against other surface ships more than against aircraft attack. With the Ark it was the other way round as carriers never sailed without escort protection against surface raiders.
HMS Hermes is indeed recognised as the worlds first purpose built carrier.
The USS Ranger 1934 was (I believe) the first American purpose built carrier.
Im not 100% on this but I believe the Soryu 1937 was Japans first purpose built carrier. The Hosho 1922 although desribed as Japans first purpose built carrier was based on a fleet oiler hull.
The Ark Royal was the first purpose built Fleet Carrier then. You will notice with the H.M.S Hermes that is was not originally being built as an Aircraft Carrier, or at least the CRUISER hull wasn't.

Also, the Hermes was designated a Fleet Carrier but as you well know, it wasn't built as one originally. Also, I would class the Hermes as a Light Carrier as it was remarkably small and light compared to modern Fleet Carriers of the late '30s.
I disagree D the Hull of the Hermes was based on the design of a Cruiser hull as no one had come up with a specific carrier hull shape but when the keel was laid it was always intended to be a carrier and nothing but a carrier. It was not as you say D designated a fleet carrier as really this is a US term adopted later on. In the UK carriers where light or heavy the only different ones at the time of Hermes commisioning where the sea plane carriers and tenders. so using the US Carrier classification you are probably correct D.
The Escort carrier was a WW2 hostilities only convoy protection vessel usually based on a suitable merchant vessel the UK aquired 43 of these vessels 37 coming from the US under lend lease and 6 converted in the Uk. The first UK built one was HMS Audacity which was a converted captured German merchantman it was sunk by torpedo in 1941.
Nick names for the escort carriers where in the US Jeep carriers or Baby Flat tops and in the UK Woolworths carriers.
The Hermes was built to be able to act on it's own in a war situation. This was quickly realised as a flaw in an aircraft carrier design, the Ark Royal was designed from the start to be a part of a Fleet. The other surface vessels providing the guns for protection instead of the carrier itself.

The fact that they didn't know what an Aircraft Carrier hull would look like doesn't take away the fact that it wasn't an Aircraft Carrier hull. The main thing is, also, the Hermes is a Light Carrier in comparison to the later Carriers. By 1937, when Ark Royal was laid down, the Hermes was Light.

By modern standards the Ark Royal was the first modern carrier with minimal surface defence systems, and relying on other surface vessels in the fleet to provide protection.
From the keel to the top of the Island Hermes was designed to be a carrier the hull shape does not detract from the fact that the Hermes was the first and smallest fleet carrier operated by the Royal Navy.
from D Wragg. Seeking the Ideal Carrier. The design features introduced on HMS Eagle were continued with the fourth British carrier. HMS Hermes the first to be designed from the keel upwards as an aircraft carrier. Laid down in 1918 the construction of Hermes was delayed while while the ideal layout for an aircraft carrier was finalized and she was not completed until 1924 Her starboard Island Incorporated a single large funnel. at 10,850 tons Hermes was the smallest fleet carrier ever operated by the Royal Navy
Blimey D this could go on for ever perhaps some one else could put their two pence worth in and help resolve our stale mate :D me fingers are starting to wear out :)
Eagle was, AFAIK,not a BC conversion. Glorious and Courageous were; they were completed as BCs and were derogatorily referred to as Spurious and Outrageous by the Fleet. Thier conversion to CVs was as much about strangling Fisher's dangerous battlecruiser dream as providing the fleet with air striking power.

Eagle was built hull-up as a CV. Her tonnage is far too great to suggest she was designed as a CL or CA (even the late '20s Berwicks were only 8000 tons with a full complement of 8" guns), and far too small to suggest BC origins - HMS Renown weighed in at 36080 tons. Furthermore, it would not have made sense to convert a BC laid down in 1918 as a CV - it could either be completed as a BB or scrapped - a far more sensible option, which was the fate of a number of capital units under construction in 1918-19.
It wasn't a conversion, it had a Cruiser hull though. Yes, we'll just have to leave it here, Trackend.
The Ark Royal was the first purpose built Fleet Carrier then.

HMS Ark Royal was launched 13 April 1937 and commissioned 16 Nov 1938. Pre-dating Ark Royal into fleet service as designed and built for purpose fleet carriers were USS Ranger, USS Yorktown, and USS Enterprise. Ranger was launched 25 February 1933 and commissioned 4 June 1934. Yorktown was launched on 4 April 1936 and commissioned on 30 September 1937. Enterprise was 3 October 1936 and commissioned 12 May 1938.
I did think R (and Im sure you will be able to verifie or deny it) that the USS Ranger was the first US purpose built carrier of any size, as I believe all the ones previous to this where based on other vessels or hulls. Also have you any info on UK carrier categories as all mine say that HMS Hermes 10,750 tons was the first and smallest Fleet carrier operated by the RN where I believe in the US it has to be over 20,000 tons and carry over a set number of aircraft before it is rated as a fleet carrier. This appears to be quite a grey area especially prior too 1930.
The H.M.S Hermes was the first carrier into fleet service but it wasn't built for fleet service. It was built for independant action.

Do you know which ones they were, GrG?
The last US carrier I saw in the flesh GRG was USS Wasp on Navy day docked in Portsmouth some years ago I walked through the dock yard gates no one challenged me so I stood by the quay side looking at her. As it was Navy day she was fully decked out and she looked quite a sight. I was there for about 30mins before a shore patrol guy came up and ask me sarcasticlly "hey where did you come from" "Brentwood in Essex" I said for some reaon he didnt smile and escorted me back out through the gates. ;)
To be fleet was to be the bigest and carry I think to remember over 80 aircraft. By 45 they had three wings each. But I am not going to say that is true, so read over the navy history. The officail website has a good history of the carriers, I just have not read it recently.

The Escourt carriers held around 25 or so craft ;) If I am wrong, please let me know.

The carrier trived because of the peace treaties to stop the battleships.

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