The Beginning of Aircraft Carriers

Discussion in 'World War I' started by trackend, May 24, 2005.

  1. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    To begin this thread I thought it would help if we gave a brief back ground to the Carrier and how it evolved this is from a UK prospective
    so I hope you guys will add you own information as I only know a limit amount
    In the days of the muzzle loader navel battles where fought at almost point blank range with the opponents blasting away at each other with the advent of the breech loader these ranges increased dramatically until battles between big gun vessels could be at ranges of up to 18 or more miles. The problem was line of sight was the only way of laying the guns on target, the aircraft was seen by many as the answer as it could be used for scouting and then reporting the fall of shot.
    Before the out break of WW1 experiments had taken place in the UK and USA at flying from warships indeed in the US a plane had even dropped a torpedo this was some what derided by the big gun brigade as they looked upon the aircraft as only any good for observation purposes.
    Ships where converted both in the UK USA and France to carry sea planes, some short sight commanders thought the use of aircraft as an unsporting thing an army officer reportedly moaned of his maneuvers being "spoiled by the presents of planes".
    In 1914 seven sea planes from the newly formed Royal Navy Air Service operating from the sea plane tenders (the first being HMS Hermes 1913 a reluctantly converted light cruiser) HMS Engadine,Express and Riviera attacked the airship hangers at Nordholz this proved that aircraft had more the just and observation role with the navy.
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    USS Langley, a 11,500-ton aircraft carrier, was converted from the collier USS Jupiter (Collier # 3) beginning in 1920. Commissioned in March 1922, Langley was the U.S. Navy's first aircraft carrier. In October-November 1922, she launched, recovered and catapulted her first aircraft during initial operations in the Atlantic and Caribbean areas. Transferred to the Pacific in 1924, Langley was the platform from which Naval Aviators, guided by Captain Joseph M. Reeves, undertook the development of carrier operating techniques and tactics that were essential to victory in World War II. Though newer, larger and faster aircraft carriers arrived in the fleet in the later 1920s, the old "Covered Wagon" remained an operational carrier until October 1936, when she began conversion to a seaplane tender.

    Reclassified AV-3 following completion of this work in early 1937, Langley was mainly employed in the Pacific for the rest of her days. She was sent to the Far East in 1939 and was still there when the Pacific War began in December 1941. Through the early months of the conflict, she supported seaplane patrols and provided aircraft transportation services. While carrying Army fighters to the Netherlands East Indies on 27 February 1942, Langley was attacked by Japanese aircraft. Hit by several bombs and disabled, she was scuttled by her escorting destroyers.

    From Naval Historical Center home page
     

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  3. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The first aircraft carrier in the UK designed from the start as one was the Hermes. All previous carriers were modified from either light battlecruisers, merchant ships of one type or another and sometime cruisers.
    The Hermes had a number of firsts to her name and features that you would recognise in todays carriers.
    Hermes had the first flight deck that ran the whole length of the ship and the first Island superstructure. Her main problem was that she was to small and in later days could only carry about a dozen planes. That said she was an excellent seaboat and could operate her planes in conditions which foiled many other larger carriers. Protection was good and speed sufficient without going over the top.

    The lessons were learnt and incorporated in thedesign of the Ark Royal resulting in what was the best pre war aircraft carrier.
     
  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    USS Lexington, a 33,000-ton aircraft carrier, was converted while under construction from the battle cruiser of the same name. Built at Quincy, Massachusetts, and commissioned in December 1927, Lexington was one of the U.S. Navy's first two aircraft carriers that were large and fast enough to be capable of serious fleet operations. During the late 1920s, through the 1930s and into the early 1940s, she took an active part in the development of carrier techniques, fleet doctrine and in the operational training of a generation of Naval Aviators.

    Lexington was in the Pacific when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and took part in the U.S. Navy's first wartime operation, the abortive attempt in December 1941 to relieve Wake Island. In February and March 1942, she raided Japanese positions in the southwestern Pacific, then returned to Pearl Harbor for a brief overhaul and removal of her eight-inch guns.

    In early May, Lexington returned to the South Pacific in time to join USS Yorktown (CV-5) in successfully countering the Japanese offensive in the Coral Sea. On 7 and 8 May 1942 her planes helped sink the small Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho and participated in attacks on the large carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku. In turn, however, she was the target of Japanese carrier planes and received two torpedo and three bomb hits. Though initial damage control efforts appeared to be successful, she was racked by gasoline explosions in the early afternoon of 8 May. When the fires raged out of control, Lexington was abandoned by her crew and scuttled, the first U.S. aircraft carrier to be lost in World War II.

    From Naval Historical Center home page
     

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  5. GT

    GT Member

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    Update.
     
  6. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    Quite right gilder she was layed down in 1918 10,850 tons. she was the smallest fleet carrier ever operated by the Royal Navy.As you say this was the start of vessels with an Island. The general consensus for the Island being on the starboard side is, its the side the original steer-boards used to be located on in the early days of sail, so as the ship was helmed from the Island it would be placed on that side and the other was that there was a tendency for pilots who got into trouble to turn to port.
    When the Japanese built two carriers with Islands on the port side thinking this would ease congestion when two carriers where running a beam of each other the number of accidents was reported to have doubled.
    She proved the basic design for carriers to follow but due to her small flight deck, was by the time WW2 started not large enough for the faster and larger aircraft that had been developed in the intervening years.
     

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