United States navy fleet problems and the development of carrier aviation, 1929-1933

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Title: United States navy fleet problems and the development of carrier aviation, 1929-1933
Author: Wadle, Ryan David
Abstract: The U .S . Navy first took official notice of aviation in 1910 , but its development of carrier aviation lagged behind Great Britain ? ?s until the 1920s . The first American aircraft carrier , the Langley , commissioned in 1919 , provided the Navy with a valuable platform to explore the potential uses of carrier aviation , but was usually limited to scouting and fleet air defense in the U .S . Navy ? ?s annual interwar exercises called fleet problems . This began to change in 1929 with the introduction of the carriers Lexington and Saratoga in Fleet Problem IX . After this exercise , which included a raid by aircraft from the Saratoga that ? ?destroyed ? ? the Pacific side of the Panama Canal , the carriers were assigned a wider variety of roles over the next five years of exercises . During this time , the carriers gained their independence from the battle line , which the smaller and slower Langley had been unable to do . Reflecting the advanced capabilities of the new carriers , the fleet problems conducted during Admiral William Veazie Pratt ? ?s tenure as Chief of Naval Operations , 1930 -1933 , began to test the employment of the new carriers as the centerpiece of one of the opposing fleets within the exercises . The Lexington and Saratoga were used offensively during these exercises , employing their aircraft to sink surface ships , though not battleships , and successfully strike targets ashore . The carriers became successful in spite of the unreliability of early 1930s carrier aircraft , particularly the torpedo bombers , that could carry heavy payloads . Lessons learned from the Lexington and Saratoga Fleet Problems IX through XIV influenced the design of the next generation of American aircraft carriers , the Yorktownclass , which were authorized in 1933 . These new carriers were faster and much larger than the carrier Ranger , commissioned in 1934 and designed before the Lexington and Saratoga began participating in the exercises . Features incorporated into the Yorktownclass based on operational experience included the reduced need for large surface batteries because of the use of escort vessels , the emphasis of armoring against shellfire over aerial bombs and torpedoes , and the capability to launch large numbers of aircraft quickly .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /2658
Date: 2005-11-01


United States navy fleet problems and the development of carrier aviation, 1929-1933. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /2658 .

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