Aircraft Carrier Development
World War II brought much technological advancement that changed the way war was waged; however, the invention of the aircraft carrier was the most important advancement which actually began at the end of World War I. After the plane was invented it was soon used for reconnaissance and then pilots eventually dropped bombs from them and eventually weapons were shot from them at other planes and ground troops. After improvements such as more powerful engines, lighter materials, and weapons synchronized to the speed of the propeller came the new method of transporting planes and using their firepower overseas with the aircraft carrier. Aircraft carriers transformed the methods used to fight battles during World War II because Army and Marine Infantrymen had air support while raiding axis countries and islands which would not have been available because of fuel limitations of aircraft. A pivotal demonstration of aircraft carrier usage in World War II was the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Imperial Japanese Navy launched several waves of torpedo planes and dive bombers to attack the cruisers, destroyers, and battleships at Pearl Harbor as well as fighter planes and hangars in order to crush the United States’ naval power. The ultimate objective of Pearl Harbor; however, was to destroy the United States’ aircraft carriers because Japan knew about the tactical advantages of having aircraft carriers as well as the industrial capacity of the United States to make more warships and weapons. “Since Pearl… Japan’s industrial base could
not compensate for the losses its navy suffered.” The aircraft carrier was the single most important technological advancement during World War II that contributed to the efficiency of the United States war effort and brought about a quicker, less costly end to World War II.
Aircraft carriers were not always the gargantuan hunks of metal that they are today. The first aircraft carriers began development at the end of World War I with the invention of the airplane. When technological advances such as mounted machine guns, bomb sights, and rear gunners were invented so was the method of aircraft transport. Experimental aircraft carriers were basically battleships with a huge piece of flat wood bolted on top of them. Airplanes were originally stored the flight deck of the carriers and only few amounts were able to be stored because of the space required to take off and land. Proper methods of takeoff and landing also underwent extensive experimentations. Many pilots crashed their planes in to the water because adequate space in which to take off had not been discovered. Another factor that contributed to experiments in adequate amounts of take off space was the proper amount of air speed that the plane required to sustain flight. The earliest method of launching planes off of battleships was turret jumping which “was not entirely satisfactory...