An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying
and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power great distances without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations. They have evolved from wooden vessels, used to deploy balloons, into nuclear powered warships that carry dozens of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
Aircraft carrier in Days of Infamy
Although the aircraft carrier was already being employed in battle, the Japanese were the ones to prove its true worth when they entered World War II in early December 1941. After the invasion of Hawaii, the carrier was the new front line weapon of the sea.
As the war progressed, the carrier evolved into three classes. Fleet carriers, which provided the major punch for the fleet. Light carriers, which were mainly cruiser conversion, weren't as powerful as fleet carriers but were far more numerous and inexpensive, and escort carriers, called baby flat-tops, which were freight ship conversions. These were extremely slow and weren't able to keep up with major fleets. These carriers were mainly to provide cover for troop transports.
Aircraft carrier in Southern Victory
The first aeroplane carrier, later spelled airplane carrier, was commissioned USS Remembrance by the U.S. Navy in 1917. It was a flight deck placed atop the incomplete hull of what was originally meant to be a battleship. Later carriers were built from scratch by the US Navy as well as by the British, German, and Japanese fleets.
Initially perceived as nothing more than a gimmick, the airplane carrier proved its value during the Pacific War (1932-1934) between the U.S. and Japan, the first time carriers were used as the primary weapon of war. The Japanese Navy were also able launch an air raid on Los Angeles from a carrier in 1932.
During the Second Great War, all the major fleet powers employed airplane carriers in their respective navies. Although fleet carriers were the prime weapon of task forces, there were also escort carriers built from freighter hulls, nicknamed "baby flattops". These were seen as stop-gap carriers, which, while painfully slow, were quickly built and easily made ready for combat.
Aircraft carrier in The War That Came Early
When Japan attacked the Soviet Union in 1939, its aircraft carriers were used to provide air support for the army's attack on Vladivostok. When Germany invaded Norway in the same year, the RN attempted to do the same, but their fleet's air arm wasn't on par with the Luftwaffe.
When Japan attacked the US base at Pearl Harbor January 1941, the US only lost one carrier, but two others were badly damaged. When the United States began an attempt to retake Wake Island the Japanese hardly deployed their own battleships, instead decimating the American Navy with their airplanes, launched from their carriers as well as from Japanese-controlled islands. The massive US Task Force was defeated, and the US Navy lost its remaining carriers altogether. It also lost its fleet commander, Admiral Husband Kimmel, who went down with his flagship, the USS Arizona. His successors realized that without air cover they had no hope of reaching their objective, the Philippines, and that trying to move forward was suicidal, ordering a withdrawal back to Hawaii.
The US embarked immediately on a crash program of constructing new aircraft carriers. Pending their completion, naval planners were reduced to moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific the USS Ranger - a less than perfect choice of aircraft carrier, designed for training more than actual fighting - and using it to spearhead a cautious new offensive.
Aircraft carrier in Worldwar
Home was mostly land, its seas small and land-locked. In the time when it was divided into several countries, these did not have a navy as a separate service and their wars were decided in land fighting. Thus, the extensive use of navies and ships by Tosevites was a surprise to members of the Race. It should not have been, as they could see that seas made up the greater part of Tosev 3's surface.
While the aircraft carrier played no significant role in the war against the Race, Fleetlord Atvar and his generals were surprised by the concept of making boats big enough to put fighter craft on them. During a meeting in the early days of the invasion, Atvar received reports on fighter planes that appeared out from the ocean and raided bases on the Chinese coast. Tosevite nations did not use their carriers often, as the Race would generally find and destroy them using more advanced Killercraft if they attacked.