The United States Navy is the naval arm of the United States military, created in 1794.
Several ships in Pearl Harbor were trapped when the harbor mouth was blocked by sunken ships that had attempted to sortie. Thus, while the ships of the Pacific Fleet remained intact, they were powerless to contest the Japanese naval forces in Hawaiian waters. Functionally, the majority of the US Pacific Fleet was destroyed on December 7. During the invasion some of the remaining functioning ships in Pearl Harbor provided fire support for the United States Army and Marines fighting on Oahu. In addition, during the final part of the Oahu campaign, sailors fought as infantrymen, suffering heavy casualties due to their lack of training in ground combat. Courage and tenacity was no match for the battle-hardened Imperial Japanese Army, as shown during the fighting for Pearl City.
As for the valuable fleet carriers of the Pacific Fleet, the USS Enterprise and several of her escorts were sunk by the Japanese on December 7. Their planes attacked the enemy valiantly, but their efforts were in vain. US aircraft and fighter tactics were inferior to those of the Japanese. In addition, the USS Lexington was sunk in a different action in Hawaiian waters. The loss of two of the three carriers in the Pacific was a stunning blow to US morale.
In early 1942, the USS Saratoga was the only carrier remaining in the Pacific Fleet. To make up for this, the USS Hornet and the USS Yorktown, along with their escorts and a large portion of the US Atlantic Fleet were transferred to the Pacific Fleet. During the attempted US invasion of Oahu in 1942, both the Saratoga and the Yorktown were sunk and the Hornet was heavily damaged and had to limp back to the American mainland. Losses among their escorts ranged from moderate to heavy. In addition, nearly all of the pilots assigned to the three carriers were lost. The battle was a stunning defeat for the US Navy.
With only one fleet carrier remaining in the Pacific Fleet, and that one carrier being heavily damaged, US hopes for the liberation of Hawaii were dashed. However, 1943 would be a year of hope for the US Navy. The first of the Essex class carriers were finally coming off of the lines and into the fleet. Along with the USS Essex and the USS Bunker Hill, there were two other Essex class carriers that were commissioned in 1943. In addition, the Independence class light carrier began to join the fleet as well. While smaller and able to carry less aircraft than a fleet carrier, the light carriers nonetheless were able to pack a punch. And, last but not least, escort carriers were added to the US Navy's arsenal. Slow, converted merchantmen they may have been built on. But, they still were able to carry 30-some aircraft into battle.
In addition to the carriers being built, the fleet was joined by fast battleships, cruisers both heavy and light, and swarms of destroyers. Sheer numerical superiority was the order of the day. It was hoped that outnumbering the enemy two or three to one would be enough to secure victory.
This theory was proven during the successful US Invasion of Hawaii in 1943. Seven carriers made up the core of the task force, four Essex class CVs, and three Independence class CVLs. In addition, there were a number of escort carriers, as well. Escorts for this task force included battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, their numbers in the dozens. The Japanese task force defending Hawaii was no match for the new Pacific Fleet, being grossly outnumbered. Their airmen fought boldly, damaging a fleet carrier and sinking a light carrier, but they were slaughtered like lambs by vengeful US fighters. The ships that survived the ferocious US air strike fled Hawaiian waters completely, giving the US near total control of Hawaiian waters.
After the liberation of Hawaii, the Pacific Fleet prepared to move westward. Their next objective was the liberation of Midway Island.
Carriers in the Pacific Fleet in 1943 include the repaired USS Hornet, USS Wasp, USS Ranger, USS Essex, USS Bunker Hill, and at least two more Essex class fleet carriers. In addition, there were several Independence class light carriers. Along with the fast carriers, there were escort carriers built on transport ship hulls.
There were a number of battleships in the Pacific Fleet, of the North Carolina and South Dakota classes. These fast, modern battleships were relegated to support duties, however. The days of battle lines were long dead by 1943. A battleship in the Second World War was primarily used for shore bombardment and antiaircraft support.
Most of the US Atlantic Fleet was redeployed to the Pacific to make up for the losses suffered by the Pacific Fleet.
Aircraft of the US Navy included the F6F Hellcat, F4F Wildcat, SBD Dauntless, and the TBF Avenger. The TBD Devastator was retired after the first invasion of Oahu due to its poor handling and slow speed. While the Hellcat became the primary fighter aircraft of the fleet, the Wildcat continued to be flown off of escort carriers.
Throughout the Second American Revolution, the United States Navy had grown in size and power. This situation remained unchanged as the Confederate States of America suddenly reversed its steeply-declining fortunes on land in the 1864 campaign, routing the United States Army in all major and minor battles. The U.S. Navy maintained its tight blockade against the Confederacy, as the lethal new repeating rifles were of little use against its vast fleet, but the capture of Washington City forced an end to the war in the Confederacy's favor nonetheless.
The USS Kearsarge, a formidable sloop-of-war, had trapped the infamous Confederate raider CSS Alabama in the French port of Cherbourg when Washington city fell to the Army of Northern Virginia. Kearsarge had been lying in wait for Alabama to emerge so she could defeat her in battle, but word of the armistice reached both ships before they could fight, and the two warships instead sailed for home.
While it ended the Second American Revolution with its power still intact, the U.S. Navy was less fortunate in the next war it was to fight. When war broke out between Britain and the U.S., the far greater size and power of the Royal Navy all but drove the U.S. Navy from the seas; they were defeated in every decisive engagement and could only win decisively on the Great Lakes. This allowed the Royal Navy to blockade the eastern coast of the U.S. more tightly than the U.S. had blockaded the Confederacy. Outnumbered and outgunned, the U.S. Navy was unable to prevent severe damage to San Francisco, New York, and Boston, or to U.S. merchant shipping.
The US Navy was caught off guard when the US found itself at war in late 1941 and early 1942, as they were dealt savage blows by both the Japanese and the Germans. After President Joe Steele had Admiral Husband Kimmel executed for incompetence, the US Navy under Admirals Halsey and Nimitz struck back, defeating the Japanese in the years that followed, and allowing the US to invade Japan in late 1945.
The U.S. Navy went defunct when the Final War with the Draka was lost. Commodore Anson MacDonald, marooned on land, of necessity had to join what was left of the Army to continue the resistance against the Draka. This "defection" left him with extremely guilty feelings, which he understood to be wholly illogical.
The United States Navy provided crucial support to the U.S. Marines that liberated Siknazuak, Alaska in June 1929. Destroyers bombarded the town as the marines landed. Further, bombers from the USS Lexington attacked enemy positions on the Siknazuak River and in the town itself.
Many newspapers across the country were boggled by the sheer incompetence of the US Navy following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Reporting on one disaster after another, many reporters also questioned the competency of the Roosevelt administration’s Naval policy after an embarrassing story leaked about faulty torpedoes. The Navy's inability to deal with the U-boat problem plaguing the East Coast didn't help the situation ether.
Despite their only victory at the Battle of the Coral Sea, many newspapers chose to focus on the high losses the US Navy suffered, refusing to believe that reporting on Navy operations was responsible for their losses and claimed the Navy was just covering its tail.
After the disaster at Midway, the Pacific Fleet's last remaining carriers were sunk, forcing the Navy onto the defensive, and sealing the fate of the Roosevelt administration.
During the War of Secession, the United States Navy, despite its decayed condition, had blockaded the Confederate States coast while controlling interior rivers, but had done so only because the Confederate Navy was in even worse shape.
After the twin defeats in 1862 and in 1882 (the Second Mexican War), the U.S. Navy was reformed into a modern force along the lines of the British Royal Navy, and then, following the German-American alliance and Kaiser Wilhelm II's build-up of the High Seas Fleet, was made to follow bilateral naval operations in the North Atlantic. During the presidency of Alfred Thayer Mahan, the Navy built a fleet for the Atlantic and for Pacific .
It was thanks to the modern Navy and to Mahan's reforms that the United States was able to successfully defend both its coasts in the two Great Wars and project U.S. power onto enemy soil.
During the Second Great War, the U.S. Navy suffered a number of initial setbacks in both oceans, but ultimately drove Japanese forces back into their territory in the Pacific and won a major victory over the British Royal Navy in the Atlantic, which it followed up by retaking Bermuda (which it had lost to the British in 1941) and smuggling weapons to resistance fighters in Ireland.
- The Battle of Hampton Roads -- March 1862
- The Battle of Pearl Harbor -- August 1914
- The Battle of the Three Navies -- June 1916
- The Battle of Midway -- 1941-1943
- The Battle of the North Atlantic -- 1943
The US Navy had been a major power in both the Pacific and the Atlantic when World War II began in late summer of 1938. Although not involved, the US Navy did ship supplies to the Allies until the Big Switch in 1940. In the Pacific, their main concern was the Japanese, as the Navy had two squadrons, the Pacific Fleet, and the Asiatic Squadron.
When war broke out in January of 1941, the Asiatic Squadron found itself out gunned and fled south to the Dutch East Indies. The Pacific Squadron had better luck when it prevented the Japanese from completely destroying Pearl Harbor, though it lost a carrier, a battleship and a heavy cruiser in the ensuing melee.
The Asiatic Squadron regrouped in the East Indies and joined forces with the British and the Dutch for the Battle of the Java Sea, which ended in failure. After which, the surviving ships returned to Hawaii where Admiral Kimmel launched a massive fleet to take back Wake Island. Although the fleet succeeded in taking back the island, the IJN struck back, sinking all the fleets carriers and killing Admiral Kimmel in the process. After returning to Hawaii, the US Pacific Fleet then transferred ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific as a stop gap measure.
When the carriers arrived, the US Navy started sending small task forces to harass the Japanese garrisons on their numerous mid-Pacific islands.
The United States Navy (USN) was one of the United State's military branches arming and training for war in Europe and the Pacific when the Race invaded in 1942. The Race were surprised by the concept of naval warfare, but had no knowledge of it and the USN, like the navies of other nations, was largely spared from the Race's superior technology unless they bombarded the Race on land or launched planes at them.
As The Race lacked naval forces of any kind, the Navy was mainly used to ferry supplies during the war. However, once the US detonated an atomic bomb with supplies captured from Race starships all the way in Europe and transferred by ship, Fleetlord Atvar reluctantly ordered Race forces to engage ships from all nations. As Race killercraft, sparse and desperately needed on land, were the only ones able to accomplish this, not many ships were sunk.
- Asimov's Science Fiction, July/August, 2018.
- "Something Fishy."