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Introduction The United States Navy calls its Nimitz class aircraft carriers “4.5 acres of sovereign and mobile American territory” and highlights their importance to American strategy by noting that an “aircraft carrier doesn’t just launch aircraft – it projects power”. The aircraft carrier has an ability like no other war vessel to deploy aircraft and serve as a base of operations for a wide variety of military activities. As a result, the US Navyforms entire battlegroups or fleets around the use of these vessels and regularly deploys them abroad to meet their strategic objectives. Given that air power is a relatively recent development in the grand scheme of military history, the speed of contemporary development in aircraft carriers is …show more content…
However, these two were not alone in this endeavor and the Japanese were creating a fleet of their own; the importance of the aircraft carrierwas about to be established permanently with the attack on Pearl Harbour. Leading up to World War Two, the US Navy did not believe the aircraft carrier could ever fulfill a role greater than support to battleships and employed them in this manner, it was after all the “age of the battleship”. This argument may have been rooted in the fact that many aircraft could not effectively engage a battleship owing to technological limitations and the aircraft carrier itself was lightly armed, if armed at all, in order to accommodate the aircraft. History would eventually demonstrate how wrong these strategic decisions were and arguably without World War Two there may not have been a number of key developments that contribute to the modern-day aircraft …show more content…
The first of which was the sinking of the HMS Courageous in 1939 by a German U-boat. An old aircraft carrier at the beginning of the war and a converted battlecruiser, the vessel was tasked with providing escort to merchant ships by providing anti-submarine protection in a convoy with other destroyers to provide protection to the carrier. Despite this, a single German submarine was able to successfully engage and sink the HMS Courageous, escaping without harm from the depth-charge wield escorts to report the success back to Germany. This highlighted two key strategic weaknesses of aircraft carriers, the first being their need for anti-submarine escort and their vulnerability to small, relatively cheaper instruments of war. HMS Courageous was escorted by four destroyers who were armed for anti-submarine warfare who, in theory, should have been able to safely escort the vessel from this very threat. Furthermore, aside from the resources tied up in escorting the carrier, the air planes which were meant to excel in this field were equally ineffective in defending their own air base. Shore based aircraft had the distinction advantage of being able to return to a relatively safe air base that was very likely to be there when they returned, unlike carrier-based aircraft. The advantage of extending the range of

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