History of The Aircraft Carrier - Genesis of The Flat-deck Carrier - Flat-deck Carriers in World War I

Flat-deck Carriers in World War I

HMS Ark Royal was arguably the first modern aircraft carrier. She was originally laid down as a merchant ship, but was converted on the building stocks to be a hybrid airplane/seaplane carrier with a launch platform. Launched on 5 September 1914, she served in the Dardanelles campaign and throughout World War I.

During World War I the Royal Navy also used HMS Furious to experiment with the use of wheeled aircraft on ships. This ship was reconstructed three times between 1915 and 1925: first, while still under construction, it was modified to receive a flight deck on the fore-deck; in 1917 it was reconstructed with separate flight decks fore and aft of the superstructure; then finally, after the war, it was heavily reconstructed with a three-quarter length main flight deck, and a lower-level take-off only flight deck on the fore-deck.

On 2 August 1917, Squadron Commander E.H. Dunning, Royal Navy, landed his Sopwith Pup aircraft on HMS Furious in Scapa Flow, Orkney, becoming the first man to land a plane on a moving ship. He was killed 5 days later during another landing on Furious.

Of carrier operations mounted during the war, one of the most successful took place on 19 July 1918 when seven Sopwith Camels launched from HMS Furious attacked the German Zeppelin base at Tondern, with two 50 lb (23 kg) bombs each. Several airships and balloons were destroyed, but as the carrier had no method of recovering the aircraft, two of the pilots ditched their aircraft in the sea alongside the carrier while the others headed for neutral Denmark.

Read more about this topic:  History Of The Aircraft Carrier, Genesis of The Flat-deck Carrier

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