Critique: Submitted by David Anderson

From David Anderson:  This is my rebuttal to the comment that "the American carriers were more vulnerable to kamikaze attack than their British counterparts," from The Man Who Once Was Whizzer White, by Dennis J. Hutchinson (The Free Press, New York: 1998), Page 190.

   My first reaction to Mr. Hutchinson’s text was, “Why bring this up now?  You haven’t written about this before, but you choose to make an issue of it at this point!”

   Yes, British carriers had armored (armoured) flight decks.  The American (and American-built) carriers had a thin metal deck that supported the wooden flight deck.  But this is only one side of the controversy.

   The U. S. Navy’s point of view was that their aircraft carriers had more airplanes, which could be refueled more times, before having to meet the service force.  Consequently, the USN carrier could stay on station for a longer time, fly more sorties, and do more damage to the enemy before having to replenish aviation fuel, ship’s fuel, aircraft, pilots, and food...     


Famous photo's enduring mystery

Famous photo's enduring mystery

It's one of the war's most dramatic photographs: Illustrious's steaming and smoking flight deck as the devastating attacks of January 10, 1941, unfold.

A crewman, slightly off balance, stands amid the fumes near the ship's centreline - starkly framed by the toppled lift platform jutting out of the smoking aft lift well.

Officers and crew - their reflection's shining clearly on the slick-wet flight deck - cluster against the island and the edges of the ship. Probably to avoid burning their feet on the hot armour directly above the aft hangar fires.

What does this tell us?

Active versus reserve aircraft on the Yorktown class

Active versus reserve aircraft on the Yorktown class

Post on Yorktown airgroups separated out of the "Debunking Slade & Worth's essays" section by Robert Morgan.

Overall, I really respect your analysis. One area I would debate, however, regards the load out of the Yorktowns in the early war period. The spares were usually pretty much ready to go, not crated up or in parts. They were typically hung from the hangar deck overhead in fully assembled condition. So, it wouldn’t take long to lower a spare from the overhead and get it ready to go. These spares are probably best looked at as full members of the air group, with minimal time needed to get them up and operational, although they were typically administratively assigned to the ship herself, and not her air group.

Armoured flight decks: Were the armoured aircraft carriers worthwhile?

Armoured flight decks: Were the armoured aircraft carriers worthwhile?

Putting perspective and precision into the armoured carrier debate

The essays of Slade and Worth on the NavWeaps website which compare Britain's armoured carriers to the performance of the United States' carriers have become the generally accepted "internet authority" on the subject. But scratching the surface of their work reveals the essays to be riddled with factual error, a lack of knowledge relating to Mediterranean and Atlantic operations, as well as minimal understanding of the circumstances of Task Force 57's operations off Sakishima Gunto.

The magnitude of such factual errors render their conclusions suspect.

The following rebuttals aim to set the record straight.