January 17, 2011


In 1918, the Royal Navy commissioned the world's first ship to be easily recognizable as an aircraft carrier, the HMS Argus.  In 1922, the Imperial Japanese Navy commissioned the first ever ship designed and built as an aircraft carrier, the Hosho.  In between, the US Navy sent to sea the first of an unbroken line of carriers that led directly to today's nuclear-powered supercarriers. 

But on the face of it, the American carrier had a very odd beginning.

The USS Jupiter (AC-3) joined the fleet in 1913 as the first electric-drive ship in the US Navy.  A collier, her job was to provide underway replenishment to the fleet.  This task led to her most distinctive feature, the vertical towers, called kingposts, amidships.  These were structural supports for coaling booms, which would be lowered when a ship was alongside.  Coal would then be sent down the booms to the decks of the receiving vessel.

These kingposts proved to be one of the reasons she was selected to become the basis for the first US aircraft carrier.


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January 16, 2011

The Seaplane Tender That Changed The World

After that headline, you're probably rolling your eyes... what seaplane tender changed the world?

That one... and I'm working on a ship profile on it.  I intended to have it up tonight, but it's not happening.  It will be up sometime Monday, as I've got the day off, so look forward to it!

(ps - no, this isn't a "name that ship" contest, I just wanted to put a teaser picture up, though if you want to take a shot, go ahead)

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:47 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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January 03, 2011

The Forgotten Hero Ship

In my own personal shorthand, there is a category I call 'hero ships.'  These vessels, for one reason or another, just stick in the mind as incredibly important... even if they really weren't in the grand scheme of things.  Sometimes it's just because they have a cool name, sometimes it's because they seemed to be in the midst of all the action, sometimes it's because they were particularly influential.  Ships like USS Enterprise, or HMS Ark Royal (the greatest name for a ship ever).  The IJN Yamato is a 'hero ship,' even though it didn't do much in WWII.  So are the Bismarck and the HMS Hood, fated to be forever joined on history.  The doomed USS Indianapolis and USS Arizona.  There are probably dozens of others in my head, ships that anybody with any knowledge of WWII have heard of.

Then there's the ship we're discussing here.  Imagine if you will a vessel that was present at the following battles: the Doolittle raid; Midway; the attacks against the Solomons; Guadalcanal; New Georgia; Wake Island; the Gilbert Islands; the Marshall Islands; Truk; the Marianas battles; Luzon; the naval raids on the Japanese home islands; Iwo Jima; Okinawa; Tokyo Bay.  She also just missed the Coral Sea.

And yet, nobody considers her a 'hero ship'... and they really should.  For without her and her sisters, the US would have had a much harder time of it in the Pacific War.


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