Garyt wrote:I'd say an armored flight deck's importance varies by the needs of that nation.
For Instance, it would have been great for Japan if the Ships of Kido Butai would have had armored flight decks from the beginning of the war for a few major reasons:
1) Survivability - Japan did not have a large industrial base, making the carriers more survivable would have been a huge plus.
2) US bombers, Torpedoes vs Bombs - At the start of the war, neither US torpedoes or torpedo bombers were very good. Most damage done to Japanese carriers was by bomb. An armored flight deck makes bombs far far less effective.
3) Japanese lack of radar - Early in the war the Japanese carriers were sitting ducks when performing flight operations without early warning radar. Armored flight decks also solve this problem, as you are not going to have the hangar fires that destroyed early war Japanese carriers.
You will need a few more carriers to get the Job done as the air complements will be smaller, though a deck park could fix that and be less dangerous to a carrier than a if it did not have an armored deck.
With the US, having an armored flight deck was far less important, though it would have prevented the extensive damage a few of the carriers received from kamikazes. Whether this makes sense or not given the loss of air complement I am not sure. Really, as only a few carriers were subject to the intense fire damage received by the Bunker Hill for instance I'd say no. The US had far more resources to draw upon to replace the occasional burnt out carrier.
Lastly, I'd make sure the carriers had open hangars even if they had armored flight decks. It would help a lot in damage control, and prevent a ship from sharing the fate of the Taiho.
The only US carrier that I know of to have a build up of AVGAS and an explosion from the same was the Lexington, and I believe that carrier was of a closed hangar construction.
aurora wrote:The name "Oriskany" was an Essex, originally assigned to CV-18, but that hull was renamed Wasp when the keel was laid in 1942. CV-34 was laid down on 1 May 1944 by the New York Naval Shipyard (NYNSY), launched on 13 October 1945, and sponsored by Mrs. Clarence Cannon. Construction was suspended on 12 August 1947, when the ship was approximately 85% complete.
Oriskany was redesigned as the prototype for the SCB-27 modernization program. To handle the new generation of carrier aircraft, the "flight deck structure" was "massively reinforced". Stronger elevators, more powerful hydraulic catapults, and new arresting gear were installed. The island structure was rebuilt, the anti-aircraft turrets were removed, and blisters were added to the hull. Blistering the hull (also known as adding bulges) increases the cross-sectional area of a ship's hull, thereby increasing its buoyancy and stability. It also provides increased bunker volume. In the case of the Oriskany, this would have been for aviation fuel.
These features would have been crucial to a ship that had so much topside weight added after its original design. Oriskany was commissioned in the New York Naval Shipyard on 25 September 1950,
Wasp was also lost due to AVGAS explosions; no closed hangars there.
Franklin was nearly lost due to her fires and it seems certain that if she replaced Yorktown at Coral Sea or Hornet at Santa Cruz, and suffered her historical 1945 damage, that she would have been lost. Franklin only survived because the USN had total sea control; in a contested sea control environment, as during the 1942 carrier battles, she would have been scuttled
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