Naval powers at the start of WW2

Oct 2015
949
Virginia
By 1939 all captains of US Navy aircraft carriers had to be aviators. Was this always the case? Langley's first captain (1922) was a pioneer aviator, but I'm not sure about his successors or Saratoga and Lexington. Did the Royal Navy require carrier captains to be aviators?

Is there a list somewhere of how many Catalinas, Hudsons, Venturas, Hellcats, Corsairs, Wildcats/Martlets, Avengers/Tarpons , Buffalos, Vindicators, Buccaneers et al were purchased or provided via lend lease to the UK and the Dominions? (and other allies). There is an Army publication that lists all Army transfers, but I can find nothing from the Navy (!)
 

Triceratops

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,016
Late Cretaceous
By 1939 all captains of US Navy aircraft carriers had to be aviators. Was this always the case? Langley's first captain (1922) was a pioneer aviator, but I'm not sure about his successors or Saratoga and Lexington.
This is from the wiki entry for Ernest J King:

In 1926, Rear Admiral William A Moffet, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics(BuAer), asked King if he would consider a transfer to naval aviation . King accepted the offer and took command of the aircraft tender USS Wright with additional duties as senior aide on the staff of Commander, Air Squadrons, Atlantic Fleet.

That year, the United States Congress passed a law (10 USC Sec 5942) requiring commanders of all aircraft carriers, seaplane tenders , and aviation shore establishments be qualified naval aviators or naval aviation observers. King therefore reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, for aviator training in January 1927. He was the only captain in his class of twenty, which also included Commander Richmond K Turner.

King was captain of USS Lexington 1930 to 1932.
 
Oct 2015
949
Virginia
Not surprising (I guess) that it took an actual "Act Of Congress" to get the salt-encrusted Navy to change its ways.
Admiral Halsey earned his wings in 1935, at age 52!
 

Triceratops

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,016
Late Cretaceous
Struggling with definite information on Royal Navy Captains of Aircraft Carriers.

Checked three captains of the Ark Royal, Arthur Power, Cedric Holland and Loben Maund, and have not found any mention of them having learned to fly.

D'oyly- Hughes of Glorious, on the other hand, did have a pilot's licence.
 

Triceratops

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,016
Late Cretaceous
This is from the armouredcarriers website:

"Captain Mackintosh was something of a rarity among the Royal Navy’s carrier commanders. He had been an FAA Observer, so he understood the challenges and technical considerations of naval flying."

Going by that, an RN aircraft carrier was not necessarily commanded by an aviator.

Armoured Aircraft Carriers
 
Last edited:

pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,001
@Triceratops,

In the Treaty navies of the 1920s and 30s, command of a seaplane tender or an aircraft carrier may not have been seen to be as desirable a billet as other warships. I can't be positive about that, but battleship captains and admirals were still more important. In 1939 there were only a couple dozen CVs in all the five navies' fleets.**

Battleships and heavy cruisers were more like 100 or more. Naval aviation, in terms of equipment and tactics, only began to find its place in the mid to late 1930s, and at that mostly in the Pacific.

EDIT: ** The five navies had 51 BBs and 59 CAs among them as far as I can tell.
 
Last edited:

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,069
Navan, Ireland
I am not so sure that the Admiralty is that much to blame for the naval aviation reality in 1939. Budget money goes only so far, and carrier aircraft - of which there were only a few hundred, or maybe 500-600 - certainly took a back seat to warships and much other expense. In the late 1930s, the minimal number of carrier aircraft was a minor issue. Few naval experts at that time, even though sensing that it would become increasingly important, fully understood the impact of naval air power.
I would not disagree but I have always read the 'blame' for the poor condition of the FAA squarely put onto the RAF but recent reading has 'enlightened' me to the fact that the RN didn't help matters -- for instance the Fairy Fulmer was their new fighter at the start of the war and I have always sighed in pity when I have seen it and thought 'what were the RAF thinking'-- I know realise that it was the Admiralty who added the requirement for a maritime recon role and the addition of a second crew member.

We should be aware I agree not to look with hindsight, Carriers were new and planes not much older they were dealing with the thinking of the time against a back drop of economic hardship and also widespread pacifism.
 

Triceratops

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,016
Late Cretaceous
There was a plan in Britain for a new base for a Far East Fleet to be built. Ceylon was too far back, Hong Kong too far forward. Australia and New Zealand lobbied for Sydney, but in the end, Singapore was chosen.
Note: there was an existing base at Singapore, but this was a brand new base to be built on the North Side of the Island on the Johore Strait.
This was in 1921.

When the Washington Treaty was agreed, there was a provision that no new naval bases be built East of the 110th Meridian, Singapore is at 103. Existing bases could be repaired to their existing standard, but could not be improved on.

So Britain could build a new naval base at Singapore, it was completed in 1938, but how did this affect the USN and the IJN??
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,445
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
Struggling with definite information on Royal Navy Captains of Aircraft Carriers.

Checked three captains of the Ark Royal, Arthur Power, Cedric Holland and Loben Maund, and have not found any mention of them having learned to fly.

D'oyly- Hughes of Glorious, on the other hand, did have a pilot's licence.
Captain D' O.H! turned out to be a disaster, probably having a pilots licence was worse, as it prompted him to second guess or try to micromanage the air group commander.