Segments in this Video

Naval Aviation Legacy (02:22)


Modern navies rely on airplanes for reconnaissance and support. The Aircraft Carrier has been the foremost warship since World War II. Helicopters are used for submarine warfare, supply drops, communication and troop transportation.

Naval History (02:09)

During the early 1900s, Battleships dominated naval warfare; guns developed a range of ten miles. Cruisers served as independent scouters, and the Battle Cruiser had dual functions. Destroyers fitted with torpedoes followed and bombed boats in retreat.

Naval Aviation Pioneers (04:12)

In the 1890s, Samuel Pierpont Langley launched an aircraft from his roof. Zeppelins operated over the North Sea by 1914. In November 1910, Eugene Ely took off from the USS Birmingham; in 1911, he landed on the same ship.

Empress, Riviera, and Engadine (04:24)

At the onset of World War I, aircraft functioned as land planes, coastal operating sea planes, and reconnaissance airships; in 1914, Britain's aviation arm formed the Royal Flying Core and Royal Naval Air Service. Winston Churchill ordered attacks on Zeppelins; three passenger ships were converted to sea plane carriers.

Notable Firsts (04:36)

The original mission of the Royal Navy's HMS Ark Royal was to communicate to warships on the Mediterranean. Aviators used small bombs in attacks against ships until the torpedo was developed; in August 1915, an aerial attack was successfully carried out by a sea plane that did not achieve liftoff.

Battle of Jutland (05:50)

Germany and Britain’s navies focused on North Sea control; Admiral Reinhard Van Scheer planned to eradicate the British Grand Fleet with aid of submarines and airships. Intelligence reached Admiral John Jellicoe and Admiral David Beatty; they led the largest navy fleet battle of the war.

Air Craft Carriers (06:08)

To adopt small fighter planes, the Royal Navy Air Service modified a light battle cruiser. In August 1917, Edwin Dunning made the first successful touchdown onto a moving ship. The HMS Argus was developed with a flight deck the length of the vessel; it was used in the last weeks of World War I.

Early Adaptations (03:51)

In spring 1918, warships were modified to accommodate fighter planes, launching them off ramps. The aircraft had airbags, deploying when landing on water. In 1917, the British Ground Fleet used observation balloons for target control.

Submarine Scouts (05:51)

In 1914, the rules of war dictated that merchant vessels only be bombed after the crew abandoned ship; Germans used submarines to destroy supply lines and maritime boats without restriction. In summer 1915, the British employed blimps to spot U boats. North Sea Patrol airships transmitted intelligence to warships.

Spider's Web (08:07)

The British Royal Naval Air Service developed flying boats armed with machine guns and bombs. In spring 1917, Germans deployed Hansa Brandenburg B-12. In early 1918, the United States Navy service fleet used British and French aircraft, forcing the opposition to sail only at night.

Impacting Warfare (02:25)

During World War II, anti-submarine vessels were equipped with advanced detection gear and weaponry. Fighter advancements were progressive; half the German U boats were sunk by air strike. By the end of World War I, naval aircraft and carriers developed, and become an integral part of sea forces.

Credits: Wings Over The Sea (00:43)

Credits: Wings Over The Sea

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Century Of Flight: Wings Over The Sea

Part of the Series : Century of Flight
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This episode of Century of Flight covers the development of naval aviation during the Great War. We travel back from the aircraft carriers of today to see how early aircraft were used solely for reconnaissance. Early float planes led to the development of long range flying boats. The coming of the aircraft carrier heralded a new age of aircraft versus ship. In combating other ships, including submarines, color footage shows how the aircraft became the ship’s greatest enemy.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL185472

ISBN: 978-1-64623-947-4

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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