Heavy Metal (2000– )
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Aircraft Carrier 

One of the most crucial weapons of World War Two's war in the Pacific was the aircraft carrier but it was also a compelling target. This program explains the critical role of the aircraft ... See full summary »

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One of the most crucial weapons of World War Two's war in the Pacific was the aircraft carrier but it was also a compelling target. This program explains the critical role of the aircraft carrier in the battles of the Pacific with a major focus on the many unique dangers the sailors faced. Written by David Foss

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2004 (USA)  »

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Ungainly, Expensive, Necessary.
27 July 2015 | by See all my reviews

I THINK this review applies to this episode but I'm not sure. The programs available on YouTube frequently don't include the opening credits and the titles are confusing. Not that anyone should expect much variation in an hour-long television program about the use of aircraft carriers in World War II.

Anyone with an interest in the period probably already knows the general picture of American carriers in the Pacific. One by one, they were lost until only a single vessel remained, but they were eventually replaced by far more and better designed carriers.

This program, if it's the one I'm thinking of, is a little unusual in that it covers the superb Japanese ships that were built before the war, as well as the rigorous and painful training the naval aviators underwent.

It also describes the use of carrier air power in Korea and Vietnam. The use of naval airplanes was limited in Vietnam because of the absence of strategic targets during much of the war.

I admire the candor of the writing too. There was a race between superpowers during the Cold War to see who could build the biggest carriers. We won, partly because we spent the Soviet Union into oblivion.

And that's one of the major points I took away from the program. Aircraft carriers are necessary to support what the narrator calls "America's far-flung interests overseas," whatever that means. But, essential though they are, they are each enormously expensive. An American carrier now costs almost as much as the entire annual defense budget of the UK.


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