The United States Navy arose at the time of the American War of Independence, and from the very beginning its members gave in the fight against England undoubted proofs of high offensive spirit and seafaring ability. After this period, and after the beginning of the century. XIX, the navy was poorly maintained and greatly declined, so that at the outbreak of the Civil War neither of the two belligerents had significant naval forces. Therefore on the sea this war did not give rise to clashes of notable importance; nevertheless it produced new forms of shipbuilding (Merrimac and Monitor) and means of offense and defense (rod and anchored torpedoes). The valuable lessons of the war, however, were not much exploited by the United States Navy, and its successes against Spain in the Spanish-American War were achieved mainly thanks to the most modern material and the best strategic conditions. As a consequence of the victory, albeit easily achieved, in that war, and of the new American imperialism, the United States began to develop its own fleet, which by 1914 was already the third largest in the world.
At the end of the world war and immediately afterwards, a very strong current appeared in the United States in favor of an increasingly powerful navy, characterized by the second to none formula, which required truly enormous naval programs. However, the followers of arms reduction and an agreement with England obtained at the Washington conference (February 1922) that this race be slowed down, while at the same time sanctioning the concept of Anglo-American parity from the 5 main naval powers, which represented already a significant victory for the United States. As a result of this parity, the United States was assigned: 525,000 tons. of battleships with a maximum unit displacement of 35,000 tons. and armed with a caliber not exceeding 406; 135,000 tons of aircraft carriers with a unit displacement of 27,000 tons. (except for the two already under construction) with armament not exceeding 203, while no figures were set for light cruisers,
Subsequently, however, due to the effect of the London conference (February 1930), the tonnage of the United States navy was increased to 1,123,600 tons, divided as follows: battle ships tons. 462.400, with the unitary limitations already agreed; aircraft carrier tonn. 135,000; 18 cruisers of 10,000 tons. for 180,000 tons, cruisers smaller than 10,000 tons, 143,500 tons; bottle captain and destroyer tonn. 140,000; submarines tons 52,700. It was also established that: 1. If the United States wanted, they could only build 150,000 tons. of cruisers of 10,000 and dedicate 45,500 tons. of this share to smaller cruisers, while if they wanted to use the full tonnage for 10,000 cruisers, they could have built the last two only after 1936; 2. a passage of tonnage between the destroyer and small cruiser categories was allowed up to the limit of 10% of the planned tonnage; 3. It was allowed to equip 25% of the cruisers with flight decks without considering them as aircraft carriers; 4. 16% of the tonnage of the destroyers could be made up of bottle leaders between 1500 and 1850 tons. These figures would become challenging following the Franco-Italian agreement.
In 1936 the United States joined the draft convention studied at the London Naval Conference, on the following basis:
- In the first four months of each calendar year, all Contracting Powers must send all other Contracting Powers a notification concerning the shipbuilding program they intend to develop in the 12 months following the notification. In this first document, for each category of units, only the number of ships that are expected to be built and the maximum caliber of guns they will be armed with must be indicated.
- No units can be set before four months have passed from the date of the annual program notification.
- If, before the keel of the unit is set, major changes are decided in the characteristics communicated as stated above, the set-up of the unit should not be done earlier than four months from the date on which the changes are announced.
- All the above information must be given not only for units built on behalf of Contracting Powers, but also for those which may be built, in the jurisdiction of Contracting Powers, on behalf of non-Contracting Powers.
Since this project does not affect the composition of the fleets, the United States Navy has not had to carry out any radiation for now. It is currently constituted as follows:
Battleships: One in project of tons. 35,000. Three (Maryland, West Virginia, Colorado) launched in 1920-21, of 34,000 tons. and 21 knots, armed with 8/406, 12/127, 8/127 a.-y., 2 underwater launch tubes of 533. The first and the second have turbo-electric propulsion. These ships, among the most modern in the world, were built largely using the teachings of warfare. They are equipped with 2 catapults and 3 planes. Seven (California, Tennessee, New Mexico, Mississippi, Idaho, Arizona, Pennsylvania) launched in the years 1915-19, from 33,000 tons. and 21 knots, armed with 12/356 in 4 triple towers, 12/127, 8/127 a.-a. and 2 launch tubes. L ‘ Arizona and Pennsylvania have been refurbished in 1929; New Mexico, Idaho, Mississippi in 1933. New Mexico has turbo-electric engines. They are equipped with 2 catapults and 3 planes. Two (Nevada, Oklahoma) launched in 1914, of 29,800 tons. and 20 knots, armed with 10/356 in 4 towers, 12/127, 8/127 a.-a., 2 launch pipes, modernized in 1928-29 (including the replacement of the characteristic lattice masts with tripod ones). They are equipped with 2 catapults and 3 planes. Two (Texas, New York) launched in 1912, from 29,500 tons. and 21 knots, armed with 10/356 in 5 twin towers, 16/127, 8/76 a.-a., modernized as the previous ones in 1925-27. One (Arkansas) launched in 1911, of 27,000 tons. and 20-22 knots, armed with 12/305, 16/127, 8/76 y.-y., modernized in 1927. Wyoming of the same type, decommissioned following the London treaty, serves as a student training ship. The slightly smaller Utah has been transformed into a radio controlled target ship.
Cruisers type A (10,000 tons, armed with 203): 16 launched between 1929 and 1935 type Augusta (6), Portland (2), Astoria (5), Quincy (3), with speeds of 33-32 knots, armed with 9/203 and 4/127 (Augusta types also have 2 triple 533 launch tubes which should be suppressed; Augusta and Portland types have 2 catapults and 4 aircraft, while Astoria types have 2 catapults and 8 aircraft, of which 4 disassembled; for Quincy types this part of the armament has not yet been defined); 2 Pensacola type, launched in 1929, armed with 10/203, 4/127 a.-y., 2 triple launch tubes of 533 which seem to be suppressed, 2 catapults and 4 aircraft.
Cruisers type B (light, armed with caliber less than 203): 2 type St Louis, planned, of 8550 tons; 7 Savannah, under construction, of 10,000 tons. and 32.5 knots, armed with 15/152 and 8/127 a.-a.; 10 Omaha, launched between 1920 and 24, from 7000-8000 tons. and 33-34 knots, armed with 10, 11 or 12/152, 4/76 a.-a., 2 triple 533 launch tubes
You will take: Essex, on the slipway, from 14.soo tonn.; 2 Yorktown type, under construction, of 20,000 tons. and 34 knots, armed with 127 a.-a., capable of carrying 150 land-based aircraft; 1 Ranger, completed in 1933, of 13,700 tons. and 30 knots, armed with 8/127 y.o. and 50 a.-a. machine gunner, capable of 72 land-based devices; 2 Lexington and Saratoga (converted ex- battlecruisers), launched in 1925, of 35,000 tons. and 34 knots, armed with 8/203, 12/127 y.o., 4 underwater launch tubes of 533, capable of carrying 90 rigs assembled and 45 disassembled; 1 Langley (steamer transformed in 1921), 11,500 tons. and 15 knots, armed with 4/127 and capable of 34 aircraft. In addition, the Wright seaplane transport, launched in 1920, of 9553 tons. and 15 knots, armed with 2/127 and 2/76 a.-y., capable of carrying 12 seaplanes.
Flotilla drivers and destroyers: 13 launched in 1935 or under construction, of 1850 tons. and 37 knots, armed with 5/127 a.-a., 4 machine gunners and 2 quadruple launch tubes of 533; 53 launched in 1935 or under construction, from 1500-2300 tons. and 36.5 knots, armed like the previous ones (they have a range of 6000 miles); 8 launched in 1934-35, from 1360 tons. and 36.5 knots, armed like the previous ones; 92 launched between 1919 and 1921, from 1190-1300 tons. and 32-35 knots, armed (except for 5 armed with 4/127) with 4/102, 1/76 a.-a., and 4 triple 533 launch tubes (have a range of 5000 miles at 14 knots) ; 11 launched between 1915 and 1919, from 920-1060 tons. and 30-35 knots, armed like the previous ones. Some of these are available to the Ministry of Finance for coastal surveillance.
Submarines: a) team: 12 between under construction and planned, Sturgeon type, of 1400 tons; 6 under construction type Perch of 1300 tons; 4 launched in 1935, type Shark and Pike, of 1290 tons, armed with 6 launch tubes of 533 and a 76; 2 type Chacalot, launched in 1933, from 1110-1650 tons. and 17/8 knots, armed like the previous ones; 1 (Dolphin) launched in 1932, from 1540-2215 tons. and 17/8 knots, armed with 6 x 533 launch tubes and 1 x 102 gun; 2 type N (Narwhal, Nautilus), launched in 1927-29, from 2700-3965 tons. and 17/8 knots, armed with 6 tubes of 533 and two guns of 152; 1 (Argonaut), launched in 1927, from 2700-41oo tons. and 14.6 / 8 knots, armed with 4 tubes of 533 and 2/152, capable of carrying 1 aircraft and 60 mines, with an autonomy of 10,000 miles; 3 type B (Barracuda, Bass, Bonita), launched in 1924, from 2200-2500 tons. and 21/10 knots, armed with 6 launch tubes of 533 (4 bow) and 1/127; 3 type T, launched in 1918-19, from 1120-1500 tons. and 20/11 knots, armed with 4 twin pipes of 533 and 1/102.
b) 1st class: 45 type S, launched between 1919 and ’24, of which the first 40 from 870-1100 tons. and 14/10 knots, and the last 10 of 900-1140-1000-1250 tons, all armed with 4 tubes of 533. The autonomy of all these boats is on average 5000 miles at 11 knots.
c) 2nd class: 29 type OR, launched between 1918 and 1919, from 360-440-580-690 tons. and 12-10-15-11 knots, armed with 4 launch tubes of 450 and 1/76 a.-y., with autonomy from 2800 to 5000 miles.
The United States Navy also has a number (14) of fast minelayers (ex-destroyers), minesweepers (43), gunboats (43) for service in China and colony, surveillance units (3), submarine fighters (27) and special vessels (training vessels, support vessels CC. TT., support vessels, factory vessels, oil transport vessels, food, coal, ammunition, hydrographic vessels and yachts, as well as, in the ex-battleship Utah and in the hunting Boggs and Lamoerton of radio-controlled target ship).
The naval forces of the United States are grouped into the metropolitan fleet which includes: the battle team, the exploration team, the aircraft carrier division, the submarine team, the auxiliary ship division; in the Asian team and in the special division. The metropolitan fleet is stationed alternately on the coasts of the two oceans.
The main naval bases in America are Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Key West, New Orleans, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Guantanamo, Culebra, Balboa; in Asia Pearl Harbor, Apra, Pago Pago. An important reserve is constituted by the armed ships of the US Coast Guard, which in peace is administered by the Department of the Treasury, in war is destined to operate with the navy. The training of the officers is done in the Naval Academy of Annapolis (Maryland).
The strength of the United States Navy is 10,155 officers and 102,500 non-commissioned officers and communes, all volunteers; this force also includes the marine infantry (1020 officers, 155 corps officers, 18,500 non-commissioned officers and municipalities) and the air force (967 officers, 10,950 non-commissioned officers and municipalities), which form an integral part of it. Given the vast means available and the excellent qualities of the American people, these personnel are excellently organized and are always perfectly trained with modern concepts and means.
Military aviation. – The Army Air Force (land aviation) depends on the War Department for personnel, and on labor for material. The Army Air Forces consist of a general aviation command, a fighter regiment, a bombing regiment, an attack regiment and two regiments located outside the territory (one in Hawaii and the other in Panama) ; in total it includes 15 groups, that is 66 squadrons, with a total of 1097 war aircraft. The personnel are made up of 1300 officers, 268 flight cadets (junior officer officers) and 13,600 men between non-commissioned officers and troops, of which 2700 are specialized.
Navy aviation depends on the Bureau of Aeronautics of the Department of the Navy, is governed by a chief and a sub-chief and divided into six main divisions which are in turn divided into sections and subsections. The Navy’s air force has 920 aircraft, of which 360 are reconnaissance aircraft, 200 fighters, 75 bombers or torpedoes, 150 large coastal surveillance seaplanes (long-range reconnaissance), 95 for school and training, 40 for transport; it has 1350 pilots and 13,000 men. Its aircraft are embarked on battleships, on cruisers of 10,000 and 7500 tons and on aircraft carriers (see above).
The large seaplanes are instead assigned in part to some bases such as that of Coco Solo (Panama) and Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), and in part to the fleet, supported by the auxiliary ship Wright and some 840-ton minesweepers, specially equipped. The aviation for the marine infantry is made up of a fighter squadron, four reconnaissance squadrons, one for bombing and two for training and transport.