Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Size is Subjective

OK, which of the two aircraft carriers in the picture is the largest? It would appear perhaps that the one behind, which is the USS Midway, is longer and it might be considered largest. But the one in front, the Japanese carrier Shinano, is actually a lot heavier and officially ranks as the largest carrier to come out of World War II. The Midway was 59,901 tons full load compared to Shinano's 71,890. Midway was 968' long and 113' wide, while Shinano was shorter at 872'8", but the Japanese ship was wider at 119'1", accounting for its greater displacement. Ironically both ships were based on battleship hulls. Midway's dimensions were based on the uncompleted Montana class that would have followed the Iowa's, while Shinano was laid down as a unit of the Yamato class but after the battle of Midway was redesigned as an aircraft carrier to compensate for the losses incurred during that battle. Both carriers had armored flight decks, a first for the U.S. navy, but the Shinano was the second ship in Japanese service to be so equipped, the first having been the Taiho. The Shinano would not be exceeded in size until the U.S. carrier Forrestal was commissioned in the mid-1950's.

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