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1Sherman

Something odd I noticed about the layout of USS Langley.

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In all the old pictures of USS Langley when she was a full CV rather than a collier or a seaplane tender, I always see that she didn't have an island or a control tower, just a flight deck. A quick Google search showed me that her bridge was located underneath the flight deck, and with all the steel beams and other structural bits that can be seen, it must have made navigating the ship and managing her planes extremely difficult, particularly since she was built well before radar was a thing. I wonder if there was any practical reason for why the USN did this, aside from just the fact that she was the first CV they ever had and they were likely sorting out a lot of bugs with her. Obviously this was something they never did again, since Lexington, Saratoga, Ranger, and every other American CV built afterwards all had island bridges and control towers.

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She was 'good enough' to try flight operations from, and they used an old collier because they had one lying around and welding a flight deck to an existing, functioning hull was a lot cheaper and faster than designing and building a whole new ship from the ground up. As for why there was no island but the bridge was under the deck, they hadn't invented the concept of an island yet. Look at early British and Japanese carriers, they were also still experimenting with where to put the control center.

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What Lert said basically as to initial designs. However, flight deck space, as the island presented an obstacle as well, Increased height, meaning easier to spot, list of other drawbacks. Why despite them sticking to an island structure, designs particularly post-Midway class looked at going back to a flush flight deck. Namely by making it that the bridge could be lowered and raised on I think Forrestal class initially. Another concept was this -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_United_States_(CVA-58)

Issues at the time were smoke over the flight deck from vents, lack of places to put Radar, etc. But overall, because it also meant carrying larger planes at the time, and meant something like the "Doolittle Raid" could have been pulled off a little bit easier or with different planes. But, by the time you get to the 50's and up with the Forrestal's and later, by this point, unlike on earlier CV's like Midway ans Essex classes catapaults are more or less perfected and able to aid larger and larger aircraft in getting off the deck, smaller craft are carrying heavier payloads, etc so, in many ways, the section where the island is now is in some ways, irrelevant to the space on the flight deck beyond parking a couple extra planes. Look at "modern" CV's aka  everything with an angled deck starting with Forrestal, basically, nothing actually really goes past the same way as it used to have to - aircraft are launched from catapults well forward or on the angle deck away from the island, and aircraft that are landing as I recall come over the angle decks line now so all together - there's no real need or reason to build without the island.

 

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1 hour ago, Lert said:

She was 'good enough' to try flight operations from, and they used an old collier because they had one lying around and welding a flight deck to an existing, functioning hull was a lot cheaper and faster than designing and building a whole new ship from the ground up. As for why there was no island but the bridge was under the deck, they hadn't invented the concept of an island yet. Look at early British and Japanese carriers, they were also still experimenting with where to put the control center.

That's very helpful, thanks. I still find it odd though that island or no island, they'd place the bridge somewhere that doesn't give a good view of the seas around you. I would have thought that if there was no island, they'd place it essentially on the prow of the ship so they'd have at least OK visibility.

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Another thing to consider, The USS Langley's bridge is located in a similar location to USS Jupiter (AKA, the Langley before she was converted.) It looks like it was modified or replaced, but would still connect to the speaking tubes, steering gear, ect...

USS Jupiter

USS Langley

 

 

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12 minutes ago, SgtBeltfed said:

Another thing to consider, The USS Langley's bridge is located in a similar location to USS Jupiter (AKA, the Langley before she was converted.) It looks like it was modified or replaced, but would still connect to the speaking tubes, steering gear, ect...

USS Jupiter

USS Langley

 

 

This...^^^ 

And if you look at this photo from 1920, Jupiter's bridge had already been constructed.  That's a lot of control systems to have to alter to add an island.

1920px-USS_Jupiter_(AC-3)_at_Mare_Island_on_16_October_1913_(NH_52365).thumb.jpg.bfe270741372aef38e769fe302ba07a5.jpg

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Now, I see what they did, they cut the top off of it (only an open control station, nothing actually structural) , and ran a walkway around the back side of it with bridge wings. Looks like they may have changed the windows as well.

020112.jpg

I had originally thought they had moved the bridge aft, so it overhung the step in the hull.

Edited by SgtBeltfed
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54 minutes ago, 1Sherman said:

That's very helpful, thanks. I still find it odd though that island or no island, they'd place the bridge somewhere that doesn't give a good view of the seas around you. I would have thought that if there was no island, they'd place it essentially on the prow of the ship so they'd have at least OK visibility.

Many early carrier designs lacked islands because the degree to which the presence of an island and smoke stacked may affect the turbulence of the air in the landing glide path was unknown. The aircraft were lighter in construction and were more susceptible to air turbulence as well. 

The t6 IJN CV Ryujo has a bridge at the very front of the CV, this spot is probably not ideal since it’ll probably be very wet in rough seas

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