anchor chain


Langley, Manila

Photo of Langley

Adaptation of US Navy photo
Displacement 11,500 tons
Armament 4 x 1 5" DP + AA
Aircraft CVE=30
AV=22 Floatplanes
Speed 14 knots(!)
VTS Rating(s)   0   0  2 (1) AV=  1

The USS Langley was America's first aircraft carrier. Converted from a fleet collier, she was used for flight trials until the giant Lexingtons were built. Her squared ends and stately, rather than rapid, progress earned her the name "Covered Wagon". She was "demoted" to a seaplane carrier, having the forward third of her flight deck removed, and was transporting crated P-40 fighters to the Netherlands East Indies Air Force when she was sunk off Java early in 1942.

In "Grand Fleet" two colliers are converted to carriers but only one of them was turned into a seaplane carrier. When the US granted the Philippines a limited independence in 1940 as a scheme to bolster a proxy naval presence without involving "official" US forces, the former AV Great Lakes became the Filipino AV Manila. Along with two Dreadnought-era capital ships "bought" by the Filipino Navy from Britain and America, the Manila patrolled the waters of the Philippines as part of the FFABDA ( the Filipino, French, Australian, British, Dutch, American) Force in the hopes of deterring Japanese aggression. When hostilities began, the surprise attacks of the Japanese Naval Air Force caught the Filipino Navy a few miles off the coast of Luzon and overwhelmed it. The new Grumman "Gander" floatplane fighter aboard Manila gave a good account of itself against the intruders, and minus the floats and with some additional changes became the successful "Hellcat" shipboard fighter.

The Langley became the first "escort" carrier for the US Navy and joined the CA Houston as part of the US Asiatic Fleet. Recalled to Pearl to train with BB Arkansas near Midway late in 1941, she was sunk by planes from IJN Hosho(coincidentally Japan's first aircraft carrier), sent as a decoy force to the Midway area to draw attention away from the Hawaiian Operation.

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