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Additional info for Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated History of Their Impact
2 rotary engine, it attained a top speed of 108 miles per hour and had a maximum range of 350 miles. British carriers then embarked a series of three-seater biplanes from the Fairey Aviation Company, derived from a successful medium-size floatplane design that saw limited service during World War I. The first of the series, the Fairey IIID, was a sturdy wooden machine powered by either a 375-horsepower Rolls-Royce Eagle or a 450horsepower Napier Lion engine, giving it a top speed of 106 to 118 miles per hour and a range of 550 miles.
The General Board requested the priority construction of three such carriers in July 1921. The similarity of this design’s dimensions to those of the battle cruisers under construction and the prospect of these ships’ cancellation as a result of the upcoming international conference on naval arms limitations led to consideration of converting incomplete battle cruisers into aircraft carriers instead. When the terms of the Washington Treaty demanded the cancellation of all six battle cruisers, the United States negotiated an exception to the restriction on the 27,000-ton limit of the size of individual aircraft carriers to permit vessels converted from existing capital ships to displace up to 33,000 tons standard.
Tyrwhitt took Harwich Force to sea on October 24, 1914, but heavy weather forced its return. Bad weather aborted a further attempt in October and two in November. The next attack was scheduled for December 25, with Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Force providing heavy cover. This time the weather cooperated and the seaplane carriers reached their launch point. Seven of the nine floatplanes succeeded in taking off, starting at 7:00 am, and headed for Cuxhaven. Fog over the target proved to be the main impediment to British success.