America's aircraft carriers have yet to fight a real war at sea, as during the last World War, insists Martin Sieff:
The fact that no U.S. aircraft carrier has been seriously
threatened in combat in any of the wars the United States has fought since 1945
has added to the mystique of the carrier admirals. They continue to dominate the
Navy, greatly influencing its procurement decisions to this day. And arguably,
in the 21st century, the political power and prestige of the carrier admirals is
greater than ever...
However, the real reason none of America's magnificent
aircraft carriers has faced serious threat over the past 60 years is for the
very good reason that the United States has never fought any war during all that
time in which they faced any enemy with significant naval forces.
But can this highly desirable situation ( at least for Big Carrier advocates) last for long? Even Britain's mighty dreadnoughts finally were tested almost 100 years after their last similar conflict at sea, at Trafalgar. You would think, with no equal threat facing these costly and budget-shrinking powerhouses, the Navy might have weaned themselves off and turned to less costly but effective counters to Third World conflicts. But that would be too sensible.