TAKR - Inter-War History
During the Great War, a new class of aircraft was developed. The Russian Imperial Fleet included several hydro-transport planes (hydro-cruisers). During the Civil War, both sides of the conflict had hydroaviation floating stations as part of the river fleet. The fleet of major maritime powers began to include aircraft carriers, adapted to receive wheeled aircraft. At the Washington Conference on Arms Limitation, a new type of naval weapon was limited by a number of parameters. According to 712 articles, the maximum displacement of the aircraft carrier could not exceed 27,000 tons.
The Red Navy, restored after the events of the revolution and civil war, did not pass over this type of ships. In March 1925, the development of variants for the conversion of the unfinished cruiser Ismail into an aircraft carrier began. Similarly, the battle ship Poltava, which suffered from the fire, was going to be rebuilt, and later it was intended to be transferred to the Black Sea.
Alleged Soviet aircraft carriers fit into the limitations imposed by the Washington Treaty But before the work started the business did not reach the point, they did not even make a draft project. "Izmail" was dismantled for scrap metal, and the "Poltava" renamed in "Frunze" was going to be turned into a cruiser. By 1927, the proposal was made to convert the training vessel "Komsomolets" into a training aircraft carrier.
The construction of the fleet according to the concept of the "Small Fleet" precluded any possibility of building aircraft carriers. For ten years they disappear from the plans of shipbuilding.
Since the mid-1930s, work has begun on plans to build a large modern fleet. Developments were conducted by the Office of the Naval Forces of the Red Army under the leadership of VM Orlov and IM Ludri. In parallel, the General Staff of the Red Army worked under the leadership of AI Egorov. As a result, there were two plans for the construction of the "Big Fleet", each of which featured aircraft carriers. It is generally accepted that in the Soviet Navy in the second half of the 1930s the value of aircraft carriers in the war at sea was underestimated. This is not true. The presence of such ships in the fleet was recognized as necessary to create balanced connections.
Planning for building a pair of aircraft carriers began in the 1930s, but once the war began the program was abandoned in favor of more immediate needs. It is reported that towards the late 1930s, with the industrialized USSR and its economy growing, it was possible to face a program of construction of two aircraft carriers during third Five Year Plan (1938-1942) but the beginning of World War II brought about the cancellation of the project due to other much more urgent defensive needs. The Soviet Union started battlecruiser construction in the late 1930s, and two vessels were laid down in 1939. The vessels were so incomplete as of 1941 that they were unrecognizable to the invading Germans, who interpreted the absence of barbettes to mean that the ships were aircraft carriers.
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