Back To Gallery: 1917-1929
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Gallery: 1917-1929 Description: "American dreadnoughts & superdreadnoughts steaming into New York harbor 14 April 1919." The Texas (BB-35) leads the procession with a airplane on her turret catapult. Note the escorting biplane. The "escorting" aircraft is either a Curtiss HS-1 or HS-2 (note the single engine) can't tell which from the photo. The aircraft on a fly-off platform atop the No. 2 turret of the Texas is 1 of 6 Sopwith Camels purchased from Britain at the end of the war. The platforms were a British concept designed to provide the fleet with an aircraft capable of reaching the high flying Zeppelins which the German Navy occasionally used as scouts. The Texas was the only US Battleship to be fitted with turret fly-off platforms while in Europe and was the test bed for this program in the US Navy. Not visible in this view is a stripped down (No fabric and no wings) Sopwith 1-1/2 Strutter lashed atop the No. 3 Turret. The platforms were eventually mounted on all 14" gun BB's through the New Mexico (BB-40 / 42) class (with mixed reviews from their commanders) and carried either a Hanriot HD-1 or a Neiuport 28. Though equipped inflatable floats for water landings, this tended to do a lot of damage not the least of which was dowsing a hot engine in cold salt water. By 1920 a successful compressed air catapult was developed and were being mounted on the aft deck of all 4 turreted battleships and fly-off platforms were removed. The Texas and New York (BB-34), because of their 5 Turrets, lacked the deck space for the catapult and had to make do with a float plane (Vought VE-7) sitting on the aft deck which would be launched by lowering it over the side for a surface take-off.
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