Wikijunior:World War II/Aircraft Carriers

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Four American aircraft carriers in a row: The Saratoga at the bottom, then the Enterprise, then the Hornet then the San Jacinto at the top

Aircraft carriers are large ships that carry many airplanes. They were very important in World War II, especially in the war against Japan, because many of the battles were fought far out of the range of ground base aircraft. They were also important in protecting the convoys carrying important supplies to Britain. At the beginning of the war, the British Royal Navy had seven aircraft carriers but the Germans and Italians had none. This was shown to be really important when the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious sent planes to attack Italian battleships at Taranto - three were badly damaged.

In 1941 the Japanese used aircraft carriers to attack Pearl Harbour, a very important harbour used by American warships. They damaged and sunk many ships.