The series conclusion traces the history of aircraft carriers, “floating fortresses,” says narrator Stacy Keach, that have become “the world's new power brokers.” The father of the aircraft carrier: pilot and bicycle racer Glenn Curtis, who first approached the Navy with the idea in 1910. The biggest problem---getting planes to land safely on them---took some 20 years to solve, as seen here in British and American footage. And events of Dec. 7, 1941, proved carriers' worth for the Japanese---and, shortly therafter, for the U.S. as well. Stacy Keach narrates.
“Submarines” (Part 3) traces the history of “the ultimate stealth platform” back to the American Revolution, when a submersible named the Turtle attacked a British ship in New York harbor. The attack failed. In the Civil War, a Confederate “machine of desperation” called the Hunley did sink a Union vessel but it itself sank shortly thereafter. The hour also profiles Irishman John P. Holland, “the father of the modern submarine,” whose innovations were co-opted by the British and the Germans; and explores 20th-century advances from the German U-boat to nuclear-powered subs. Stacy Keach narrates.
“Big Guns” (Part 2) traces naval technology from the ironclads of the Civil War to the dreadnought-class battleships, whose heyday was in World War I. The first innovation: the USS Monitor's gun turret. In England, meanwhile, John Reed designs HMS Devastation, a mastless seagoing vessel, in 1871. “The modern battleship was beginning to emerge,” says narrator Stacy Keach. The turbine engine came along some 25 years later, making big battleships possible. But warplanes would make them nearly obsolete, as was vividly demonstrated on Dec. 7, 1941.
A four-part history of naval technology, begins with “Sea Power” and Nelson's victory at Trafalgar, which was one of tactics, not technology. The big technological change came with the Industrial Revolution. But first there was Robert Fulton's steamboat, shells that exploded, screw propellers and, by time the American Civil War began, ironclads. Stacy Keach narrates.