The big news today was the discovery of a sunken World War II aircraft carrier. And it got me thinking: a WWII aircraft carrier, albeit not this one at an unsurvivable depth, would be the ultimate scuba dive.
1. Aircraft carriers are huge. Modern American supercarriers are ridiculously huge, but even their WWII predecessors were some of the largest ships ever built. How many dives would it take to fully explore just one sunken carrier? And, how many dives would it take to check out all the aircraft that would be down there with it? As someone who knows a little something about these ships, it boggles my mind.
2. I was a huge WWII buff when I was younger. Time permitting, I probably would still be today.
2a. I used to own a 24-volume (?) set of encyclopedias about WWII. I read it cover-to-cover up to volume 11, if I recall correctly, before university studies took me away from it. I ended up donating the set in near-mint condition to my local library. The best part of these encyclopedias was that they were from Switzerland. So I didn’t get bias from any one side or country; the Swiss wrote everything from a completely neutral standpoint. That’s a remarkable way to study history!
2b. I took a world history course in high school and complained that WWII was covered in only one day. The teacher explained that the course covered history only up until about the 19th century or so, so WWII wasn’t even in the curriculum. She added it purely for my benefit, because she realized I would’ve protested any world history course that completely omitted WWII.
2c. I was out of school the entire week that my high school US History course covered WWII. I had been hospitalized and had been resting at home. The day I returned to school I took the test, with no review, and scored the highest grade in my class.
2d. Growing up, I dominated WWII-themed board games and video games. It seemed that most games were winnable if you followed the strategies and tactics that were actually used by the victors of whatever campaign you were playing.
2d1. My most dominant video game victory was a US Marine Corps game with an Iwo Jima scenario. My memory might fail me, but, if I recall correctly, two divisions were deployed while a third was held in reserve. The game had a sandbox, in which I created the reserve division. I landed it where it would have landed historically, and completed the campaign way ahead of schedule. I had to give all my units orders to do nothing for several rounds, because the island was completely secure, but the campaign hadn’t been programmed to react to an early, decisive victory.
3. I am a veteran (not WWII, obviously). Diving an American ship, or any allied ship, would be a very somber, sobering experience. I’m not sure what feelings I would experience in a ship from the other side, but I’d like to find out.
So, in a nutshell, I would love to dive anything WWII-related. I’d have to rank battleships up there with aircraft carriers for the ultimate experience, but really anything will do.