Early Skepticism: Fleet Problems & Conclusions 1923-1930
The Fleet Problems began in 1923 as an attempt to simulate free, full-scale wartime navalmaneuvers for training purposes. From 1889 until the United States entered World War I, thenavy had engaged in regular fleet maneuvers of steadily growing size and complexity. Two yearsafter the armistice, the Atlantic and Pacific fleets participated in joint maneuvers off the coast of Panama; a year later the fleet was reorganized under one command, and the Fleet Problems wereconceived to continue large, joint exercises. The phrase “Fleet Problem” conveyed the idea thatthese simulations were not merely rehearsed maneuvers, but instead actual “problems,” given toopposing fleet commanders by command staff and the Naval War College, in the form of a“statement of the problem” which contained the mission tasks. Given their assignments, fleetcommanders then assumed control of their opposing forces and began the exercise. Uponsimulated engagement, neutral “umpires” trained by the Naval War College judged the resultsusing standard metrics for calculating damage done, and noted the outcome for transmission andrecords.
Prior to 1929, the use of naval aviation in the Fleet Problems had been limited tounimpressive involvement by the
. In Fleet Problem I, the
was relegated tomerely observing the exercise while two battleships, the
stood in assimulated aircraft carriers.
Beginning with Fleet Problem III, the
was given forceassignments but with a small complement of 30 planes and a maximum speed of 16 knots,
Albert A. Nofi,
To Train The Fleet For War: The U.S. Navy Fleet Problems 1923-1940
(Washington: Dept. of the Navy, 2010), 1,18,26.
Ryan David Wadle,
United States Navy Fleet Problems And The Development of Carrier Aviation, 1929-1933,