Today D-day takes off with some unique and often overlooked american Airships.
Click of the unit names to visit their D-day wiki page for more information & pictures.
Constructing the Airship Hanger gives the player the ability to build special blimp units. The design is based on the hangers at Santa Ana Naval Air Station (now Marine Corps Air Station Tustin), which was built in 1942 to hold and service the US Navy's airships. After the war airship operations stopped but the base soon found new usage as a helicopter maintenance and training center for the Marine Corps. Today most of the base has been closed but one of the hangers is still being used by civilian airships.
The K-class were the US Navy's primary patrol and anti-submarine airship during WW2. They were used to patrol the American coastline and escort convoys for signs of German or Japanese submarines. Their greatest success though was at Gibraltar where they helped to blockade the entrance to the Mediterranean during the night, when it was to dangerous for normal aircraft to operate. After the war the K-class continued patrolling the coast of America for several more years but were slowly replaced with seaplanes equipped with new radar systems. There were plans in the 1950's to refit the K-class with nuclear depth charges but it proved to be to hazardous.
The USS Macon and it's sister ship the USS Akron are the second largest airships ever built, beaten by the German Hindenburg by only a few meters. They do however hold the distinction of being the only flying aircraft carriers ever built. Designed by the Goodyear Aircraft company in the early 1930's the Akron and Macon used an experimental trapeze system they could launch and recover up to five F9C Sparrowhawk planes from an internal hanger. Sadly the USS Akron was destroyed in April 1933 when it encountered a storm off the cost of New England and crashed into the sea, out of the 76 on board only 3 survived making it the greatest loss of life in an airship crash. During February 1935 the USS Macon also also found itself caught in a severe storm off the California cost, suffering structural failure it landed in the sea. Following the loss of the Akron life jackets and inflatable rafts where added to the Macon, which resulted in nearly the entire crew surviving. With the loss of both airships development of flying aircraft carriers was stopped.
Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk
The Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk was a fighter/scout plane made specificity for use on the USS Akron and USS Macon flying aircraft carriers. It was fitted with a hook on the top of the main wing which would be attached to a retractable trapeze underneath the carrier for launching an recovery. Even though the hook and trapeze system seemed complex most pilots noted that it was easier then landing on an pitching and rolling aircraft carrier at sea. After the loss of both the Akron and Macon only three Sparrowhawks remained, their hooks were removed and were relegated to utility duties. In 1939 one of them was given to the Smithsonian museum, several years later when it was restored the other two aircraft where cannibalised for parts, leaving just the single plane left which can still been seen today.