The idea was called the I-400 and was the brainchild of none other than Admiral Yamamoto himself. The design ended up being essentially two very large sub hulls merged so that hangar space to accommodate three new attack aircraft could be carried, along with the usual sail section. And he wanted to build something like eighteen of the new class of sub carriers. With five carriers, say, in an attack group, you'd have ended up with 15 aircraft; something about equal to an actual air squadron in our terms. Nothing like B-17's over Germany to be sure, but still.
Just consider it. Pop up somewhere, drop your 15 thousand pounders, fly back and then disappear to do it all over again. Back in those days it would have been very impressive, both psychologically for the population, but also logistically, as our forces would have had to shift significantly in order to patrol for attacks not that easy to see coming.
It reminds me to wonder if our planners are giving enough consideration to a better variation of this sort of thing. Say a submersible, drone attack, aircraft carrier; with the carrier itself being a drone as well. The Navy has been trying out a pretty slick looking drone now on existing carriers and it sure does suggest where things are probably gonna be going anyway.
Don't get me wrong, though. Existing carriers are still pretty cool, and a real testament to the ingenuity of the Navy to design, and operate, such massively complex combinations of both people, and technical, systems. Most especially as it relates to the training that the Navy has brought itself up to be able to do. Damn near astounding when you realize that they take kids off of the streets, almost literally, and teach them to run these self propelled, armed cities. It's the kind of thing that gives me faith in the idea that, if we were to attempt to implement the alternative I have outlined, most of us could be trained to run our own cities as well.
Just something to think about.
And the introduction video here: