This page provides an outline of TV documentaries relating to warships and submarines.

Title First Aired Season(s) (Episodes) Synopsis
Big, Bigger, Biggest: Aircraft Carriers 2008 1 (4), 2 (10), 3 (6) S01E02: One of the largest warships in the world, USS Nimitz (CVN-68), would not have been possible if it weren’t for seven landmark inventions. The other aircraft carriers discussed were USS North Carolina, HMS Ark Royal, USS Hornet, USS Midway, USS Forrestal and USS Enterprise.
The Great Ships 1996 1 (18), 2 (12), 3 (6)

A series on seagoing vessels that have captured the imaginations of the adventurous. Included: whalers, galleons, PT boats and battleships.

Mighty Ships 2008 8 (50)
  • S02E04: USS Nimitz.
  • S02E05: HDMS Absalon.
  • S03E03: USS Kentucky.
  • S04E02: USNS Robert E Peary.
  • S05E06: USS Gravely.
  • S06E02: USS Grasp.
  • S06E04: USS New York.
  • S08E05: HDMS Peter Willemoes.
  • S09E03: USNS Comfort
History of the Royal Navy 2001 1 (4) Charts the dramatic rise and decline of English/British naval power.
Flying Aircraft Carrier 2009 (1)
  • When the USS Macon met its end, the US Navy’s zeppelin ambitions died with it.
  • The USS Macon was one of only two flying aircraft carriers ever built; the other was her sister ship, the USS Akron.
  • The Macon, 785 feet long,  was built by Prague-born engineer Dr. Karl Arnstein in Akron, Ohio. Her first flight was in April 1933. Both the Macon and the Akron were capable of carrying small F9C “Sparrowhawk” propeller planes, which were launched and retrieved during flight.
Hook Down, Wheels Down: The USN Aircraft Carriers 1974 (1)
  • Produced in the early 1970s, “Hook Down, Wheels Down” was one of the most comprehensive (and expensive) films made by the US Navy.
  • It covers the history and development of the U.S. aircraft carrier, and does so through interviews with many of the men who made it happen.
  • While dozens of aircraft carriers are featured, it is the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) that takes centre stage – and the material shot on her deck looks like it is right out of “Top Gun”. There is wonderful flight op footage, great aerial flight footage, incredible WWII dog fight and bombing footage as well as endless aircraft carrier operational footage. Also shown in this film are very rare images of the first aircraft carrier USS Langley (CV-1) (formerly collier USS Jupiter AC-3).
Inside Super Carrier 2006 (1) National Geographic Explorer follows the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower as they prepare for action in Iraq.
Engineering Connections 2008 1 (4), 2 (6), 3 (6)
  • S02E03: HMS Illustrious.
  • Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections is a documentary series originally broadcast on the National Geographic Channel, and later on BBC 2.
  • It looks at how engineers and designers use historic inventions and clues from the natural world in ingenious ways to develop new buildings and machines.
Title First Aired Season(s) (Episodes) Synopsis
Big, Bigger, Biggest: Submarine 2009 1 (4), 2 (10), 3 (6) S02E02: The biggest submarine in the U.S. Navy is the USS Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) at 171 metres (561 ft) in length.
A Century of Silent Service 2001 1 (3) A 90-minute documentary, presented by ex-President Jimmy Carter (a former submariner), celebrating 100 years of the US Navy’s submarine force. Chronicling the genesis of the US Silent Service from the first real submarine, the C.S.S. Hunley, and John Holland’s early gasoline powered boats, the program features an abundance of archival footage and material.
Dangerous Missions: U-Boats 2000 B3 Outlines the dangerous missions U-Boats commanders and their crews undertook during the Second World War.
The Silent Service: Set One 2000 1 (4) They were hunters under the sea, living and operating in cramped, claustrophobic quarters. If they perished, they knew would meet a hideous death on the ocean floor. They were the men of ‘The Silent Service’. The incredible achievements of these heroes come alive in this extraordinary set.