Seaplanes on carriers


Paybob minor treated himself to an Airfix Fairy Swordfish, fitted with floats. Options are for one carried by HMS Valiant or by HMS ARk Royal.

I know many cruisers and battleships prior to and post war carried floatplanes, and I know carriers embarked Swordfish (with wheels) but what was the rationale for a carrier embarking a floatplane?

Why stop to recover a floatplane when one with wheels could land on? I expect a flaotplane could be catapulted as much from a carrier as from a smaller ship, but what was their role?

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