Appendix IV

BRITISH AND AMERICAN AIRCRAFT CARRIERS - 1945 TO 1955

This appendix gives brief details of the main aircraft carrier classes that were in service between 1945 and 1955. Included are the projected British Malta class and the American USS United States. Dates in parenthesis indicate the year the ship was completed. Dimensions are to the nearest foot (ft). The following abbreviations are used: oa - overall; wl - waterline; pp - between perpendiculars.

ROYAL NAVY CARRIERS

Illustrious class fleet carriers (4 ships)

Data:

HMS Illustrious 1945

Displacement:

23,200 tons standard; 31,630 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 748 ft oa; 673 ft pp. Beam: 96 ft at waterline. Draught: 29 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 740 ft; width 95 ft

Flight deck protection:

3-in armour over hangars, 1.5-in elsewhere

Armament:

16 4.5-in DP guns in eight twin turrets; 40 2-pdr guns in five octuple mountings, three single 40 mm, and 52 20 mm light AA guns

Aircraft:

54 maximum; one BH3 hydraulic catapult

Machinery:

Six Admiralty three-drum boilers, Parsons SR turbines, three shafts; 111,000 shp; 30 kt

Oil fuel:

4,850 tons; endurance 6,300 nm at 25 kt

Complement:

1,274; wartime 1,997

Notes:

Illustrious (1940), Victorious (1940), Formidable (1941) all built to the same design with a single hangar deck.

Indomitable (1941) completed to a modified design with an extra lower half length hangar deck incorporated.

Implacable class fleet carriers (2 ships)

Data:

HMS Implacable 1945

Displacement:

27,000 tons standard; 32,110 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 766 ft oa. Beam: 96 ft at waterline. Draught: 29 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 761 ft; width 101 ft

Flight deck protection:

3-in armour over hangars, 1.5-in elsewhere

Armament:

16 4.5-in DP guns in eight twin turrets; 48 2-pdr guns in six octuple mountings, 37 20 mm light AA guns

Aircraft:

81 maximum; one BH3 hydraulic catapult

Machinery:

Eight Admiralty three-drum boilers, Parsons SR turbines, four shafts; 148,000 shp; 30.5 kt at full load

Oil fuel:

4,850 tons

Complement:

1,492; wartime 1,574

Notes:

Implacable (1944), Indefatigable (1944). Development of Illustrious class with extended lower hangar and four-shaft machinery.

Illustrious class fleet carrier modernisation (1 ship)

Data:

HMS Victorious 1957 as rebuilt

Displacement:

30,530 tons standard; 35,500 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 781 ft oa; 740 ft wl. Beam: 103 ft wl. Draught: 31 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 775 ft; width 147 ft

Flight deck protection:

3-in armour over hangars, 1.5-in elsewhere

Armament:

12 3-in/50 cal in twin mountings. One Mk.6 sextuple 40 mm AA mounting

Aircraft:

28 fixed wing, 8 ASW helicopters

Machinery:

Six Foster Wheeler boilers, Parsons geared turbines, three shafts; 111,000 shp; 31 kt

Oil fuel:

4,850 tons

Complement:

2,400

Notes:

Victorious was the only Illustrious class ship to be rebuilt. Modernisation refit took seven years from 1950 to the end of 1957. An 8.75-degree angled deck was fitted together with two steam catapults and two mirror deck landing sights.

Audacious class fleet carriers (2 ships completed)

Data:

HMS Eagle (as completed 1951)

Displacement:

36,800 tons standard; 45,720 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 804 ft oa; 750 ft wl. Beam: 113 ft at waterline. Draught: 36 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 800 ft; width 112 ft

Flight deck protection:

4-in armour over hangars, 1.5-in elsewhere

Armament:

16 4.5-in DP guns in eight twin turrets; 61 40 mm guns in eight Mk.6 sextuple, two Mk.5 twin and nine single mountings

Aircraft:

80 maximum; two BH5 hydraulic catapults

Machinery:

Eight Admiralty three-drum boilers, Parsons SR turbines, four shafts; 152,000 shp; 30.5 kt at full load

Oil fuel:

5,500 tons; endurance 5,000 nm at 24 kt

Complement:

2,250; wartime 2,750

Notes:

Two ships, Eagle and Ark Royal. Latter completed to revised design in 1955 with angled deck, deck edge lift, steam catapults and 40 mm battery reduced to 40 guns. Eagle fully modernised in a refit bewteen 1959 and 1964.

Malta class fleet carriers (3 ships projected)

Data:

HMS Malta as projected 1945

Displacement:

46,900 tons standard; 56,800 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 916 ft oa; 820 ft pp. Beam: 116 ft at waterline. Draught: 34 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 909 ft; width 136 ft

Flight deck protection:

1-in armour plating

Armament:

16 4.5-in DP guns in eight twin turrets; 55 40 mm AA guns

Aircraft:

80 in hangar, over 100 including deck park; two BH5 hydraulic catapults

Machinery:

Eight Admiralty three-drum boilers, Parsons SR geared turbines, four shafts; 200,000 shp; 32 kt at full load

Oil fuel:

6,000 tons

Complement:

3,520

Notes:

Three ships projected (Malta, New Zealand, Gibraltar) but only Malta laid down before whole programme was cancelled in early 1946.

Colossus class light fleet carriers (10 ships)

Data:

HMS Vengeance (as completed 1945)

Displacement:

13,190 tons standard; 18,040 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 694 ft oa. Beam: 80 ft at waterline. Draught: 23 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 690 ft; width 80 ft

Flight deck protection:

Unarmoured steel deck

Armament:

24 2-pdr guns in six quadruple mountings; 32 20 mm AA guns in 11 twin and ten single mountings

Aircraft:

42 maximum; two BH3 hydraulic catapults

Machinery:

Four Admiralty three-drum boilers, Parsons SR geared turbines, two shafts; 36,000 shp; 25 kt

Oil fuel:

3,196 tons; endurance 5,900 nm at 25 kt

Complement:

Wartime 1,300

Notes:

Colossus (1944), Ocean (1945), Vengeance (1945), Glory (1945), Venerable (1945), Warrior (1946), Theseus (1946), Triumph (1946). Perseus and Pioneer both completed in 1945 as Aircraft Maintenance Ships.

Majestic class light fleet carriers (6 ships)

Data:

Majestic class as designed

Displacement:

15,700 tons standard; 19,500 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 695 ft oa; 630 ft pp. Beam: 80 ft at waterline. Draught: 26 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 690 ft; width 106 ft

Flight deck protection:

Unarmoured steel deck

Armament:

32 40 mm in six twin and 20 single mountings

Aircraft:

37 maximum; two BH3 hydraulic catapults

Machinery:

Four Admiralty three-drum boilers, Parsons SR geared turbines, two shafts; 36,000 shp; 25 kt

Oil fuel:

3,196 tons; endurance 6,200 nm at 23 kt

Complement:

1,100; wartime 1,343

Notes:

None served with Royal Navy. Terrible, completed in 1949 as HMAS Sydney, and Magnificant (1948), loaned to the RCN, were both built to the original configuration. Powerful(1957) completed as HMCS BonaventureMajestic (1955) completed as HMAS Melbourne and Hercules (1961) completed as Indian Navy Ship Vikrant, all incorporating angled decks, steam catapults and mirror landing sights. Leviathan was laid up after being launched in 1945 and was never completed.

Centaur class light fleet carriers (4 ships)

Data:

HMS Centaur as completed in 1953

Displacement:

20,260 tons standard; 27,800 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 737 ft oa; 686 ft wl. Beam: 90 ft at waterline. Draught: 28 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 733 ft; width 103 ft

Flight deck protection:

Unarmoured steel deck

Armament:

32 40 mm in two six-barrelled Mk.6, eight Mk.5 twin and four Mk.7 single mountings

Aircraft:

42 maximum; two BH5 hydraulic catapults

Machinery:

Four Admiralty three-drum boilers, Parsons SR geared turbines, two shafts; 76,000shp; 27.25 kt

Oil fuel:

3,500 tons; endurance 5,650 nm at 20 kt

Complement:

1,400

Notes:

Centaur completed as designed in 1953. Albion and Bulwark completed in 1954 with interim 5.75-degree angled deck. Fourth ship, HMS Hermes, completed to a revised design in 1959 and was equipped with fully angled deck, steam catapults and deck edge lift.

US NAVY CARRIERS

Essex class fleet carriers (23 ships)

Data:

USS Leyte as completed in 1946

Displacement:

27,100 tons standard; 33,000 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 888 ft oa. Beam: 93 ft wl. Draught: 28 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 860 ft; width 96 ft

Flight deck protection:

Unarmoured steel deck overlaid with wood decking

Armament:

Twelve 5-in/38 DP guns in four twin and four single mountings; 44 40 mm and 19 20 mm AA guns

Aircraft:

100 maximum; two H-4 hydraulic catapults

Machinery:

Eight Babcock & Wilcox boilers, Westinghouse geared turbines, four shafts; 150,000 shp; 33 kt

Oil fuel:

6,161 tons; endurance 14,100 nm at 20 kt

Complement:

3,448

Notes:

CV-9 Essex (1942). CV-10 Yorktown, CV-11 Intrepid, CV-12 Hornet, CV-16 Lexington, CV-17 Bunker Hill, CV-18 Wasp (1943). CV-13 Franklin, CV-14 Ticonderoga, CV-15 Randolph, CCV-18 Hancock, CV-20 Bennington, CV-31 Bon Homme Richard, CV-38 Shangri La(1944). CV-21 Boxer, CV-36 Antietam, CV-37 Princeton, CV-39 Lake Champlain, CV-40 Tarawa (1945). CV-32 Leyte, CV-33 Kearsarge, CV-45 Valley Forge, CV-47 Philippine Sea (1946). Most of these ships were substantially modified under the SCB-27A and -27C programmes (see Chapters 4 and 6).

Modified Essex class fleet carrier (1 ship)

Data:

USS Oriskany (CV-34) as completed 1950

Displacement:

30,800 tons standard; 39,800 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 888 ft oa. Beam: 129 ft over bulges. Draught: 28 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 860 ft; width 147 ft

Flight deck protection:

Unarmoured steel deck

Armament:

Eight 5-in DP guns in single mountings; 28 3-in/50 cal AA guns in twin mountings

Aircraft:

80 maximum; two H-8 hydraulic catapults

Machinery:

Eight Babcock & Wilcox boilers, Westinghouse geared turbines, four shafts; 150,000 shp; 33 kt

Oil fuel:

6,161 tons; endurance 14,100 nm at 20 kt

Complement:

3,460

Notes:

Last Essex class carrier. Completed in 1950 to SCB-27A standard.

Midway class fleet carriers (3 ships)

Data:

USS Midway as completed in 1945

Displacement:

45,000 tons standard; 60,000 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 968 ft oa, 900 ft wl. Beam: 113 ft wl. Draught: 35 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 932 ft; width 136 ft

Flight deck protection:

Up to 3.5-in armour plating

Armament:

Eighteen 5-in/54 cal DP guns in single mountings; 84 40 mm and 38 20 mm AA guns

Aircraft:

137 maximum; two H-4 hydraulic catapults

Machinery:

Twelve Babcock & Wilcox boilers, Westinghouse geared turbines, four shafts; 212,000shp; 33 kt

Oil fuel:

9,276 tons; endurance 9,600 nm at 20 kt

Complement:

4,104 (war)

Notes:

Midway (CVB-41) and Franklin D Roosevelt (CVB-42) completed in 1945. Coral Sea (CVB-43) completed in 1947. All three modified between 1954 and 1960 to incorporate fully angled deck, C-11 steam catapults and revised deck lift layout.

United States class ‘super carrier’ (1 ship projected)

Data:

USS United States as projected in 1948

Displacement:

66,850 tons standard; 78,500 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 1,090 ft oa, 1,030 ft wl. Beam: 130 ft wl. Draught: 35 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 1,025 ft; width 190 ft

Flight deck protection:

3-in armour plating

Armament:

Eight 5-in/54 cal DP guns in single mountings; 12 3-in/70 cal AA guns in twin mounts; 20 20 mm AA guns

Aircraft:

75 jet fighters and 18 nuclear bombers; four C-10 explosive-charge catapults

Machinery:

Eight boilers, geared turbines, four shafts; 280,000 shp; 33 kts

Oil fuel:

11,505 tons; endurance 12,000 nm at 10 kt

Complement:

4,127

Notes:

USS United States (CVB-58) was laid down on 14 April 1949 but the project was cancelled only nine days later! However, much of the design work was carried forward into the succeeding Forrestal class (see below).

Forrestal class super carriers (4 ships)

Data:

USS Forrestal (CVA-59) as completed in 1955

Displacement:

60,000 tons standard; 78,000 tons full load

Dimensions:

Length: 1,039 ft oa, 990 ft wl. Beam: 129 ft wl. Draught: 37 ft full load

Flight deck:

Length 1,015 ft; width 240 ft

Flight deck protection:

3-in steel decking (only partly armoured)

Armament:

Eight 5-in/54 cal DP guns in single mountings

Aircraft:

95 maximum; two C-11 (bow) and two C-7 (angled deck) steam catapults

Machinery:

Eight Babcock & Wilcox boilers, geared turbines, four shafts; 260,000 shp; 33 kt

Oil fuel:

7,800 tons; endurance 12,000 nm at 20 kt

Complement:

4,142

Notes:

CVA-59 Forrestal (1955), CVA-60 Saratoga (1956), CVA-61 Ranger (1957), CVA-61 Independence (1959). With a wide flight deck, angled deck, four steam catapults and four deck edge lifts, these ships set the standard for all subsequent US carriers, which retain the same basic layout and similar dimensions, although the current Nimitz class carriers are, of course, nuclear powered.

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