GRN Tirana (SS-1912 (CVE-1943-mod))


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The loss of Galicias only aircraft carrying ship, the Harghita, sent shivers of unease through the Galician Navy high command. The Harghita had proved the difference in the major battles with the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Now the almost non-existent Red Airforce had proved they were more than a match to the old out-of-date aircraft that had worked off the Harghita. A new aircraft carrier was to be built/converted immediately. Tears were shed at the High Command over the cancellation of the 1938 series aircraft carrier. The new ship was to be converted from a suitable merchant ship. This was an easy request but difficuilt to fullfil as most of the Black Sea merchantmen were in the 300-400 foot class. The only suitable hull available was that of the 30 year old Tirana (ex-Kaiser Franz Joseph I), an old ocean liner from 1912 and received as part of Galicias start up fleet. Since the war the ship had been used for a while as an escort for the ships travelling from Constanta to Istanbul, armed with half a dozen old 5.9".



It was decided that even though the ship was 30 years old it was only going to serve till the end of the war when steps would be taken to build a new ship. While the ship was going through its conversion the remainder of the Harghitas pilots were sent to Italy to learn to fly some new fighters for the Tirana which would give cover against the Red Airforces bombers. The aft accomodation blocks were kept for the ships officers and pilots while everything forward of that point was removed. While the hull was open the chance was taken to fit new boilers and engines to replace the set that had seen the ship reduced to an accomodation ship at Constanta. The new propulsion unit was purloined from a new destroyer that was being built. Only half of the set was required to improve the Tiranas engines reliability with a small increase in speed.


Displacement 15,400 tons std, 18,800 tons full load
Length 530 ft
Breadth 76 ft
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 2 shaft steam turbines, 18,000shp
Speed 22 knots
Range 8000 miles at 12 knots (2500 at 20knots)
Armour nil (some protection around armoury)
Armament 2 x 88mm (2x1)

6 x 20mm (6x1)

Aircraft 22
Complement 850
Notes GRN Tirana


The Re-2001 in both fighter and fighterbomber variants were used from the Tirana.

The Tirana pre-war in happier times.


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