IRN Principe de Asturias (CV-1927)


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Work on the Iberian aircraft carrier started late in 1922 and proceeded slowly as plans were altered and re-altered as news from abroad came in and observers reports arrived from the trials of the Royal Navy converions. The basic hull was akin to a battlecruisers to give the speed it was thought a vessel that would be operating with the scouting forces would need. It was felt at that time that aircraft would find the enemy and maybe damage them so that the battlefleet could catch and dispatch them. The ship was completed in 1927 at which time it then underwent 12 months worth of trials before being accepted and used with the fleet.

The Asturias turned out to be one of the better initial build aircraft carriers completed in the late 1920's. The later 1930's carriers were certainly better but the Asturias caught up to that level after its 1937 rebuild where the bow was altered for the fitting of catapults as shown above. The low angle 4" were replaced in 1934 with 4" dual purpose mountings to give them an AA capability. As can be seen from the above drawing the British supplied the early aircraft for the Asturias but from 1938 the Germanic States supplied the new aircraft. These included the Me-109T, He112B and G variants, and from 1943 the first of the navalised Me-262 called the Me-266T. The Ju87 came in both dive bomber and torpedo carrying variants.

The main change between the Me262 and 266 was the position of the cockpit, which was much further back on the 262. The forward placement allowed for better forward vision when taxiing onboard and when landing. The outboard portion of the wing folded upwards.


Displacement 32,500 tons std, 38,750 tons full load
Length 767 ft
Breadth 96 ft (115 ft over flight deck)
Draught 27 ft
Machinery 4 shaft geared turbines, 140,000shp
Speed 30 knots
Range 8500 at 16 knots
Armour 4" side, 4" deck
Armament 8 x 4" (8x1)

24 x 20mm (12x2)

Aircraft 56
Complement 1700
Notes IRN Principe de Asturias


Trial version of the He-112B of 1937 for navalisation to use on the Asturias. As can be seen the wings looked a lot like the Spitfires and indeed the 112 did outperform the Me-109 and was a superb carrier based aircraft. They outperformed the British Hurricanes but normally numbers were against them. The most aircraft the Iberians could put in the air at one time was approximately 90 from both aircraft carriers (Asturias and Dedalo) whereas the later Commonwealth carriers had that many on one ship.

The Heinkel 112 G6 version was released in mid 1941, with uprated engine and heavier armament. This version was used by both the Navy and Airforce.


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