Courageous Class Aircraft Carriers.


Back to Commonwealth Ships List


The three Furious type proved that even white elephants can be turned to gold if a bit of work is applied. Part of 'Fishers Blunders' the ships were designed to act as fast 'monitors' to support Fishers scheme to attack Germany from behind on the Baltic coast. Classed as light battlecruisers they were hybrids that really had no place to go. The Royal Navy certainly did not want them to count against battleship tonnage as part of the Geneva Treaty. They were faced with being scrapped or turned into another type of hybrid, ships to operate fixed wing aircraft.

Furious had been part of the aircraft carrier trials group through 1917-18 with Vindictive and then Argus when she was completed. Furious was never completed with both 18" guns. Only the aft 18" was mounted and test fired. The 'A' mounting was replaced with a hangar over which a large flying off platform was built. Trials with this arrangement were made through 1917 and Furious became the first ship ever to launch and recover fixed wing aircraft while moving, during this time. Taken in hand in early 1918, Furious was fitted with a 300 foot landing on area aft in place of the 'Y' 18" mounting. Trials with this system were successful but it was deemed hazardous as the funnel gasses and swirling winds created by the bridge structure made landings dicey.


Furious was briefly laid up after the war while her (and her sisters) fate was decided. 1921 Furious was taken in hand for full conversion to an aircraft carrier. This rebuilding was finished on Furious in September 1925, while Glorious and Courageous were completed 3/1930 & 2/1928 respectively. The forward flying off arrangements were always a bit mickey mouse and the bow idea of Hermes should have been carried through to these ships. In my AU this is done in 1935-38 for all three ships where they are fitted with a new bow structure similar to that of the Ark Royal type. 1939-41 the remaining ships had their bridges made larger and fitted with HA/LA directors, directors for the 2 pounder mounts, Radar, homing beacons, and many other improvements. From 1936 the ships were replacing their old bi-planes with modern monoplanes.

In the Fisherless RN these ships disappear to provide the extra tonnage required to build the 4 Majestic class battleships and one or two of those are converted to aircraft carriers.

Displacement 25,370 tons std, 27,900 tons full load
Length 791 ft
Breadth 90.5 ft
Draught 27.75 ft
Machinery 4 shafts, Steam turbines, 90,000shp
Speed 30 knots
Range 6500 miles at 16 knots
Armour 3" side, 1" deck
Armament 14 x 4" (14x1)

8 x 2pd (1x8)

16 x 0.5"mg (4x4)

Aircraft 64
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1300
Notes HMS Furious

HMS Courageous (Sunk 17/09/39 by U-Boat)

HMS Glorious


HMS Glorious showing very narrow after part and flight deck mounting. All Commonwealth Capital Ships shared this feature and all of those ships rebuilt to aircraft carriers required these type of fittings. The single 4.7" mountings are visible, these are replaced by the single 4" AA mountings in the 1938 rebuilding.

Original drawing with bow taken from Ark Royal class.

Back to Commonwealth Ships List