HMS Ark Royal (CV-1937)

HMSAS Kwazulu (CV-1938)


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First purpose built carrier to be completed for the Royal Navy since the original Hermes (Unless it is the Fisherless RN when these ships comes after the Apollo). The Commonwealth overall had plenty of experience with aircraft carriers with the converted ships like Furious and Eagle. The conversions had shown that too much early attention had been taken on ship armament features to the detriment of aircraft handling facilities. With this class the strength deck was the flight deck and this was supported on a double height hangar (see cross section).

Entering service in late 1937 and early 1938 the Ark Royal and Golden Hind proved excellent in service, with large amounts of attack and defense aircraft compared to earlier ships. The Brazilian Navy ordered two ships, only one of which was delivered in 1939, while the second, that was also under construction for Brazil, (see Santa Catarina class) was completed for the Royal Navy as HMS Saint George in 1941. The Brazilian ships were completed to a slightly differing design with less armour and displacement than the Royal Navy ships, otherwise they were, externally, identical. The vessel (HMSAS Kwazulu) built for the Southern African Navy arrived just in time to undertake its working up period then with the outbreak of war, help to defeat the Argentinian and Germanic States fleet units in a series of battle around the Falkands Islands and Tristan da Cunha. Golden Hind was the Royal Navys aircraft carrier contribution to the same battles. These three carriers proved extremely effective against the Argentinian and Germanic States ships. It was only the weather that stopped these ships destroying the German raiders from the air and allowed the battlefleet to mop them up.

Golden Hind showing internal arrangements.

Skuas and Swordfish ranged on deck.

Displacement 27,000 tons std, 33,100 full load
Length 815.5 ft
Breadth 94.8 ft (Hull)
Draught 33 ft
Machinery 4 shaft, Geared turbines, 110,000shp
Speed 31 knots
Range 7000 miles at 16 knots
Armour 3" flight deck, 2.5" side, 4.5" magazines
Armament 16 x 4" (8x2)

48 x 2pd (6x8)

32 x 0.5"mg (8x4)

Aircraft 60 normal, 72 maximum
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1600
Notes Ark Royal (1938)

Golden Hind (1938)

Kwazulu (1939-SA)

Saint George (1941)

(1 Brazilian 1939)

Below is the original drawing of the Ark Royal with its antiquated Swordfish and 4.5" guns.

Having the Ark Royal class is important as it leads to my next set of drawings, the improved Ark Royal type which replaces the armoured carriers of the Illustrious type. These ships are able to be built due to having a better set of aircraft on the carriers as shown below.

The Gloster Griffon was the first monoplane fighter accepted for FAA service in 1937, while the Chance Vought Corsair was used by the FAA from 1943 in a fighter/bomber role.

Launching of the Ark Royal


Below is the original drawing I did for this series.

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