HMS Audacious (CV-1943)


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The Audacious class is a might or might not exist in my Alternate worlds. If I build the Illustrious Armoured Deck carriers (real ones) then the Audacious class will get built and the Malta Class will not. If the improved Ark Royal, Illustrious class (my AU ones) are built, they are the same size as the Audacious class which becomes superfluous and the next class built are the Malta class.

Audacious class and two Centaur class ships under construction.

The Audacious class was meant to fix the problems of the Illustrious class. Since the prior treatys expired the Royal Navy was able to design the ships they wanted rather than the compromises they had had to build. The Audacious type was 15,000 tons standard displacement heavier than the Illustrious type and hangar area and height rivalled the Ark Royal class with aircraft capacity being increased markedly. Like the US carriers a deck park was used to increase the total carried.

Completed in 1944-45 the aircraft complement reflected this. (These differ from those depicted in the drawing) Sea Battle Mk2 torpedo bombers, Skua Mk2 dive bombers, Corsair fighters, Sea Tempest fighter bombers and Whirlwind Mk2 long range fighters. The Sea Hornet shown did not come into service till late 1945 (I show it here because it is one of my favourite aircraft). Even at this stage the Royal Navy designers were finally looking to the future and the hangars were the same height as the US Lexingtons at 20 feet. This meant that even aircraft like the Corsair that still had a high height with its wings folded fit in easily where they did not in the Illustrious type. The clipped wing Sea Tempest and later Fury type were designed with the Illustrious in mind.

HMS Audacious 1943/44 escorting the Queen Mary on trooping runs from New York to Liverpool. Carrying a division per trip the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were two of the most important ships on the North Atlantic run. The loss of one of these magnificent ships to enemy action would have been catastrophic. Their fleet escorts reflect this. The Audacious used these runs as shakedown cruises after completion.


Displacement 37,500 tons std, 47,000 tons full load
Length 811.8 ft
Breadth 112.8 ft hull, 135 ft flight deck/sponsons.
Draught 36 ft
Machinery 4 shaft, Geared turbines, 152,000shp
Speed 31 knots
Range 7000 miles at 18 knots
Armour Waterline belt: 4 in (100 mm)
Armoured flight deck: 14 in (25100 mm)
Hangar side: 1 in (25 mm)
Hangar deck: 1 in (25 mm)
Armament 16 4.5 inch guns (82)
61 40 mm guns (86, 22, 91)
Aircraft 60 in hangar, 20-30 deck park.
Torpedoes nil
Complement 2500
Notes HMS Audacious

HMS Formidable

HMS Irresitable

HMS Victorious

Audacious leaving for trials late 1944

Audacious Class with Centaur class ships in the Far East 1945.


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