Aircraft Carriers 1940-1945


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With the introduction of jet aircraft in 1938/39 the Admiralties and design staff of the Royal, Australis and Canadian Navies met to decide on the future and designs of aircraft carriers with jet aircraft. The Australis staff showed the proposed changes they were going to make to the building of the Tasman Sea and Endeavour classes of CVL and CV types. Since these two types were only just under construction, changes could be made to their designs without adding to their building times. The modifications to be made to the Van Diemen were much more basic, but had to wait till the Van Diemen returned from its South America mission. The Carpentaria was deemed too small to operate jets.

The Royal Navy had a problem with the newly completed Ark Royal and Golden Hind, both were more than big enough to handle jets, but with the outbreak of war, both ships were heavily engaged in wartime duties and could not be spared for at least 12-24 months until they were due for a 3-6 month refit at which time the simple angle deck could be worked in. Lifts would have to remain as is.

The Royal Navy then had to decide on what to do with the Illustrious type then under construction but due for completion 1940+. These ships biggest problems were the narrow lifts at either end of the main armoured deck and the low hangar height. The first three ships could have nothing done as they were to close to completion. The last two could be altered as they had only just been laid down under the first Emergency War Building Act and were not due for completion till late 1942 early 1943.

The following two classes of large Fleet Carriers under design and ready to be laid down over the following 12-24 months (Audacious and Malta) could be completely altered to take into account the changes necessary for operating the new jets under consideration.

The last Light Fleet Carrier class (Centaur) had only just had their designs completed and were due for laying down over the following months/years. These designs could be altered while the ships were under construction.

The Australis Ocean class were the follow on class from the Endeavour's and would incorporate all the progress made to that date.

Because the older carriers were considered too small (exception being the Courageous class & Van Diemen) to handle the much faster jets they were slated to continue with utilising piston engined aircraft and first generation jets if possible. The Courageous type were of a size and capacity to operate jet aircraft and did so with the early jets of the Mk1 types that entered service 1939/40. The Admiralty was unable to make them available for conversion to handle the second and third generation jets as 2 had been sunk and the last one was fully engaged in war actions.


With completion of my drawing of the Mata class that will be the end of my exploration of Whittles World. Trying to come up with ideas to make this scenario come to life has made my mind boggle. With the Brit Empire through Australis putting jets into the air 5 years early completely wipes out any advantage that may have been held by any other country. As was found in WW2, either side needed to have air supperiority to enforce the land or sea forces. With the Empire jets they were guaranteed air suppremacy from day one. WW2 would not have lasted long.



HMAS Van Diemen   (Complete)

HMAS Tasman Sea (Complete)

HMAS Endeavour (Complete)

HMAS Atlantic (Complete)



HMCS Bonaventure (Complete)


United Kingdom

HMS Ark Royal (Complete)

HMS Illustrious (Complete)

HMS Audacious (Complete)

HMS Centaur (Complete)

HMS Malta (Complete)


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