HMAS Endeavour (CV-1941)
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With the laying down of the two Endeavour class ships the Australis navy had in production the 3 classes of aircraft carrier they felt was neccessary for fleet operations. The Australis Navy had been keeping an eye on the Japanese and US Navies production of large aircraft carriers and felt that as they also had a stake in the Pacific it would need to have similar sized vessels. The Royal Navy had the Ark Royal type in production and while a good design the Australis Navy wanted something bigger. While only 80 feet longer than the Ark Royals, the Endeavours had nearly 130 feet more length of hangar space because of the hull shape and flight deck arrangement. 100 feet doesnt sound much but it is an extra 25-30 aircraft and took the Endeavours past the 90 mark.
A further two ships were ordered in 1940 under the Emergency war program. The first two ships, HMAS Endeavour and HMAS Captain Cook were completed in October 1941 and March 1942 respectively, which was about 6 months earlier than expected as the War building double shifts came into force. The next two, HMAS Flinders and HMAS ANZAC were completed in 1943 just in time for the last of the major Pacific Battles.
The armament of the ships showed where the expected danger would come from with 8 twin 4", 8 octuple 2 pounder pom pom, an a handful of 20mm single weapons. All of the weapons were mounted on sponsons along the side of the hull (except those around the bridge superstructure) to keep the inner hull free for aircraft hangarage. It was thought that the ships best defense would be its own aircraft.
The above shows the Endeavour class as it was originally designed for piston engined aircraft. Below is the final jet design of 1939 with all of the changes that were made midway through the building cycle.
With two Endeavours under construction 2 more laid down under the 1940 War Emergency Budget, the entry of the jets and their showing off South America showed that large carriers of the Endeavour type or even larger would be necessary for carrying large quantities of jet aircraft. Doctrine showed that groups of 4 ships were needed to comprise the Carrier Battlegroups. 2 on station, 1 working up and 1 in refit. For Australis this would require three battlegroups, possibly 4. One in the Indian Ocean (from Perth), one based on Darwin to police the north of Australia. One based in the Solomon Islands projecting power through the north of New Guinea and accross to the East to the Islands Australis would have protectorate status on. The third group would be based in New Zealand and patrol the Tasman Sea and points east of NZ in Australis' sphere of Influence. The fourth group was mooted to be required to act further north where the evils of 'Communism' were feared to come from, and would also be based from Darwin with home ports being Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to spread the load.
So a need was seen for another 4 large aircraft carriers. (4 Endeavour, 8 Tasman Sea (2 sold to Canada)), to give the 16 carriers required. The groups would comprise 4 of each class type, the two large CV battle groups would take the vulnerable Indian Ocean and Northern Island areas while the two Tasman Sea battlegroups would take the patrol areas north of Australis and New Zealand. A number of Albatross carriers would be kept as ASW and Escort duties carriers. The old Van Diemen would be kept based on Melbourne as the decklanding training carrier.
|Displacement||38,000 tons std, 46,500 tons full load|
|Breadth||114 ft (hull) 132 ft (flight deck/sponsons)|
|Machinery||4 shaft steam turbines, 175,000shp|
|Range||8,000 miles at 18 knots|
|Armour||1.5" flight deck, 4.5" over machinery and magazines. 3" side across machinery spaces.|
|Armament||16 x 4" (8x2)
64 x 2pd (8x8)
12 x 20mm (12x1)
|Aircraft||96 (36TB, 24 DB, 24 F1, 12 F2)|
|Complement||2800 with aircrew.|
Captain Cook (03/1942)
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