RZS Arnor (CV-1938)


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The Zealandian Government was always under pressure from the other Commonwealth nations to produce a larger navy. But the Zealandian Government was always walking the tightrope of fiscal spending on defence. Spend too much and they would not be the Government at the next elections. With the removal of all the Treaty restrictions the pressure was again intense and the Government placed orders for one Battleship and one Aircraft Carrier in the years 1935 and 1936, the Isengard and Arnor classes. No other Capital Ship sized vessels were contemplated, all other acquisitions would be of cruiser size or smaller.

The Arnor class were referred to as Baby Royals, as their design was a cut down version of the Ark Royal. The Ark Royals were just over 800 feet while the Arnors were just over 750 feet. 54 aircraft could be carried internally and this could be pushed up to 70-80 if the US method of deckparks were used. Where the Ark Royals carried twin 4.5" main guns the Arnors carried twin 4", which does not sound much but all adds up in the weight saving stakes. Arnor was completed in October 1938, and the Belfalas in February 1939.

Both ships were in Zealandia waters on the outbreak of World War Two. The Arnor and escorts were sent through the Panama Canal and into the Central Atlantic to search for the German raider that was operating there. Belfalas and its escort group joined the sweep into the Indian Ocean searching for German raiders that the loss of ships said was operating there.

Displacement 21,500 tons std 27,800 tons full load
Length 759 ft
Breadth 100 ft (108 over flightdeck)
Draught 29 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 110,000shp
Speed 30 knots
Range 10,000 miles at 14 knots
Armour 4" side, 2" deck.
Armament 16 x 4" (8x2)
16 x 2pd (4x4)
50 x 20mm (22x2 6x1)
Aircraft 54
Torpedoes nil
Complement 920 (+580 air group)
Notes RZS Arnor (10/1938)

RZS Belfalas (02/1939)

Skuas from RZS Belfalas bomb German battleship Scharnhorst January 1941.



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