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Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers: Pacific & SEAC Theaters of War.

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by Fred Wilson, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    I once saw a staggering list of the number of Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers in the Pacific and South East Asia Theaters of war, and the actions they were engaged in.
    Damned if I can find it anywere. Anyone?

    The lists I am working from are:
    Carriers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_carriers_of_the_Royal_Navy
    Escort Carriers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_escort_carriers_of_the_Royal_Navy
    Seaplane Carriers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_seaplane_carriers_of_the_Royal_Navy

    Noting many RN Carriers were just that, aircraft transports, not fighting ships.
    So I am interested in tracking their transport routes.

    Anyone?

    It was a bigger and far more informative link than these: probably including short term loan and, of course transports that would not be included here..
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Pacific_Fleet
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Eastern_Fleet_ships

    Timeline of RN Carriers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_aircraft_carriers_of_the_Royal_Navy
     
  2. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Very very few people alive truly grasp how many Carriers the UK had in WW2. (88 total Carriers of all types - including 48 Fleet Carriers 35 Escort Carriers and 5 Seaplane Carriers.)

    Overwhelmingly more than the USA if this is accurate: (33 total engaged in WW2.)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_carriers_of_the_United_States_Navy

    It has elsewhere reported that the US had 119 Carriers of all types in WW2 but I have been unable to find that list.
    Anyone?

    Too bad that with so many Carriers, the Royal Navy were involved in so few actions actions that their existence is largely forgotten!
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Umm...Fred,

    Look at the Commissioning dates for several of those carriers. Although laid down during World War II, several were not commissioned until well after the war ended and more than a few were cancelled.

    Colossus Class(10 ships) - 4 ships were completed after the war ended.
    Majestic Class(6 ships) - all completed post-war
    Audacious Class(4 ships) - 2 completed post-war, 2 cancelled
    Centaur Class(8 ships) - 4 completed post-war, 4 cancelled
    Malta Class(4 ships) - No construction begun before all 4 were cancelled.

    And I think you included the Queen Elizabeth(CVA-01) class(2 ships), which was an entirely new post-war development.

    So, your "48 Fleet Carriers" is only some 20 Heavy & Light Fleet Carriers.



    Moving on to the Escort Carriers...
    The total was 45 Escort Carriers, not 35. One might argue that the total was actually 46 - The USN retained one of the Escort Carriers to train Royal Navy pilots, so it was not officially handed over to the Royal Navy. Of these 45 escort carriers, only 6 were of British construction, the other 39 were acquired from the United States through Lend-Lease.

    So, if 39 of the CVEs were of US construction were they really "British"?



    The Seaplane carriers that I know of were
    HMS Albatross - converted to a repair ship in 1943 & an economical loss due to damage in 1944.
    HMS Athene & HMS Engadine - were to have been seaplane carriers, but the need for aircraft transports was more pressing, so the two ships were never fitted with the necessary catapults and associated gear for actually operating seaplanes.
    ex-HMS Ark Royal/HMS Pegasus - was originally a pre-war seaplane carrier, was refitted as an aircraft transport & experimental seaplane carrier, before being refitted as a fighter catapult ship for World War II. She served early on in this capacity before being relegated to transport and training duties.

    The other two that I can think of are HMS Manela & HMS Dumana, but they were seaplane tenders...not seaplane carriers.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  5. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Yowza! That's what I was looking for for the US Carriers (of all types.)
    Nicely done!
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The Royal Navy started the war with seven carriers ranging from little Argus to Ark Royal. During the war they completed and used six armored deck fleet carriers and the aircraft maintenance ship Unicorn, sometimes employed as a light carrier (which illustrates how tight their supply of flight decks was). None of the light fleet carriers saw combat; a group of four was enroute to the Pacific Fleet when the war ended but saw no action.

    Also as noted, many of the escort carriers were used for transport or training duties.
     

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