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    Quote Originally Posted by APACHERAT View Post
    Were Armored Flight Decks on British Carriers Worthwhile?


    Armor Protection on American and British Carriers


    This is a very complex design issue that defies easy answers. The question is not so much whether armor is useful (both US and British designs had very roughly comparable armor protection in terms of weight) but where does the designer put it.
    US designers treated the entire flight deck, hangar deck and island assemblies as superstructure. The strength deck was the hangar deck and this is where they put the armor. The plusses of this configuration are that it carries the heavy weight of armor low, making stability problems less dreadful, permits a very light deck structure that's easy to repair and allows a long flight deck that makes operating aircraft easy. That light structure also initiates bombs, hopefully ensuring that damage is confined above the armor deck. The big negative is that it means the hangar deck is essentially unprotected.


    British design practice with the Illustrious and Implacable classes was to armor the flight deck, making the flight deck the strength deck. The plusses here are that if the armor holds, bombs can be kept out of the ship completely. The negatives are that the size of lifts is restricted, stability problems are hellish and the airgroup capacity is comparatively small.


    The US went the way it did because they had plenty of aircraft, used deck parks and envisaged launching mass strikes. They were able to base carrier defense on having fighters. The British were hobbled by the RAF that allocated few resources to the FAA, so the carriers had few and obsolete fighters. They had to build their carriers to take damage.


    In fact, the British designs failed. Off Okinawa, the resistance of the British carriers seemed impressive but in reality the damage they took was severe. Having the hangar inside the hull girder made the hull structure weak and the ships were deformed by comparatively minor damage. Note how quickly nearly all the armored carriers were scrapped postwar - surveys showed they had irreparable hull damage. In contrast, the Essex's, which suffered much more severe damage, lasted for decades.


    The severe damage suffered by the British armored carriers is documented by their post-war surveys. These surveys were carried out to determine the suitability of the ships for modernization.


    Of the British armored carriers, Formidable and Illustrious were write-offs due to war damage. By the end of the war, Illustrious was in very poor condition; her centerline shaft was history due to structural deformation and her machinery was shot. Formidable had raped herself when a Firefly (sic aircraft that caused the damage was actually a Corsair) rolled off a lift and raked the hangar with 20 mm gunfire. This started a very bad fire which was contained within the hangar and acted like a furnace. The heat deformed the hull and that was it.
    Indomitable was actually used in the post-war fleet and was modernized (lightly). In 1951 she had a gasoline explosion in her hangar deck. This was actually quite minor (an Essex would have shrugged it off) but the fact it was contained and was within the hull girder caused severe damage. She was patched with concrete for the Coronation Review, then scrapped.


    Victorious was surveyed, found to be in reasonably good condition and rebuilt. The rebuild was fiendishly expensive, largely because the flight deck was the hangar deck and partly due to idiotically bad project planning.
    The Victorious conversion was one of those tragedies that was almost comical. The original plans did not include re-engining the ship; this was a decision taken late in the rebuild process by which time most of the hull work (about 80 percent) had been completed. A machinery survey showed that the boilers had only about ten years of life left and it was decided they should be replaced. This meant that a lot of work had to be undone and then redone. The awful bit is that she was still within that ten year period when she was prematurely decommissioned. The Ship's Cover is pretty sulphurous in places. Another tragedy is that this monumental mess disillusioned the fleet with any sort of rebuild program (which had echoes in all sorts of places including the Type 15 program).


    Another point which should be brought up is that the armored box hangar on the RN CV's was restricted to a height of 16 feet maximum and was as low as 14 feet in the upper hangars on the Indomitable, Implacable and Indefatigable. This restricted the use of the F4U Corsair fighter in the 14 feet hangars. This also hampered the usefulness of the British carriers postwar as aircraft grew in size. By contrast, the USN carriers had a hangar clear height of 20 feet in the Lexington class, 17 feet 3 inches in the Yorktown class and 17 feet 6 inches in the Essex class. This greater height allowed the Essex class to easily adapt to the much larger postwar jet aircraft.


    The planned refits of the Implacable and Indefatigable would have seen the two hangars merged into one which would have made these ships much more capable. Sadly, the problems with the Victorious rebuild killed that plan off. In retrospect, they should have gone through the upgrade process first; as ships, they were much better than the first four armored carriers and were in good condition.
    We also have to be very careful when looking at apparent ship histories in the 1945 - 1955 period. There is a lot of statistical deceit used here (Eric Grove in "Vanguard to Trident" makes an eye-opening read). Ships that were apparently in good condition and in service were actually laid up or otherwise non-operational. Illustrious is a good example. Her Ship's Cover is quite clear that she had never recovered from the damage she'd taken in WW2 and was limited to around 22 knots for all practical purposes. That's why she was used for experimental purposes - she wasn't much use for anything else. Indomitable is another example of statistical deceit. After her 1950 gasoline explosion (shortly after she finished her refit), she was completely useless and had to be towed to Spithead for the Coronation Review. As soon as that was over, she went to the breakers.


    Two books, the Eric Grove "Vanguard to Trident" and Norman Friedman's "British Carrier Aviation" give a feel for this rather depressing period in history. Grove's book in particular is superb for providing a feel for the interplay between technology and politics that went on during this period. One interesting point that he brings out is that a great problem the RN had was in manning ships, even when money was available.
    It is also not true that the Illustrious class carriers were worn out by hard war service. The last pair were only used for a couple of years and didn't work that hard. They certainly did not do the long deployments undertaken by the US carriers during the war. Indefatigable and Implacable were badly built (as were most British wartime ships - Admiralty records related to planned reconstructions quoted in Vanguard to Trident implicitly give war-built cruisers a life of only ten years). No criticism intended there - emphasis was on quantity rather than quality.
    The Midway class is a much more complex design problem than just the adoption of an armored deck. In fact, the armored deck was not actually adopted - it grew out of other factors in the ship's design. Norman Friedman's "US Carriers - An Illustrated Design History" goes into this in detail, but, in summary, the Midway's were the first non-treaty restricted carrier designs in the US Fleet. British input to the design was actually very mixed - even after the Illustrious bombing (usually quoted as an example of the value of an armored deck), some British comment to the US Navy was very anti-deck armor. Originally, the Midway's were to have had a heavy (8 inch) deck gun battery. Eventually, this was discarded and the weight saved was used to provide two inches of flight deck armor. This was in addition to the 3.5 inches of hangar deck armor sported by the Essex's. The suggestion that they are a response to the UK armored carrier designs is largely a myth - the discussions that lead to the Midway's actually predate the Illustrious class.

    Continue ->
    http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-030.php


    i thought the vid was very fair about why the brits did it ( surface engagements) and using them against the jap suicides vs US showed their worth. yes, had AP surface shells entered those things wouldve been ovens. as off Samar the APs just went right through. it took HEs to knock ours out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sargentodiaz View Post
    Baby boomer jet realizes it may never be able to retire

    I was in high school when the first one went into service.
    MINOT, N.D. – After reviewing its Thrift Savings Plan statement and a growing pile of maintenance bills, a B-52 bomber broke down, realizing it would likely never be able to retire, sources confirmed today.
    Yes, it’s satire and you can read more @ https://www.duffelblog.com/2019/05/b...ble-to-retire/
    The newest BUFF is older than the oldest crew member today.
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