Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

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Gary
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Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by Gary » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:19 pm

Hi all.

Which of the Royal Navies Aircraft Carriers was the most prolific and successful?
(I'm talking about the number of ships attacked/damaged/sunk by its planes.)

I'm guessing its either Illustrious or Eagle?
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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by paulcadogan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:20 pm

Hi Gary,

This is a hard one to quantify as several British carriers had active and eventful careers.

Illustrious is an obvious top contender as she is the only one that can claim to have sunk two battleships and crippled two others (albeit at anchor in Taranto) in one fell swoop creating the "blueprint" for Japan to attack Pearl Harbor, add to that surviving 6 bomb hits at the hands of German Stukas, plus Kamikazes in the Pacific, plus her other Med, Indian Ocean and Pacific actions.

Victorious is a good contender having attacked and hit Bismarck and Tirptz, plus her Arctic, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean & Pacific service, and her long post-war career.

Ark Royal was extremely active in her short career and has the big plus of crippling Bismarck. Her aircraft attacked and scared off Vittorio Veneto and Guilio Cesare at the battle of Spartivento, possibly saving Renown and the rest of the squadron from a dangerous encounter. From Norway, to the Atlantic to the Med, the Ark was there. Plus she was a big focal point for German propaganda. Based on impact in proportion to short length of service - she's in there.

Furious was extremely useful, despite her age and small aircraft capacity, from the Arctic to the Mediterranean - including the attack with Victorious that scored 14 hits on Tirpitz. She was so worn out by 1944 that she was put in reserve.

Eagle's main claim to fame was her Med actions, but I don't think she's a top contender.

My pick for the top spot would be between Illustrious and Victorious.

Paul
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Gary
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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by Gary » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:52 pm

Hi Paul.

The old Eagle was a little more than meets the eye.
A small number of the Taranto planes/aircrews actually belonged to Eagle (albeit they launched from Illustrious that night).
Eagle bagged herself quite a few Italian Destroyers as well as some merchant vessels and a submarine.
She also played a big part in supplying Malta with airplanes (as did most of the carriers at some point).

In essence you are probably right though Paul, its either Illustrious or Victorious
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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by RF » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:14 pm

I would go for Illustrious, not least for being able to live up to its name......

HMS Eagle - well, it came close to the hilfskreuzer Atlantis at night and didn't even see the German ship. Fortunately nothing came of it, but certainly a close encounter.....
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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by tameraire01 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:47 pm

Illustrious has to be the best and most successful carrier of WW2 in any theatre.Even the USN was impressed by her when she went for repairs in the us.
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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by Garyt » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:11 pm

I like the Ark Royal, factoring both it's history (although not as impressive as a few of the other candidates) and the fact that it had a rather large air group for a British carrier.

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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by pgollin » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:21 am

,

Also remember that Victorious went to the Pacific twice, the first time teaching the USN proper fighter direction techniques.

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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by paulcadogan » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:31 pm

pgollin wrote:Also remember that Victorious went to the Pacific twice, the first time teaching the USN proper fighter direction techniques.
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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by aurora » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:37 pm

SIMPLY THE BEST--BETTER THAN ALL THE REST

Illustrious was the lead ship in her class of aircraft carriers. The design was unique in the sense that the flight deck was armored, unlike many of her contemporaries outside her class; however, the added protection also limited the total number of aircraft she was capable of carrying. Her first assignment brought her to the Mediterranean Sea where her main mission was to launch aircraft which covered Malta convoys. In Nov 1940, she launched 21 torpedo bombers against the Italian fleet at Taranto, and achieved spectacular success after sinking one battleship and damaging two others. On 11 Jan 1941, she was attacked by German dive bombers while escorting a convoy, suffering 8 bomb hits. While repair work was being done at Malta, she was once again bombed. She sailed for Alexandria, Egypt for temporary repairs, and then sailed for the Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia, United States for permanent repairs.

The repair work completed in May 1942. By which time, Japan had entered the war, threatening British possessions in Asia. The British Royal Navy, particularly, suffered a damaging defeat after the Japanese raids into the Indian Ocean in Mar-Apr 1942. As a result, Illustrious was dispatched to the Indian Ocean instead of returning to the Mediterranean. In May 1942, her aircraft provided cover for the British troops landing at Diego Suarez, Madagascar against French and French colonial troops.

In 1943, Illustrious returned to the Mediterranean Sea and joined Force H based in Gibraltar. In Sep 1943, her aircraft covered Allied troops in the Sicily invasion.

In 1944, Illustrious returned to the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean for strikes against Japanese garrisons in the Southwest Pacific region. In 1945, after a period of rest and re-supply in Fremantle, Australia, she sailed north and joined Allied Task Force 57 to cover the Okinawa operation. Off Okinawa, she was hit and damaged by two Japanese special attack aircraft.

After the war, Illustrious' role was reduced to a training and trials ship due to the heavy damage suffered during WW2. She was finally modernized between Jan and Aug 1948, and then served another six years before she was decommissioned. She was sold for scrap on 3 Nov 1954 and was broken up in 1956 as Faslane.

aurora
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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by LeopardTooth » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:13 am

"Illustrious has to be the best and most successful carrier of WW2 in any theatre."

I can only hope that the scope of this analysis is limited to Her Majesty's naval vessels. Otherwise, a certain CV6 would like a word with you.

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aurora
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Re: Most successful RN Carrier of WW2

Post by aurora » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:56 am

In action and unsinkable 1940 to 1945-I should jolly well think so-USS Enterprise notwitstanding-she saw action 1941 to 1945. :wink: :wink:

aurora
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