Bathtub Sponson above Bridge of HMS Hermes 95

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Fatboy Coxy
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Bathtub Sponson above Bridge of HMS Hermes 95

Post by Fatboy Coxy » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:19 pm

Apologies if this isn’t the correct terminology but it’s the best description I can give it. There is a bathtub like sponson above the bridge of HMS Hermes 95, does anyone know what it was used for?

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marcelo_malara
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Re: Bathtub Sponson above Bridge of HMS Hermes 95

Post by marcelo_malara » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:48 pm

Hi, any photo of this?

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wadinga
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Re: Bathtub Sponson above Bridge of HMS Hermes 95

Post by wadinga » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:52 pm

Hello Fatboy,

You foxed me a little with the 95 suffix (Oh yes- pennant number :cool: ) but if you mean the carrier commissioned in 1926 I assume the "bathtub" is the huge boxy position atop the tripod mast. As the first designed aircraft carrier in the world,(Hosho commissioned first) Hermes and larger contemporary Eagle were experimental designs attempting to accommodate a wide range of aircraft-handling ideas. They both had huge structures atop the hefty tripod mast to accommodate an additional navigation facility and also low angle and high angle fire control/spotting positions. Friedman, British Carrier Aviation, says it reduced congestion on the conventional bridge.

I would imagine only the fitter, younger men (less senior) were required to make the long climb up ladders inside the tripod legs. Interestingly, the famous RNAS pilot "Rutland of Jutland" considered Hermes' design to be too small and slow to be much use- in 1918 during design and extended building period! He thought the designed speed should be more like 28 knots minimum to allow independent operation of her aircraft, and yet have enough speed margin over the battlefleet to catch up when required. Fisher's follies- Courageous, Glorious and Furious were big enough and fast enough, and useless for original purpose, but their Lordships were not keen on newbuilds for sideline aircraft usage being so expensive.

When designed, carriers were expected to be able to look after themselves in a surface action so low angle 5.5" guns needed a high up fire control position and spotting top like a Dreadnought. Separate AA guns needed their own separate system up there too.

I remember you have been keen on rebuilding this antique oddity for WWII, but there would have been an awful lot to do.

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wadinga
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Re: Bathtub Sponson above Bridge of HMS Hermes 95

Post by Fatboy Coxy » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:44 am

HMS Hermes Tub.jpg
Apologies for the poor art work, but this is what I am talking about
(44.37 KiB) Not downloaded yet
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Re: Bathtub Sponson above Bridge of HMS Hermes 95

Post by Fatboy Coxy » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:00 am

wadinga wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:52 pm
I remember you have been keen on rebuilding this antique oddity for WWII, but there would have been an awful lot to do.
Hi wadinga, yes it is part of me exploring what could be done to the ship on a rebuild. getting rid of the 5.5-inch guns and that massive tripod mast and control room would have given a lot of scope for changes, weight wise. However removing them means you have to relocate their functions elsewhere.
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wadinga
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Re: Bathtub Sponson above Bridge of HMS Hermes 95

Post by wadinga » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:41 pm

Hello Fatboy,

Thanks for the visual update. I believe that is the actual functional open air navigating bridge. Both Eagle and Hermes had this feature, and just aft of your red circle the upper level is full of DCT with no room for a bridge crew. Compass binnacle, Pelorus, target bearing indicators, signal gear all take up space. The whole idea of an island superstructure was pretty avant-garde compared with the flush deck carrier approach at the time of conception, and I believe these superstructures were only about 15ft wide and as short as feasible so as to minimise turbulence for landing aircraft. Consequently there wasn't much space, and a destroyer sized bridge for a very much larger ship with a larger bridge crew who also need to control aircraft operation meant this "balcony" extension was essential. Given that RN and RAF personnel would be jostling for a decent view of what was happening, it is possible that this was an RN-admission only area (ie no Flyboys allowed).

Escort carriers managed with small islands, but they weren't regular navy ships and Furious' small navigating bridge came up out of the flightdeck like a Wurlitzer organ.

I couldn't see a rebuilt Hermes getting anything more than an escort carrier armament, so no fire control required. In the original design to accommodate all the RN and RAF personnel there was an argument as to whether the latter would have to "double up" and handle naval ammunition supply to the 5.5" when required.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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