*Victorious* 1941

Name | No | Builder | Laid down | Launched | Comp | Fate |

Illustrious | 87- R2 - R87 | Vickers-Armstrong, Barrow | 27/4/1937 | 5/4/1939 | 25/5/1940 | stricken 11/1956 |

Victorious | 38 - R23 - R38 | Vickers-Armstrong, Tyne | 4/5/1937 | 14/9/1939 | 15/5/1941 | stricken 3/1968 |

Formidable | 67 - R1 - R67 | Harland & Wolff, Belfast | 17/6/1937 | 17/8/1939 | 24/11/1940 | stricken 11/1953 |

Displacement standard, t |
23000 |

Displacement full, t |
28620 (29110 - 29240 service) |

Length, m |
205.1 pp 229.6 oa |

Breadth, m |
29.2 w 32.5 oa |

Draught, m |
8.69 at 29200 t |

No of shafts |
3 |

Machinery |
Parsons geared steam turbines, 6 Admiralty 3-drum boilers |

Power, h. p. |
111000 |

Max speed, kn |
30.5 |

Fuel, t |
4840 oil |

Armour, mm |
belt: 114, hangar sides: 114, bulkheads: 114 - 64, flight deck: 76 |

Armament |
Illustrious: 8 x 2 - 114/45 QF Mk III, 6 x 8 - 40/39 pompom, 33 aircraft (Sea Gladiator, Roc fighters, Skua diving bombers, Swordfish, Albacore torpedo bombers, Walrus recon planes) Formidable: 8 x 2 - 114/45 QF Mk III, 6 x 8 - 40/39 pompom, 33 aircraft (Sea Gladiator, Fulmar, Martlet fighters, Skua diving bombers, Swordfish, Albacore torpedo bombers, Walrus recon planes) Victorious: 8 x 2 - 114/45 QF Mk III, 6 x 8 - 40/39 pompom, 33 aircraft (Fulmar, Sea Hurricane, Buffalo, Martlet fighters, Swordfish, Albacore torpedo bombers, Walrus recon planes) |

Sensors |
type 79 radar |

Complement | 1229, up to 1997 later |

**Aircraft facilities****:
(fd - 5,510 m², ha - 2,638 m² / 12,928 m³); others: (fd
- 5,922 m², ha - 2,638 m² / 12,928 m³)****: **Flight deck: 190 (Illustrious) /
204.2 (others) (useful
length) x 29.0 m.
Hangar: 139.6 x 18.9 x 4.9 m. There were 2 lifts (6.4
t, 13.7 x
6.7 m). There was 1 catapult BH-III (5.4-t plane dispersed to
122 km/h). Aircraft fuel stowage was 230 000 l. Later useful length of flight
deck was increased to 225.6 m.

Year | Fighters | Torpedo bombers | Rescue planes |

4/1940 Illustrious | 15 Fulmar | 18 Swordfish | --- |

11/1940 Illustrious | 12 Fulmar, 2 Sea Gladiator | 24 Swordfish | --- |

3/1941 Formidable | 13 Fulmar | 10 Albacore, 4 Swordfish | --- |

5/1941 Victorious | 6 Fulmar | 9 Swordfish | --- |

10/1942 Illustrious | 6 Fulmar, 24 Martlet | 18 Swordfish | --- |

11/1942 Formidable | 6 Seafire, 24 Martlet | 6 Albacore | --- |

11/1942 Victorious | 11 Martlet, 6 Fulmar | 21 Albacore, 9 Swordfish | --- |

7/1943 Illustrious | 10 Seafire, 24 Martlet | 12 Barracuda | --- |

10/1943 Victorious | 36 Wildcat | 18 Avenger | --- |

4/1944 Victorious | 28 Corsair | 21 Barracuda | --- |

5/1944 Illustrious | 28 Corsair | 21 Barracuda, 21 Avenger | --- |

7/1944 Formidable | 18 Corsair | 24 Barracuda | --- |

12/1944 Illustrious | 36 Corsair | 21 Avenger | --- |

3/1945 Illustrious | 36 Corsair | 16 Avenger | --- |

3/1945 Victorious | 37 Hellcat | 14 Avenger | --- |

5/1945 Formidable | 36 Corsair | 18 Avenger | --- |

7/1945 Formidable | 36 Corsair, 6 Hellcat | 12 Avenger | --- |

8/1945 Victorious | 37 Corsair | 16 Avenger | 2 Walrus |

**Ship project history: **
*
Illustrious* by right is considered as
significant ship in evolution of aircraft
carriers. She had protection of the flight deck for the first time in world
practice which considerably have raised her battle immunity.

Six ships of * Illustrious* class became
the biggest class of fleet aircraft carriers
of Royal Navy. They were sectioned into 3 groups and had significant differences.
First three ships had one level hangar and 3 shafts.

Designing of * Illustrious* has begun in
1936. Ship should have protection from 500pdr (227kg) bombs and 152mm shells.
Standard displacement was limited 23 000ts as
resolved by the London conference of 1936.

Protection was rather powerful, 62% of flight deck area was
covered by 76mm armour. Increase of battle resistance was paid by 2 times
smaller, than on * Ark Royal*,
air group and reduction of freeboard (11.6 m at *
Illustrious* instead of 17.1m at * Ark Royal*).

The "aerodynamic" form of island and funnel in the form of a
profile of a plane wing, and also the round-downs of the deck became feature of
architecture of * Illustrious*: it was supposed, that it
will decrease the turbulence of air and will
improve conditions of take-off and boarding of aircrafts. At the same time
round-downs shrank deck effective length to 189m, therefore on the subsequent
aircraft carriers, since * Victorious*, round-downs began
to fulfil not such big, that has allowed to extend its deck to 204.2m.
The AA armament repeated accepted on * Ark Royal*,
but with new 114mm so-called "inter-decks" mountings.

**Protection:** Main
belt protected about 30% of length by waterline. Main
belt amidships was taken to the hangar deck and to the flight deck on the
starboard side abreast island. 9m ends of main belt were taken to the upper
deck only. Hangar sides were protected on full hangar length. 62% of flight deck
(over hangar) had 76mm armour, another part of flight deck was 38mm. Hangar
deck has 76 - 64mm thickness between ship sides and hangar sides and 25mm
inside citadel. Lower deck was 76mm aft. Lifts were not armoured. There were
38mm anti-torpedo bulkheads. 4.1m deep underwater protection can resist
exploding of 340kg TNT.

**Modernizations: **1/1941, *Illustrious*;
11/1941, *Formidable*: + 10 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon

10/1941, *Victorious*: + 8
x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon

about 1942, all: - type 79 radar; + type 79B radar

1/1943, *Victorious*: + 17
x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon

4/1943, *Victorious*: + 2 x
4 - 40/56 Bofors, 2 x 2 - 40/56 Bofors, 10 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon

6/1943, *Illustrious*: + 16
x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon, 2 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon

11/1943, *Illustrious*:
useful length of flight deck increased to 225.7 m.** (fd
- 6,545 m², ha - 5,690 m² / 27,878 m³)**

1943 - 1944, all: - type 79B radar; + type 272, 277, 279, 6x 282 radars

4/1944, *Victorious*: - 1 x
8 - 40/39, 10 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon; + 13 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon

10/1944, *Illustrious*: - 1
x 8 - 40/39; + 3 x 1 - 40/56 Bofors, 3 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon, 2 x 1 - 20/70
Oerlikon

end 1944, *Formidable* has
up to 54 20-mm Oerlikon.

1944 - 1945, all: + type 281B, 293 radars

1945, *Victorious*: - 4 x 2
- 20/70, 2 x 1 - 20/70; + 6 x 1 - 40/56 Bofors

late 1945, *Victorious*: -
3 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon; + 3 x 1 - 40/56 Bofors

1945, *Formidable*: - 20 -
20/70 Oerlikon; + 12 x 1 - 40/56 Bofors (11 x 2 - 20/70 and 12 x 1 - 20/70
Oerlikon were carried)

1945, *Victorious*: + SG
radar

mid-1946, *Illustrious*:
catapult changed by more powerful unit, 30% more aviation fuel was carried.
Flight deck ends were reconstructed, so its useful area was increased; - 14 x 1
- 20/70 Oerlikon; + 1 x 8 - 40/39 pompom, 18 x 1 - 40/56 Bofors.

(1950 - 1958) *Victorious* :
Hull was lengthened, widened and deepened, machinery and boilers replaced. Two
44m steam catapults, two new faster lifts and angled (8.75^{ 0})^{
}deck fitted. Hangar height was 5.25m. Electric generating capacity
doubled. New artillery fitted.

*Victorious* 1964

*Victorious *1968

Name | Reconstructed | Yard | Fate |

R38 Victorious | 3/1950 - 1/1958 | Portsmouth DYd | stricken 3/1968 |

Displacement standard, t |
30530 |

Displacement full, t |
35500 |

Length, m |
225.5 pp 238.0 oa |

Breadth, m |
31.5 wl 47.8 fd |

Draught, m |
9.50 |

No of shafts |
3 |

Machinery |
Parsons geared steam turbines, 6 Foster Wheeler boilers |

Power, h. p. |
110000 |

Max speed, kn |
31 |

Fuel, t |
n/a |

Armour, mm |
belt: 102, hangar sides: 102, flight deck: 76, hangar deck: 51 |

Armament |
6 x 2 - 76/50 Mk 33, 1 x 6 - 40/56 Mk 6, 36 aircraft (Sea Hawk, Sea Venom fighters, Wyvern torpedo bombers, Skyraider attackers, Gannet, Avenger early warning planes, Whirlwind HAR/HAS, Sycamore HC/HR helicopters) |

Sensors |
type 984, 974, 293Q radars |

Complement | 2400 |

** (fd - 6,366 m², ha -
5,690 m² / 29,869 m³)**.

Year | Fighters | Attackers | ASW planes | Helicopters |

1959 | 10 Sea Venom FAW.21 | 12 Scimitar F.1 | 6 Gannet AS.4 | --- |

1963 | 8 Sea Venom FAW.21 | 8 Buccaneer S.2 | 5 Gannet AS.4 | 5 Wessex |

8/1963, *Victorious*: - 2 x
2 - 76/50, 1 x 6 - 40/56; Angle deck was strengthened, some other improvements
were added.

**Naval service: **
*Illustrious* was badly damaged by direct
hits of seven 500kg and 1 250kg German air bombs and one near-miss 10/1/1941.
She has received new bomb hits 16/1/1941
during damage repair on Malta. *Illustrious* has left out of operation for a year.
*Formidable* was damaged by two 500kg bombs 26/5/1941 off Scarpanto and
repaired about half a year.

*Formidable* and *Victorious* were
twice damaged by kamikazes in 1945, but in all cases the ships have
functioned and could continue operational task fulfilment.

*Formidable* 1946

*Illustrious* 1953

*Victorious* 1967

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© Ivan Gogin, 2008-09