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Great Britain's HMS Argus aircraft carrier

Photos

  • HMS Argus
  • HMS Argus
  • HMS Argus
  • HMS Argus
  • Hawker Sea Hurricane
  • HMS Argus
    In the Firth of Forth in late 1918.
    ©National Archives NH-63030.
  • HMS Argus
    Late 1918.
    © National Archives H-42235.
  • HMS Argus
    Late 1918.
    © National Archives H-6225.
  • HMS Argus
    Late 1920s.
    ©National Archives H-63028-01.
  • Hawker Sea Hurricane
    Landing on the HMS Argus.
    ©IWM A-18892.

Design

The HMS Argus was the Italian liner Conte Rosso converted into an aircraft carrier.3,5 In August 1916 the Conte Rosso was purchased by the British Admiralty.5

Initially the HMS Argus was to be fitted out as a seaplane tender but in 1917 it was decided that it would also carry land based planes.5 There was a takeoff flight deck in front and a landing deck aft, behind a superstructure.5 However, before the HMS Argus was launched it was decided to make a single flight deck.5

The HMS Argus was the Royal Navy's first flush deck carrier.3

There was a single hangar, 350' x 68' x 20'5.3 There are two lifts, 30' x 36'5, to bring aircraft up onto the flight deck.4

Ships

HMS Argus

  • Formerly Conte Rosso.1,5
  • Nickname: "The Flatiron"3
  • Manufacturer: Beardmore1,5
  • 1914: Laid down.5
  • December 2, 1917: Launched1,2,4,5
  • September 1918: Completed.5
  • 1925 - 1926: Bulges added.2,5
  • 1930s: Boilers replaced.5 4" guns removed.5 Downward slope of forward flight deck was removed and replaced by a flat flight deck and catapults.5
  • Mid-1930s: Withdrawn from front line service.5
  • 1937 - 1938: Used with Queen Bee target aircraft.2
  • 1939 - 1940: With the Mediterranean Fleet.1
  • 1940 - 1941: With the Home Fleet.1
  • Late 19415, 1942: With Force "H".1,5
  • 1942: Added eight 20 mm.1 Used for training.1
  • November 1942: Operation Torch, North Africa.3,5
  • 19435, Mid-1943: Used for training.3,5
  • 1943 - 1944: With the Home Fleet.1
  • 1944 - 1945, December 19445: Accommodation ship.1,5

Usage

The HMS Argus replaced the sunk HMS Ark Royal in Force "H."3

The HMS Argus was used to ferry aircraft to Gibraltar, Malta, and Takoradi.3

Providing support the HMS Argus was used on the Arctic convoy route.3

During the invasion of North Africa the HMS Argus provided support.3,5

 

Specifications

  HMS Argus
Crew 3703, 3731,4,5
Displacement 14,000 tons1,3, 14,450 tons4, 14,550 tons5, 15,750 tons2,3
Displacement - Loaded 17,000 tons5
Physical Characteristics  
Length 565'1,3,4,5
172.2 m3, 172.21 m5
Length - Between Perpendiculars 535' 6"5
163.22 m
Length - Water Line 535'1,4
Beam 68'1,3,4, 68' 6"5
20.7 m3, 20.88 m5
Draft / Height 21'1,4,5, 24'3
6.4 m5, 7.3 m3
Draft / Height - Maximum 24' 9"5
7.54 m5
Flight deck 550' x 69'5
167.64 m x 21.03 m5
Performance  
Speed 20.2 knots4, 20.25 knots1,5
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 4"1,3,4,5: 61,3,4,5
3 pdr4: 44
Machine Gun4: 44
Lewis4: 104
Aircraft 201,3,5
Armor None3,4
Engines  
Boilers 124, Cylindrical boilers: 125
Shafts 41,3,4,5
Turbines Geared3, Parsons4,5
HP 20,0001,4, 21,0003, 21,5005
Oil 2,000 tons4,5
Aircraft Fuel  

Sources:

  1. Warships of World War II, H. T. Lenton and J. J. Colledge, 1964
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
  5. The World's Aircraft Carriers 1914 - 1945, Roger Chesneau, 1986
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site