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Great Britain's HMS Furious fleet aircraft carrier

Photos

HMS Furious fleet aircraft carrier November 25, 1925:
Great Britain's HMS Furious fleet aircraft carrier November 25, 1925
National Archives NH 60973
HMS Furious fleet aircraft carrier in the mid 1930s with Blackburn Baffin torpedo planes flying overhead:
Great Britain's HMS Furious fleet aircraft carrier in the mid 1930s with Blackburn Baffin torpedo planes flying overhead
National Archives 85717
HMS Furious fleet aircraft carrier identification drawing:
Great Britain's HMS Furious fleet aircraft carrier identification drawing
National Archives 97641
HMS Courageous or HMS Glorious next to HMS Furious off Gibraltar:
Great Britain's HMS Courageous or HMS Glorious next to HMS Furious off Gibraltar
©IWM Q 80418

Design

Initially the Furious was to be a heavy cruiser with two 18" guns to be able to support amphibious operations on the German coast. In 1917 Admiral Beatty thought that there should be more seaplane tenders starting with the conversion of the Furious.

In March 1917 the forward turret was replaced by a flight deck. There was enough space for eight seaplanes in a hangar. It was found that the setup wasn't ideal as the deck wasn't long enough for landing an aircraft after it took off. In November 1917 a longer flight deck was placed where the rear turret was. It was 300' x 50' with a hangar of 70' x 38'. The superstructure was mostly intact and would cause turbulence that caused many accidents.

In the early 1920s the superstructure was removed and a full length flight deck installed. There were two hangars, the upper 530' x 50' and the lower 550' 50'. Two 8,000 lb lifts were installed.

Ships

HMS Furious

  • Manufacturer: Armstrong, Armstrong Whitworth, Wallsend
  • June 8, 1915: Laid down.
  • August 15, 1916: Launched
  • March 1917: Forward 18" gun turret replaced by a 228' sloping flight deck with a hangar underneath.
  • June 26, 1917: Commissioned.
  • November 1917: Rear 18" gun turret replaced by a 284' / 300' flight deck with a hangar underneath.
  • March 15, 1918: Recommissioned.
  • July 1918: Tondern raid. Launched seven Sopwith Camels with two 50 lb bombs each to attack Zeppelin sheds. Two Zeppelins were destroyed.
  • 1921 - 1925, June 1922 - August 31, 1925: Conversion to carrier at Rosyth.
  • 1931 - 1932: Refit. A 4" HA gun added. Two 8 barrel pompoms replaced the four single pompoms.
  • 1938 - 1939, 1939: Refit. Island added to flight deck. Armed with twelve 4" L/45 QF Mk XVI HA twin mounts. Added an 8 barrel pompom.
  • 1939 - 1944: With the Home Fleet.
  • 1940: Norway.
  • April 1941: Added an 8 barrel pompom. Up to 15 20 mm Oerlikons added.
  • Mid 1941: Mediterranean.
  • October 1941: Refit in United States.
  • 1942: To improve stability the bulges were deepened. Displacement increased to 28,495 tons.
  • November 1942: Operation Torch, North Africa.
  • 1943: Flight deck lengthened to 596'.
  • February 1943: Home Fleet.
  • September 1944, 1944 - 1945: Put into reserve.

Usage

World War I

Squadron Commander Dunning landed a Sopwith Pup on the flight deck in mid-1917.

On July 19, 1918 seven Sopwith Camels from the HMS Furious attacked and destroyed two Zeppelins in their sheds at Tondern.

World War II

The HMS Furious was assigned to escorting convoys and participating in hunter killer groups in the Atlantic.

She was also used in the campaign in Norway.

HMS Furious was used in ferrying planes to Malta and West Africa. HMS Furious also supported the North African landings.

HMS Furious' final mission was against the Tirpitz.

The HMS Furious served through most of the war being moved to reserve in September 1944.

Specifications

  HMS Furious
Crew 748, 750, 1,218
Displacement 19,100 tons, 22,450 tons, 22,500 tons
Displacement - 1925 22,130 tons
Displacement - Loaded 22,450 tons, 27,165 tons, 28,500 tons
Displacement - Loaded - 1939 28,500 tons
Displacement - Loaded - 1942 28,495 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 785' 9", 786' 3", 786' 5"
239.5 m, 239.7 m
Length - Water Line 735'
224.02 m
Beam 89' 9", 90', 90' 1"
27.4 m, 27.46 m
Draft / Height 24', 25'
7.3 m
Draft / Height - Maximum 28' 1"
8.56 m
Flight deck 530' x 91' 6"
Flight deck - 1925 576' x 90'
Flight deck - 1943 596' x 91' 6"
Performance  
Speed 30 knots, 30.5 knots, 31 knots, 31.5 knots
Speed - 1939 29.5 knots
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5.5" L/50 Mk I: 10
4", 4" L/45 QF Mk V HA, 4" twin mounts: 2, 6
2 pdr pompom, 2 pdr octuple mounts: 3, 4
3 pdr saluting: 4
Anti-Aircraft - 1925 5.5": 10
4": 6
2 pdr: 4
Aircraft 33, 36
Aircraft - 1925 36
Armor  
Main belt 2 - 3", 3"
Deck 1 - 3", 1.5 - 3"
Flight deck 1"
hangar deck 1.5"
Engines  
Boilers Yarrow small tube: 18
Shafts 4
Turbines Brown-Curtis geared, geared
HP 90,000
Oil 3,830 tons, 4,010 tons
Aircraft fuel 22,800 gallons
  HMS Furious 1917
Crew 880
Displacement 19,100 tons
Displacement - Loaded 22,400 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 786' 3"
239.65 m
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars 735'
224.03 m
Beam 88'
26.82 m
Draft / Height 21' 6"
6.55 m
Draft / Height - Maximum 25'
7.62 m
Flight deck 228' x 55'
69.49 m x 16.76 m
Performance  
Speed 31.5 knots
Range at 20 knots 6,000 nautical miles
Armament 18": 1
Anti-Aircraft 5.5": 11
3": 4
3 pdr: 4
Aircraft 8
Armor  
Belt - Main 3"
Deck 3"
Turret 7"
Engines  
Boilers Yarrow small tube: 18
Shafts 4
Turbines Brown-Curtis geared
HP 90,000
Oil 3,400 tons
Aircraft fuel 1,200 gallons

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