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Great Britain's HMS Hermes fleet aircraft carrier

Photos

HMS Hermes fleet aircraft carrier at Pearl Harbor in 1924:
Great Britain's HMS Hermes fleet aircraft carrier at Pearl Harbor in 1924
US Navy photo
HMS Hermes fleet aircraft carrier:
Great Britain's HMS Hermes fleet aircraft carrier
©IWM FL 6185
HMS Hermes fleet aircraft carrier:
Great Britain's HMS Hermes fleet aircraft carrier
©IWM Q 75602
HMS Hermes fleet aircraft carrier at Chefoo, China in 1931:
Great Britain's HMS Hermes fleet aircraft carrier at Chefoo, China in 1931
US Navy photo

Design

The HMS Hermes was the first British warship to be designed from the start as a carrier and to have an island.1,3,5

At the time it was felt that the aircraft carrier still had to defend itself against surface ships as it wasn't felt aircraft alone could.3 The HMS Hermes was intended to operate with cruisers and its aircraft act as reconnaissance.5

At the rear of the flight deck was a hump that was intended to slow down landing aircraft.3

Flight Deck

The flight deck had a bump aft that contained the lift.5

hangar

The hangar was 400' long.5

Superstructure

The superstructure caused the HMS Hermes to be unbalanced.5 The ship had to have several compartments flooded to make her trim.5

Ships

HMS Hermes

  • Manufacturer: Armstrong1, Armstrong Whitworth4,5
  • July 1917: Ordered.5
  • January 15, 1918: Laid down.5
  • September 19193, September 11, 1919: Launched1,2,3,4,5
  • July 1923: Completed.5
  • 1934: Refit at Devonport.5
  • 1939: Served with Home Fleet.1
  • 1939 - 1942: Served in East Indies.1
  • 1940: Collided with Corfu.5 Repairs in South Africa.5
  • 1942: Served with Eastern Fleet.1
  • April 19425, April 9, 1942: Sunk1,2,4,5

Usage

Hunter

In the Atlantic the HMS Hermes was used to hunt for submarines and surface raiders.3

Against Vichy French

The HMS Hermes was used in support during battles with the Vichy French in West Africa.3

Iraqi Rebellion

During the Iraqi Rebellion of 1941 the HMS Hermes was used in suppressing the rebels.3

Sunk

The HMS Hermes was sunk by Japanese dive bombers off Ceylon (70 miles south of Trincomali).2,3,4,5 The HMS Hermes had no aircraft on board at the time and no way to signal for help.3

 

Specifications

  HMS Hermes
Crew 6603, 6641,4,5
Displacement 10,850 tons1,3,5, 10,950 tons4
Displacement - Loaded 12,950 tons3, 13,000 tons5, 13,700 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length 598'1,3,4, 600'5
182.3 m3, 182.88 m5
Length - Between Perpendiculars 548'5
167.03 m5
Length - Water Line 548'1,4
Beam 70'4, 70' 3"1,3,5
21.4 m3, 21.41 m5
Draft / Height 18' 9"1,4,5, 22' 6"3
5.71 m5, 6.9 m3
Draft / Height - Maximum 21' 6"5
6.55 m5
Flight deck 580' x 65'5
176.78 m x 19.81 m5
Performance  
Speed 25 knots1,3,4,5
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5.5"1,3,5, 5.5" L/504: 61,3,4,5
4"1,3,4,5: 31,3,4,5
Aircraft 151, 205, ~203
Armor  
Belt 2 - 3"1,3, 3"5
Deck 1"1,3,5
Engines  
Boilers Babcock or Yarrow5
Shafts 21,3,4,5
Turbines Geared1, Geared Steam3, Parsons4, Parsons geared5
HP 40,0001,3,4,5
Oil 2,000 tons4
Gasoline  

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