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Great Britain's Colossus class light aircraft carriers

Photos

HMS Colossus at Greenock:
HMS Colossus at Greenock
©IWM, A-27438
HMS Colossus light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate POWs from Jinsen, Korea:
Great Britain's HMS Colossus light aircraft carrier being setup to repatriate POWs from Jinsen, Korea
©IWM, A-30912
HMS Colossus in the Clyde in February 1945 with a Barracuda Mk II of the 827 Squadron:
HMS Colossus in the Clyde in February 1945 with a Barracuda Mk II of the 827 Squadron
©IWM, HU-72475
HMS Colossus in the Clyde in July 1945 with a Barracuda Mk II of the 827 Squadron:
HMS Colossus in the Clyde in July 1945 with a Barracuda Mk II of the 827 Squadron
©IWM, HU-86361
HMS Glory in coastal waters:
HMS Glory in coastal waters
©IWM, A-28925
HMS Glory in coastal waters:
HMS Glory in coastal waters
©IWM, A-28926
HMS Glory:
HMS Glory
©IWM, FL-9455
HMS Ocean in 1945:
HMS Ocean in 1945
©IWM, A-30618
HMS Pioneer:
HMS Pioneer
©IWM, FL-17459
HMS Theseus in the Clyde:
HMS Theseus in the Clyde
©IWM, FL-3148
HMS Triumph light aircraft carrier in Subic Bay in March 1950:
Great Britain's HMS Triumph light aircraft carrier in Subic Bay in March 1950
US Navy photo, NH-97010
HMS Triumph:
HMS Triumph
©IWM, FL-22768
HMS Venerable being launched at the Cammell Laird Yards in Birkenhead on December 30, 1943:
HMS Venerable being launched at the Cammell Laird Yards in Birkenhead on December 30, 1943
©IWM, A-21186

HMS Venerable with Barracudas:
HMS Venerable with Barracudas
©IWM, A-29030

HMS Venerable:
HMS Venerable
©IWM, FL-14300

HMS Venerable during trials:
HMS Venerable during trials
©IWM, A-27089
HMS Venerable being launched at the Cammell Laird Yards in Birkenhead on December 30, 1943:
HMS Venerable being launched at the Cammell Laird Yards in Birkenhead on December 30, 1943
©IWM, A-21187

HMS Venerable in the Clyde with a Barracuda landing:
HMS Venerable in the Clyde with a Barracuda landing
©IWM, A-28231

HMS Venerable in the Mediterranean:
HMS Venerable in the Mediterranean
©IWM, A-28910
HMS Venerable being launched at the Cammell Laird Yards in Birkenhead on December 30, 1943:
HMS Venerable being launched at the Cammell Laird Yards in Birkenhead on December 30, 1943
©IWM, A-21188

HMS Venerable:
HMS Venerable
©IWM, A-29031

HMS Venerable during trials:
HMS Venerable during trials
©IWM, A-27086
HMS Venerable being launched at the Cammell Laird Yards in Birkenhead on December 30, 1943:
HMS Venerable being launched at the Cammell Laird Yards in Birkenhead on December 30, 1943
©IWM, A-21189

HMS Venerable:
HMS Venerable
©IWM, A-29823

HMS Venerable during trials:
HMS Venerable during trials
©IWM, A-27087
HMS Vengeance during Arctic trials:
HMS Vengeance during Arctic trials
©IWM, A-31481
HMS Vengeance during Arctic trials:
HMS Vengeance during Arctic trials
©IWM, A-31483
HMS Vengeance in the Clyde:
HMS Vengeance in the Clyde
©IWM, A-27339

Design

With the British dock yards busy with other priorities, it was realized that building full sized carriers would take a long time to finish so it was decided to build a series of light aircraft carriers.

The HSM Perseus and HMS Pioneer were finished as aircraft maintenance ships but could be converted into carriers. These were to specifically support the far off Pacific Fleet as there were few nearby facilities that could be used for repairing aircraft.

The HMS Glory was outfitted with 32 Hellcats and Fireflies to be used as a night fighter carrier. HMS Vengeance had Barracudas and Fireflies. HMS Colossus had Corsairs and Fireflies.

Flight Deck

The flight deck had a catapult that could launch 14,000 lbs at 66 knots.

The Colossus class had two 45' x 34' elevators and each could lift 15,000 lb.

Hangar Deck

The hangar deck was 445' x 52' x 17' 6".

Ships

HMS Colossus

  • Manufacturer: V.A. at Tyne, Vickers-Armstrong at New Castle, Vickers-Armstrong at Tyne
  • June 1, 1942: Laid down.
  • September 30, 1943: Launched.
  • December 16, 1944: Completed.
  • Mid 1945: British Pacific Fleet.

HMS Glory

  • Manufacturer: Harland and Wolff
  • August 27, 1942: Laid down.
  • November 27, 1943: Launched.
  • April 2, 1945: Completed.

HMS Ocean

  • Manufacturer: Stephen
  • November 8, 1942: Laid down.
  • July 8, 1944: Launched.
  • August 8, 1945: Completed.
  • Originally outfitted with 32 night fighters.

HMS Perseus

  • Formerly the Edgar
  • Manufacturer: V.A. at Tyne, V.A. at Barrow, Vickers-Armstrong at New Castle, Vickers-Armstrong at Tyne
  • June 1, 1942: Laid down.
  • March 26, 1944: Launched.
  • October 19, 1945: Completed.

HMS Pioneer

  • Formerly the Ethalion, the Mars
  • Manufacturer: V.A. at Barrow, Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow
  • December 2, 1942: Laid down.
  • May 20, 1944: Launched.
  • February 2, 1945, February 8, 1945: Completed.

HMS Theseus

  • Manufacturer: Fairfield
  • January 6, 1943: Laid down.
  • July 6, 1944: Launched.
  • February 9, 1946: Completed.

HMS Triumph

  • Manufacturer: Hawthorn Leslie
  • January 27, 1943: Laid down.
  • October 2, 1944: Launched.
  • May 9, 1946: Completed.

HMS Venerable

  • Manufacturer: Cammell Laird
  • December 3, 1942: Laid down.
  • December 30, 1943: Launched.
  • January 17, 1945: Completed.

HMS Vengeance

  • Manufacturer: Swan Hunger, Wallsend
  • November 16, 1942: Laid down.
  • February 23, 1944: Launched.
  • January 15, 1945: Completed.
  • Early 1945: Mediterranean.

HMS Warrior

  • Formerly the Brave
  • Manufacturer: Harland & Wolff
  • December 12, 1942: Laid down.
  • May 20, 1944: Launched.
  • March 14, 1946, November 1948: Completed.

Usage

Pacific Fleet

The HMS Colossus, HMS Glory, HMS Perseus, HMS Pioneer, HMS Venerable, and HMS Vengeance saw action with the Pacific Fleet.

 

Specifications

  Colossus class
Crew 854, 1,076, 1,300
Displacement 13,190 tons
Displacement - Loaded 18,040 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 693 - 695', 695'
211.22 - 211.83 m, 211.84 m
Length - Water Line 630', 650'
192.02 m, 198.12 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 630'
192.02 m
Beam 80', 80' 3"
24.38 m
Draft / Height 18' 3", 18' 6"
5.64 m
Draft / Height - Maximum 23' 3", 23' 6"
7.09 m, 7.16 m
Flight Deck 690' x 80'
207.26 m x 24.38 m
Performance  
Speed 25 knots
Range at 14 knots 12,000 nautical miles
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 3 pdr: 4
2 pdr: 24
2 pdr quad mounts, 2 pdr pompom quad mounts: 6
40 mm: 19
20 mm: 32
Aircraft 37, 39 - 44, 48
Armor  
Main belt  
Deck  
Engines  
Boilers Admiralty 3 drum: 4
Shafts 2
Turbines Geared, Parsons Geared
HP 40,000, 42,000
Oil 3,196 tons
Gasoline 98,600 gallons
  HMS Ocean
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 2 pdr pompom quad mounts: 6
2 pdr pompom: 1
  HMS Perseus
Crew  
Displacement 12,000 tons, 13,300 tons, 13,350 tons
Displacement - Loaded 16,500 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 695'
211.8 m
Beam 80'
24.4 m
Draft / Height 18' 5"
5.6 m
Performance  
Speed 25 knots
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 2 pdr quad mount: 2, 3
20 mm: 10, 12
Aircraft 0
Armor  
Engines  
Shafts 2
Turbines Geared
HP 42,000
  HMS Pioneer
Crew  
Displacement 12,000 tons, 13,300 tons, 13,350 tons
Displacement - Loaded 16,500 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 695'
211.8 m
Beam 80'
24.4 m
Draft / Height 18' 5"
5.6 m
Performance  
Speed 25 knots
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 2 pdr quad mount: 2, 3
20 mm: 10, 12
Aircraft 0
Armor  
Engines  
Shafts 2
Turbines Geared
HP 42,000
  HMS Theseus
Displacement 13,350 tons
Displacement - Loaded 18,300 tons
  HMS Triumph
Displacement 13,350 tons
Displacement - Loaded 18,300 tons
  HMS Warrior
Displacement 13,350 tons
Displacement - Loaded 18,300 tons

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