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The current time is: 12/13/2017 12:06:43 AM
 Naval WWII    
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/29/2017 6:46:12 AM
The Royal Navy of the 1930s resolved to build a carrier not merely capable of surviving sustained air attacks, but of continuing air operations after taking a measure of battle damage.Such a carrier needed to be able to protect its aircraft, to provide fleet reconnaissance and trade protection, as well as offer air patrol and combat strike functions.

The challenge was to provide this within restrictions defined by Washington Treaty limits.This was achieved by an ingenious – and for some considerable time Top Secret - design which incorporated an “armoured box” hangar into a strength deck that was also the flight deck.It was an innovation which provided considerable weight savings for such a heavily armoured structure. But it came with a cost.To maintain stability, the second hangar had to be discarded. As a result, the Illustrious Class would have to be limited to 33 internal stowage spaces for aircraft.

FLIGHT DECK
That the Illustrious Class had an “armoured flight-deck” is something of a misstatement.What made the class so unique was an armoured box incorporating the centre of the flight deck between the lifts which enclosed the aircraft and machinery spaces within a protective “cocoon”. The lifts themselves were not armoured and nor was the flight deck fore and aft. In effect, the 3in armour covered 62 per cent of the flight deck and weighed 1500 tons. Much of the remainder was 1.5in toughened structural steel.

The United States Navy built its flight decks as though they were part of the vessels superstructure. British carriers, including Ark Royal, incorporated them as their primary strength deck. As a result the flight decks were an integral part of the ship’s hull. This is why the flight deck around the fore and aft lifts was rated as 1.5in armour – for strength reasons, not as protection.While of roughly similar weight to their United States Washington Treaty contemporary (the USS Yorktown Class) and HMS Ark Royal , the Illustrious Class were smaller ships. This was compounded during the early war years by the provision of extensive “round downs” on the bow and stern to improve air flow over the deck.

All three ships underwent flight deck rebuilds to improve the operational flight deck space during the war years. Eventually, the usable length of HMS Illustrious herself was boosted to 740ft. Initially, only 620ft had been available.Where Ark Royal had a freeboard to the flight deck of some 60ft, the deletion of the second hangar deck from the Illustrious class in order to preserve stability reduced this height above the water to 38ft.The flight deck and aircraft facilities of the class were initially designed to operate 11,000lbs aircraft with an maximum take-off weight of 14,000lbs. This was steadily upgraded throughout the wae.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6098
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/29/2017 8:40:18 AM
Britain operated squadrons of an optimal twelve aircraft, divided into four “sections” of three aircraft. Each “section” had a designated colour and each section aircraft a number.Illustrious was designed with stowage allocated for 33 aircraft.

Many reports state this was 36, but a look at the original lash-down arrangements shows provision for 12 aircraft in hangars A and C (named divisions based on the fire curtain compartments), and only 9 in Hangar B.

Ark Royal’s intended total stowage capacity was 72 aircraft (though fewer could be operated). The Illustrious’ US contemporary, USS Enterprise, was carrying more than 70.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2959

Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/29/2017 8:59:21 AM
Jim,

The problem with the RN following the Washington Naval Treaty, is the Kreigsmarine, & the IJN sure as hell didn't!!!!!!!

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 519

Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/29/2017 9:39:31 AM
If the USN had built with metal decks would we have been short a carrier at Midway?

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6098
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Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/29/2017 10:20:53 AM
Opana- Lexington was attacked by 19 D3As. One was shot down by the CAP before it could drop its bomb and another was shot down by the carrier.

She was hit by two bombs, the first of which detonated in the port forward five-inch ready ammunition locker, killing the entire crew of one 5-inch AA gun and starting several fires.

The second hit struck the funnel, doing little significant damage although fragments killed many of the crews of the .50-caliber machine guns positioned near there.

Had she had an armoured deck- she would IMHO have survived. HMS Ilustrious survived two German 1000lb bomb hits

regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 519

Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/29/2017 11:00:08 AM
Sorry, I didn't mean "survive", I meant "be ready for service".

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6098
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/29/2017 11:28:24 AM
Here I have to be scrupulously fair -although HMS Illustrious was able to sail from Malta after her damage-she had to be repaired-it is then most likely that Lady Lex would would not have been fit for Midway-also having to undergo repairs.

The steel box hangar overlain by a steel flight deck of the Illustrious class aircraft carriers saved them from being sunk. UK just could not afford to lose carriers after the careless loss of the converted heavy cruisers Courageous,Glorious and the more modern Ark Royal.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 519

Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/29/2017 12:10:35 PM
You reinforce opinions I've seen elsewhere. Thanks.

R Leonard
Richmond, VA, USA
New User
E-2 Private


Posts: 16

Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/29/2017 11:19:55 PM

Quote:
Lexington . . . was hit by two bombs, the first of which detonated in the port forward five-inch ready ammunition locker, killing the entire crew of one 5-inch AA gun and starting several fires.
The second hit struck the funnel, doing little significant damage although fragments killed many of the crews of the .50-caliber machine guns positioned near there.
Had she had an armoured deck- she would IMHO have survived. HMS Ilustrious survived two German 1000lb bomb hits


You seem to have forgotten a couple of torpedo hits . . . you know, the ones that started the av gas leaks? Not much an armored flight deck/hangar box can do about those nor even some rather bad damage control decisions.

I'd suggest that av gas fumes/vapors building up in a steel box hangar might have a tendency to make a pretty big bang, given the opportunity.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6098
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/30/2017 3:43:18 AM
No RL- I did not forget Lexington's torpedo hits -I was comparing the damage done by bomb hits on both ships only-the theme of this thread is to do with flight deck construction.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2959

Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/30/2017 8:47:15 AM
Sad ending to the USS Lexington, It breaks my heart to see the Lady Lex like this!?

[Read More]

Respects,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6098
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/30/2017 8:57:06 AM
Sad-Yes indeed MD- but what is your opinion of armoured flight decks on WW2 aircraft carriers.????


Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2959

Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/30/2017 9:22:43 AM
Jim,

I think armored flight decks are a positive, several US Carriers benefited from them along with great damage control teams, example the USS Yorktown, repaired in time to be a big help at the battle of Midway!

Regards,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6098
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Case For(Or Against) Armoured Flight Decks in WW2
Posted on: 9/30/2017 9:56:25 AM
Thank you for your interest Dave-here's the full gen

Comparison is often made between the carrier designs of the Royal Navy (RN) and the United States Navy (USN). The two navies followed differing philosophies in the use of armour on carrier flight decks, starting with the design of the RN's Illustrious class and ending with the design of the Midway class, when the USN also adopted armoured flight decks.

The two classes most easily compared are the RN's Illustrious class and Implacable class and their nearest USN contemporaries, the Yorktown and Essex classes. The Illustrious class followed the Yorktown but preceded the Essex, while the Implacable-class design predated the Essex but these ships were completed after the lead ships of the Essex class.

The development of armoured flight deck carriers proceeded during World War II, and before the end of World War II both the USN, with USS Midway, and the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), with Taihō and Shinano would also commission armoured flight deck carriers. All USN fleet aircraft carriers built since 1945 feature armoured flight decks.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

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