HMS Ark Royal (1937)

United Kingdom - Aircraft Carrier (1935-41)

The large British fleet aircraft carrier

HMS Ark Royal in all her majesty in 1939 - colorized by irootoko jr.

HMS Ark Royal was designed in 1934 to both fit Washington Naval Treaty aircraft carrier tonnage limits and carry a large air group, at least twice than the only other British aircraft carrier designed as such from the ground up, HMS Hermes. About 15 years of aviation technology and doctrine advances separated them. HMS Ark Royal innovated in many ways, starting with hangars and flight deck now an integral part of the hull, and having two hangar deck levels to carry the largest number of aircraft possible, to 1935 standard. She was also the last unarmoured British carrier before the introduction of the superlative Illustrious class.

Due to her large air group she helped developing several carrier tactics before the war which were put to good use. She served in some of the most active naval theatres of the Second World War and was involved in both the first aerial and U-boat kills and operations in Norway, the hunt for Bismarck, and the perilous Malta Convoys. There, she was repeatedly targeted by axis aviation and rapidly gained a reputation as a 'lucky ship'. Until chance turned, as she was torpedoed on 13 November 1941 by U-81. Her great buoyancy save her crew. Her safety features should have saved her, leading to an investigation in spite of the crew efforts to save their ship. They eventually showed design flaws, helping to rectify those on subsequent British carrier designs.

As a name, "Ark Royal" is perhaps the most famous in the Royal Navy. It was carried by ships going back to Elizabethan war Galleons ("Ark Raleigh") - the "royal vessel", and was carried by one more aircraft carrier before and two afterwards, R09 (launched 1950) and R07, of the invincible class. The tradition was broken by the last two, named Queen Elisabeth and Prince of Wales, which arguably are equally suited for these massive capital ships to honor the Royal family. In service, the WW2 carrier had the pennant 91 and her motto was an old Norman proverb, Desire n'a pas Repos – "Zeal Does Not Rest".

Design Development history

In 1934, the British Royal Navy fleet air arm rested on a collage of rebuilt vessels not always best fitted to their task, as aviation technology and carrier doctrine progressed. Only a single one, HMS Hermes, was designed from scratch, but based on WW1 experience, on a small hull and for a small air group. HMS Argus was a former liner, HMS Eagle a former battleship, HMS Furious, Courageous and Glorious, ex-Battlecruisers, also from WWI. The Navy could still "burn" remaining tonnage and therefore chose to create a prototype large fleet carrier with all the lessons learnt rather than several small fleet carriers like the Furious, but updated. Standard tonnage indeed needed to reach 23,000 tonnes at the most. The London treaty still not entered discussions.

In 1923, already, so after Hermes was in service, the Admiralty prepared a 10-year building programme including a single aircraft carrier and 300 aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm. The economic situation after 1929 postponed it. In 1930, still, the Director of Naval Construction Sir Arthur Johns, update the 1924 plans and incorporated all the latest technologies. He proposed to the admiralty a new design carrying far more aircraft by using a shortened landing and take-off deck, using at both ends, an arrestor gear and compressed steam catapults. The deck space saved helping to store more ready aircraft on deck, and allowing to prepare them as well. The inclusion of two hangar decks helped secured space for 72 aircraft, something until then unheard of, but soon relativized by the introduction of larger and heavier aircraft during her construction.

In reality, this went down to about 60 at best. Later the design was refined, her landing deck was strengthened, hangars fully enclosed into the hull contrary to previous designs which just stacked the hangar above the old deck, and some machinery belt armour. For the first time also she carried three lifts. She also comprised a large island superstructure. Since Argus and Hermes, air flow disturbance was better understood, and an island presented many advantages, notably to control deck operation, and place a fire control system among others.

The international situation started to deteriorate from 1933, between Germany's rearmament, Japanese and Italian aggressive stance and defiance towards the league of nations. This convinced the British Government to free funds for the planned and postponed carrier, this time written down in the 1934 budget proposals. Plans were completed by November 1934. A Tendered for proposal was submitted in February 1935. Cammell Laird and Company Ltd. obtained the contract after calculating an overall hull cost of £1,496,250 (today £104,630,000) whereas the outsourced main machinery (Parsons and admiralty) was approximately costing £500,000 (now circa £30,000,000) for £3 million total, making the new vessel the most expensive ship -outside battleships- ever ordered by the Royal Navy. Construction started on Job No. 1012, and HMS Ark Royal's keel was laid down on 16 September 1935.

The Washington and London Naval treaties tonnage restrictions were to expire at the end of 1936. There was already a potential naval arms race developing between Britain, Japan and Italy, and the Government obtained the signing of a second treaty limiting aircraft carrier displacement to 23,000 long tons (23,000 t). Since HMS Ark Royal was planned at that time, her design was revised to fit this anticipated tonnage. This triggered a serie of weight savings which shaped her final design.

Ark Royal after launch, pending completion
Ark Royal after launch, pending completion
Ark Royal after launch, pending completion

Armour protection

One of the crucial point of her design was to offer her a substantial protection while sticking to the treaty limits. To keep her weight down, armour plating was limited to the belt and over the sensitive engine rooms and magazines. For construction, welding was chosen instead of rivetting, but only on 65% of the hull. Nevertheless, this saved 500 long tons. An armoured flight deck was technically possible, but dropped because of the treaty limit, as well as reducing stability and endurance. Instead she had a three-layered side protection system. A void-liquid-void scheme behind the belt was chose, very similar to the King George V-class own scheme. It was designed to resist a 750-pound (340 kg) warhead torpedo. Obviously it was not enough.

HMS Ark Royal also innovated by her fully enclosed hangar design, a first. Although she was still not a true "armoured carrier", soon to be a British speciality, engineers gave her a 'strength deck' plated with .75in (19mm) thick Ducol steel plating. At least it supported rough landings of heavy planes, but not bombs, albeit light. The two hangar decks enclosed within the hull girder gave unmatched rigidity, also allowing to serve aircraft by heavy weather and make a splinter protection. The first and second hangar deck were not protected however. Below deck, machinery spaces flanks were protected by 4.5-inch (11.4 cm) of belt armour. There was also a waterline armoured deck to "enclose the box", 3.5 in thick (8.9 cm) over the boiler rooms and magazines. Compartmentation helped to mitigate the effect of a torpedo hit, but bulkheads were thin, and there was no proper bulge. This would of some consequences later in her career.

hms ark royal 1941
Blueprint of the Ark Royal in 1941


Ark Royal was fitted three shafts propellers connected to Parsons geared turbines, in turn fed by six Admiralty 3-drum boilers. The shafts measured 16 feet (4.9 m) in diameter, the propellers measured 16 feet (4.9 m) in diameter. The powerplant was rated for 102,000 shp (76,000 kW), enough to produce a maximum theoretical speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph). During her sea trials she showed in fact to be faster, reaching 31 knots (57 km/h; 36 mph) without much hassle.


It stayed very substantial, although dual purpose, no longer incorporating naval guns. The use of an air group to attack other ships was now being refined. She was however designed with anti-aircraft warfare in mind as ships and submarines could be outrun or the escort's concern. It comprised a layered AA defence between the long range sixteen 4.5 in (110 mm) DP, six quadruple 2-pdr (40 mm (1.57 in)) and eight quadruple .50 in (12.7 mm) AA machine guns to cover all ranges. Main armament: The QF 4.5-inch Mk I naval guns did not existed when the ship was designed, it went at the end of the process, in 1938. The 4-in became the standard medium-calibre naval gun of the Royal navy. It fired a fixed or separate QF, 113 x 640-645mm round (55 pounds-24.9 kg) at 2,449 ft/s (746 m/s). The gun used a horizontal sliding block which could elevate 0° to +80° and had a rate of fire of 12 RPM (Mk II), with manual loading. Its maximum firing range was 20,750 yd (18,970 m) at 2,449 ft/s against surface targets, with a ceiling of 41,000 ft (12,500 m).

They were place don HMS Ark Royal in eight twin turrets embedded in sponsons on either side of the hull. They were controlled by four Directors using the High Angle Control System. This design was judged later unsatisfactory as placed too low to cover both sides of the ship. This was later altered and they were raised just below the flight deck for a better field of fire. The next Illustrious class had them higher up to cover both sides of the ship.

AA armament:
The QF 2-pounder naval gun needs no presentation. Before the introduction of the Bofors, this was the main AA gun in the Royal Navy, quite capable and often mounted in quad and octuple mounts. The "pom-pom" fired fused shrapnel shells forming black plumes around their incoming targets. Its effective Range was 3,800 yards (3,475 m) and Ceiling 13,300 feet (3,960 m) with a muzzle Velocity ranging between 2,040 ft/s (622 m/s) and 2400 ft/s (732 m/s) for the HV round. It lacked both punch and range compared to the Bofors. They were located on the flight deck, in front of and behind the superstructure island.

The last short range layer was a bit of a survival from the interwar: The quad (tandem) Vickers liquid-cooled 0.5 in heavy machine gun were placed on small projecting platforms to the front and rear of the flight deck. This model dated back from 1932 and was already a first choice in the design. In 1940 however it was too weak and slow to face modern 500 kph aircraft. Belt-fed, it fired at 500–600 rounds per minute at a muzzle velocity of 2,540 feet per second but only reaching 9,500 feet (2,900 m) down to 4,265 yards (3,900 m) at low altitude strafing or sea skimming aircraft. The armament was not revised during the war.

Aircraft Group

Blackburn Skua landing on Ark Royal in 1940
Blackburn Skua landing on Ark Royal in 1940

Aircraft facilities comprised, as said above, two steam catapults forward, and heavy duty arrestor hooks aft, to free some deck space, added to three lifts: All were close to the main bridge, one forward, one aft of it, both foot of the bridge, and the third on the other side of the deck. They were of equal size, accepting only planes with folded wings, and served all two hangars. The latter kept their aviation gasoline and ammunitions below the second deck, with smaller elevators to have them lifted for deck service. The fully enclose hangars were a gift to protect the aircraft for seawater corrosion, but was a hazard due to fuel vapors, and a comprehensive ventilation system was setup.

blackburn roc
The Blackburn Roc was onboard between April 1939 and October 1940. Its quad turret proved nearly useless in combat.

fairey fulmar
The Fairey Fulmar was a bit more competent as a fighter in replacement for the Skua but never equivalent to a sea Spitfire or sea hurricane.

In all, sixteen Fleet Air Arm squadrons were posted on the aircraft carrier, usually five squadrons at once in each deployment. In January 1939 it consisted only in Blackburn Skuas Mk.II as fighters/dive bombers and Fairey Swordfish Mk.I, used for reconnaissance and torpedo bombing. In April, two squadrons equipped with Blackburn Skua Mk. II and Roc Mk. I were integrated.
From April 1940, Skuas were replaced by Fairey Fulmars, as fighters/bombers. In June 1940 she also had onboard the 701 Naval Air (training) Squadron, flying the Supermarine Walrus amphibian.
Fairey Albacore torpedo bombers started to replace the Swordfish in October 1941, and both operated together. Swordfish were still onboard when the ship was sunk in October 1941 (only Fairey Swordfish and Albacore Mk. Is) -The rather mediocre Blackburn models were all disposed of, leaving the ship without any fighter on board.

Fairey Albacore
The Fairey Albacore was the last addition on board (October 1941). A sturdy biplane, it was supposed to replace the swordfish and was indeed faster with longer range and payload.

Fairey swordfish
Author's illustration of one of her Fairey swordfish Mk.I, 820 RNAS in 1939.

HMS Eagle in 1942
Author's profile of the Ark Royal in 1942

HMS Ark Royal (1939)

Dimensions203.5 x 35.1 m x 8.1 m (667 x 115 x 26 ft)
Displacement21,850 long tons standard, ? long tons FL
Propulsion4 shafts Parsons geared steam turbines, 24 Yarrow WT boilers
Speed24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)
ArmorBelt: 4.5 in (114 mm), Deck: 1–1.5 in (25–38 mm), Bulkheads: 4 in (102 mm)
Armament9 × 6-in (152 mm), 5 × 4-in (102 mm) Mk V AA
AviationVariable over time: 30 1924, 25 1942




A model kit artwork of the Ark Royal in the Mediterranean
A model kit artwork of the Ark Royal in the Mediterranean (see below)


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Another painting of the Ark Royal (src pinterest)


Drachinfels on ARK Royal
The Sinking of HMS Ark Royal 1941
HMS Ark Royal Launch - 1937 | Movietone Moment | 13 Dec 19
WW2: British Aircraft Carrier HMS Ark Royal Mark Jones
HMS Ark Royal (R09) Birth to Death 1950 - 1979

The models corner

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-AIRFIX 1:600 HMS Ark Royal de type 6 Box Aircraft Carrier Model Kit
-Trumpeter 1/350 HMS Ark Royal 1939
-Merit 65307 – Model Kit HMS Ark Royal 1939
-Aoshima 010228 HMS Ark Royal (1/700)

Prewar service

Construction took time: The hull spent nearly two years in the yard before the launch, on 13 April 1937 on Merseyside. It was in part due to numerous design revisions. The lauch saw her christened by Lady Maud Hoare in front of a crowd of 60,000. She was the wife of Sir Samuel Hoare, First Lord of the Admiralty. But its started badly: The bottle of champagne only smashed at the fourth attempt. Nevertheless, Reverend W. Webb, Vicar of St. Mary's, Birkenhead made the traditional old blessing. "May God protect this ship and all who sail on her". Fitting out took one more year, completion supervised by her very first commander, Captain Arthur Power, which went on board on 16 November 1938, and prepared her and the crew for a commission on 16 December.

HMS Ark Royal' stern, just completed
HMS Ark Royal' stern, just completed

Initially, the admiralty planned her to be sent in the far east, but the situation in Europe made her stay after commission. The recent Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935 and the Spanish Civil War in 1936 indicated she would be useful in the Mediterranean Fleet. The crew was completed at the end of 1938 and started training, while HMS Ark Royal started her sea trials campaign for effective service. She reached over 31 knots (57 km/h; 36 mph) without problem, and in May 1938 even achieved 31.2 knots, based on 103,012 rated shaft horsepower, on a light 27,525 long tons displacement. Once done, she was ready for some fixes, and returned for a last campaign of trials, from December 1938 to January 1939, on the Clyde.

On 12 January 1939 she received her first air group, Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers of the 820 Squadron (Lieutenant-Commander A.C.G. Ermen), which proceeded to the first landings and operations. Between January and March: 1939, she departed for a training cruise to the Mediterranean. HMS Ark Royal entered Valetta Harbour, Malta for the first time (the island will took quite an importance in her active life), and went on due east, entering Alexandria to start a serie of exercises with the carrier HMS Glorious. By the end of March she sailed for home waters, recalled as the international situation was tense. She spent the summer 1939 in home waters. On 31 August 1939 the outbreak of hostilities was awaited and the aircraft carrier was back sea with the Home Fleet, starting to patrol the waters between the Shetlands and Norway.

A Blackburn Skua landing on Ark Royal's deck
A Blackburn Skua landing on Ark Royal's deck

1939 hunter-killer group

Eventually a message was received on board informing the captain and crew that hostilities commenced on 3 September 1939; Before the war broke up, Dönitz already pre-positioned his U-boat fleet off the British coast to intercept British shipping. Just hours after the war was made official, SS Athenia was torpedoed by U-30. Soon in a few days, some 65,000 tons of shipping were sunk in rapid succession by U-boats. HMS Ark Royal was deployed in the North Western Approaches in the first "hunter-killer" group, a flotilla of destroyers and ASW vessels helped by the aircraft carrier air group. It was indeed easier for planes to detect submarines underwater. The group also included HMS Courageous and HMS Hermes.

On 14 September 1939, Ark Royal received a distress call from SS Fanad Head 200 nautical miles away, chased on the surface by U-30. Ark Royal's aircraft scrambled there, but soon after they spotted U-39 in the immediate vicinity of the aircraft carrier. The latter launched two torpedoes, which tracks were followed by outlooks on board, the captain ordering to turn towards those. Both missed and explode astern. F-class destroyers started a depth charge run, and the U-Boat was eventually forced to the surface, badly damaged, while the crew abandoned her, and she sank. Ark Royal had indirectly scored the first U-Boat kill of the war. Meanwhile her Skuas reached SS Fanad Head now in the hands of a German boarding party. They unsuccessfully attacked U-30, but two crashed, caught by the blast and water plume of their own bombs. The U-boat had time to recuperate its boarding party and torpedoed the unfortunate merchant vessel.

Ark Royal was back to base at Loch Ewe later. The ship hosted Winston Churchill which though the U-39 kill was an important morale booster, shadowing the failed attack. HMS Courageous was torpedoed and sunk on 17 September, convincing the Admiralty her carriers were too exposed, and the hunter-killer concept was abandoned.

HMS Ark Royal at sea, src NavieArmatori

Late 1939 Operations

On 25 September, the carrier rescued the crew of the submarine HMS Spearfish damaged by German warships off Horn Reefs (Kattegat). She escorted Nelson and Rodney the following day when spotted by Dornier Do 18 seaplanes. Three Blackburn Skuas were in the air, shooting down one of these, the first British aerial kill. Next, the Germans dispatched four Junkers Ju 88 bombers (bomber wing KG 30): Three were driven away by AA fire, the fourth successfully launched its 1,000-kilogram bomb after diving on the carrier, which spotted it and turned hard to starboard, heeling over, while the projectile hit the water 30 metres off her starboard bow. The Germans later incorrectly claimed to have sunk her, conducting Winston Churchill to personally reassur Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and this later became an embarrassment for Goebbels.

Hunting the Graf Spee
From October 1939, HMS Ark Royal was sent due south, to Freetown in South Africa to operate off the African coast, tracking the German commerce raider Admiral Graf Spee. Assigned to Force K, she sailed with HMS Renown and patrolled the South Atlantic. On 9 October her aircraft located Graf Spee's tanker Altmark, disguised as US Delmar, so she escaped. On 5 November, the German merchant SS Uhenfels was captured en route to Germany (she would become later the escort vessel Empire Ability). On December 14 at last, 1939, Graf Spee was in Montevideo for repair after the battle of the River Plate. Ark Royal and Renown were dispatched to join the cruisers outside the harbour but there were far from there. To fool the Germans, an order for fuel for Ark Royal was placed at Buenos Aires, west of Montevideo, voluntarily leaked to the press, and ending in the German embassy in Montevideo, convincing Hans Langsdorff to scuttle his ship. That was another famous indirect victory for Ark Royal.

HMS Ark Royal and her air group (src

1940 Operations: Norway

Ark Royal remained in the Atlantic to escort Exeter back to Devonport, arriving in February 1940. She headed for Portsmouth to take on supplies and personnel, then for Scapa Flow. Her Blackburn Skuas were transferred to NAS (Naval Air Station) Hatston. She then sailed to the Mediterranean Fleet for exercises, from 31 March 1940, arriving in Alexandria with HMS Glorious on 8 April. However the exercises were cancelled and order came to rush back to Gibraltar. Indeed, German forces had just invaded Norway (Operation Weserübung) on 9 April. The Royal Navy relief was hampered by Luftwaffe air attacks, and they lost HMS Gurkha while Suffolk was badly damaged. Air cover was urgent so Ark Royal and Glorious were eventually recalled on 16 April.

Both arrived at Scapa Flow on 23 April 1940. They were redeployed for Operation DX, escorted by HMS cruisers Curlew and Berwick, the destroyers Hyperion, Hereward, Hasty, Fearless, Fury and Juno. They took up position on 25 April off the Norwegian coast, 120 nautical miles (220 km) offshore. Their air groups commenced anti-submarine patrols, and fighter cover for the fleet. They also started strikes against German shipping and shore targets.

Ark Royal refuelled on 27 April in Scapa and took on new planes to replace losses. On her way back to Norway she was escorted by the battleship HMS Valiant, but she was attacked by German Junkers Ju 88 and Heinkel He 111 bombers operating from Norway, leaving her unscaved. She arrived on 29 April, but soon the British high command realized southern Norway was lost and started evacuation of Allied troops, at Molde and Åndalsnes, covered by Ark Royal the following days. On 1 May, new Luftwaffe air attacks took place and Ark Royal's fighters and AA fre proved efficient. She took several near-misses though, but only slight splinter damage. One the evacuations done on 3 May, she rushed back to Scapa Flow to refuel and rearm. Captain Arthur Power, promoted rear admiral was replaced by Captain Cedric Holland (which would play later an important role at Mers-el-Kébir). Back to Norway, Ark Royal covered operations around Narvik, notably French troops landing on 13 May, and was reinforced in 18 May by Glorious and Furious.

HMS Renown and Ark Royal
HMS Renown and Ark Royal

By the end of May however, French forces were on the verge of collapse. In Paris and London, Norway now appeared as a sideshow and soon the RN planned Operation Alphabet, the repatriations of allied troops from Narvik, covered by Ark Royal and Glorious escorted by the destroyers Highlander, Diana, Acasta, Ardent, and Acheron. They made the first of several runs from Scapa Flow, on 1 June; Ark Royal's air group was very active, bombing advancing German troops on 3–6 June, and above Narvik itself on 7 June. On the 8 however, Glorious, was sunk by the battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, looked for later by the Ark Royal's aircraft.

The last convoy back to UK started on 9 June. In between Ark Royal's planes located Scharnhorst in Trondheim, followed by a Skua attack at midnight on 13 June. The same night however, the escort destroyers Antelope and Electra collided while Ark Royal in heavy fog while on site, the raid proved a fiasco, with eight of fifteen Skuas shot down. KMS Scharnhorst escaped, unscaved.

With the Mediterranean Fleet

Mers El Kebir

Ark Royal left Scapa Flow with Hood and three destroyers, for Gibraltar, Force H (Admiral Sir James Somerville) and soon in August was considered the case of the Frenc fleet after the capitulation. The largest part was in Mers-el-Kébir and it was feared Axis control of these ships would tip the balance of power in the Mediterranean. Ark Royal's captain, Cedric Holland, was a former British naval attaché in Paris, fueltn in French. He was naturally chosen by Cunningham to negociate with Admirak Buno Gensoul. Under pressure of Churchill (Operation Catapult), it was asked a surrender or scuttling of the French fleet. Force H deployed outside the harbour while negociation soon met a standstill, Gensoul refusing the proposals. The Mers-el-Kébir also comprised a raid by Ark Royal's planes, used as gunnery spotter and mining the entrance to prevent any escape. Despite of this, Strasbourg escaped, attacked on her way by Swordfish from Ark Royal. Two days after, Dunkerque, beached, was badly damaged by Swordfish.

Ark Royal's crews hard at work with the torpedoes
Ark Royal's crews hard at work with the torpedoes

Againt the Regia Marina

While on its way to Gibraltar on 8 July, Force H was attacked by Italian bombers but was spared. Nevertheless, Somerville cancelled the raids against Italian coastal objectives. Malta soon came under attack by the Italian air force, Hawker Hurricanes were carried to reinforce the island's air defences. Force H started operations from 31 July tp 4 August, with HMS Argus as plane taxi and Ark Royal providing air cover. On 2 August, HMS Ark Royal air group soon attacked the Italian air base at Cagliari.

The attack on Dakar

Force H remained at Gibraltar until 30 September, later escorting a reinforcement fleet to Alexandria, attacking Italian air bases at Elmas and Cagliari en route, also as a diversion. Indeed a new supply convoy was soon sailing to Malta, on 1st october. From Alexandria, Ark Royal departed due west and sailed all the way to West Africa, support of a British/Free French attempt to force switch allegiance of Vichy French colonies, starting with Dakar. Negociating aircrews were arrested and negotiations so the air group of Ark Royal targeted military installations but ultimately failed to take Dakar by force. Ark Royal as soon back in home waters for maintenance in dockyard and a refit in Liverpool. This went on from on 8 October until 3 November, including machinery repairs and the installation of a new flight deck barrier.

Battle of Cape Spartivento (27 Nov. 1940)

Ark Royal departed with Barham, Berwick, and Glasgow to Gibraltar, arrivng there on 6 November, and immediately deployed to escort convoys to Alexandria and Malta. After several runs, Ark Royal participated in Operation Collar, a strong convoy to Malta (one of 35 until 1942) on 25 November. A battlefleet led by Giulio Cesare and Vittorio Veneto was scrambled to intercept it, detected by a reconnaissance aircraft from Ark Royal. Immediately, the carrier launched a squadron of Swordfish torpedo bombers while battleships took positions. The Italian destroyer Lanciere was damaged, mistook for a cruiser but after erroneous reports, the Italian commanders folded up, not before ordering a retaliatory attack by the Italian air force. HMS Ark Royal was strafed and bombed but escaped damage. The ended as a draw. HMS Ark Royal bombed off Sardinia, seen from HMS Sheffield

Operation Excess (Jan 1941)

On 14 December 1940, Ark Royal, as the centerpiece of Force H, was redeployed to the Atlantic. The goal was to operate from the Azores, patrolling in search of German commerce raiders. Ark Royal's air group however potted none. The aircraft carrier returned to the Mediterranean on 20 December, escorted by HMS Malaya. She escorted merchant vessels arriving from Malta. The crews rested in Gibraltar in 28-30 December, while Force H was prepared for Operation Excess: The plan was to bring a large reinforcement convoy through the Mediterranean, to support the Western Desert Force trying to chase off Italian forces from Egypt into Libya. However the presence of the Luftwaffe, and soon the arrival of the Africa Korps, threatened British control of the Mediterranean. Soon, the aircraft carrier Illustrious was badly damaged and out of the game for some time.

The Eastern Mediterranean Fleet (Alexandria) was especially weak, while Hitler attempted to draw into the war. Against the whole Spanish army, fleet and air force, Gibraltar would have stood little chance. So to relieve the Mediterranean Fleet and as a show of strength towards the Spanish, the Admiralty confered with Admiral Cunningham about the use of Ark Royal bombers for a serie of raids against Italian objectives, supported the surface fleet battleship and cruisers shelling. The first raid was mounted on 2 January against the Tirso Dam, Sardinia. But it was largely unscaved. The Swordfish on 6 January bombed Genoa with more success and covered Renown and Malaya shelling the port. On 9 January, Force H bombed and shelled the oil refinery at La Spezia while laying mines in the harbour.

HMS Ark Royal under air attack

Searching for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau

In early February 1941, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were signalled into the Atlantic, in a mission to disrupt Allied shipping, drawing away British capital ships, both as a diversion and offering targets of opportunity for U-Boats. On 8 March, Force H and Ark Royal headed for the Canary Islands, refuelled and from there, searched for the "terrible twins". They were also scrambled to cover convoys coming from the United States. HMS Ark Royal deployed her air group in a large search pattern area, and three prize crew German ships were located on 19 March: Two which scuttled themselves and a third, the SS Polykarp, which was was recaptured. On late 21 March 1941, one of the carrier's Fulmar at last located Scharnhorst and Gneisenau underway.

Fate would have the info was never sent due to a radio malfunction. By the time the plane landed to deliver their report, both German ships had vanished in the fog, while the next day, new air patrols were sent, hoping to relocate them. Then bad luck stroke when after a catapult malfunction the Fairey Swordfish plunged into the sea, juste ahead of the carrier's prow, which ran over it when its depth charges exploded, damaging her bow. Meanwhile, the German battleships were back in Brest. Ark Royal was in Gibraltar for repairs on 24 March.

Alexandria convoys, Operation Tiger

HMS Ark Royal spent the month of April 1941 between convoys and escorts and ferrying aircraft to Malta. She also made another sweep from the Azores in the Atlantic in search of commerce raiders. In May 1941 the Afrika Korps was now closing onto the Suez Canal and the Western Desert Force was hard-pressed. The admiralty decided the situation was desperate enough to send a large convoy to Alexandria. It only counted five large transport ships, escorted by Ark Royal, Renown, Queen Elizabeth and the cruisers Sheffield, Naiad, Fiji, and Gloucester plus the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. Captain Holland just before the mission, left exhausted, and was replaced by Captain Loben Maund. The convoy left Gibraltar on 6 May 1941, and was soon detected by Italian aviation. Underway at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) it became a target of choice for the axis which prepared a massive serie of air attacks.

HMS Ark Royal Underway

This started on 8 May, by the Regia Aeronautica followed by the Luftwaffe. The only 12 Fairey Fulmars on board managed to repel 50 aircraft, using Sheffield's recent radar for directions and deliver accurate anti-aircraft fire. One Fulmar was lost, another destroyed and several damaged, leaving seven when the Luftwaffe 34 bombers arrived. Again, they were driven off and the convoy survived, while naval mines claimed the Empire Song and New Zealand Star (which was able to reach Alexandria). Ark Royal departed as the convoy arrived, but was submitted to another aerial attack on 12 May on her way back. She was soon back at sea to team with Furious and deliver Hawker Hurricanes to Malta.

Hunting the Bismarck

Bismarck in the Atlantic, 26 May 1941
Bismarck in the Atlantic, 26 May 1941, the day she was attacked by Ark Royal's swordfish. Her AA was setup for faster targets, which helped the pilots. A single lucky hit doomed her.

One of the most amazing naval episode of WW2 at sea was the hunt for the brand new, fearsome German battleship. Barely ten days after Operation Tiger, on 18 May 1941, KMS Bismarck made a sortie with Prinz Eugen, Operation Rheinübung. This was a shipping raid, which started badly for the Royal Navy: The Hood was sunk and the Prince of Wales damaged at the Battle of the Denmark Strait. Churchill, adamant the ship was to be sunk, ordered all escorting and available force to scramble in pursuit. As Bismarck headed for headed for the French Atlantic coast, Force H departed, with Ark Royal, Renown, and Sheffield on 23 May. Three days later, one of her Swordfish located Bismarck, helping the the Home Fleet to concentrate.

Admiral Sommerville congratulating Ark Royal's crew
Admiral Sommerville congratulating Ark Royal's crew (IWM)

When spotted, the Bismarck was still 130 nautical miles away and she still could reach Saint-Nazaire, so under the cover of the Luftwaffe. This was the RN last hope to halt her. Fifteen Swordfish armed with torpedoes took off, but soon ran into HMS Sheffield, shadowing the Bismarck and in bad weather and mist, attacked her until figuring out their own mistake. Fortunately the cruiser dodged their torpedoes while several prematurely exploded due to their unreliable magnetic detonators. Back at the carrier while time was running out, the crews scrambled to rearm the torpedoes with contact-detonators. At 19:15 as dark was already falling, the squadron took off for second attack.

It was the last chance to get the Bismarck before sunset. The Swordfish at last located her, and attacked, scoring three torpedoes hits. But her thick belt prevent much damage forward of the engine rooms. The third however was a lucky one, hitting the starboard steering compartment. It succeeded in jamming rudder. At that time Bismarck was trying to evade the torpedoes, manoeuvring, and she was caught in a 15° port turn. By alternating propeller speeds she could make a reasonably steady course which but in waves of force 8 she was heading straight towards the British warships and was caught and destroyed on 26–27 May.

The last convoys for Ark Royal (June-November 1941)

Force H was back to Gibraltar on 29 May 1941. Allied morale was raised after the Bismarck sinking, but the Mediterranean situation was still extremely precarious. Greece and Crete just fell and Rommel prepared his final push into Egypt. Malta was the last stronghold in between Gribraltar and Alexandria, but under the "blitz" of axis aviation. Ark Royal was tasked to deliver more aircraft to Malta and started a serie of dangerous runs in June and July. Operation Substance in July was so far the largest, and it was followed by Operation Halberd in September. This helped Malta, and the latter became a real threat for Rommel operations in Africa, as it sunk supplies incoming from Italy. Malta base indeed deployed submarines and bombers. Adolf Hitler decided to send U-boats there to attack these convoys despite the opposition of admiral Raeder.

U-81 in the Mediterranean
U-81 in the Mediterranean. Guggenberger's submarine served with the 29th U-boat Flotilla and was sunk by aviation in 1944 in Pola.

On 10 November 1941, Ark Royal was back from her last mission to Malta, heading towards Gibraltar when Admiral Somerville received warning of U-boats off the Spanish coast. At the same time, U-81 (Friedrich Guggenberger) was also signalled Force H underway to Gibraltar and deployed in an interception course. On 13 November, at 15:40, the destroyer Legion's sonar operator signalled an unidentified sound, soon though to be another nearby destroyer while just a minute later, Ark Royal was struck amidships by a torpedo. It hit between the fuel bunkers and bomb store below the bridge island. The explosion was catastrophic: Ark Royal shook violently while torpedo-bombers were thrown into the air.

But despite this, amazingly only one sailor died, 44 year old Able Seaman Edward Mitchell. There was now a 130 x 30 feet gash on her starboard side, below the waterline. It was later evaluated that the torpedo ra too deep and struck bilge keel before detonating, damaging the inboard longitudinal bulkhead. A massive flooding of the starboard boiler room started, and soon the main switchboard and oil tanks were contaminated by seawater. About 106 feet of her starboard bilge was underwater and she lost also her starboard power train. She lost in fact half of her powerplant and internal communication, but still had power.

The Ark Royal's evacuation (gallery)

Captain Maund ordered a full stop via a runner to the engine room, which took time. The carrier started to list to starboard, soon reaching 18° in 20 minutes. Remembering the fate of Courageous and Glorious, Maund gave the order to abandon ship, and crews were assembled on the flight deck, soon assisted by HMS Legion which came alongside. The captain and part of his staff picked up the remaining team that would be tasked to save the ship. Damage control started, but only 49 minutes after the torpedo hit, while flooding progressed, helped by the hatches left open during evacuation. Soon, water pressure forced the centreline boiler room, and the ship lost all power (including the pimps and backup diesel generators). Nevertheless, the ships started to stabilise and Admiral Somerville ordered damage control parties prepared the ship to be towed to Gibraltar by HMS Malaya.

About 35-40 min. after, the team succeeded into re-lighting a boiler, restoring enough power to activate the bilge pumps. HMS Laforey came alongside in turn to provide additional power and pumps. Meanwhile, Gibraltar scrambled its own Swordfish aircraft to patrol the area in search of U-Boats. The tug Thames arrived, also from Gibraltar, at 20:00. But as it started to two the Ark Royal, her list started again and soon the sole running boiler was shutdown. As the list reached 20° during the night, around 02:30, but stabilized somewhat. Nevertheless, the 'abandon ship' order was declared again at 04:00, as she was reaching 27°. The last men were evacuated by 04:30. 1,487 were transported to Gibraltar. The men were saved, not the ship. When reaching 45°, HMS Ark Royal at last capsized and sank for good at 06:19, on 14 November. After rolling over she broke in two and the aft section sank first, followed by the bow.

HMS Implacable in 1944
HMS Implacable in 1944. The lessons learnt by the loss of the Ark Royal helped her design. She was not only armoured, but even more safer than the illustrious class as a result.

The enquiry
The long duration of the listing and apparent lack of efficience of the damage control team led a Board of Inquiry to investigate. At its conclusion, it found Captain Loben Maund guilty of negligence and he was court-martialled in February 1942. The first point was the failing to ensure to constitute a proper damage control party on board after the general evacuation, and sufficient state of readiness to deal with possible damage. It was moderated however due to near-miraculous saving of the crew. At the end of the day however, in November 1941, the Royal Navy was left with just a few operational carriers: The old Eagle and Hermes (deployed in the far east), Furious (soon in drydock), while both armoured carriers, Illustrious and Formidable were in drydock for reapairs, leaving only Victorious, which her crew still training, barely operational, and Indomitable just completed (On 10 October). The situation mirrored the USN Pacific Fleet before Midway.

The Bucknill Committee's report at least helped carrier construction, by establishing the backup power sources location were a design failure contributing to the loss. Electricity wad dependent of boilers and steam-driven dynamos. Recommendations about the bulkheads and boiler intakes design also was revised to avoid widespread flooding, as well as the uninterrupted boiler room flat. These were passed onto the construction of the Implacable-class fleet carriers under construction and the light carriers of the Colossus, Majestic and Centaur class as well. The wreck was rediscovered by C & C Technologies, Inc, and underwater vehicle, some 30 nautical miles from Gibraltar under 1000 metres. This led to a BBC documentary on maritime archaeology. The wreck was found further east than expected, carried by currents, but this was later contested.

Naval History

❢ Abbrev. & acronyms
AAW// warfare
AASAmphibious Assault Ship
AEWAirbone early warning
AGAir Group
AFVArmored Fighting Vehicle
AMGBarmoured motor gunboat
APArmor Piercing
APCArmored Personal Carrier
ASMAir-to-surface Missile
ASMDAnti Ship Missile Defence
ASW// Warfare
ASWRL/// rocket launcher
ATWahead thrown weapon
avgasAviation Gasoline
awAbove Waterline
AWACSAirborne warning & control system
bhpbrake horsepower
BLBreach-loader (gun)
BLRBreach-loading, Rifled (gun)
BUBroken Up
CAArmoured/Heavy cruiser
CalCaliber or ".php"
CGMissile Cruiser
CICCombat Information Center
C-in-CCommander in Chief
CIWSClose-in weapon system
CECompound Expansion (engine)
ChChantiers ("Yard", FR)
CLCruiser, Light
CMBCoastal Motor Boat
CMSCoastal Minesweeper
CNOChief of Naval Operations
CpCompound (armor)
COBCompound Overhad Beam
CODAGCombined Diesel & Gas
CODOGCombined Diesel/Gas
COGAGCombined Gas and Gas
COGOGCombined Gas/Gas
COSAGCombined Steam & Gas
CRCompound Reciprocating
CRCRSame, connecting rod
CruDivCruiser Division
CPControlled Pitch
CTConning Tower
CTLconstructive total loss
CTOLConv. Take off & landing
CTpCompound Trunk
CVAircraft Carrier
CVA// Attack
CVE// Escort
CVL// Light
CVS// ASW support
DADirect Action
DASHDrone ASW Helicopter
DCDepht Charge
DCT// Track
DCR// Rack
DCT// Thrower
DEDouble Expansion
DEDestroyer Escort
DDE// Converted
DesRonDestroyer Squadron
DFDouble Flux
DPDual Purpose
DUKWAmphibious truck
EOCElswick Ordnance Co.
ECMElectronic Warfare
ESMElectronic support measure
FCSFire Control System
fpsFeet Per Second
FYFiscal Year
GMMetacentric Height
GPMGGeneral Purpose Machine-gun
GRTGross Tonnage
GUPPYGreater Underwater Prop.Pow.
HAHigh Angle
HCHorizontal Compound
HCR// Reciprocating
HCDA// Direct Acting
HCDCR// connecting rod
HDA// direct acting
HDAC// acting compound
HDAG// acting geared
HDAR// acting reciprocating
HDMLHarbor def. Motor Launch
H/FHigh Frequency
HF/DF// Directional Finding
HMSHer Majesty Ship
HNHarvey Nickel
HNCHorizontal non-condensing hp
HPHigh Pressure
HRHorizontal reciprocating
HRCR// connecting rod
HSHarbor Service
HS(E)Horizontal single (expansion)
HSET// trunk
HTHorizontal trunk
HTE// expansion
ICInverted Compound
IDAInverted direct acting
IFFIdentification Friend or Foe
ihpindicated horsepower
IMFInshore Minesweeper
KCKrupp, cemented
KNC// non cemented
LALow Angle
LCLanding Craft
LCA// Assault
LCAC// Air Cushion
LFC// Flak (AA)
LCG// Gunboat
LCG(L)/// Large
LCG(M)/// Medium
LCG(S)/// Small
LCI// Infantry
LCM// Mechanized
LCP// Personel
LCP(R)/// Rocket
LCS// Support
LCT// Tanks
LCV// Vehicles
LCVP/// Personal
LCU// Utility
locolocomotive (boiler)
LSCLanding ship, support
LSD// Dock
LSF// Fighter (direction)
LSM// Medium
LSS// Stern chute
LST// Tank
LSV// Vehicle
LPlow pressure
lwllenght waterline
MA/SBmotor AS boat
MGMachine Gun
MGBMotor Gunboat
MLMotor Launch
MMSMotor Minesweper
MTMilitary Transport
MTBMotor Torpedo Boat
HMGHeavy Machine Gun
MCM(V)Mine countermeasure Vessel
MLMuzzle loading
MLR// rifled
MSOOcean Minesweeper
NCnon condensing
nhpnominal horsepower
nmNautical miles
NBC/ABCNuc. Bact. Nuclear
NSNickel steel
NTDSNav.Tactical Def.System
NyDNaval Yard
OPVOffshore Patrol Vessel
PCPatrol Craft
PDMSPoint Defence Missile System
psipounds per square inch
PVDSPropelled variable-depth sonar
QFQuick Fire
QFC// converted
RAdmRear Admiral
RCRreturn connecting rod
RFRapid Fire
RPCRemote Control
rpgRound per gun
SAMSurface to air Missile
SARSearch Air Rescue
SBShip Builder
SCSub-chaser (hunter)
SSBNBallistic Missile sub.Nuclear
SESimple Expansion
SET// trunk
shpShaft horsepower
SHsimple horizontal
SOSUSSound Surv. System
SPRsimple pressure horiz.
SSSubmarine (Conv.)
SSMSurface-surface Missile
sfsteam frigate
SLBMSub.Launched Ballistic Missile
spfsteam paddle frigate
STOVLShort Take off/landing
SUBROCSub.Fired ASW Rocket
tton, long (short in bracket)
TACANTactical Air Nav.
TBTorpedo Boat
TBD// destroyer
TCTorpedo carriage
TETriple expansion
TER// reciprocating
TFTask Force
TGBTorpedo gunboat
TGTask Group
TLTorpedo launcher
TLC// carriage
TSTraining Ship
TTTorpedo Tube
UDTUnderwater Demolition Team
UHFUltra High Frequency
VadmVice Admiral
VCVertical compound
VCE// expansion
VDE/ double expansion
VDSVariable Depth Sonar
VIC/ inverted compound
VLFVery Low Frequency
VQL/ quadruple expansion
VSTOLVertical/short take off/landing
VTE/ triple expansion
VTOLVertical take off/landing
VSE/ Simple Expansion
WTWireless Telegraphy
xnumber of
BuShipsBureau of Ships
DBMGerman Navy League
GBGreat Britain
DNCDirectorate of Naval Construction
EEZExclusive Economic Zone
FAAFleet Air Arm
FNFLFree French Navy
MDAPMutual Def.Assistance Prog.
MSAMaritime Safety Agency
RAFRoyal Air Force
RANRoyal Australian Navy
RCNRoyal Canadian Navy
R&DResearch & Development
RNRoyal Navy
RNZNRoyal New Zealand Navy
USSRUnion of Socialist Republics
UE/EECEuropean Union/Comunity
UNUnited Nations Org.
USNUnited States Navy
WaPacWarsaw Pact

⚑ 1870 Fleets
Spanish Navy 1870 Armada Espanola
Numancia (1863)
Tetuan (1863)
Vitoria (1865)
Arapiles (1864)
Zaragosa (1867)
Sagunto (1869)
Mendez Nunez (1869)

Spanish wooden s. frigates (1861-65)
Frigate Tornado (1865)
Frigate Maria de Molina (1868)
Spanish sail gunboats (1861-65)

Austro-Hungarian Navy 1870 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine
Ironclad Kaiser (1850-70)
Drache class BD. Ironclads (1861)
Kaiser Max class BD. Ironclads (1862)
Erzherzog F. Max class BD. Ironclads (1865)
SMS Lissa Ct. Bat. Ships (1869)

SMS Novara Frigate (1850)
SMS Schwarzenberg Frigate (1853)
Radetzky class frigates (1854)
SMS Helgoland Sloop (1867)

Danish Navy 1870 Dansk Marine
Lindormen (1868)

Hellenic Navy 1870 Nautiko Hellenon
Basileos Giorgios (1867)
Basilisa Olga (1869)
Sloop Hellas (1861)

Koninklije Marine 1870 Koninklije Marine
Dutch Screw Frigates & corvettes
De Ruyter Bd Ironclad (1863)
Prins H. der Neth. Turret ship (1866)
Buffel class turret rams (1868)
Skorpioen class turret rams (1868)
Heiligerlee class Monitors (1868)
Bloedhond class Monitors (1869)
Adder class Monitors (1870)
A.H.Van Nassau Frigate (1861)
A.Paulowna Frigate (1867)
Djambi class corvettes (1860)
Amstel class Gunboats (1860)

Marine Française 1870 Marine Nationale
Screw 3-deckers (1850-58)
Screw 2-deckers (1852-59)
Screw Frigates (1849-59)
Screw Corvettes (1846-59)
Screw Fl. Batteries (1855)
Paddle Frigates
Paddle Corvettes
screw sloops
screw gunboats
Sailing ships of the line
Sailing frigates
Sailing corvettes
Sailing bricks

Gloire class Bd. Ironclads (1859)
Couronne Bd. Ironclad (1861)
Magenta class Bd. Ironclads (1861)
Palestro class Flt. Batteries (1862)
Arrogante class Flt. Batteries (1864)
Provence class Bd. Ironclads (1864) Embuscade class Flt. Batteries (1865)
Taureau arm. ram (1865)
Belliqueuse Bd. Ironclad (1865)
Alma Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1867)
Ocean class CT Battery ship (1868)

French converted sailing frigates (1860)
Cosmao class cruisers (1861)
Talisman cruisers (1862)
Resolue cruisers (1863)
Venus class cruisers (1864)
Decres cruiser (1866)
Desaix cruiser (1866)
Limier class cruisers (1867)
Linois cruiser (1867)
Chateaurenault cruiser (1868)
Infernet class Cruisers (1869)
Bourayne class Cruisers (1869)
Cruiser Hirondelle (1869)

Curieux class sloops (1860)
Adonis class sloops (1863)
Guichen class sloops (1865)
Sloop Renard (1866)
Bruix class sloops (1867)
Pique class gunboats (1862)
Hache class gunboats (1862)
Arbalete class gunboats (1866)
Etendard class gunboats (1868)
Revolver class gunboats (1869)

Marinha do Brasil 1870 Marinha do Brasil
Barrozo class (1864)
Brasil (1864)
Tamandare (1865)
Lima Barros (1865)
Rio de Janeiro (1865)
Silvado (1866)
Mariz E Barros class (1866)
Carbal class (1866)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1870 Osmanlı Donanması
Osmanieh class Bd.Ironclads (1864) Assari Tewfik (1868) Assari Shevket class Ct. Ironclads (1868)
Lufti Djelil class CDS (1868)
Avni Illah class cas.ironclads (1869)
Fethi Bulend class cas.ironclads (1870)
Barbette ironclad Idjalleh (1870)
Messudieh class Ct.Bat.ships (1874)
Hamidieh Ct.Bat.Ironclads (1885)
Abdul Kadir Batleships (project)

Ertrogul Frigate (1863)
Selimieh (1865)
Rehberi Tewkik (1875)
Mehmet Selim (1876)
Sloops & despatch vessels

Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru
Monitor Atahualpa (1865)
CT. Bat Independencia (1865)
Turret ship Huascar (1865)
Frigate Apurimac (1855)
Corvette America (1865)
Corvette Union (1865)

Regia Marina 1870 Regia Marina 1870
Formidabile class (1861)
Pr. de Carignano class (1863)
Re d'Italia class (1864)
Regina maria Pia class (1863)
Roma class (1865)
Affondatore turret ram (1865)
Palestro class (1865)
Guerriera class (1866)
Cappelini class (1868)
Sesia DV (1862)
Esploratore class DV (1863)
Vedetta DV (1866)
Imperial Japanese navy 1870 Nihhon Kaigun
Ironclad Ruyjo (1864)
Ironclad Kotetsu (1868)
Frigate Fujiyama (1864)
Frigate Kasuga (1863)
Corvette Asama (1869)
Gunboat Raiden (1856)
Gunboat Chiyodogata (1863)
Teibo class GB (1866)
Gunboat Mushun (1865)
Gunboat Hosho (1868)
Prussian Navy 1870 Preußische Marine
Prinz Adalbert (1864)
Arminius (1864)
Friedrich Carl (1867)
Kronprinz (1867)
K.Whilhelm (1868)
Arcona class Frigates (1858)
Nymphe class Frigates (1863)
Augusta class Frigates (1864)
Jäger class gunboats (1860)
Chamaleon class gunboats (1860)
Russian mperial Navy 1870 Russkiy Flot
Ironclad Sevastopol (1864)
Ironclad Petropavlovsk (1864)
Ironclad Smerch (1864)
Pervenetz class (1863)
Charodeika class (1867)
Admiral Lazarev class (1867)
Ironclad Kniaz Pojarski (1867)
Bronenosetz class monitors (1867)
Admiral Chichagov class (1868)
S3D Imperator Nicolai I (1860)
S3D Sinop (1860)
S3D Tsessarevich (1860)
Russian screw two-deckers (1856-59)
Russian screw frigates (1854-61)
Russian screw corvettes (1856-60)
Russian screw sloops (1856-60)
Varyag class Corvettes (1862)
Almaz class Sloops (1861)
Opyt TGBT (1861)
Sobol class TGBT (1863)
Pishtchal class TGBT (1866)
Swedish Navy 1870 Svenska marinen
Ericsson class monitors (1865)
Frigate Karl XIV (1854)
Frigate Stockholm (1856)
Corvette Gefle (1848)
Corvette Orädd (1853)
Norwegian Navy 1870 Søværnet
Skorpionen class (1866)
Frigate Stolaf (1856)
Frigate Kong Sverre (1860)
Frigate Nordstjerna (1862)
Frigate Vanadis (1862)
Glommen class gunboats (1863)
⚑ 1890 Fleets
Argentinian Navy 1898 Armada de Argentina
Parana class (1873)
La Plata class (1875)
Pilcomayo class (1875)
Ferre class (1880)

Austro-Hungarian Navy 1898 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine

Custoza (1872)
Erzherzog Albrecht (1872)
Kaiser (1871)
Kaiser Max class (1875)
Tegetthoff (1878)

Radetzky(ii) class (1872)
SMS Donau(ii) (1874)
SMS Donau(iii) (1893)

Erzherzog Friedrich class (1878)
Saida (1878)
Fasana (1870)
Aurora class (1873)

Chinese Imperial Navy 1898 Imperial Chinese Navy

Hai An class frigates (1872)
Danish Navy 1898 Dansk Marine

Tordenskjold (1880)
Iver Hvitfeldt (1886)
Skjold (1896)
Cruiser Fyen (1882)
Cruiser Valkyrien (1888)

Hellenic Navy 1898 Nautiko Hellenon
Haitian Navy 1914Marine Haitienne

Gunboat St Michael (1970)
Gunboat "1804" (1875)
Gunboat Dessalines (1883)
Gunboat Toussaint Louverture (1886)
Koninklije Marine 1898 Koninklije Marine
Konigin der Netherland (1874)
Draak, monitor (1877)
Matador, monitor (1878)
R. Claeszen, monitor (1891)
Evertsen class CDS (1894)
Atjeh class cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Sumatra (1890)
Cruiser K.W. Der. Neth (1892)
Banda class Gunboats (1872)
Pontania class Gunboats (1873)
Gunboat Aruba (1873)
Hydra Gunboat class (1873)
Batavia class Gunboats (1877)
Wodan Gunboat class (1877)
Ceram class Gunboats (1887)
Combok class Gunboats (1891)
Borneo Gunboat (1892)
Nias class Gunboats (1895)
Koetei class Gunboats (1898)
Dutch sloops (1864-85)

Marine Française 1898 Marine Nationale
Friedland CT Battery ship (1873)
Richelieu CT Battery ship (1873)
Colbert class CT Battery ships (1875)
Redoutable CT Battery ship (1876)
Courbet class CT Battery ships (1879)
Amiral Duperre barbette ship (1879)
Terrible class barbette ships (1883)
Amiral Baudin class barbette ships (1883)
Barbette ship Hoche (1886)
Marceau class barbette ships (1888)
Cerbere class Arm.Ram (1870)
Tonnerre class Br.Monitors (1875)
Tempete class Br.Monitors (1876)
Tonnant ironclad (1880)
Furieux ironclad (1883)
Fusee class Arm.Gunboats (1885)
Acheron class Arm.Gunboats (1885)
Jemmapes class (1892)
Bouvines class (1892)

La Galissonière Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1872)
Bayard class barbette ships (1879)
Vauban class barbette ships (1882)
Prot. Cruiser Sfax (1884)
Prot. Cruiser Tage (1886)
Prot. Cruiser Amiral Cécille (1888)
Prot. Cruiser Davout (1889)
Forbin class Cruisers (1888)
Troude class Cruisers (1888)
Alger class Cruisers (1891)
Friant class Cruisers (1893)
Prot. Cruiser Suchet (1893)
Descartes class Cruisers (1893)
Linois class Cruisers (1896)
D'Assas class Cruisers (1896)
Catinat class Cruisers (1896)

R. de Genouilly class Cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Duquesne (1876)
Cruiser Tourville (1876)
Cruiser Duguay-Trouin (1877)
Laperouse class Cruisers (1877)
Villars class Cruisers (1879)
Cruiser Iphigenie (1881)
Cruiser Naiade (1881)
Cruiser Arethuse (1882)
Cruiser Dubourdieu (1884)
Cruiser Milan (1884)

Parseval class sloops (1876)
Bisson class sloops (1874)
Epee class gunboats (1873)
Crocodile class gunboats (1874)
Tromblon class gunboats (1875)
Condor class Torpedo Cruisers (1885)
G. Charmes class gunboats (1886)
Inconstant class sloops (1887)
Bombe class Torpedo Cruisers (1887)
Wattignies class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)
Levrier class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)

Marinha do Brasil 1898 Marinha do Brasil
Siete de Setembro class (1874)
Riachuleo class (1883)
Aquidaban class (1885)

Marina de Mexico 1898 Mexico
GB Indipendencia (1874)
GB Democrata (1875)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1898 Osmanlı Donanması
Cruiser Heibtnuma (1890)
Cruiser Lufti Humayun (1892)
Cruiser Hadevendighar (1892)
Shadieh class cruisers (1893)
Turkish TBs (1885-94)

Regia Marina 1898 Regia Marina Pr. Amadeo class (1871)
Caio Duilio class (1879)
Italia class (1885)
Ruggero di Lauria class (1884)
Carracciolo (1869)
Vettor Pisani (1869)
Cristoforo Colombo (1875)
Flavio Goia (1881)
Amerigo Vespucci (1882)
C. Colombo (ii) (1892)
Pietro Micca (1876)
Tripoli (1886)
Goito class (1887)
Folgore class (1887)
Partenope class (1889)
Giovanni Bausan (1883)
Etna class (1885)
Dogali (1885)
Piemonte (1888)
Staffeta (1876)
Rapido (1876)
Barbarigo class (1879)
Messagero (1885)
Archimede class (1887)
Guardiano class GB (1874)
Scilla class GB (1874)
Provana class GB (1884)
Curtatone class GB (1887)
Castore class GB (1888)

Imperial Japanese navy 1898 Nihhon Kaigun
Ironclad Fuso (1877)
Kongo class Ironclads (1877)

Cruiser Tsukushi (1880)
Cruiser Takao (1888)
Cruiser Yaeyama (1889)
Cruiser Chishima (1890)
Cruiser Tatsuta (1894)
Cruiser Miyako (1898)

Frigate Nisshin (1869)
Frigate Tsukuba (acq.1870)
Kaimon class CVT (1882)
Katsuragi class SCVT (1885)
Sloop Seiki (1875)
Sloop Amagi (1877)
Corvette Jingei (1876)
Gunboat Banjo (1878)
Maya class GB (1886)
Gunboat Oshima (1891)
German Navy 1898 Kaiserliche Marine

Ironclad Hansa (1872)
G.Kurfürst class (1873)
Kaiser class (1874)
Sachsen class (1877)
Ironclad Oldenburg (1884)

Ariadne class CVT (1871)
Leipzig class CVT (1875)
Bismarck class CVT (1877)
Carola class CVT (1880)
Corvette Nixe (1885)
Corvette Charlotte (1885)
Schwalbe class Cruisers (1887)
Bussard class (1890)

Aviso Zieten (1876)
Blitz class Avisos (1882)
Aviso Greif (1886)
Wacht class Avisos (1887)
Meteor class Avisos (1890)
Albatross class GBT (1871)
Cyclop GBT (1874)
Otter GBT (1877)
Wolf class GBT (1878)
Habitch class GBT (1879)
Hay GBT (1881)
Eber GBT (1881)
Rhein class Monitors (1872)
Wespe class Monitors (1876)
Brummer class Arm.Steamers (1884)
Russian Imperial Navy 1898 Russkiy Flot

Petr Velikiy (1872)
Ekaterina class ICL (1886)
Imperator Alexander class ICL (1887)
Ironclad Gangut (1890)
Admiral Ushakov class (1893)
Navarin (1893)
Petropavlovsk class (1894)
Sissoi Veliky (1896)

Minin (1866)
G.Admiral class (1875)
Pamiat Merkuria (1879)
V.Monomakh (1882)
D.Donskoi (1883)
Adm.Nakhimov (1883)
Vitiaz class (1884)
Pamiat Azova (1886)
Adm.Kornilov (1887)
Rurik (1895)
Svetlana (1896)

Gunboat Ersh (1874)
Kreiser class sloops (1875)
Gunboat Nerpa (1877)
Burun class Gunboats (1879)
Sivuch class Gunboats (1884)
Korietz class Gunboats (1886)
Kubanetz class Gunboats (1887)
TGBT Lt.Ilin (1886)
TGBT Kp.Saken (1889)
Kazarski class TGBT (1889)
Grozyaschi class AGBT (1890)
Gunboat Khrabri (1895)
T.Gunboat Abrek (1896)
Amur class minelayers (1898)
Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru

Lima class Cruisers (1880)
Chilean TBs (1879)

Swedish Navy 1898 Svenska Marinen
Monitor Loke (1871)
Svea class CDS (1886)
Berserk class (1873)
Sloop Balder (1870)
Blenda class GB (1874)
Urd class GB (1877)
Gunboat Edda (1885)
Norwegian Navy 1898 Søværnet
Lindormen (1868)
Gorm (1870)
Odin (1872)
Helgoland (1878)
Tordenskjold (1880)
Iver Hvitfeldt (1886)

Royal Navy 1898 Royal Navy
HMS Hotspur (1870)
HMS Glatton (1871)
Devastation classs (1871)
Cyclops class (1871)
HMS Rupert (1874)
Neptune class (1874)
HMS Dreadnought (1875)
HMS Inflexible (1876)
Agamemnon class (1879)
Conqueror class (1881)
Colossus class (1882)
Admiral class (1882)
Trafalgar class (1887)
Victoria class (1890)
Royal Sovereign class (1891)
Centurion class (1892)
HMS Renown (1895)

HMS Shannon (1875)
Nelson class (1876)
Iris class (1877)
Leander class (1882)
Imperieuse class (1883)
Mersey class (1885)
Surprise class (1885)
Scout class (1885)
Archer class (1885)
Orlando class (1886)
Medea class (1888)
Barracouta class (1889)
Barham class (1889)
Pearl class (1889)

Spanish Navy 1898 Armada 1898
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)

Infanta Maria Teresa class (1890)
Emperador Carlos V (1895)
Cristobal Colon (1897)
Princesa de Asturias (1896)
Aragon class (1879)
Velasco class (1881)
Isla de Luzon (1886)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Reina Regentes class (1887)

Destructor class (1886)
Temerario class (1891)
TGunboat Filipinas (1892)
De Molina class (1896)
Furor class (1896)
Audaz class (1897)
Spanish TBs (1878-87)
Fernando class gunboats (1875)
Concha class gunboats (1883)

US Navy 1898 1898 US Navy
USS Maine (1889)
USS Texas (1892)
Indiana class (1893)
USS Iowa (1896)

Amphitrite class (1876)
USS Puritan (1882)
USS Monterey (1891)

Atlanta class (1884)
USS Chicago (1885)
USS Charleston (1888)
USS Baltimore (1888)
USS Philadelphia (1889)
USS San Francisco (1889)
USS Newark (1890)
USS New York (1891)
USS Olympia (1892)
Cincinatti class (1892)
Montgomery class (1893)
Columbia class (1893)
USS Brooklyn (1895)

USS Vesuvius (1888)
USS Katahdin (1893)
USN Torpedo Boats (1886-1901)
GB USS Dolphin (1884)
Yorktown class GB (1888)
GB USS Petrel (1888)
GB USS Bancroft (1892)
Machias class GB (1891)
GB USS Nashville (1895)
Wilmington class GB (1895)
Annapolis class GB (1896)
Wheeling class GB (1897)
Small gunboats (1886-95)
St Louis class AMC (1894)
Harvard class AMC (1888)
USN Armoured Merchant Cruisers
USN Armed Yachts


☉ Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
Centurion class (1892)
Majestic class (1894)
Canopus class (1897)
Formidable class (1898)
London class (1899)
Duncan class (1901)
King Edward VII class (1903)
Swiftsure class (1903)
Lord Nelson class (1906)
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
Bellorophon class (1907)
St Vincent class (1908)
HMS Neptune (1909)
Colossus class (1910)
Orion class (1911)
King George V class (1911)
Iron Duke class (1912)
Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
HMS Canada (1913)
HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Erin (1915)
Revenge class (1915)
N3 class (1920)

WW1 British Battlecruisers
Invincible class (1907)
Indefatigable class (1909)
Lion class (1910)
HMS Tiger (1913)
Renown class (1916)
Courageous class (1916)
G3 class (1918)

ww1 British cruisers
Blake class (1889)
Edgar class (1890)
Powerful class (1895)
Diadem class (1896)
Cressy class (1900)
Drake class (1901)
Monmouth class (1901)
Devonshire class (1903)
Duke of Edinburgh class (1904)
Warrior class (1905)
Minotaur class (1906)
Hawkins class (1917)

Apollo class (1890)
Astraea class (1893)
Eclipse class (1894)
Arrogant class (1896)
Pelorus class (1896)
Highflyer class (1898)
Gem class (1903)
Adventure class (1904)
Forward class (1904)
Pathfinder class (1904)
Sentinel class (1904)
Boadicea class (1908)
Blonde class (1910)
Active class (1911)
'Town' class (1909-1913)
Arethusa class (1913)
'C' class series (1914-1922)
'D' class (1918)
'E' class (1918)

WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Campania (1893)
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)

WW1 British Destroyers
River class (1903)
Cricket class (1906)
Tribal class (1907)
HMS Swift (1907)
Beagle class (1909)
Acorn class (1910)
Acheron class (1911)
Acasta class (1912)
Laforey class (1913)
M/repeat M class (1914)
Faulknor class FL (1914)
T class (1915)
Parker class FL (1916)
R/mod R class (1916)
V class (1917)
V class FL (1917)
Shakespeare class FL (1917)
Scott class FL (1917)
W/mod W class (1917)
S class (1918)

WW1 British Torpedo Boats
125ft series (1885)
140ft series (1892)
160ft series (1901)
27-knotters (1894)
30-knotters (1896)
33-knotters (1896)

WW1 British Submarines
Nordenfelt Submarines (1885)
Flower class sloops
British Gunboats of WWI
British P-Boats (1915)
Kil class (1917)
British ww1 Minesweepers
Z-Whaler class patrol crafts
British ww1 CMB
British ww1 Auxiliaries

✠ Central Empires

⚑ Neutral Countries

Bulgarian Navy Bulgaria
Cruiser Nadezhda (1898)
Drski class TBs (1906)
Danish Navy 1914 Denmark
Skjold class (1896)
Herluf Trolle class (1899)
Herluf Trolle (1908)
Niels Iuel (1918)
Hekla class cruisers (1890)
Valkyrien class cruisers (1888)
Fyen class crusiers (1882)
Danish TBs (1879-1918)
Danish Submarines (1909-1920)
Danish Minelayer/sweepers

Greek Royal Navy Greece
Kilkis class
Giorgios Averof class

Dutch Empire Navy 1914 Netherlands
Eversten class (1894)
Konigin Regentes class (1900)
De Zeven Provincien (1909)
Dutch dreadnought (project)

Holland class cruisers (1896)
Fret class destroyers
Dutch Torpedo boats
Dutch gunboats
Dutch submarines
Dutch minelayers

Norwegian Navy 1914 Norway
Almirante Grau class (1906)
Ferre class subs. (1912)

Portuguese navy 1914 Portugal
Coastal Battleship Vasco da Gama (1875)
Cruiser Adamastor (1896)
Sao Gabriel class (1898)
Cruiser Dom Carlos I (1898)
Cruiser Rainha Dona Amelia (1899)
Portuguese ww1 Destroyers
Portuguese ww1 Submersibles
Portuguese ww1 Gunboats

Romanian Navy 1914 Romania

Elisabeta (1885)
Spanish Armada Spain
España class Battleships (1912)
Velasco class (1885)
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Cataluna class (1896)
Plata class (1898)
Estramadura class (1900)
Reina Regentes class (1906)
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Torpedo Boats
Spanish Sloops/Gunboats
Spanish Submarines
Spanish Armada 1898
Swedish Navy 1914 Sweden
Svea classs (1886)
Oden class (1896)
Dristigheten (1900)
Äran class (1901)
Oscar II (1905)
Sverige class (1915)
J. Ericsson class (1865)
Gerda class (1871)
Berserk (1873)
HMS Fylgia (1905)
Clas Fleming class (1912)
Swedish Torpedo cruisers
Swedish destroyers
Swedish Torpedo Boats
Swedish gunboats
Swedish submarines


✪ Allied ww2 Fleets

US ww2 US Navy
WW2 American Battleships
Wyoming class (1911)
New York class (1912)
Nevada class (1914)
Pennsylvania class (1915)
New Mexico class (1917)
Tennessee Class (1919)
Colorado class (1921)
North Carolina class (1940)
South Dakota class (1941)
Iowa class (1942)
Montana class (cancelled)

WW2 American Cruisers
Omaha class cruisers (1920)
Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
USS Wichita (1937)
Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)

WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
USS Langley (1920)
Lexington class CVs (1927)
USS Ranger (CV-4)
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
Long Island class (1940)
Independence class CVs (1942)
Essex class CVs (1942)
Bogue class CVEs (1942)
Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
Casablanca class CVEs (1942)
Commencement Bay class CVEs (1944)
Midway class CVs (1945)
Saipan class CVs (1945)

WW2 American destroyers
Wickes class (1918)
Clemson class (1920)
Farragut class (1934)
Porter class (1935)
Mahan class (1935)
Gridley class (1936)
Bagley class (1936)
Somers class (1937)
Benham class (1938)
Sims class (1938)
Benson class (1939)
Fletcher class (1942)
Sumner class (1943)
Gearing class (1945)

GMT Evarts class (1942)
TE Buckley class (1943)
TEV/WGT Rudderow classs (1943)
DET/FMR Cannon class
Asheville/Tacoma class

WW2 American Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1943)
Majestic class (1944)
Centaur class (started 1944)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)
WW2 British Destroyers
WW2 British submarines
WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British Gunboats

WW2 British Sloops
WW2 British Frigates
WW2 British Corvettes
WW2 British Misc.
WW2 British Monitors
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1921)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1934)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
IJN Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1940)
Zuiho class (1937)
Ruyho (1933)
Junyo class (1941)
IJN Taiho (1943)
Chitose class (comp. 1943)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)
Ioshima class (1944)
WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB

⚑ Neutral Navies

✈ Naval Aviation

Latest entries
naval aviation USN aviation
Boeing model 2/3/5 (1916)
Aeromarine 39 (1917)
Curtiss VE-7 (1918)
Aeromarine 40 (1919)
Douglas DT (1921)
Naval Aircraft Factory PT (1922)
Loening OL (1923)
Huff-Daland TW-5 (1923)
Martin MO (1924)
Consolidated NY (1926)
Vought FU (1927)
Vought O2U/O3U Corsair (1928)
Berliner-Joyce OJ (1931)
Curtiss SOC seagull (1934)
Grumman FF (1931)
Grumman F2F (1933)
Grumman F3F (1935)
Northrop BT-1 (1935)
Vultee V-11 (1935)
Grumman J2F Duck (1936)
Curtiss SBC Helldiver (1936)
Vought SB2U Vindicator (1936)
Brewster F2A Buffalo (1937)
Douglas TBD Devastator (1937)
Vought Kingfisher (1938)
Curtiss SO3C Seamew (1939)
Cessna AT-17 Bobcat (1939)
Douglas SBD Dauntless (1939)
Grumman F4F Wildcat (1940)
Northrop N-3PB Nomad (1941)
Brewster SB2A Buccaneer (1941)
Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger (1941)
Consolidated TBY Sea Wolf (1941)
Grumman F6F Hellcat (1942)
Vought F4U Corsair (1942)
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver (1942)
Curtiss SC Seahawk (1944)
Douglas BTD Destroyer (1944)
Grumman F7F Tigercat (1943)
Grumman F8F Bearcat (1944)
Ryan FR-1 Fireball (1944)
Douglas XTB2D-1 Skypirate (1945)

Curtiss H (1917)
Curtiss F5L (1918)
Curtiss NC (1919)
Curtiss NC4 (1918)
Naval Aircraft Factory PN (1925)
Douglas T2D (1927)
Consolidated P2Y (1929)
Hall PH (1929)
Douglas PD (1929)
Douglas Dolphin (1931)
General Aviation PJ (1933)
Consolidated PBY Catalina (1935)
Fleetwings Sea Bird (1936)
Sikorsky VS-44 (1937)
Grumman G-21 Goose (1937)
Consolidated PB2Y Coronado (1937)
Beechcraft M18 (1937)
Sikorsky JRS (1938)
Boeing 314 Clipper (1938)
Martin PBM Mariner (1939)
Grumman G-44 Wigeon (1940)
Martin Mars (1943)
Goodyear GA-2 Duck (1944)
Edo Ose (1945)
Hugues Hercules (1947)
Fleet Air Arm
Carrier planes
Fairey Flycatcher (1922)
Blackburn Backburn (1923)
Blackburn Dart (1924)
Fairey IIIF (1927)
Fairey Seal (1930)
Blackburn Shark (1931)
Blackburn Baffin (1934)
Vickers Vildebeest (1933)
Blackburn Ripon (1934)
Fairey Swordfish (1934)
Gloster Gladiator (1938)
Fairey Albacore (1940)
Fairey Fulmar (1940)
Grumman Martlet (1941)
Hawker sea Hurricane (1941)
Brewster Bermuda (1942)
Fairey Barracuda (1943)
Grumman Tarpon (1943)
Grumman Gannet (1943)
Supermarine seafire (1943)
Fairey Firefly (1943)
Blackburn Firebrand (1944)
Hawker Sea Fury (1944)
Supermarine Seafang (1945)
De Havilland Sea Mosquito (1945)
De Havilland Sea Hornet (1946)

Supermarine Channel (1919)
Vickers Viking (1919)
Saunders Kittiwake (1920) Supermarine Sea King (1920)
Fairey Pintail (1920)
Short N.3 Cromarty (1921)
Supermarine Seal II (1921)
Vickers Vanellus (1922)
Supermarine Seagull (1922)
Fairey N.4 (1923)
Supermarine Sea Eagle (1923)
Vickers Vulture (1924)
Short S.1 Stellite/Cockle (1924)
Supermarine Scarab (1924)
Fairey Fremantle (1924)
English Electric Ayr (1924)
English Electric Kingston (1924)
Hawker Dantorp (1925)
Blackburn Velos (1925)
Supermarine Southampton (1925)
Blackburn Iris (1926)
Saunders A.3 Valkyrie (1927)
Blackburn Nautilus (1929)
Saro A.17 Cutty Sark (1929)
Hawker Osprey (1930)
Saro A.7 Severn (1930)
Saro A.19 Cloud (1930)
Saro Windhover (1930)
Short Rangoon (1930)
Short Valetta (1930)
Fairey Seal (1930)
Short S.15 (1931)
Blackburn Sydney (1931)
Short Sarafand (1932)
Short Knuckleduster (1933)
Saro London (1934)
Short Seaford (1934)
Short S.19 Singapore III (1934)
Fairey S.9/30 (1934)
de Havilland Hornet Moth (1934)
Blackburn Perth (1934)
Supermarine Scapa (1935)
Supermarine Stranraer (1936)
Supermarine Walrus (1936)
Fairey Seafox (1936)
Supermarine Seagull ASR-1 (1936)
Airspeed AS.30 Queen Wasp (1937)
Short Sunderland (1937)
Supermarine Sea Otter (1938)
Short S.30/33 Empire (1938)
Short S.20 Mercury (1938)
Short S.21 Maia (1938)
Saro A.33 (1938)
Blackburn B-20 (1940)
Saro Lerwick (1940)
Supermarine Spitfire Seaplane (1942)
Short Shetland (1944)

⚔ WW2 Naval Battles

The Cold War

Royal Navy Royal Navy
British Aicraft Carriers
Centaur class (1947)
HMS Victorious (1950)
HMS Eagle (1946)
HMS Ark Royal (1950)
HMS Hermes (1953)
CVA-01 class (1966 project)
Invincible class (1977)

British Cold War Cruisers
Tiger class (1945)

Daring class (1949)
1953 design (project)
Cavendish class (1944)
Weapon class (1945)
Battle class (1945)
FADEP program (1946)
County class GMD (1959)
Bristol class GMD (1969)
Sheffield class GMD (1971)
Manchester class GMD (1980)
Type 43 GMD (1974)

British cold-war Frigates
Rapid class (1942)
Tenacious class (1941)
Whitby class (1954)
Blackwood class (1953)
Leopard class (1954)
Salisbury class (1953)
Tribal class (1959)
Rothesay class (1957)
Leander class (1961)
BB Leander class (1967)
HMS Mermaid (1966)
Amazon class (1971)
Broadsword class (1976)
Boxer class (1981)
Cornwall class (1985)
Duke class (1987)

British cold war Submarines
T (conv.) class (1944)
T (Stream) class (1945)
A (Mod.) class (1944)
Explorer class (1954)
Strickleback class (1954)
Porpoise class (1956)
Oberon class (1959)
HMS Dreanought SSN (1960)
Valiant class SSN (1963)
Resolution class SSBN (1966)
Swiftsure class SSN (1971)
Trafalgar class SSN (1981)
Upholder class (1986)
Vanguard class SSBN (started)

Assault ships
Fearless class (1963)
HMS Ocean (started)
Sir Lancelot LLS (1963)
Sir Galahad (1986)
Ardennes/Avon class (1976)
Brit. LCVPs (1963)
Brit. LCM(9) (1980)

Ton class (1952)
Ham class (1947)
Ley class (1952)
HMS Abdiel (1967)
HMS Wilton (1972)
Hunt class (1978)
Venturer class (1979)
River class (1983)
Sandown class (1988)

Misc. ships
HMS Argus ATS (1988)
Ford class SDF (1951)
Cormorant class (1985)
Kingfisger class (1974)
HMS Jura OPV (1975)
Island class OPVs (1976)
HMS Speedy PHDF (1979)
Castle class OPVs (1980)
Peacock class OPVs (1982)
MBT 538 class (1948)
Gay class FACs (1952)
Dark class FACs (1954)
Bold class FACs (1955)
Brave class FACs (1957)
Tenacity class PCs (1967)
Brave class FPCs (1969)
Sovietskaya Flota Sovietskiy flot
Cold War Soviet Cruisers (1947-90)
Chapayev class (1945)
Kynda class (1961)
Kresta I class (1964)
Kresta II class (1968)
Kara class (1969)
Kirov class (1977)
Slava class (1979)

Moksva class (1965)
Kiev class (1975)
Kusnetsov class aircraft carriers (1988)

Cold War Soviet Destroyers
Skoryi class destroyers (1948)
Neustrashimyy (1951)
Kotlin class (1953)
Krupny class (1959)
Kashin class (1963)
Sovremenny class (1978)
Udaloy class (1980)
Project Anchar DDN (1988)

Soviet Frigates
Kola class (1951)
Riga class (1954)
Petya class (1960)
Mirka class (1964)
Grisha class (1968)
Krivak class (1970)
Koni class (1976)
Neustrashimyy class (1988)

Soviet Missile Corvettes
Poti class (1962)
Nanuchka class (1968)
Pauk class (1978)
Tarantul class (1981)
Dergach class (1987)
Svetlyak class (1989)

Cold War Soviet Submarines
Whiskey SSK (1948)
Zulu SSK (1950)
Quebec SSK (1950)
Romeo SSK (1957)
Foxtrot SSK (1963)
Tango class (1972)
November SSN (1957)
Golf SSB (1958)
Hotel SSBN (1959)
Echo I SSGN (1959)
Echo II SSGN (1961)
Juliett SSG (1962)
Yankee SSBN (1966)
Victor SSN I (1965)
Alfa SSN (1967)
Charlie SSGN (1968)
Papa SSGN (1968)
Delta I SSBN (1972)
Delta II SSBN (1975)
Delta III SSBN (1976)
Delta IV SSBN (1980)
Typhoon SSBN (1980)
Victor II SSN (1971)
Victor III SSN (1977)
Oscar SSGN (1980)
Sierra SSN (1982)
Mike SSN (1983)
Akula SSN (1984)
Kilo SSK (1986)

Soviet Naval Air Force
Kamov Ka-10 Hat
Kamov Ka-15 Hen
Kamov Ka-18 Hog
Kamov Ka-25 Hormone
Kamov Ka-27 Helix
Mil Mi-8 Hip
Mil Mi-14 H?
Mil Mi-4 Hound

Yakovlev Yak-38
Sukhoi Su-17
Sukhoi Su-24

Ilyushin Il-28 Beagle
Myasishchev M-4 Bison
Tupolev Tu-14 Bosun
Tupolev Tu-142
Ilyushin Il-38
Tupolev Tu-16
Antonov An-12
Tupolev Tu-22
Tupolev Tu-95
Tupolev Tu-22M
Tupolev Tu-16
Tupolev Tu-22

Beriev Be-6 Madge
Beriev Be-10 Mallow
Beriev Be-12
Lun class Ekranoplanes
A90 Orlan Ekranoplanes

Soviet MTBs/PBs/FACs
P2 class FACs
P4 class FACs
P6 class FACs
P8 class FACs
P10 class FACs
Komar class FACs (1960)
Project 184 FACs
OSA class FACs
Shershen class FACs
Mol class FACs
Turya class HFL
Matka class HFL
Pchela class FACs
Sarancha class HFL
Babochka class HFL
Mukha class HFL
Muravey class HFL

MO-V sub-chasers
MO-VI sub-chasers
Stenka class sub-chasers
kronstadt class PBs
SO-I class PBs
Poluchat class PBs
Zhuk clas PBs
MO-105 sub-chasers

Project 191 River Gunboats
Shmel class river GB
Yaz class river GB
Piyavka class river GB
Vosh class river GB
Saygak class river GB

Soviet Minesweepers
T43 class
T58 class
Yurka class
Gorya class
T301 class
Project 255 class
Sasha class
Vanya class
Zhenya class
Almaz class
Sonya class
TR40 class
K8 class
Yevgenya class
Olya class
Lida class
Andryusha class
Ilyusha class
Alesha class
Rybak class
Baltika class
SChS-150 class
Project 696 class

Soviet Amphibious ships
MP 2 class
MP 4 class
MP 6 class
MP 8 class
MP 10 class
Polocny class
Ropucha class
Alligator class
Ivan Rogov class
Aist class HVC
Pomornik class HVC
Gus class HVC
T-4 class LC
Ondatra class LC
Lebed class HVC
Tsaplya class HVC
Utenov class
US Navy USN (1990)
Aircraft carriers
United States class (1950)
Essex SBC-27 (1950s)
Midway class (mod)
Forrestal class (1954)
Kitty Hawk class (1960)
USS Enterprise (1960)
Nimitz Class (1972)

Salem Class (1947)
Worcester Class (1948)
USS Norfolk (1953)
Boston Class (1955)
Galveston Class (1958)
Albany Class (1962)
USS Long Beach (1960)
Leahy Class (1961)
USS Bainbridge (1961)
Belknap Class (1963)
USS Truxtun (1964)
California Class (1971)
Virginia Class (1974)
CSGN Class (1976)
Ticonderoga Class (1981)

Mitscher class (1952)
Fletcher DDE class (1950s)
Gearing DDE class (1950s)
F. Sherman class (1956)
Farragut class (1958)
Charles s. Adams class (1958)
Gearing FRAM I class (1960s)
Sumner FRAM II class (1970s)
Spruance class (1975)

Dealey class (1953)
Claud Jones class (1958)
Bronstein class (1962)
Garcia class (1963)
Brooke class (1963)
Knox class (1966)
OH Perry class (1976)

Guppy class Submarines (1946-59)
Barracuda class SSK (1951)
Tang class SSK (1951)
USS Darter SSK (1956)
Mackerel class SSK (1953)
USS Albacore SSK (1953)
USS X1 Midget subs (1955)
Barbel class SSK (1958)

USS Nautilus SSN (1954)
USS Seawolf SSN (1955)
Skate class SSN (1957)
Skipjack class SSN (1958)
USS Tullibee SSN (1960)
Tresher/Permit class SSN (1960)
Sturgeon class SSN (1963)
Los Angeles class SSN (1974)
Seawolf class SSN (1989)

USS Grayback SSBN (1954)
USS Growler SSBN (1957)
USS Halibut SSBN (1959)
Gato SSG (1960s)
E. Allen class SSBN (1960)
G. Washington class SSBN (1969)
Lafayette class SSBN (1962)
Ohio class SSBN (1979)

Migraine class RP (1950s)
Sailfish class RP (1955)
USS Triton class RP (1958)

Amphibious/assault ships
Iwo Jima class HC (1960)
Tarawa class LHD (1973)
Wasp class LHD (1987)
Thomaston class LSD (1954)
Raleigh class LSD (1962)
Austin class LSD (1964)
Anchorage class LSD (1968)
Whibdey Island class LSD (1983)
Parish class LST (1952)
County class LST (1957)
Newport class LST (1968)
Tulare class APA (1953)
Charleston class APA (1967)
USS Carronade support ship (1953)

Mine warfare ships
Agile class (1952)
Ability (1956)
Avenger (1987)
USS Cardinal (1983)
Adjutant class (1953)
USS Cove (1958)
USS Bittern (1957)
Minesweeping boats/launches

Misc. ships
USS Northampton CS (1951)
Blue Ridge class CS (1969)
Wright class CS (1969)
PT812 class (1950)
Nasty class FAC (1962)
Osprey class FAC (1967)
Asheville class FACs (1966)
USN Hydrofoils (1962-81)
Vietnam Patrol Boats (1965-73)

Hamilton class (1965)
Reliance class (1963)
Bear class (1979)
cold war CG PBs

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