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HMS Ark Royal

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Hello everybody,

 

I have put together history and possible implementation of aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal in World of Warships.
Please keep in mind that this is just fan made, not official news of upcoming new ship.
Also I apologize for any grammar mistakes, english is not my native language.

 

I think that aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy are little bit in a shadow of US and Japanese carriers.
Although Royal Navy didn't have that many carriers and they weren't as huge as US and Japanese counterparts, they had great influence on creating
and shaping the modern carriers of that time.
They have good potential to become next aircraft carrier branch in World of Warships (at least to tier VIII, like Akizuki branch).


HMS Ark Royal
History

Creation
HMS Ark Royal(91) was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy.
HMS Ark Royal was designed in 1934 and she had to fit the restrictions of Washington Naval Treaty.
She was build by Cammell Laird and Company Ltd. at Birkenhead in England and fully completed in November 1938.
Due to smaller budget of the Royal Navy was HMS Ark Royal first aircraft carrier since 1930 (when Royal Navy received HMS Glorious).
On the other hand thanks to a lot of time engineers put into designing her, she had well-resolved hull and become inspiration for next aircraft carriers.

 

She was the first ship where flight deck and two deck level hangars were an integral part of the hull, instead of an add-on or part of the superstructure.
She was equipped with modern equipment, such as arrestor gear and compressed steam catapults and 3 lifts.
Althought it was used welding for 65% of the hull instead of riverting (this saved 510t), the armoured flight deck (that was planned) would increase

ship's displacement, and she would have more that 22 000t and therefore she would exceed the weight limit set by the Washington and London Naval treaties.
Armour plating was limited to belt, engine rooms and magazines. She was also equipped with three layer side protection system based upon
a void-liquid-void scheme that was designed to protect against torpedoes with 750-pound (340kg) warhead (similar system was used on King George V-class).
The ship was fitted with six boilers, which powered three Parsons geared turbines. The turbines were connected via three drivesshafts to three propellers. 
This allowed Ark Royal to sail with speed up to 31,2 knots.
Cammell Laird and Company Ltd. calculated the cost of the hull at 1,496,250 GBP and the main machinery at approximately 500,000 GBP.
(This is equivalent to 95,320,000 GBP for the hull and 31,850,000 GBP for main machinery in 2016)

 

Career

Hunter-killer groups
Although intended for Far East , events in Europe (Italian invasion of Abyssinia, Spanish civil war) caused that she remain in with Home and Mediterranean
Fleets. After her crew joined at the end of 1938, she underwent sea trials.
The outbreak of the Second World War on 3 September 1939 had been presaged by Germany's U-boat fleet taking up positions off the British coast,
where they could intercept British shipping. Ark Royal was deployed with Home fleet in the North Western Approaches as part of 'hunter-killer' group.
On 14 September, Ark Royal received a distress call from cargo ship that was under pursuit from the surfaced U-30.
Ark Royal launched aircrafts but was spotted by U-39 which launched two torpedoes. Ark Royal turned towards the attack. She dodged the torpedoes and
her aircraft began depth charge U-39 and forced the submarine to the surface. U-39's crew left the submarine, than she was sunk.
This was first destroyed U-boat during WWII. Then Ark Royal's aircrafts reached the cargo ship but the attack failed and she was sunk by U-30.
After the succesful attack on Courageous on 17 September, carrier-centred hunter-killers groups were abbandoned.

 

Near miss
On 25 September, Ark Royal helped to rescue the submarine Spearfish. When she was returning with Spearfish and battleships Nelson and Rodney
on 26 September, she was located by three Dornier Do18 seaplanes. Four bombers Junker Ju88 later appeared. Three of them were driven away, but
the fourth dropped 1000kg bomb at the carrier. Luckily the bomb missed the ship and fell 30 meter away.

 

HMS_Ark_Royal_3.jpg.2d63792a0684e94face470c354dd2ea2.jpg

Splash from the missing bomb near HMS Ark Royal

 

Hunting the Graff Spee
In October 1939 she was deployed to Freetown to operate off the African coast in the hunt for the German Admiral Graff Spee.
The carrier was assigned to Force K. On 9 October her aircraft spotted the German tanker Altmark, which supplied Graff Spee.
On 5 November Ark Royal captured merchant SS Uhenfels. Meanwhile Graff Spee arrived to Montevideo to repair damage received after battle of the River Plate.
Two Royal Navy cruiser followed Graff Spee and guarded the harbour entrance. Ark Royal and Renown were dispatched to join these cruisers, but they were
36 hours away. British attaché came with a plan. They ordered fuel for Ark Royal in Buenos Aires, 140 miles away from Montevideo.
This information leaked and convinced German embassy in Montevideo. Graff Spee's captain later made the decision to scuttle the ship.

 

Return
Shortly after Graff Spee was sunk, Ark Royal escorted damaged heavy cruiser Exeter to Devon Dockyard. They arrived in February.
After carrier was resupplied, she was assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet for exercises. On 31 March she departed with aircraft carrier Glorious and headed to Alexandria.
They arrived on 8 April. However the exercises were cancelled a day later. Then they sailed to Gibraltar.

 

Norwey
After German forces had invaded Norwey on 9 April, Royal Navy needed air support for their ships and therefor she was assigned with Glorious here.
She arrived on 25 April 1940. Her planes provide air support against bombers ,submarines and targets at the shore.
On 27 April she returned to Scapa Flow to refuel and replace lost aircraft. On the way back Ark Royal was attacked by German Junker Ju 88 and
Heinkel He 111 bombers. The carrier wasn't damaged and resumed position on 29 April. However situation here was untenable and evacuation began.
While she was covering the retreat, several bombs were dropped at the carrier, but none of them hit. Once she was refueled, she provided air support for
operations around Narvik. At that time German advanced to England channel. Ark Royal again covered evacuation of Allied forces.
On 8 June Glorious with 2 destroyers detached to return to Britain, but were later attacked and sunk by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.
Ark Royal's planes searched for them but unsuccesfully. On 9 June she left Narvik with escort. On 13 June her aircraft attacked Scharnhorst.
The attack was fiasco. The escort destroyers collided while Ark Royal was launching aircraft and had to return to England for repairs, 8 of 15 planes were
shot down and Scharnhorst didn't received any damage.

 

Gibraltar
After return she was assigned to Medditerranean fleet. She and the fleet (Hood and 3 destroyers) arrived at Gibraltar on 23 June 1940.
Here she joined Force H. After capitulation of France there was the possibility that French might fall under Axis control at Mers-el-Kébir.
Ark Royal's captain was sent to negotiate the surrender or scuttling of the French ships but French admirals refused to agree to the offered terms.
After rejection, Force H opened fire on French fleet. During attack, Ark Royal's planes provided spotting for British ships.
Two days later, her aircraft attacked Dunkerque.
On 8 July Force H sailed out of Gibraltar. After 8 hours, they were attacked by Italian bombers. Althought they weren't damaged, they were ordered to return.
From 31 July to 4 August, Force H was deployed to Malta. Carrier Argus delivered Hawker Hurricanes to Malta while Ark Royal provided air support and
launched successful air attack against Italian base at Caglairi. On 1 October sailed out of Gibraltar and escorted reinforcements to Alexandria.
En route, attacks were carried out on Italian bases at Elmas and Cagliari as a diversion. From Alexandria, Ark Royal was sent to West Africa to support
British attempts to convince Vichy France to switch to Free French. Negotiations failed and supported unsuccessful attempt to take Dakar by force.


After this mission, she returned to Liverpool on 8 October, escorted by 3 destroyers. Here she received new flight deck barrier and was repaired.
Then she sailed again to Gibraltar. With Force H, she escorted convoys from Gibraltar to Alexandria and Malta. Giulio Cesare and Vittorio Veneto were dispatched
to intercept the convoy. Italian battleships were spotted by Ark Royal's planes and later attacked (with ships from Force H). During this fight Italian destroyer was damaged.
After that she searched for commerce raiders in Atlantic.
If Spain chose to ally Axis, Gibraltar was likely to be lost. Royal Navy wanted to show power to Spain, so Admirality planned to use Ark Royal's bombers in
raid agains Italian targets. The first bombing against Tirso Dam in Sardinia was unsuccessful. More successful was 2nd bombing- port city of Genoa.
Her plains covered battlecruiser Renown and battleship Malaya while they shelled the port.
Next mission, to attack oil rafinery and lay mines in harbour in La Spezia, was succesful.

 

Searching for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau
In February 1941 Scharnhorst and Gneisenau headed to Atlantic. They were to disrupt Allied shipping and draw capital ships from other areas.
On 8 Force H and Ark Royal were ordered to the Canary Islands to searched for them and cover convoys from United States.
On 21 March Ark Royal's plane found them at sea. Thanks to radio malfunction, Fairey Fulmar had to return to report their position. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau 
escaped before Force H could find them again.

 

HMS_Ark_Royal_1.thumb.jpg.f3c81563c640312e02fda7a0df5c37f0.jpg

HMS Ark Royal and Swordfish

 

Malta convoys
Ark Royal spent April alternating between covering convoys and delivering aircraft to Malta and forays into the Atlantic to hunt commerce raiders.
By May 1941, Erwin Rommel and his forces were driving towards the Suaz Canal while they forced Allied forces to retreat. 
British High Command sent convoy with reinforcements to Alexandria. This was risky move. Ark Royal, with battlecruiser Renown, battleship Queen Elizabeth,
cruisers Sheffield, Nainad, Glouster and the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, escorted 5 transport ships. They left on 6 May and were detected by Italian aircraft.
This large convoy was juicy target and Axis didn't want to miss. 
On 8 May, convoy was under attack by Italian and then German planes. During the engagement, 12 Ark Royal's fighters drove off over 50 aircraft.
The convoy survived without any serious damage, only Empire Song sunk after hitting a mine and Zealand Star was damaged.
On 12 May, Ark Royal was attacked again by enemy aircraft, during her return to Gibraltar. After that she and HMS Furious carried Hawker Hurricanes to Malta.
 
Bismarck
On 18 May 1941, the German cruiser Prinz Eugen and battleship Bismarck began operation Rheinübung by breaking into the Atlantic to raid shipping.
After sinking battlescruiser Hood and damaging battle ship Prince of Wales, Bismarck set sail to French Atlantic coast.
Ark Royal, Renown, Sheffield with their escort-Faulknor, Foresight, Forester, Fortune, Foxhound and Fury- started searching for Bismarck on 23 May.
On 26 May, Ark Royal's Swordfish found Bismarck. Swordfish followed her while the Home Fleet was mobilized to pursue.
At that time, British ships wouldn't catch Bismarck before she reached French coast.
Fifteen Swordfish bombers were sent to delay the ship. Sheffield, also shadowing Bismarck, was mistook for Bismarck and bombers attacked her.
Luckily, Sheffield evaded the torpedoes and the only one that hit, didn't explode.
After the bombers returned, they were resupplied and sent again. At the sunset, they attacked Bismarck. Two torpedoes hit engine room 
and one hit the steering compartment and jammed the rudder in 15° port turn. Thanks to this attack, British ships caught up Bismarck and sunk her.

 

Malta convoys
Force H with Ark Royal terurned to Gibraltar on 29 May 1941.The war in Mediterranean was going agains the Allies. Greece and Crete had fallen and
Africa Corps was preparing to push into Egypt. Malta remained important island. Under pressure from German and Italian air attacks, Malta couldn't be
supplied from the east since fall of Crete.
Throughout June and July, Ark Royal was delivering aircraft to Malta and she escorted convoys of Operation Substance (July) and Oúeration Halbert (September).
Despite losses, convoys kept Malta combatable. This was problem for Africa Corps because they were loosing about 1/3 of supplies from Italy, thanks to
submarines and bombers from Malta. Adolf Hitle decided to sent here U-boat flotilla to attack convoys.

 

Final voyage
On 10 Novermber 1941, Ark Royal ferried planes to Malta. After this, she was returning to Gibraltar.
On 13 November, at 15:41 she was hit by torpedo from U-81, between fuel bunkers and bomb store, directly below bridge island.
The torpedo created hole below water-line and caused flooding of the starboard boiler room, oil tanks, main switchboard and starboard bilge.
The rear part of the ship lost power.
After torpedo struck, Captain Maund ordered the engines to full stop. The ship's continued motion enlarged the hole in the hull, and by the time she stopped,
she had taken large amount of water and began to list to starboard. Considering the list of the carrier, and the fact that other carriers, including Courageous
and Glorious, had sunk rapidly with heavy loss of life, Maund gave the order to abandon ship.
The crew were assembled to flight deck and was divided to two groups. First group would remain on ship and try to save her and the second group
was taken by Legion. As a result, comprehensive damage control measures were not initiated until 49 minutes after the torpedo struck.
The flooding spread, exacerbated by covers and hatches left open during evacuation of the lower decks.
After water got to centreline boiler room, ship lost all power and Ark Royal didn't have any backup diesel generators.
About hlaf an hour after the attack, Ark Royal appeared to stabilise. Admiral Somerville ordered damage control parties back to the ship.
The damage control parties re-lit a boiler, restoring power to the bilge pumps. The destroyer Laforey came alongside to provide power and addicional pumps,
while Swordfish aircraft from Gibraltar began anti-submarine patrols. The tug Thames from Gibraltar arrived at 20:00 and attached tow line to her.
Flooding caused the ship to list more and the rising water again shut down the restored boiler.
The list reached 20° between 02:05 and 02:20. When ship's list reached 27°, it was decided to abbandon ship. The crew avacuated to Legion by 04:30.
Only one man died thanks to explosion and the 1,487 officers and crew were transported to Gibraltar.
The list reached 45° before she capsized and sank at 06:19 on 14 November. Ark Royal then broke in two, the aft sinking within a couple of minutes, followed by the bow.

 

Summary of history
Ark Royal was modern aircraft carrier of that time. 
She participated in many operations and she has rich history.

 

 

HMS_Ark_Royal_2.thumb.jpg.e1b2577ba1cb1e3cc42b8bb4a215e2cb.jpg

HMS Ark Royal last voyage

 

HMS Ark Royal in World of Warships:
Class: Aircraft carrier

Tier: VI
I think that she could be part of new British aircraft carrier branch or premium ship.

 

General characteristics:
Lenght: 800 ft (240m) overall
              721 ft (219,91m) at the waterline
Beam: 94 ft 6 in (28,895m)
Draught: 27,8 ft 9,6 in (8,717m)
Displacement -standart: 22 000t
                        -loaded: 28,160 t

 

Maneuverability:
Engine power:  76,816 kW
Maximum speed:  31,2 knots
Turning circle radius: 840 m
Rudder shift time:  16,2 sec.

 

Armor and hitpoints:
Hitpoints: 41 200 HP
Armor: -belt and hangars: 4,5 in (11,4cm)
            -deck-over boiler rooms and magazines: 3,5 in (8,9cm)
Torpedo damage reduction: 6%

 

Secondary armament: 8x2 4,5 in (114mm) L/45 QF Mark I

 

Anti aircraft defence:
(after modernation in May 1941)
Long range (5km): 8x2 4,5 in (114mm) L/45 QF Mark I
Medium range (3km): 6x8 40mm L/39 QF Mark VIII "Pom-pom"
Short range (2km): 8x4 12,7mm L/62 MG Mark III
Ark Royal would have slightly better long range AA defence than Ryujo and Independence, but worse mid-range AA defence than Independence and
worse short-range AA defence than Ryujo but slightly better than Independence.

 

Air group:
Air group is the main strike force of an aircraft carrier. Ark Royal is the same.
Fighters:
Fairey Fulmar-speed: 158 knots
                        -average damage per second: 42
                        -loadout: 65
                        -hitpoints: 1,180 HP
Torpedo bombers: 
Fairey Albacore -speed: 128 knots
                           -maximum torpedo damage: 8135 HP
                           -hitpoints: 1 140 HP
Dive bombers:
Blackburn Skua -speed: 122 knots
                           -maximum bomb damage: 4400 HP (HE bomb)
                           -hit points: 1 150 HP
Ark Roayl's planes are slightly inferior to Ryujo's or Indepedence's planes but are little bit better than planes from lower tier.
Why? There are 2 reasons: -historical, if we compare British, US and Japanese planes:
                                                             - Fairey Fulmar is worse that A6M2 Zero and F6F Hellcat
                                                             - Fairey Albacore is slightly worse than Nakajima B5N2 and Douglas DBT
                                                             - Blackburn Skua is worse than Aichi D3A1 and Douglas SBD-5
                                               -balancing- see hangar capacity
Flight control:
I suggest that Ark Royal would have 5 groups of planes with 4 planes in each one of them.
Only flight control mod:- 2 fighter group
                                          - 2 torpedo bomber groups
                                          - 1 dive bomber groups
                             This is balanced flight control mod.
I think that Ark Royal would have only one flight control mod because she has 5 groups of planes, 1/2/2 flight mod or 3/1/1 flight mod already has Ryujo and 
playing aircraft carrier with same flight control mod and not that much different planes wouldn't be original.


Hangar capacity:
Ark Royal was designed to carry 72 planes. However, planes were getting bigger and heavier and took more space.
Therefore the real hangar capacity was up to 60 planes. I wouldn't give her 60 planes, but 55 instead because 60 is too much.
Still, this is more than any CV at tier VI. Ryujo has 48 planes and Independence has 37 planes.
With hangar capacity of 55 planes, Ark Royal has 14,58% more planes than Ryujo and 48,64% more planes than Independence.
But still it is less than Hyriu (72) and Ranger (73) at tier VII.

 

Concealment:
Surface detectability range: 12,9km
Air detectability range: 10,2km

 

HMS_Ark_Royal_4.jpg.fb9f502562fb8011d78f61c8181d3402.jpg

Ark Royal-blueprint

 

Summary:
HMS Ark Royal would be bigger aircraft carrier with worse concealment, rudder shift time and turning circle radious but nice speed.
She would have more aircraft at the cost of their quality, with universal flight control mod.

Her AA defence would be good, but not fantastic.

 

 

As I have said at the beginning, I think that British aircraft carriers have good potencial to become next carrier branch in WoWs.
But only time will reveal, if they will be in World of Warships or not.

 

I will be glad if you leave your comment below. I hope you enjoyed this article and have a nice day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resourses:
Informations:
Book- Encyklopedie Válečných lodí od 2. světové války až po současnost, Robert Jackson, Naše Vojsko
Forum.valka-HMS Ark Royal
Wikipedia- HMS Ark Royal

Pictures:
Wikipedia-HMS Ark Royal
The Blueprints- HMS Ark Royal

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Players
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3,269 battles

Looks good, this ship is so cool! I suppose the hangar capacity is a good way to balance it, though with 60 planes it may work as a T VII. I've seen other proposals for a RN carrier line that have HMS Furious (Courageous class) at T VI, and the Ark is a T VII premium (lots of history, one of the most famous names in naval history etc.) The tech tree T VII could be potentially be one of the Illustrious class, T VIII the Implacable class, T IX maybe the Audacious class (as they would have been if completed during the 1940s, not a cold war refit), then the top of the tree at T X would be the proposed Malta class. Yes, it's a paper design, but what else would the Royal Navy get to compete with the Hakuryu and Midway?

 

Anyway, the Ark's "gimmick" (or a wider Royal Navy gimmick) could be the ability to equip fighters/dive bombers with rocket projectiles. They would only do a little bit of damage (RP 3 rockets had a 60lb SAP warhead that could penetrate about 50mm of armour, but I have heard of up to 80mm pen), but could introduce a new mechanic: strafing ships. The rockets could suppress the AA gunners or destroy the AA guns outright, weakening the ship for an upcoming torpedo strike. This would be useful as the Swordfish or Albacore are both very slow, so unless the AA is taken care of the squadrons will get chewed up.

 

It will be interesting to see what WG do with the CV rework, if that comes SoonTM, then we may see some more carriers. It'll make the gameplay a bit more varied I hope.

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