RN

HMS Ark Royal R07

HMS Ark Royal R07 was the former flagship of the Royal Navy and the last of the 3 RN Invincible class light carriers. She was laid down on December 7, 1978 and commissioned on November 1, 1985. Ark Royal is slightly larger than her sister ships and during construction she was fitted with a steeper ski jump ramp to improve STOVL takeoff performance for the Harrier aircraft. Primarily designed as an ASW carrier, Ark Royal can carry a combination of up to 18 Sea Harrier FRS.I / Harrier GR.7/9 VTOL planes and 10 Sea King ASaC or Merlin HM Mk.1 helicopters. She is armed with 3 Mark 15 Phalanx CIWS and 2 GAM-B01 20 mm guns. She also originally carried a twin mount Sea Dart missile launcher but this was removed during her 1999 refit to allow more space to operate aircraft. The Ark Royal was deployed in 1993 to the Adriatic during the Bosnian War and fought in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. As part of the accelerated scrapping of the Royal Navy, Ark Royal was decommissioned in March 2011.

HMS Ark Royal R07

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HMS King George V

Launched in 1939 and commissioned on December 11, 1940 HMS King George V was the lead ship of the King George V class of battleships. After sailing in support of the Lofoten Islands commando raids on March 4, 1941 she was the flagship of the Home Fleet and was involved in the hunt for the German battleship Bismarck. On May 27, 1941, she and the battleship HMS Rodney sunk the Bismarck. KGV participated in convoy Murmansk escort duties performed naval bombardment missions during the Operation Husky landings at Sicily in 1943. She also transported Prime Minister Winston Churchill back to Britain from the Tehran Conference. From 1944 until the surrender of Japan, King George V served with the British Pacific Fleet and was present at the official surrender ceremony. She was recommissioned as flagship of the Home Fleet in 1946. In 1949 King George V was decommissioned into the Reserve Fleet and later scrapped at Dalmuir in 1957. KGV was armed with 10 × 14 inch guns, 16 × 5.25 inch guns and 64 × 40 mm pompom guns. This model shows the KGV as she appeared in 1942 in the Mediterranean.

HMS King George V

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HMS Ursula

HMS Ursula was a British U class submarine, built by Vickers Armstrong, laid down on February 19, 1937 and commissioned on December 20, 1938. Ursula began her combat career on September 9, 1939 when she fired the first British submarine torpedoes of the war while attacking the German submarine U-35. She continued to attack enemy shipping in the North Sea and was then transferred to the Mediterranean. There she sank several Italian warships and merchant ships. On June 26, 1944 she was transferred to the Soviet Union where she was renamed V-4 Soviet Svanetia. She survived the war and was returned to Britain in early 1950 and was scrapped in May 1950. HMS Ursula was armed with 4 bow internal 21-inch torpedo tubes, 2 external torpedo tubes and 10 torpedoes, three antiaircraft machineguns and one 3 inch gun. This model shows HMS Ursula as she appeared when operating in the Mediterranean.

HMS Ursula

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HMS Ark Royal 91

HMS Ark Royal (91) was designed in 1934 to comply with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. She was built by Cammell Laird and Company at Birkenhead, England, laid down on September 16, 1935, launched on April 13, 1937 and completed in November 1938. Ark Royal was the first ship where the hangars and flight deck were an integral part of the hull instead of an add-on or part of the superstructure. She was designed to carry a large number of aircraft and had two hangar decks which originally allowed Ark Royal to carry 72 aircraft. Her flight deck was 800 feet making it longer than the keel. Because hangar decks were within the hull the flight deck rose to 66 ft above the waterline. In service tests she was able to make 31 knots with a displacement of 27,525 tons. Ark Royal was armed with sixteen quick-firing 4.5 in dual purpose guns in eight double turrets, six 8-barrelled 2-pounder (40 mm) pom-pom guns and eight 4-barrelled .50 cal. machineguns. She usually carried 5 Fleet Air Arm squadrons aboard. Generally a mix of Blackburn Skuas, Fairey Swordfish, Fairey Fulmars, Blackburn Rocs and Fairey Albacores. At the outbreak of WWII Ark Royal was deployed with the Home Fleet in the North Western Approaches as part of a hunter-killer group. On September 14, 1938 she was launching aircraft when she was spotted by U-39, which launched two torpedoes. The torpedoes were spotted and Ark royal turned towards them. The torpedoes missed and exploded harmlessly astern. On September 25, 1938 she was again attacked, this time by Junkers JU-88 bombers. In the face of heavy antiaircraft fire, the managed to drop a 2,200 lb. bomb near the carrier. Since the German pilots could not see if the carrier was hit or not and since reconnaissance flights could not find her again, Goebbels announced that she was sunk. This turned out to be a big propaganda embarrassment for the Nazis. In October 1939 Ark Royal was redeployed to Freetown, South Africa in an unsuccessful hunt for the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. When the Graf Spee put into Montevideo Ark royal was ordered to head there at top speed. As part of a deception plan, fuel was ordered for Ark Royal at Buenos Aires. This fooled the Germans into thinking that a carrier was close by and contributed to the Graff Spee's captains decision to scuttle his ship. On March 31, 1940 Ark Royal was assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet and got as far as the Eastern Mediterranean before being sent back to Britain because of the German invasion of Norway. At the end of April, 1940 she sailed to Norway and began anti-submarine patrols, launched fighter patrols and carried out strikes against shipping and shore targets. She was attacked several times by Junkers JU-88 and Heinkel HE-111 bombers but was not hit. Ark Royal was once again assigned to the Mediterranean fleet in June 1940 and participated in the attack on the French fleet at Mers-el-Kébir. In July, 1940 she was attacked by Italian bombers and brought aircraft to Malta. She also provided fleet cover and raided the Italian air base at Cagliari. In October 1940 she raided the Italian air bases at Elmas and Cagliari and performed convoy escort duties. In early October 1940 she attacked the Vichy French colony of Dakar. After this she went back to England for refit. In November 1940 she again returned to Gibraltar for convoy escort duties. From November 140 through January 1941 she also raided various Italian targets including the Tirso Dam in Sardinia, an oil refinery at La Spezia and the city of Genoa. After another refit Ark Royal spent her time alternating between convoy escort duties, delivering aircraft to Malta and hunts in the Atlantic for commerce raiders. In May 1941 she escorted a large reinforcement convoy across the Mediterranean to Alexandria. It was detected by Italian aircraft and came under heavy Italian and German air attack. On one day the 12 Fairey Fulmars on the Ark Royal drove off over enemy 50 aircraft. When the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen broke out into the Atlantic Ark Royal was ordered to the Atlantic to help in the search for them. On May 26, 1941 a Swordfish from Ark Royal located the Bismarck and began to shadow her while the Home Fleet was mobilized. Fifteen Swordfish bombers were armed with torpedoes and sent to delay the ship. The cruiser Sheffield was between Ark Royal and Bismarck. The Swordfish mistook the Sheffield for the Bismarck and attacked. Fortunately most of the British torpedoes had defective fuses and the Sheffield evaded the rest. When the Swordfish returned they were armed with torpedoes with a different type of fuse and sent out to attack again. They found Bismarck just before sunset and attacked. Three torpedoes hit the battleship, one of which jammed the rudder in a 15° port turn. Bismarck was attacked by elements of the Home Fleet and sank at 10:39 May 27, 1941. She then returned to escorting convoys in the Mediterranean. On November 10, 1941 Ark Royal ferried more aircraft to Malta and then set sail back to Gibraltar. On November13, 1941 at 15:40 the sonar operator aboard the destroyer Legion detected an unidentified sound. One minute later Ark Royal was struck amidships by a torpedo fired by U-81 that hit between the fuel bunkers and bomb store, directly below the bridge island creating a 130 ft × 30 ft hole. The hole in the hull was enlarged by the ship's motion and by the time Ark Royal stopped she had taken on water and begun to list to starboard, reaching 18° within 20 minutes. Most of the crew was taken off and damage control was able to halt the list at 20°. A tug arrived and began to tow Ark Royal back to Gibraltar. This increased flooding and the rest of the crew was taken off. The list reached 45° before Ark Royal capsized and sank at 06:19 on November 14, 1941. Witnesses reported the carrier rolling to 90° where she remained for three minutes before inverting. Ark Royal then broke in two, the aft sinking within a couple of minutes, followed by the bow. All but one of the 1,487 officers and crew aboard were saved. The wreck of Ark Royal was discovered by a BBC film crew mid-December 2002 35 miles from Gibraltar. This model shows HMS Ark Royal in late 1940 when she carried Fairey Swordfish, Blackburn Skuas and Fairey Fulmars.

HMS Ark Royal 91

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HMS Eskimo

HMS Eskimo was a Tribal class destroyer laid down by Vickers Armstrong at Newcastle-on-Tyne on August 5, 1936, launched on September 3, 1937 and commissioned on December 30, 1938. Tribal class destroyers were built for the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Australian Navy. They originated as a design for a light cruiser and after an extensive series of redesigns, they emerged as destroyers. The Royal Navy placed an order for seven Tribals on March 10, 1936 and nine more on June 9, 1936. Between 1937 and 1945 twenty seven Tribals were built. Tribal destroyers served with distinction in nearly all theatres of WWII. HMCS Haida is the last Tribal class destroyer in existence. She is a museum ship in Hamilton Harbor, Ontario, Canada. The Tribal class destroyers were armed with eight 4.7 inch QF Mark XII L/45 naval rifles in 4 twin mount CP Mk. XIX turrets, four QF 2 pdr, quad mount Mk. VII canons, eight Vickers .50 cal. Machineguns in Mk. II quad mounts, four 21 inch torpedo tubes and one depth charge rack. HMS Eskimo participated in the Second Battle of Narvik in April 1940 and on April 12, she was hit by a torpedo fired from German destroyer Z2 Georg Thiele. The explosion caused severe damage, blowing off Eskimo's bow. After temporary repairs she returned to England for extensive repairs. In May 1941 she participated in the boarding of the German weather ship München that retrieved Enigma cypher codebooks.  In November 1942 Eskimo supported the Allied landings in North Africa and served with the 10th Destroyer Flotilla at Plymouth. In May 1943 she joined Operation Retribution to prevent the Afrika Korps from being evacuated to Italy. In 1943 she was attacked by two Stuka dive bombers while taking part in the invasion of Sicily but was not damaged. She spent much of 1944 on patrol in the English channel where she fought a variety of German destroyers and torpedo boats. On June 24, 1944, in combination with HMCS Haida and a B-24, she cornered and sank the German submarine U-971 in the English Channel north of Brest. In 1945 Eskimo was given some minor tropicalisation refits and was sent to join the British Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean. She escorted the RN major surface units in the area and participated in several shore bombardments. Eskimo then engaged in anti shipping patrols and sinking a Japanese merchant ship and a submarine chaser near Sumatra. This was the last Royal Navy surface action against shipping in WWII. After the war HMS Eskimo was used as an accommodation and headquarters ship for minesweepers, wreck-disposal vessels, and salvage craft clearing the Thames and Medway estuaries in 1946. She was then used as a target ship and sold for scrap on June 27, 1949.

HMS Eskimo

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