Illustrious Class Armoured Fleet Carriers originated as part of the Naval
Estimates of 1936. When provision was made for the first two, of what became
six ships. They became known as the Illustrious Class
(1940) Armoured Fleet Carriers, but each ship varied in some respects from
The first ships were being launched as war broke. But in 1940 such was the shortage of convoy escorts, and so great U-boat menace, that priority was given for all shipyard resources to concentrate on completion of convoy escorts.
The first four of the Carriers were so near completion that they were exempted from the order and completed. The last two were delayed and not completed until 1944. By this time the changes made during construction was such that they became known as the Implacable Class (1944) CV.
All four Illustrious Class carriers were heavily involved in action around the world and suffered severe damage from time to time. But all survived WW2.
With the introduction of heavier jet aircraft during the late 1940's and 1950's the Illustrious Class ships needed major modifications to cope. Only HMS Victorious was modified and the others were prematurely scrapped during the early 1950's.
This page last edited -
23 February, 2013.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.