|Ship Class||Illustrious-class Aircraft Carrier|
|Builder||Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom|
|Laid Down||17 Jun 1937|
|Launched||17 Aug 1939|
|Commissioned||24 Nov 1940|
|Decommissioned||12 Aug 1947|
|Displacement||30,530 tons standard; 35,500 tons full|
|Machinery||Propulsion: reboilered. Original propulsion: Steam Turbines (6 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 3 shafts, P|
|Power Output||111,000 SHP|
|Range||11,000 nm at 14 knots|
|Armament||6 x 8 x 2pdr pom-pom AA 2 x 4 x 40mm Bofors AA 4 x 1 x 40mm Bofors AA 10 x 2 x 20mm Oerlikon AA 14 x|
|Armor||3 in flight deck, 2 inch hangar deck, 4 inch side belt, 4 inch hangar sides|
|Flight deck||620 x 95 ft|
|Aircraft||33 in 1941, 40 in 1944|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe Illustrious-class carriers were of a new school of thinking, providing battlecruiser class armor to purpose-built carriers. Illustrious-class carriers enjoyed a thick metal flight deck, which would later prove to be valuable against kamikaze attacks that would be thrown at them. Compared to the wooden flight decks of American carriers, the Illustrious-class ships were much more durable in war, however their size were on the smaller side as they were "treaty ships" that needed to be within 23,000 tons.
ww2dbaseCommissioned in late 1940, the Formidable started her career escorting a convoy to Capetown, then was transferred to the Mediterranean in Feb 1941. She participated in the Battle of Cape Matapan in 27-29 Mar 1941, and supported Crete operations in May. She suffered serious damage by 1000kg bombs at the latter operation, which put her out of commission for six months for repairs in the United States. She joined the British Eastern Fleet earlier in 1942 under the command of Admiral Somerville, then returned to the Mediterranean in Oct 1942 where she would provide support for Allied landings in North Africa (Nov 1942), Sicily (Jul 1943), and Salerno (Sep 1943). She joined the Arctic Convoy in Oct 1943 before being placed out of commission for the first half of 1944 for refitting.
ww2dbaseAfter her refitting, the Formidable launched a number of strikes on German battleship Tirpitz in Norway, on 17 Jul, 22 Aug, 24 Aug, and 29 Aug, as part of the Goodwood Operations. She bounced between service in the Mediterranean and the Far East throughout her career, finally settling down in the British Pacific Fleet in Apr 1945, where she would participate in air strikes against Sakishima Gunto in May 1945 and against the Japanese home islands in July-August 1945.
ww2dbaseWhen Japan surrendered, HMS Formidable was stationed in Sydney. She went on several troop transport missions to England before being decommissioned in Mar 1947. She was sold in 1953 and scrapped in Nov 1956 at Inverkeithing.
ww2dbaseSources: Fleet Air Arm Archive, Wikipedia.
Last Major Revision: Mar 2005
Aircraft Carrier Formidable (67) Interactive Map
Formidable Operational Timeline
|24 Nov 1940||Formidable was commissioned into service.|
|18 Feb 1941||German aircraft mined the Suez Canal in Egypt, forcing the transit of carrier HMS Formidable into the Mediterranean Sea to be delayed.|
|21 Feb 1941||British aircraft carrier HMS Formidable, in the Red Sea awaiting transit through the Suez Canal while it was swept for mines, launched 7 Albacore aircraft to attack the harbor of Massawa, Eritrea, Italian East Africa, causing little damage.|
|9 Mar 1941||Minesweeping work completed in the Suez Canal in Egypt, and British Royal Navy commanders gave aircraft carrier HMS Formidable the go ahead to sail through from the Red Sea into the canal.|
|10 Mar 1941||The newly worked-up aircraft carrier, HMS Formidable, passed through the Suez Canal to join Admiral Andrew Cunningham's Mediterranean fleet at Alexandria, Egypt, which has been without an armoured carrier since HMS Illustrious had been withdrawn as a result of the serious damage it had suffered from enemy dive-bombers in January 1941.|
|26 May 1941||Six Albacore carrier aircraft from HMS Formidable attacked Italian airfields on Scarpanto in the Dodecanese Islands in Operation MAQ3. German bombers counterattacked the carrier, hitting her twice and killing 12; escorting destroyer HMS Nubian was also hit, seriously damaging the stern and killing 15.|
|18 Jul 1945||Lieutenant William Bell Asbridge, Corsair fighter pilot stationed flying from HMS Formidable, was shot down and killed in action near Tokyo, Japan.|
|13 Oct 1945||HMS Formidable arrived in Sydney, Australia, disembarking 1,300 Australian troops and liberated prisoners of war.|
|12 Aug 1947||Formidable was decommissioned from service.|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939