|Ship Class||Illustrious-class Aircraft Carrier|
|Builder||Vickers-Armstrong shipyard, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Britain|
|Laid Down||4 May 1937|
|Launched||14 Sep 1939|
|Commissioned||14 May 1941|
|Decommissioned||13 Mar 1968|
|Displacement||29,500 tons standard|
|Machinery||3 Parsons geared turbines, 6 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 3 shafts|
|Power Output||111,000 shaft horsepower|
|Range||11,000nm at 14 knots|
|Armament||8x2x4.5in, 6x8x2pdr, 21x40mm AA, 45x20mm AA|
|Final Decommission||13 Mar 1968|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseVictorious was commissioned in the heat of war, although that was two years after her completion due to a more urgent need for escort vessels when the Atlantic War first began. Before she was commissioned, she was attacked by German aircraft on 27 Jan 1941, narrowing missed by two bombs. Her first mission began merely two weeks after her commissioning when she sailed in the group that hunted for the German battleship Bismarck, while carrying only a quarter the quantity of aircraft she was intended to carry. On 24 May 1941, she launched nine Fairey Swordfish biplanes and two Fulmar fighters against Bismarck, scoring one hit to Bismarck's armored belt amidst heavy anti-aircraft fire. Victorious remained on the hunt for Bismarck but did not become a critical player in Bismarck's eventual sinking. On 9 Mar 1941, 12 of her Albacore torpedo bombers attacked the battleship Tirpitz; they scored no hits and two were lost, but the attack made the German naval command act more conservatively in the presence of Allied aircraft. In May and Jun 1942, she escorted convoys PQ-15 and PQ-17 to Murmansk. She participated in Operation Pedestal in Aug 1942 in an attempt to supply Malta; the operation was a success, but she suffered light damage dealt by Italian bombers. In Nov 1942, Victorious directly supported Operation Torch landings in North Africa.
ww2dbaseAfter a refit at the Norfolk Navy Yard in the United States, Victorious sailed through the Panama Canal for the Pacific Theater on loan to the US Navy; during this time, she had the code name USS Robin, named after the character Robin Hood. Sailing alongside of American carrier Saratoga, she participated in the Solomon Islands Campaign in 1943, including supporting the invasions of Bougainville and New Georgia. During this time she operated 60 British and American Wildcat fighters. She returned to Britain near the end of 1943 when the commissioning of carrier Essex relieved the American need for fleet carriers.
ww2dbaseOn 3 Apr 1944, after escorting several convoys to Russia across the North Atlantic, Victorious was a part of Operation Tungsten, a large attack aimed at sinking Tirpitz. 20 Barracuda aircraft supported by Corsair fighters attacked the German battleship in two waves, hitting her 14 times, putting her out of commission for three months. This attack made Victorious the first Royal Navy carrier to operationally use the American-made Corsair fighter.
ww2dbaseIn Jun 1944, after a refit, Victorious sailed to join the British Eastern Fleet based on Ceylon. She struck Japanese positions at Palembang and the Andaman Islands along the eastern rim of the Indian Ocean in Jul 1944 while she awaited orders to join the British Pacific Fleet, which came in Oct 1945. En route to the Pacific Ocean, she struck Japanese installations at Pankalan Brandan and Palembang, Sumatra on 4, 24, and 29 Jan 1945, under the code name Operation Meridian. In Apr 1945, she attacked Japanese defensive positions on Okinawa, and was hit by two successive Kamikaze special attack aircraft at 1656 on 9 May off Sakishima Gunto (a third special attack aircraft missed her and crashed to sea to port). Three were killed during the attack, but she suffered only minor damage because of her armored flight deck; she was launching planes within the next hour and was fully operational again within two days after temporary repairs. Toward the end of the war, she participated in the bombardment of Japanese forces in the Japanese home islands. On 24 Jul, her aircraft from the No. 849 Squadron scored the first bomb hit on Japanese escort carrier Kaiyo at Beppu Bay, Kyushu, which was damaged beyond repair by the end of the raid.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Victorious assisted in the repatriation of prisoners of war as well as transporting personnel from Australia to Britain. After providing a platform to test the new carrier aircraft Hawker Sea Fury, she was decommissioned in Jan 1947. In Oct 1947, she was recommissioned as a training ship, and held the role until Mar 1950; during this time, her hangars held three lecture rooms and 12 classrooms. In Oct 1950, she was rebuilt at the Portsmouth Dockyard, which expanded her hull, upgraded her machinery, and replaced the flight deck, among others; the reconstruction took eight years to complete. After fire damage during the 1967 refit, she was placed out of commission on 13 Mar 1968 due to lack of funding. She was scrapped beginning in Jul 1969 at Faslane Naval Base.
Last Major Revision: Jun 2007
Aircraft Carrier Victorious Interactive Map
Victorious Operational Timeline
|14 May 1941||Victorious was commissioned into service.|
|7 Sep 1941||British Albacore aircraft from HMS Victorious searched for German shipping off TromsĂ¸, Norway.|
|14 Sep 1944||HMS Cumberland provided cover with HMS Howe and Eastern Fleet cruisers during air operations by HM Aircraft Carriers Victorious and Indomitable carriers on Sigli, Northern Sumatra (Operation Light).|
|12 Apr 1945||Avenger aircraft from HMS Victorious attacked Matsuyama Airfield in Taihoku (now Taipei) and shipping off Tamsui in northern Taiwan; Sub-Lieutenant Daniel McAleese was shot down, rescued, but would later die of his wounds.|
|13 Apr 1945||Avenger aircraft from HMS Victorious attacked Matsuyama Arifield in Taihoku (now Taipei), Taiwan, damaging runways, and barracks; one ammunition dump or oil storage tank exploded.|
|13 Apr 1945||Avenger aircraft from HMS Victorious, en route back to the carrier after attacking Matsuyama Airfield in Taihoku (now Taipei), strafed 12 aircraft on the ground at Giran Airfield in northeastern Taiwan; actual damage caused by the strafing was unknown.|
|13 Apr 1945||Avenger aircraft from HMS Victorious attacked Shinchiku Airfield in Taiwan, causing unknown damage to the runways.|
|13 Mar 1968||Victorious was decommissioned from service.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945