Courageous-class aircraft carrier

The Courageous class was the first multi-ship class of aircraft carriers to serve with the Royal Navy. The three ships were originally laid down as Courageous-class battlecruisers as part of the Baltic Project during the First World War. The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 limited the signatory nations to a set amount of capital ship tonnage; all ships in excess of this figure had to be scrapped. Furious, already partially converted during the war, began her reconstruction in 1921, before the Treaty came into effect. Her half-sisters, Courageous and Glorious, began their conversions as Furious neared completion.

About Courageous-class aircraft carrier in brief

Summary Courageous-class aircraft carrierThe Courageous class was the first multi-ship class of aircraft carriers to serve with the Royal Navy. The three ships were originally laid down as Courageous-class battlecruisers as part of the Baltic Project during the First World War. The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 limited the signatory nations to a set amount of capital ship tonnage; all ships in excess of this figure had to be scrapped. Furious, already partially converted during the war, began her reconstruction in 1921, before the Treaty came into effect. Her half-sisters, Courageous and Glorious, began their conversions to aircraft carriers as Furious neared completion. Furious participated in many major operations during the Second World War, including the Norwegian campaign in 1940, the Malta Convoys and Operation Torch in 1942. She was worn out by 1944 and was placed in reserve status in September 1944 before being paid off in 1945 and sold for scrap in 1948. The ship was used to test the first-ever carrier night landing in 1926. The class was reduced to reserve after the war but was converted to an aircraft carrier between June 1921 and September 1925. Each ship was reconstructed with a flight deck during the 1920s, but the latter proved largely unusable because of the strong air currents around the superstructure and exhaust gases from the funnel. That era’s fore-and-aft arresting gear, initially 320 feet long on Furious, was not intended to stop aircraft falling off the deck off the stern.

Various designs were also used to stop landing aircraft from veering off one side and potentially falling the other way from the fore-end of the deck, which was not designed to help slow down landing aircraft, which had no brakes at the time. The first two ships of the class were Courageous and Glorious. Courageous became the first warship lost by the Royal Navy in 1939 when she was torpedoed in September 1939 by a German submarine. Glorious participated in the Norwegian campaign in 1940, but she was sunk by two German battleships in June as she sailed home with a minimal escort. She made some patrols in the North Sea before her rear turret was removed and another flight deck added. Her aircraft attacked Zeppelin sheds during the Tondern raid in July 1918. She was given a 576-by-92-foot flight deck that extended over three-quarters of the length of her length, but it was not sloped upwards enough to prevent aircraft veering away from the headwind. The flight deck was not given a good headwind, but this was not needed to prevent the aircraft falling from one side to the other. All three ships were reduced to reserve after the war and they were laid up after the war. Rather than scrap them, the Navy decided to convert them to aircraft  carriers as permitted under the Treaty. Furious had been fitted with a flying-off and landing deck, but was extensively used to evaluate aircraft handling and landing procedures.