AHC: Carrier justification thread.

I could see the choice been made in 1972 or so that instead of the proposed escort cruisers that Albion, Bulwark and Hermes be used in that role. It could be reasonably expected that with proper care they would last another 15 - 20 years. (we know Hermes has 30 good years in her with 10 difficult years after that, they don't)
IIUC there was argument that the Bulwark waa a better use of ~900 crew in the ASW role than Tiger and/or Blake, with better command facilities and able to carry a full helicopter squadron. This went to the extent that Bulwark was activated for a couple of years in the late 70s in the ASW role.
 
I thought about that, having something designed using an existing Liner design converted to an CV. Some of the German postwar builders would want to do something like this in say the late 20's to early 30's and the Dutch would be able to use them to design/build or just build on the Dutch design.
this was built in the Netherlands in the 30s: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Nieuw_Amsterdam_(1937)
Something that size would allow for a decent CV
 
IIUC there was argument that the Bulwark waa a better use of ~900 crew in the ASW role than Tiger and/or Blake, with better command facilities and able to carry a full helicopter squadron. This went to the extent that Bulwark was activated for a couple of years in the late 70s in the ASW role.
It's a shame they didn't make that argument in the 60's and keep Centaur in service instead of converting the two cruisers.
 
It's a shame they didn't make that argument in the 60's and keep Centaur in service instead of converting the two cruisers.
Yes

Centaur and Hermes could have filled the ASW role of the Invincible class more than a decade earlier. With a Sea Vixen flight or two for Air Defence and even Gannett AEW!
 
I doubt even the Treasury can justify retiring two new carriers with Phantoms in favour of 20 year old ships with a handful of modified subsonic ground attack aircraft equipped with sidewinders.
 
If the threat in Europe was higher, would a carrier design like the Illustrious-class precede the Ark Royal? Did the RN have a design not reduced by then Treaty limitations? Would that have looked closer to OTL Implacable-class eventually built? If part of this was something like the Abyssinian crisis, would the RN built the Unicorn-class, at a ratio of 3 to each operational carrier, or simply ask for added CVs? And to pair with it, would we see something akin to the 1942 Light Carrier at least designed if not built? So we might still get something rather close to the OTL Colossus-class? I believe with more obvious danger from 1935 forward, despite austere budgets and malaise, the RN can request 6 CV and 4 CVL(E), plus 3 Aviation Depot ships, plus attendant escorts. Some might get cancelled in favor of improved designs as lessons are learned, priorities shift, etc., but at core can we justify this program beginning 1938?
 
If part of this was something like the Abyssinian crisis, would the RN built the Unicorn-class, at a ratio of 3 to each operational carrier, or simply ask for added CVs? And to pair with it, would we see something akin to the 1942 Light Carrier at least designed if not built? So we might still get something rather close to the OTL Colossus-class?
Unicorn was really too much ship for her intended role. You don't need an armoured carrier as an auxiliary depot ship. Something like the later Pioneer and Perseus were much more appropriate, and would have had the basic design for an emergency carrier replacement design in place in 1939. If this had been so the first of the Light Fleet Carriers could have been coming out of the yards by the end of 1941 rather than the end of 1944.
 
Unicorn was really too much ship for her intended role. You don't need an armoured carrier as an auxiliary depot ship. Something like the later Pioneer and Perseus were much more appropriate, and would have had the basic design for an emergency carrier replacement design in place in 1939. If this had been so the first of the Light Fleet Carriers could have been coming out of the yards by the end of 1941 rather than the end of 1944.
That thought occurred to me as well given the conversion of light carriers to the role. Would Unicorn become a one-off, perhaps an extra armored carrier hull missing her offensive systems? As budget gets squeezed would the auxiliary carrier role be given to two or three hybrid merchant/naval standard hulls as you describe setting up a design for wartime construction if needed?

In the middle I have Argus in the training role, Hermes in Asia, the three conversions filling in as at least two armored carriers are building, two to four more planned. If Japan is still a serious threat then an Ark Royal is a potential one off to replace Hermes who can go to training, or the three conversions can be flexed East but still give value until all new purpose designed ships are commissioning. But I think this Ark Royal is bigger and designed for a bigger air group. In theory the RN needs 10 CVs, 6 armored, 3 unarmored and one training, plus the three depot ships, two in Europe and one in the far East. This finds my ATL with the RN facing Germany and a rising IJN. But I find it hard to pay for before or without a clear and present threat. Even in my ATL thinking the economy is hard pressed to support this.
 
Would Unicorn become a one-off, perhaps an extra armored carrier hull missing her offensive systems?
Perhaps she'd be an experiment with a smaller Fleet Carrier as a way to get extra hulls out of the total allowed carrier tonnage. Even with all the extra workshops needed for her intended role she had the same theoretical sized air group as the larger Illustrious class so as a pure carrier should be able to at least match the later Colossus class air group. The bottleneck in armour plate is what would lead to an early Colossus Class being built as a maintenance carrier.
 
But I find it hard to pay for before or without a clear and present threat.
This sentence has killed more timelines than every other cause combined. Budgets are a killer when you're trying to get your timeline to go a certain way
 
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This sentence has killed more timelines than ever other cause combined. Budgets are a killer when you're trying to get your timeline to go a certain way
Nods. At least I have surviving Imperial Germany to give a focused menace. Still does not hand wave the Pounds, one must deal with the economy after all.
 
Unicorn was really too much ship for her intended role. You don't need an armoured carrier as an auxiliary depot ship. Something like the later Pioneer and Perseus were much more appropriate, and would have had the basic design for an emergency carrier replacement design in place in 1939. If this had been so the first of the Light Fleet Carriers could have been coming out of the yards by the end of 1941 rather than the end of 1944.
I would argue that they should have built 3 - the intention was that they would act as a reserve to the X number of Armoured carriers intended to be built and while not at the sharp end like the Armoured carrier the Unicorn would still have been operating within a war zone.
 
I agree building the planned for three maintenance carriers from the start makes sense. I just don't think the role justified building armoured carriers to fulfil. I have a soft spot for Unicorn but think she was wasted as an auxiliary. The later, cheaper and less resource hungry Colossus class were much better suited to the maintenance ship role.
 
I agree building the planned for three maintenance carriers from the start makes sense. I just don't think the role justified building armoured carriers to fulfil. I have a soft spot for Unicorn but think she was wasted as an auxiliary. The later, cheaper and less resource hungry Colossus class were much better suited to the maintenance ship role.
I must admit, prior to joining this board, I'd never heard of Unicorn. But having now learned about her and read about her, she strikes me as a ship that was "too much ship for her intended role, not enough ship for any other role."
 
I think Unicorn was a victim of people seeing a good idea and thinking " yes it's good but if we just add this, this and this to her she'll be so much better" without considering the actual role she was designed for.
 
This sentence has killed more timelines than every other cause combined. Budgets are a killer when you're trying to get your timeline to go a certain way
Which is the point of this thread, Money can be found if the circumstances warrant it.
 
Which is the point of this thread, Money can be found if the circumstances warrant it.
It's crafting the circumstances in a believable way that's the hard part. Closely followed by justifying how the money is spent once it's found.
 
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