The Courageous-class, sometimes called the Glorious-class, was the first multi-ship class of aircraft carriers to serve with the Royal Navy. The three ships—Furious, Courageous and Glorious—were originally laid down as "large light cruisers" (battlecruisers) to be used in the Baltic Project during the First World War. While very fast, their minimal armour and few guns limited their long-term utility in the post-war Royal Navy and they were laid up after the war. They were considered capital ships by the terms of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty and were included in the total amount of tonnage allowed to the Royal Navy. Rather than scrap them, the Navy decided to convert them to aircraft carriers as permitted under the Treaty.

In July 1922, the three Courageous-class large light cruisers were ordered to be converted into aircraft carriers. For their conversions, they had their main turrets and superstructure removed and a hanger deck, full-length flight deck and control island added in their place. They also had anti-torpedo bulges added to improve stability and an impressive anti-aircraft armament for the time. Courageous would commissioned on January 26th 1926, Glorious on April 18th 1926, and Furious on August 11th 1926.

In June 1930, the three Courageous-class carriers are ordered back to dock for further refits due to being unstable at speed and having poor handling in Atlantic weather. The ships will have their bow and stern sections lengthened as well as larger anti-torpedo bulges added to further improve stability and steaming efficiency. The hangar is extended both forward and the stern raised by one deck. They also have some of the 4.7" guns removed and replaced with additional anti-aircraft guns. Each refit took eighteen to twenty-four months.


Original ConfigurationEdit


The original configuration of the three Courageous-class aircraft carriers.

  • Type: Aircraft Carrier
  • Service Period: 1926-1933
  • Characteristics:
    • Length: 786 feet 9 inches (239.8 meters)
    • Beam: 91 feet 6 inches (27.89 meters)
    • Draught: 27 feet 9 inches (8.46 meters)
    • Displacement: 24,600 tons (Standard); 27,420 tons (Full Load)
  • Crew: 1,300 (860 ship crew and 440 air crew)
  • Propulsion: 18 x Yarrow boilers, 4 x Parsons geared steam turbines, 4 x shafts, 90,000 shp
  • Range: 6,330 nautical miles (11,723 kilometers) at 10 knots (18.52 km/h)
  • Speed: 30 knots (55.56 km/h)
  • Armament:
    • 16 x QF 4.7"/43-caliber Mk.VIII anti-aircraft guns
    • 16 x 40mm/39-caliber anti-aircraft guns
    • 20 x .303-caliber anti-aircraft cannons
  • Armour:
    • Belt: 2–3 in (51–76 mm)
    • Decks: .75–1 in (19–25 mm)
    • Bulkhead: 2–3 in (51–76 mm)
    • Torpedo bulkheads: 1–1.5 in (25–38 mm)
  • Aircraft Carried: 52

1930s RebuildEdit


The 1930 Rebuild configuration of the three Courageous-class aircraft carriers.

  • Type: Aircraft Carrier
  • Service Period: 1932-1944
  • Characteristics:
    • Length: 804 feet 3.6 inches (245.15 meters)
    • Beam: 93 feet 6 inches (28.5 meters)
    • Draught: 28 feet 3 inches (8.61 meters)
    • Displacement: 25,800 tons (Standard); 29,260 tons (Full Load)
  • Crew: 1,500 (940 ship crew and 560 air crew)
  • Propulsion: 8 x Thornycroft boilers, 4 x Parsons geared steam turbines, 4 x shafts, 90,000 shp
  • Range: 5,860 nautical miles (10,853 kilometers) at 16 knots (29.63 km/h)
  • Speed: 30 knots (55.56 km/h)
  • Armament
    • 12 x 4.7"/45-caliber Mk.XII dual purpose naval guns
    • 24 x QF 2-pdr Mk.VIII anti-aircraft guns - replaced by Bofors QF 40mm/60-caliber anti-aircraft guns
    • 56 x .303-caliber machine guns - replaced by Oerlikon 20mm/70-caliber Mk.II anti-aircraft guns
  • Armour:
    • Main Belt: 3-inches (76.2 mm)
    • Upper Belt: 2-inches (50.8 mm)
    • Deck: 3-inches (76.2 mm)
    • Conning Tower: 3-inches (76.2 mm)
  • Aircraft Carried: 60

Unit RunEdit

  • HMS Courageous (R50/R04) - commissioned January 22nd, 1926
  • HMS Glorious (R77/R05) - commissioned April 18th, 1926
  • HMS Furious (R47/R06) - commissioned August 11th, 1926

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