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HMS Indomitable (R92)

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HMS Indomitable

CareerRN Ensign
Ordered:6 July 1937
Laid down:10 December 1937
Launched:26 March 1940
Commissioned:10 October 1941
Decommissioned:
Fate:Sold for scrap in 1955
Struck:
General Characteristics
Displacement:23,000 tons
Length:230 meters
Beam:29 meters
Draught:8.83 meters
Propulsion:Steam turbines, 6 boilers, 3 shafts, 111,000shp
Speed:30.5 knots
Range:11,000 nautical miles at 14 knots
Complement:1329-2100
Armament:8 x 4.5-inch AA, 48 x 2 pounder AA, 10 x 1 20mm AA
Aircraft:45
Motto:

HMS Indomitable (1940-1955) was a modified Illustrious class aircraft carrier. The Illustrious class came about due to the 1937 Naval Progamme. She had been designed to the original configuration of the Illustrious class, but was soon revised to enable her to operate far more aircraft than her sister-ships were able to.

She was laid down by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow Shipyard, which now mainly builds nuclear attack submarines, on 10 November 1937, as war loomed ever closer. She was launched on 26 March, 1940 and commissioned the following year in October.

Her first sea going venture came in November 1941, with a trip to the West Indies for her maiden voyage. While there, Indomitable ran aground on Jamaica, though she returned to service soon afterwards. In January 1942, Indomitable joined the Eastern Fleet based at Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, where she ferried 48 RAF Hawker Hurricanes for Singapore via Java, during January. A new Eastern Fleet was established under the command of Admiral Sir James Somerville. Indomitable was the only modern aircraft carrier of the Fleet, the other carrier was Hermes, but she was now effectively obsolete, and thus Indomitable was an incredibly vital asset to the Allies in the Far East. Hermes heserlf was sunk in action against the Japanese in the Indian Ocean along with the Australian destroyer Vampire along with a corvette.

In May 1942 the British Landings at Diego Suarez in Vichy controlled Madagascar take place. The British were worried of the potential danger that Diego Suarez posed to the Allies, for they believed that the Japanese could possibly use it as a submarine base for forays into the Indian Ocean, not to mention convoy routies in the vicinity of the location.

Indomitable along with her sister-ship Illustrious and a vast array of other warships converged at Durban, South Africa preparing for the invasion. The assault began on 5 May at Courrier Bay, just west of the actual objective. Sea Hurricanes made their first operationally hostile duties during the invasion and in their escort role, shot-up three Vichy Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 fighters on the ground. The following day, the Royal Marines launched an assault on the town itself and after bitter fighting, that lasted almost two days, the strategic town was taken.

In July, Indomitable returned to the UK. She was soon back in action though, participating in Operation 'Pedestal', the largest convoy to head for the besieged Malta. It involved an astonishing array of ships. The most vital of them all, obviously, were the fourteen merchant ships. They along along with HM ships - Cairo, Charybdis, Eagle, Indomitable, Kenya, Manchester, Nelson, Nigeria, Phoebe, Rodney, Sirius, along with 32 destroyers. One of the main ojectives was for Furious to launch her Spitfires, with them landing at Malta, thus reinforcing their air defence, as well as their ability to go on the offensive. Furious successfully completed her mission on the in doing on the 11th August, heading back to Gibraltar, her mission complete.

During the operation, Indomitable's armoured flight deck succumbed to a 1100 pound bomb which pierced straight through the deck. She was hit twice overall, nearly being hit a further three times. The damage that she received knocked her out of the rest of Operation 'Pedestal'. She made her way to the United States, where she received her much needed repairs which were completed in February 1943. That same month, Indomitable sailed for the Mediterranean, which didn't appear to be one of her most luckiest of regions, for she was torpedoed by a Ju-88 bomber on 15 June, while covering the Sicily Landings. She returned once again to the USA, receiving yet more repairs there for the damage she sustained, which lasted until February 1944.

Indomitable returned to the Eastern Fleet in early 1944. She, together with Victorious, launched strikes against Sumatra in August and September. The two carriers would prove to be excellent in combining their deadly potency. They subsequently launched strikes on the Nicobar Islands, but they soon parted, and Indomitable joined up with Illustrious for air strikes against Medan and once more against Sumatra on 20 December.

The following year, Indomitable joined the British Pacific Fleet. On the 4th of January 1945, further strikes were undertaken against Medan with her sister-ship Victorious and another fleet carrier Indefatigable. Subsequent actions were taken against Palembang and yet again, Sumatra, later in January.

On 4 May, 1945 she was hit by a Kamikaze, though due to her armoured flight deck, no damage was caused. In August, with the war nearing a close, Indomitable headed for the occupied Hong Kong to re-take the territory. Her aircraft flew the carrier's last combat missions of the war, and indeed of her career, on 31 August and 1 September, against Japanese suicide boats, which were attempting to attack British forces.

She returned to the UK in November 1945. In 1947, she was placed in reserve, and then given a refit that last three years from 1947-50. Upon the completion of her refit she once again returned to operational duty, joining the Home Fleet, her crew experiencing, in the most, far more cooler climates than her wartime operations. On the 3rd February, she was badly damaged by an internal explosion that was later covered in concrete, though never repaired. In October 1953 she was placed in unmaintained reserve. She was sold for scrap in 1955.

Indomitable (R92) battle honours

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