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HMS Ark Royal

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Been reading up on the Ark, 27000 tons and could carry 70 aircraft. Quite a feat but her design was flawed which contributed to her loss from a single torpedo. Looking at this when enlarged you can see just how hard she had been worked.
 

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Hi Tom, have a shufty on Wiki mate, the whole gruesome story. The skipper was court martialled for not directing damage control parties quickly enough (about 45 mins), but later it was adjudged to be down to poor design with a very large compartment that wasn't sub divided flooding very quickly. Seems when she was taken in tow it made matters a lot worse too.
 

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Good idea Tom, she really was worked tremendously hard, a great ship. Thomasprass, she was hit starboard side beneath the island, you can just make out damage beneath the liferafts.
 

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My god Ray, that makes terrible reading, sounds like her fate was almost 'designed in'
No back up alternative generators
A transverse boiler room flat bridging the athwartship watertight boundaries.
130ft by 30 foot hole in the bilge after the torpedo hit.....

No wonder she sank......the Captain seems to have taken the hit though, poor man. What a dreadful situation.
 

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Have to agree Tom, a terrible loss for which the Captain fell on his sword when he should have been commended for his actions in saving all of his crew bar the initial loss of one man when the ship was hit.
 

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Ray, your post has inspired me to dig out the excellent British Warships of the Second World War by John Roberts (Part of the fascinating 'Blueprint Series') in my library, which discusses the designs of many of the leading RN warships of the period, there are a number of design blueprint reprints in it.

When looking at the Fwd Frame cross section for Ark - It smacks of another 'Titanic' to me!

Looking at frame 83 (located midships and directly below the funnel), the deck between the 3 separated double boiler rooms and the lower hangar deck - runs unobstructed and without a watertight bulkhead athwartships (to accommodate channelling the Boiler exhaust trunking over to the STBD side of the ship to the Island & the funnel), this compartment is right on the waterline.

Not sure how I stand with respect to scanning this image and posting on here - but happy to do it if its not breaking any copyright laws?

The book clearly attributes this major design flaw as the main factor contributing to her loss

"The full section at frame 83 shows much more detail of the boiler uptakes than is usual - in particular the support frames and platforms within the funnel. It also illustrates well the arrangement of the trunking that contributed to the ships loss , when flood water spread across the ship from one boiler room to the next until she lost all steam power"

"She was lost to a single torpedo hit on the Starboard side amidships in November 1941 as a result of an inherent problem of layout in adopting double hangars. The lower hangar required the routing of the funnel uptakes across the ship at comparatively low level. The flooding extended via these uptakes and eventually caused a complete power failure making adequate control of further flooding impossible. She capsized after a 12 hour struggle to keep her afloat".

Despite her being a successful ship (and known as 'lucky') - I find it quite worrying that this design came out of DNC (incorporating all of the good lessons learned from experimental/development carriers Eagle, Hermes, Furious, Courageous, Glorious etc) yet the Admiralty seemed to ignore the design flaw that led to the loss of Titanic!
 

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