The South American nation of Argentina has always attempted to maintain a capable fighting force. When the British Royal Navy elected to retire their HMS Warrior (R31), a Colossus-class light aircraft carrier (temporarily on loan to the Canadian Navy from 1946-1948), Argentina bid to purchase the expiring ship. In the summer of 1958, the Argentine Navy officially took hold of their prize as the ARA Independencia (V-1) ("Independence"). The vessel was already underway under the Argentine flag by June of 1959. By the time of Argentine ownership, the original defensive armament had been modified to include 12 x 40mm anti-aircraft cannon emplacements (originally fielding 6 x QF 2-pounder guns with 32 x 20mm AA cannon). By the end of her service life, the Independencia saw her defensive armament further reduced to just 8 x 40mm cannon systems.
As built by the British, the Warrior displaced at 18,300 tons and could make headway at 25 knots in ideal conditions. Propulsion was provided for by four boilers linked to a pair of twin screw steam turbines driving two shafts at 40,000 shaft horsepower output. Range was approximately 12,000 nautical miles. Dimensions included a running length of 695 feet, a beam measuring 80 feet and a draught of 23 feet. Outwardly, the Warrior showcased a most conventional shape as modern aircraft carriers go. The flight deck was of an inline type with the island superstructure offset to the starboard side. Hangar elevators managed aircraft to and from the flight deck and the hangar deck below. The carrier contained facilities for crew living quarters, mess hall, machinery, maintenance, security, munitions storage and the like. The vessel was crewed by 1,075 personnel though the carrier could manage a full stable of some 1,300 souls.
The Warrior remained largely unchanged when it was taken on by the Argentine Navy.
Over its career, the Independencia fielded a small variety of fixed-wing aircraft, though it proved incapable of launching the early turbojet fighters it had purchased from the United States (Grumman F9F Panthers and Cougars). As such, it was limited to the launching and recovery of such types as the Vought F4U Corsair carrier-based fighter, the North American T-6 (SNJ-5C) Texan trainer and the Grumman S2F-1 Tracker Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft. The Independencia did, however, serve as the transport ship for the F9F Panthers when they were embarked in the United States for Argentina though these operated from land bases during their careers.
The Independencia served a relatively short service life in the Argentina Navy - operating in a frontline manner from 1959 into 1969 to which the newer ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2) ("25th of May") was commissioned in March of 1969. The Independencia therefore moved into a reserve status for a short time before being taken apart and sold for scrapping in 1971 - as such, she did not partake in the 1982 Falklands War against the British (unlike the Veinticinco de Mayo). The Veinticinco de Mayo was another ex-Royal Navy carrier (HMS Venerable R63) and served for a time in the Dutch Navy prior to its arrival in Argentina.
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