With World War 2 in full swing and the British commitment continuing to grow, a new Colossus-class light aircraft carrier was ordered. The contracted builder became Harland and Wolff to which her keel was laid down on December 12th, 1942. The vessel was originally to carry the name of HMS Brave and serve under the British Royal Navy flag, primarily intended at the time for supporting Allied operations in and around the Indian Ocean. The vessel was launched on May 20th, 1944 and officially commissioned on April 2nd, 1945 as the HMS Warrior (R31). Interestingly, as built (for the tropical climate of the Indian Ocean region), the vessel lacked some of the heating facilities common to other warships of the time.
With the war over by September of 1945, a massive drawdown of military equipment ensued. The Royal Navy found itself without the need for this tropical climate light carrier and the vessel was therefore handed over to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). In its service, her name changed slightly to HMCS Warrior to indicate the new ownership though her form and function remained largely the same. The vessel reached Canadian waters at the end of March 1946. As can be expected, the lack of winter equipment (principally heaters on some components) in the Canadian North proved problematic. The Canadian and British governments then came to an arrangement in which the HMCS Warrior would be replaced for the Majestic-class HMCS Magnificent (CVL-21) carrier instead. Magnificent was commissioned in March of 1948 and served the Canadian Navy until 1956.
Having reclaimed the vessel, the Royal Navy recommissioned her once again as HMS Warrior (R31) on March 23, 1948. The warship was readied in time to serve the United Nations contingent during the Korean War (1950-1953) where her storage space proved handy in ferrying troops to the battlezone and launching combat aircraft in support. She served in this fashion until 1952 to which she returned home for refit at Devonport Dockyard. In 1954, during yet another refit, the carrier was given an angled deck for testing. From then on, Warrior became an active part of British hydrogen bomb testing that included "Operation Grapple" spanning several detonations from 1956 to 1958 in the Central Pacific region. Finding little value in another carrier for its inventory by this point, the vessel was decommissioned in February of 1958 and the search for a buyer began. The British government found one in the South American nation of Argentina - no doubt intent on extending its naval power in the region. Interestingly, HMS Warrior made a stop in Argentina during its return trip to Britain, allowing Argentine leadership close access to the ship prior to the purchase.
In Argentine Navy service, HMS Warrior was rechristened as ARA Independencia (V-1), becoming the first aircraft carrier of Argentina. She was commissioned on July 8th, 1959 and served as flagship of the Navy and conducted launches of Vought F4U Corsairs, North American T-6 Texans and Grumman S2 Trackers - all propeller-driven aircraft - from her deck. The original 32 x 20mm anti-aircraft cannons were reduced to twelve 40mm units before settling to just eight 40mm guns thereafter. Only in May of 1962 were defenses improved slightly with the adding of 1 x 40mm quadruple-barreled and 9 x double-barreled 40mm cannon mounts.
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Argentina (ARA Independencia V-1); Canada (HMCS Warrior); United Kingdom (HMS Warrior) Operators
HMS Colossus (R95); HMS Glory (R62); HMS Ocean (R68); HMS Perseus (R51); HMS Pioneer (R76); HMS Theseus (R64); HMS Triumph (R16); HMS Venerable (R63); HMS Vengeance (R71); HMS Warrior (R31) Ships-in-Class
Flag Ship / Capital Ship
Serving in the fleet Flag Ship role or Capital Ship in older warship designs / terminology.
695.0 feet (211.84 meters) Length
80.0 feet (24.38 meters) Beam
23.0 feet (7.01 meters) Draught
18,300 tons Displacement
4 x Boilers feeding 2 x steam turbines driving 2 x shafts while developing 40,000 horsepower. Propulsion
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