British Aircraft Carriers 1939–45

British Aircraft Carriers 1939–45

New Vanguard 168
  • Author: Angus Konstam
  • Illustrator: Tony Bryan
  • Short code: NVG 168
  • Publication Date: 10 Jul 2010
  • Number of Pages: 48
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About this Product

With war against Germany looming, Britain pushed forward its carrier program in the late 1930s. In 1938, the Royal Navy launched the HMS Ark Royal, its first-ever purpose-built aircraft carrier. This was quickly followed by others, including the highly-successful Illustrious class. Smaller and tougher than their American cousins, the British carriers were designed to fight in the tight confines of the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Over the next six years, these carriers battled the Axis powers in every theatre, attacking Italian naval bases, hunting the Bismark, and even joining the fight in the Pacific. This book tells the story of the small, but resilient, carriers and the crucial role they played in the British war effort.

Biographical Note

Angus Konstam is an acclaimed military and naval historian, and one of Osprey's most experienced and respected authors, with over 35 titles in print. He has also written over two dozen larger books for other publishers. A former naval officer, underwater archaeologist and maritime museum curator, Angus has a long and passionate love affair with the sea, maritime history and warships. He makes regular television and radio appearances, and has held events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Angus is now a full-time writer and historian, as well as being a board member of the Society of Authors, and Publishing Scotland. He currently lives in Edinburgh. For more details visit the author's website at


Introduction 350 words
Outlines the origins of naval aviation, and the growing importance of aircraft carriers in naval warfare.

Design & Development 2,400 words
Covers the chronological development of these Carriers, and covering modifications made during their operational lives.

Operational History 2,250 words
Follows the service history of each of the 14 Fleet Aircraft Carriers covered in this volume.

Carrier Operation 2,150 words
Describes the way aircraft were handled on a typical British wartime fleet aircraft carrier, including a description the wat launcing operations were conducted.

Carrier Aircraft 2,000 words
This section provides a brief description of the types of aircraft carried by these carriers, and their relative merits, and touches on the way they were used in action.

Carriers in Action 2,400 words
Provides a brief description of three actions involving British aircraft carriers; Taranto (1940), Matapan (1941) and the sinking of the Bismarck (1941)

Bibiography 250 words

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