Saturday, 6 March 2010

More Interwar 'What Ifs?'

The ALMIRANTE LATORRE's sister ship, ALMIRANTE COCHRANE was taken over during World War I and converted into an aircraft carrier by the Royal Navy. She was renamed HMS EAGLE and served in the Royal Navy until she was sunk during World War II.

Not long after she was converted into an aircraft carrier she was offered back to Chile, but the offer was declined. I wondered what would have happened to her if she had returned to Chile as an aircraft carrier, and then been modernised by the Japanese in the late 1930s. The result looked like this:

The removal of the superstructure and the change to the bow makes a significant difference to her overall appearance, and she could easily pass for a Japanese aircraft carrier.


  1. Interesting and inspirational.
    Reminds me of another 'ship that never was': the French cruiser 'De Grasse' was under construction at the armistice of 1940. When its building started again in 1945, it was at first envisaged to simply 'upgrade' it as several French ships had been by the Americans during the war, i.e. simply with a *lot* of Oerlikon 20mm and Bofors 40mm instead of the few 37mm guns and 13.2mm MG initially planned. In the end it was finished under a totally different design.

    Many projects -in many countries- were dropped or drastically reoriented after WW2 (ot in the years immediatly following, taking into account the A bomb and jet planes), offering lot of other 'ships that never were'.

  2. Abdul666,

    I understand that the 'De Grasse' almost ended up as an aircraft carrier!

    The Germans had plans to convert the hull into a light aircraft carrier (Hilfsfluzeugtrager II) but it was decide that it would take too long and cost too much. The project was abandoned in early 1943 (See De Grasse for more details).

    All the best,


  3. I did not know that part of the 'De Grasse' chaotic history -thanks! Another 'ship that never was', thus, and on the same hull. Not being -by far!- a specialist of the period, I knew only of the 'Graf Zeppelin' as a German aircraft carrier that (in practice) 'never was'.

    Of course the 'De Grasse' exemple is off-topic with regard to your post, corresponding, not to the Interwar but to some 'alternate' 1946-1950 period. Either an 'extended' WW2, 'Luftwaffe 46' fashion, or a WW3 -which may involve non-historical countries such as the 'Yellow Empire' (centered on Lhassa but obviously including Japan) that turns world conqueror in the comics Le Secret de l'Espadon.
    The period is exceptionally rich in 'tanks, planes and ships that never were', between the German and Japanses aborted projects, the Allies' programmes cancelled at the end of the war, and the Allies' (and perhaps some neutral countries') late war / immediate afterwar projects that were dropped or totally altered as soon as the 'disgested' lessons of the war showed them to be already obsolete.

    A few people (neither wargamers nor Sci-Fi fans, but passionate amateurs of a specilialized topic) mused about additional possibilities: for instance this series of posts (in French, but with some illos) tries to imagine what would the French Navy could have been in 1948 if WW2 had waited this year to erupt.. . (actually the whole sub-forum is devoted to 'modern' (often late "40, but not exclusively) imaginary / 'alternate' Navies; in French, unfortunately).

    For the Interwar, one may mention the original design of the 'Bearn' aircraft carrier (as a kind of 'hybrid' battlecruiser x carrier), the project to convert the 'Duquesne' class HC into carriers, and the Joffre aircraft carrier programme of 1938 (a little late for the 'Interwars'?).
    This post mentions an Interwar Japanese 'ship that never was', the battleship 'Kaga' finished as an aircraft carrier.

  4. Abdul666,

    The Germans had several aircraft carrier conversions planned, but none of them got off the drawing board.

    As to 1945+ 'Might Have Beens' ... off topic ... possibly ... but interesting none the less!

    I will follow your links up tomorrow when I have some more time. In the meantime, have you every come across the Admiral Furashita website? He has lots of 1930s and 1940s 'What If?' warship designs (see the bottom of the webpage for the links), some of which are actually quite plausible.

    All the best,


  5. A very interesting link, Bob! Thanks for it.
    Since reading 'Le Secret de l'Espadon' at an impressionable age, 'alternate' late "40 war (with some tanks, planes and ship designs dating from 'alternate' Interwars) is my third favorite period .

  6. Abdul666,

    I am glad they you liked the link!

    I do find the period from 1945 to 1955 very interesting as the new hardware used by various armed forces is still mostly stuff from the late war era with few extras like widespread use of RADAR and portable radios, jet engined fighters and bombers, etc.

    All the best,