Friday, 24 June 2016

Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Aircraft and Helicopter Carriers

The museum's collection of aircraft and helicopter carriers includes the following:

Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious (Britain, 1940)

HMS Illustrious was the first of the Illustrious-class armoured aircraft carriers built for the Royal Navy. She was designed in the late 1930s and was first commissioned in 1940. After working up she joined the Mediterranean Fleet, and her aircraft were involved in the attack on the Italian naval base in Taranto. This resulted in one enemy battleship being sunk and two other being and seriously damaged. Two months later she was attacked by aircraft from the German Kliegerkorps X. She was badly damaged, and had she not been armoured it is very likely she would have been sunk.

After being repaired in North America, she was sent to the Indian Ocean, where she supported the Allied landings on Madagascar. She then returned home, and after a lengthy refit she joined the Home Fleet. She then transferred to the Mediterranean, where she supported the Salerno landings. In mid-1943 Illustrious again went east, and remained part of the Eastern Fleet until she was transferred to the newly-formed British Pacific Fleet. After taking part in the early stages of the Battle of Okinawa she returned to the UK to have a number of serious mechanical defect remedied.

Illustrious was in dock when the war ended, and it was decided that she would become the Home Fleet's trials and training aircraft carrier. As a result she took part in the deck-landing trials of most of the post-war British naval aircraft designed and manufactured the early 1950s. She was finally paid off in 1955, and sold for scrapping the year afterwards.

Escort Carrier USS Bouge (CVE-9) (United States of America, 1942)

The USS Bogue was the lead ship of one of the first classes of escort carriers built in the United States for service with the US Navy and (under lend-lease) the Royal Navy. The design of the hull of the Bogue-class escort carriers were based on the Maritime Commission's Type C3 cargo ship hull, and it was originally planned that after the war they would be converted into cargo ships. Some were so converted, but ten were retained by the US Navy (including Bouge) and were used during the mid 1950s they were re-designated as helicopter escort carriers (CVHE).

During World War II USS Bouge sank eleven German and two Japanese submarines. This made her the most successful anti-submarine escort carrier of the war.

Aircraft Carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) (United States of America, 1972)

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is the lead ship of her class of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that are currently in service with the US Navy. She was laid down on 22nd June 1968, launched on 13th May 1972, and commissioned on 3rd May 1975. She is expected to remain in service until 2025.

Amphibious Assault Ship USS Nassau (LHA-4) United States of America, 1978)

USS Nassau was the fourth of the Tarawa-class of amphibious assault ships (LHA) to enter service with the US Navy. She was aid down on 13th August 1973, launched on 21st January 1978, and commissioned on 28th July 1979. She was capable of carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) of 1900 US Marines and their equipment. Her air wing (6 × AV-8B Harrier VSTOL attack planes, 4 × AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, 12 × CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, 9 × CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, and 4 × UH-1N Huey helicopters) was tasked to support any landings undertaken by the MEU.

USS Nassau was decommissioned on 31st March 2011, and now forms part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) National Defense Reserve Fleet.

Helicopter Cruiser/Training Ship Jeanne D'Arc (R97) (France, 1964)

Jeanne d'Arc was originally named La RĂ©solue, as her 1930s-built predecessor was still in service when she was first commissioned. She was subsequently renamed Jeanne d'Arc in 1964. She had two main roles; in peacetime she was a training ship, but in wartime she was expected to be a fully-operational helicopter cruiser.

The ship was retired on 7th June 2010 and decommissioned on 1st September 2010. She was sold for scrapping in 2014.

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