UKN10 HMS Indomitable

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UKN10 HMS Indomitable deck.

The HMS Indomitable was the fourth Illustrious-class carrier, though she differed from the earlier three carriers of the class after a modification to have a complement of 45 aircraft instead of 33. This was achieved by both decreasing the thickness of hangar walls from 41 to 11 inches and by raising the flight deck by 14 feet. This class of carriers came out of the 1937 Naval Programme.

ww2dbaseUpon commission, HMS Indomitable was assigned to join the venerable HMS Repulse and the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to defend Singapore, however a Nov 1941 accident off Jamaica (she ran aground) forced her to turn north to Virginia, United States, for repairs. This unfortunate event was regarded by most as the single most fortunate event for the ship - had she been able to reach Singapore as scheduled, she would had provided some air defense against the invading Japanese when they attacked the British fleet off Kuantan, British Malaya, but most agree that she would had been destroyed along with her would-be fleet mates. In Jan 1942, she joined the British Eastern Fleet at Ceylon. Between Jan and Feb, she ferried Hurricane fighters between Ceylon, Java, and Singapore. On 24 Mar, she rejoined the Eastern Fleet. In May 1942, Indomitable and her class mate Illustrious attacked the French port of Diego Suarez at Madagascar, in support of a large British landing operation. The goal of the operation was to prevent Japanese usage of the port as a remote submarine base. She returned to Europe briefly, serving in the Mediterranean in the summer of 1942, participating in Operation Pedestal. During Operation Pedestal, where she was part of the escort force of the largest convoy, her flight deck would be heavily damaged by a 1100lb bomb. She was sent to the US for repairs. On 16 Jul 1943, while supporting the Sicily, Italy operations, she was torpedoed either by a SM.79 bomber (crewed by Captain Carlo Capelli and Lieutenant Ennio Caselli) of 204a Squadriglia of the Italian 41st Torpedo Bomber Group or a German Ju 88 bomber. She was again sent to the United States for repairs. She would not return to service until Feb 1944.

ww2dbaseHMS Indomitable returned to the British Eastern Fleet in Jun 1944, participating in attacks on Sumatra (29 Aug and 18 Sep 1944), Nicobar Islands (17 and 19 Oct 1944), and Sumatra (again, on 20 Dec 1944). She would be reassigned to the British Pacific Fleet, and attacked Medan (4 Jan 1945) and Palembang Sumatra (24 and 29 Jan 1945). After some time in port, she would return to active duties and participated in attacks on Sakishima Gunto and Taiwan in March-April 1945. On 4 May she was hit by kamikaze, but no extensive damage was observed. She returned to Sydney for refitting in Jun 1945 before assisting in the liberation of Hong Kong in August and September 1945.

ww2dbaseThe Indomitable returned to England in Nov 1945, and was placed in reserve in 1947. She was commissioned again between 1950 to 1953. She was scrapped in October 1955.