Naval Aviation Collection
The "Naval Aviation" Collection was available during update 0.8.1 to mark the introduction of British aircraft carriers.
During World War II, aviation became one of the decisive factors in battles at sea. Elements of the collection give you a chance to take an in-depth look at this formidable weapon from different angles. Special attention is paid to one of the pioneers of carrier-based aviation: the British Royal Navy.
The overall collection was comprised of four sub-collections. Each sub-collection granted a different reward. There was a separate reward for obtaining all 16 items.
The Japanese carrier-based torpedo bomber Nakajima B5N, nicknamed "Kate" by the Americans, caused significant trouble for the Allies in the first year of the war in the Pacific. Developed by Nakajima company designers, it was adopted in 1937. Being equipped with a 1,000 hp engine in 1939, the plane received was designated "B5N2" and, with this modification, became the main torpedo bomber of the Japanese Navy until 1943. In terms of range, speed, and, perhaps most importantly, the reliability of its torpedo weapons, "Kate" was noticeably better than its American counterpart—Devastator.
The "moment of glory" for B5N2 was a raid on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The operation involved 144 aircraft of this model, and they acted both as torpedo bombers and as low-level bombers ("Kate" could carry up to 800 kg of bombs instead of a torpedo). Every third torpedo launched by the "Kates" that day found their target, leaving the U.S. Pacific Fleet with barely any battleships. In 1942, the lethal B5N2 kept on sinking Allied ships one by one in nearly every major battle. Gradually, however, the aircraft's shortcomings—weak defensive weapons and the lack of any protection—began to manifest themselves. By the beginning of 1944, the "Kates" had been mostly replaced by more advanced machines, although they still remained in use until the end of the war.
The SBD Dauntless dive bomber, produced by Douglas company between 1940 and 1944, became one of the leading characters in the war in the Pacific. The codename of the aircraft, "SBD" (scout-bomber Douglas), was usually decoded by the army wits as Slow But Deadly. Starting with the SBD3 modification, produced since the spring of 1942, Dauntless crews were defended by effective armor, and their weapons became really deadly—four machine guns, including two large-caliber ones, and over 1,000 kg of bomb load. Such aircraft could "dress down" even the famous Japanese Zero fighters.
The first victory of the "slow but deadly" aircraft in the war in the Pacific was a Japanese submarine sunk three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Since then and until the middle of 1944, the Dauntlesses were perhaps the most formidable weapon of the U.S. Navy. Their biggest contribution to the victory of Allied forces happened at the Battle of Midway, where the bombs dropped by the SBDs turned four attack aircraft carriers—the pride of the Imperial Japanese Navy—into burning ruins. The last major battle that saw the participation of these aircraft was the battle in the Philippine Sea in the summer of 1944, the famous "Turkey Shoot", after which the Japanese carrier fleet ceased to pose any threat.
The prototype of the carrier-based torpedo bomber TBF, developed by Grumman company, was first presented to the public on December 7, 1941, on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack. The order to start mass production of the new aircraft, immediately dubbed as the Avenger, followed rather quickly. The plane that came off the assembly lines in the spring of 1942 was large and heavy, but actually this was its main advantage: due to the large volume of its fuel tanks, the aircraft had an unsurpassed action radius. Additionally, its capacious bomb compartment enabled it to carry a 570 mm torpedo or over 900 kg of bombs. Moreover, the torpedo bomber was armed with four machine guns, and the seats for its three crew members were well protected by armor. A powerful 1,900 hp engine ensured that this heavy load reached its destination, and at an excellent speed.
Since August 1942, each and every large-scale operation in the Pacific Theater involved Avengers. From autumn of the same year, they took part in the battle for the Atlantic and the Mediterranean as well. Their service record included the landings in North Africa, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the sinking of battleship Yamato, and the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Avengers acted both as air-to-water bombers and attack aircraft, as well as strike aircraft raiding enemy onshore positions. Equipped with radar, they proved to be wonderful reconnaissance and anti-submarine defense planes, having sunk dozens of submarines.
Their load capacity, range, and potential for refurbishment ensured that the Avengers had a long career in the armed forces of seven countries of the world. Interestingly, in 1954, they became the first aircraft to enter service in the revived Japanese Naval Forces. In the 1980s, the last Avengers still being used were engaged in extinguishing wildfires in the United States and Canada.
In 1938, at the height of the construction of Kriegsmarine's first aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin, it was decided to include dive bombers in her air group. As a matter of urgency, a deck modification of the famous Ju-87 "Stuka", designated by the letter "C" for "Cäsar" (German for Caesar), was developed. The new aircraft differed from the ground-launched dive bomber with its folding wings, a landing hook, and additional equipment that allowed the plane to be set on a catapult. Since the landing gear of Ju-87 was not retracted, the deck version had a mechanism that could "eject" the landing gear in case of ditching. The dive bomber's armament consisted of three small-caliber machine guns and up to 700 kg of bomb load.
The pre-production of Ju-87C began in the summer of 1939. Their crews' training had begun a few months before. However, in the spring of 1940, the construction of Graf Zeppelin was suspended. Some of the Ju-87C were converted back to ground-based aircraft, other were used for experimental purposes until 1944.
Completing this sub-collection provides the following rewards:
|Custom color schemes for the camouflages of all British destroyers
Fleet Air Arm
Without any exaggeration, the Swordfish torpedo bomber can be labeled as the most famous British carrier-based aircraft of the World War II period. Developed in the mid-1930s, the biplane, with its linen trim and open cockpit, was produced until 1944. It participated in hostilities until 1945, leaving an everlasting trace in the history of naval aviation. The Swordfish was developed by Fairey company as a torpedo bomber, reconnaissance plane, and spotting aircraft, with the first machines entering service in 1936. The biplane had rather modest speed characteristics, but at the same time it had a sufficiently large action radius and could carry more than 750 kg of weapons payload.
The Royal Navy actively engaged Swordfishes in the initial period of World War II, despite its extremely archaic design. But this impudence (very British, wouldn't you say?) turned out to be impressively beneficial. On November 12, 1940, in the still of the night, twelve Swordfishes attacked the Italian Navy base in Taranto, wrecking three battleships while losing only two aircraft. With this victory, the British torpedo bombers both changed the course of the war in the Mediterranean and made a strong statement that naval aviation had become an important strategic weapon. In May 1941, a torpedo dropped by a Swordfish made the famous Bismarck face her doom. Subsequently, this easy-to-pilot biplane, with its modest takeoff and landing condition requirements, took its well-deserved place on the decks of the small escort aircraft carriers that accompanied convoys in the Atlantic and Arctic. Equipped with radar and rocket launchers (!), Swordfishes successfully pursued and sank U-boats until 1945.
The Skua strike dive bomber was produced by Blackburn company as per the design assignment of a carrier-based, all-metal monoplane, with a closed cockpit and retractable landing gear. For the mid-1930s, the assignment looked very promising, but in the autumn of 1938, when the first aircraft finally began to enter service, the Skua's 900 hp engine was already considered weak and did not provide the new fighters with sufficient speed and maneuverability.
Armed with five small-caliber machine guns, the Blackburn Skua could carry one 227 kg bomb and, at the beginning of World War II, performed well as a dive bomber. It could also claim victories in the air as well. For example, the first British aircraft to shoot down an enemy aircraft was a Skua attached to the 803rd squadron of the Naval Air Force based on aircraft carrier Ark Royal. This happened on September 25, 1939, with a German flying boat being its prey. The Skua's most resounding success was the sinking of cruiser Königsberg in the Norwegian port of Bergen in April 1940.
The story of the Westland Wyvern, the first turbo-prop warplane, began in 1944. At the height of World War II, the British Navy still had no up-to-date multi-purpose carrier-based aircraft with a large operating radius. The Westland company took up the relevant project and prepared their first prototype in 1946. To provide the pilot with a good overview during takeoff and landing, the plane had a peculiar hump-shaped silhouette. Another feature of the design of a promising strike torpedo bomber, entitled Wyvern, were two four-blade propellers with opposite rotation.
Ordinary piston engines couldn't provide the required speed characteristics for a well-armed, long-range aircraft capable of carrying a significant load, so Westland's designers chose a turbo-prop engine. However, its development and completion dragged on for several years, so the first Westland Wyverns only arrived in Naval Air Force squadrons in 1953.
The idea of creating a carrier-based, all-metal monoplane, capable of performing the functions of both torpedo bomber and dive bomber, was first suggested by the Fairey company in the early 1930s. However, the endless stream of discrepant requirements from the Ministry of Aviation to change the design delayed the work for almost a decade. As a result, when the production of the aircraft, named "Barracuda", finally commenced in 1942, its characteristics were far from impressive. The Barracuda II, which began to enter service in the Naval Air Force in early 1943, was slightly better with a more powerful 1,600 hp engine.
The not-too-fast and not-very-maneuverable Barracuda didn't make for a good torpedo bomber. But a number of constructive advantages allowed it to cope well with the role of a dive bomber. The most striking moment of its career was during operation Tungsten, which involved striking battleship Tirpitz, hiding in one of the Norwegian fjords. On April 4, 1944, forty-two Barracudas, coming in two waves, hit the battleship 14 times with their bombs, losing only three planes in the assault. The battleship was put out of action for several months. As the Air Force was obtaining American Grumman Avengers—which surpassed the Barracudas in all respects—as part of a lend-lease, the British aircraft became auxiliary planes, focusing mainly on reconnaissance, the mining of enemy harbors and fairways, anti-submarine patrols, and transporting.
Completing this sub-collection provides the following rewards:
|Custom color schemes for the camouflages of all British cruisers
Landing Signal Officer
Landing Signal Officers (LSOs) appeared onboard U.S. Navy and Royal Navy aircraft carriers in the 1920s. Legend has it that the one who started the practice was the Commander of USS Langley, America's first aircraft carrier. When seeing a potentially unsuccessful aircraft landing, Commander Whiting (first executive officer) decided to give the pilot signals indicating the actions that should be performed, waving with a pair of white sailor caps that he had at hand.
One of the first actions the pilot had to perform when starting their approach was to release the landing hook. If the pilot forgot to do this, the signal officer would remind him to do it by waving their paddles up and down.
The main task of the landing signal officers was to ensure the safety of aircraft landing on the deck, and to reduce the intervals between each of their arrivals on the aircraft carrier. The signal systems in the U.S. and U.K. Navies were different, and in case of joint operations, the commanders had to coordinate which of the systems would be used each time.
After the landing gear and hook were released, the pilot had to level the plane. Stretching his arms to the sides and inclining them, the signal officer showed the direction in which the plane had to level its wings. If necessary, he could supplement the signal by raising his foot and thus "indicating" how to work with a pedal.
Until the emergence of radio communication between the pilot and the signal post in the 1950s, deck landing was corrected purely by visual signals. Before World War II, a certain set of signals had already been developed, which, as a rule, were given using special devices that resembled paddles.
Simultaneously with the leveling of the aircraft, the landing signal officer informed the pilot what altitude he should take. The "Hi Dip!" signal looked like this: from the normal "Roger" position (arms stretched out to the sides), the LSO simultaneously raised both paddles by about 45 degrees several times until the pilot followed his instructions.
Aircraft arrived on a carrier from the stern of the ship, and the pilots usually approached her from the port side. Hence, the platform specially designated for the signaling officers was situated along the port side at the rear part of the deck.
If the landing was going well, and the pilot followed all of the instructions of the LSO, the latter gave the final signal allowing the landing. In the U.S. Navy, it was called a Cut Throttle signal because it sounded a bit like "cut throat". Thus, the signal resembled the movement of a hand cutting the throat.
Completing this sub-collection provides the following rewards:
|Custom color schemes for the camouflages of all British battleships
His Majesty's Aircraft Carriers
Laid down in January 1918, HMS Hermes was the world's first ship designed as an aircraft carrier from day one of its inception. On the basis of the results of trials held with her predecessors, ships converted from other types, changes in the new project were made even at the final stages of construction. As a result, the ship that entered service in early 1924 had all of the features of a classic aircraft carrier: a closed hangar, solid flight deck, and an island-type superstructure shifted to the starboard side. The 11,000-ton HMS Hermes could carry two dozen planes onboard and reach a speed of up to 25 knots.
HMS Hermes spent most of her peacetime service in the Far East, looking after the interests of the British Crown in the region. One of the tasks that she had to perform—quite unusual for an aircraft carrier—was to fight against pirates. At the beginning of World War II, Hermes, based out of African ports, participated in the search for German raiders and blockade breakers in Atlantic waters. In early 1942, she was assigned to the British Eastern Fleet and arrived in Ceylon. In April of the same year, the Japanese fleet launched a raid in the Indian Ocean. On April 9, HMS Hermes, on her voyage to join with the main forces of the Eastern Fleet, was intercepted and sunk by Japanese dive bombers.
The story how one of the first British aircraft carriers, HMS Furious, was created is quite remarkable. It was laid down in 1915 as a ship of a unique type—a light battlecruiser. When, two years later, Furious entered service, she was a strange hybrid: on her bow she had a hangar with a flight deck, while her stern was occupied by a turret with a 457 mm gun, a monstrous weapon for its time. Furious would enter service three more times, following another modernization that changed her appearance. By 1932, she had been turned into an aircraft carrier with an island-type superstructure and flight deck occupying three-quarters of her hull's length. She was capable of accelerating to nearly 30 knots and carrying more than 30 aircraft onboard.
At the beginning of World War II, HMS Furious hunted German raiders in the Atlantic. In the spring of 1940, she took an active part in the Norwegian operation. Later on, her main goal mostly consisted of transferring aircraft to various theaters of war, from the Arctic to Malta. In late 1942, she covered the landing in North Africa and, in 1944, she participated in striking battleship Tirpitz, based in Norway. A few months prior to the end of the war in Europe, the old ship was put into reserve and then removed from the fleet lists.
One of the best aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy, HMS Implacable entered service in August 1944. Like the Illustrious-class aircraft carriers that had been commissioned before her, she had a very important advantage—an armored flight deck. However, unlike her predecessors, HMS Implacable had a double-deck hangar, which, coupled with the possibility of placing aircraft directly on the deck, significantly increased the size of her air group.
After entering service and until the end of 1944, Implacable took part in hostilities off the coast of Norway. In the spring of 1945, she headed for the Pacific Ocean, with the largest air group onboard ever deployed on a British aircraft carrier—81 aircraft. Throughout a period of several months until the end of World War II, HMS Implacable took part in strikes against strategic targets on the Japanese islands. After the war, for a long time, the aircraft carrier served as a training ship to test out the latest models of carrier-based aircraft. In 1949, she was the flagship of the Home Fleet. Six years later, HMS Implacable was sold for scrap.
The 800 Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier-based squadron was formed in 1933, topping the list of the "numbered" combat units of the Naval Air Force. Five years later, it became the first unit to receive the latest Blackburn Skua strike dive bombers. During World War II, the squadron's aircraft took off from the decks of a variety of aircraft carriers—the honored Furious, the legendary Ark Royal, and the state-of-the-art Indomitable. In April 1940, during the Norwegian campaign, the squadron was reported to have become the first ever aircraft formation to sink a major combat ship. It happened during the raid on Bergen, where Skua dive bombers sent German light cruiser Königsberg to the bottom.
The combat geography of the 800 Naval Air Squadron is extremely extensive, with its aircraft operating in the Arctic and Mediterranean, in the hunt for Bismarck, and in covering the Allied landings in Madagascar and North Africa. In the summer of 1943, the squadron became the first Naval Air Force division to be equipped with American-made Grumman Hellcat fighters. The Hellcats of the 800 Air Squadron covered a strike of British dive bombers on battleship Tirpitz during Operation Tungsten, in April 1944. In the final stage of the war, the squadron took part in the hostilities in the Pacific.
Completing this sub-collection provides the following rewards:
|Custom color schemes for the camouflages of all British aircraft carriers
Completing the entire collection provides the following rewards:
|A second flag on all British aircraft carriers
|Camouflage color scheme
|Custom color schemes for the camouflages of all Commonwealth ships
|Wings of the Crown - Implacable
Permanent camouflage for HMS Implacable: