Jump to content

Gannets on HMS Eagle R05 deck in 1956-57


Recommended Posts

Some three years ago I came across the old Fujimi 1/700 HMS Eagle R05 kit. As most of us know, the Japanese have equipped this kit with two completely different air wings - one is made up of 4 Seafires and 4 Sea Furies and the other consists of 4 Gannets and 4 Wessex helos. Unfortunately, neither piston-engine fighters nor helicopters were on board the R05 at the time of her baptism of fire in 1956. After many months of searching, I was able to assemble the 1956 air wing of 1/700 Seahawks and Sea Venoms, which may be accompanied by Gannets provided by Fujimi. Obviously, the Gannets were not used in Suez emergency (there was no submarine threat there), but they were still on board in May 1956 when Eagle anchored in Malta. The Gannets then flew home from Malta, and the R05 took part in Operation Musketeer in late October. Later (in early 1957), another Gannet flight is again listed as operating from the Eagle deck.

My questions (two years ago I asked them in the BM aviation section - with no answer to this day) are:

  • does anyone know the dates when the first Gannet flight (812 NAS) left the Eagle deck and when another (814 NAS) Gannet flight landed on the same deck after the Suez campaign? 
  • when were the black & yellow identification stripes painted on the Eagle aircraft in 1956 and when were they removed?
  • are there any photos of the R05 deck featuring "striped" planes (Seahawk, Sea Venom, a.s.o.) next to Gannet (with no stripes of course)?

Of course there are many pre- or post-Muskeeter air wing photos aboard Eagle, but the jets don't have black+yellow stripes.

Is there any chance to show "striped" jets next to Gannets?

Why Gannets? Because I don't have 1/700 Wyverns to make the R05 into a full Suez crisis fit...

Any help in this matter will be appreciated

Cheers

Michael

 

Edited by KRK4m
Link to post
Share on other sites

Eagle's air group for Operation Musketeer comprised nine Wyverns of 830 NAS, seventeen Sea Venoms of 892 and 893 NAS, twenty-four Seahawks of 897 and 899 NAS and four Skyraiders of 849 NAS A Flight.  Not sure she carried Whirlwinds at this stage.  The identification stripes were painted on the aircraft on 31 October 1956, well after the Gannets of 812 NAS had been disembarked in August.  814 NAS embarked in August 1957, well after Eagle had returned to UK for repairs and refit, by which time the stripes would have been long-gone from her aircraft.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 3 Aug 1956 812 sqn disembarked from Eagle to Hal Far on Malta. It’s aircraft then flew home sometime between then and early Dec. On 9 Dec the rest of the squadron embarked on Bulwark and disbanded on arriving in the U.K. at Lee-on-Solent on 13th Dec.

 

814 reformed at Culdrose on 14 Jan 1957 having previously disbanded in Nov 1955. They went aboard Eagle in Aug that year after she had undergone a refit and recommissioned.

 

As for RN ASW helicopters, 845 squadron formed as an experimental ASW unit in 1954 and in 1955 spent a brief time on Eagle. It reformed in Nov 1955 and its first shipboard deployment after that was on the training ships Ocean and Theseus in June 1956. With the Suez Crisis the helicopters were stripped of their ASW gear and operated off Theseus in the commando role. Eagle didn’t embark ASW helicopters again until Feb 1959.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

And one more question regarding the 1956 HMS Eagle deck (and hangars). Unlike earlier RN aircraft carriers, both elevators served both hangars: the upper (in 1956) holding the jets (Sea Venoms and Attackers Seahawks), and the lower all propeller-driven planes (Gannets, Wyverns, and Skyraiders). The question is how these planes were located longitudinally, i.e. which of them were lifted by the front (wider) elevator and which by the back one? I think the deck parking layout can be helpful here, but I do not have pictures of the R05 in the 1956-59 configuration (with the runway tilted 5 degrees) with about 10-20 planes parked ready for flight operations. In the pictures there are either 5-6 (ready to fly) or 40 (with wings folded) planes on the deck...

Do you know if Wyverns and Seahawks were usually parked on the front deck, with Sea Venoms close to the island and Gannets and Skyraiders near the stern? Or was it different?

Any help will be appreciated

Cheers

Michael

Edited by KRK4m
stupid mistake with Attackers that should read Seahawks
Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m not clear what you are driving at here.

 

Firstly aircraft types. Eagle completed a short docking / refit period at the beginning of April 1956, and embarked her air group in mid April She returned to Britain after Op Musketeer at Suez in Jan 1957. Between those two dates she operated the following squadrons and aircraft types, leaving the U.K. in April with the following.

 

897 & 899 with Sea Hawk

830 with Westland Wyvern S4

812 with Gannet AS1

849 A flight with Skyraider AEW1.

 

With the looming Suez crisis 812 disembarked to Malta on 3 August 1956. 892 squadron with Sea Venoms flew from the U.K. to Malta and embarked on 14 Aug. 893 Sea Venom squadron flew to Hal Far and embarked in Eagle on 17th August.

 

All these squadrons left her in Dec 1956/Jan 1957.

 

The last Attackers to operate from her decks left in April 1954.

 

What aircraft were on deck at any point in time was driven by the flying programme. Their exact location on the deck would depend on whether the carrier was launching aircraft or landing them on. Movements between hangar and flight deck were driven by what aircraft needed to be where for the next strike /CAP cycle. Which lift gets used depends to a large extent on where an aircraft that is needed is located in the hangar, or where space exists to strike them down. All that has to be co-ordinated.

 

So for example, on Day 1 at Suez, Eagle began the day at 0240 by flying off a single Skyraider. Two hours later an unidentified number of Sea Venoms were launched as combat air patrol (CAP) to protect the fleet. Then at 0520 she launched the first strike of 12 Sea Hawks and 6 Sea Venoms. Those strike aircraft would be ranged down the deck, including the landing area to minimise the time between launches using both catapults. By the time they returned the landing area needed to be clear as did sufficient parking space beside the island and forward on the starboard side of the bow to allow them to be parked. On completion of that evolution the deck can be respotted, with aircraft moved aft to refuel/rearm or into the hangar. 

 

Neither lift can be used during landing on as both sit within the landing area.

 

There are plenty of photos around of Eagle in this period with flights of aircraft ranged along the port side of the flight deck and starboard side behind the island, suggesting that this was the next strike to be launched as those port side take up half the width of the landing area. One series has 4 Sea Hawks and 4 Wyverns port side from just aft the foremost sextuple 40mm Mount to just aft the 4.5” mounts with another 4 Sea Hawks to starboard aft of the island clear of the landing area and a few Sea Venoms alongside the island.

 

As for your comments about both lifts serving both hangars, for those RN carriers with double hangars the only ones where that was not the case were Indomitable, Indefatigable and Implacable. And the reason was simple. The lifts were at the ends of the hangar spaces and those three only had a half length lower hangar.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/26/2021 at 9:00 PM, Our Ned said:

Eagle's air group for Operation Musketeer comprised nine Wyverns of 830 NAS, seventeen Sea Venoms of 892 and 893 NAS, twenty-four Seahawks of 897 and 899 NAS and four Skyraiders of 849 NAS A Flight.  Not sure she carried Whirlwinds at this stage.  The identification stripes were painted on the aircraft on 31 October 1956, well after the Gannets of 812 NAS had been disembarked in August.  814 NAS embarked in August 1957, well after Eagle had returned to UK for repairs and refit, by which time the stripes would have been long-gone from her aircraft.

If 814 NAS Gannets embarked in August, the chance of finding Venoms or Seahawks still wearing the stripes drops to (almost) zero.

Because in March/April 1957 the stripes were still seen on several Seahawks - even on board of HMS Ark Royal, which was not involved in Operation Musketeer.  

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205016380

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205164070

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205164072

These three IWM photos prompted me to start this topic...

 

3 hours ago, EwenS said:

I’m not clear what you are driving at here.

 

Firstly aircraft types. ... The last Attackers to operate from her decks left in April 1954.

What am I driving at here? Great question...

I'm building the model of HMS Eagle. And I'd like it to be at least close to the 1956/57 reality.

I'd like to put an airwing of 3-4 Sea Venoms, 3-4 Seahawks, and 3-4 Gannets on board. And I have no idea how to put them.

Since the planes are spread out, there is no "parade" option with 40 or 50 planes parked in tight rows along the deck.

 

And the Attacker was a stupid mistake when typing the above just after midnight. Already revised: Seahawk.

 

 

3 hours ago, EwenS said:

Neither lift can be used during landing on as both sit within the landing area...

 

...There are plenty of photos around of Eagle in this period with flights of aircraft ranged along the port side of the flight deck and starboard side behind the island, suggesting that this was the next strike to be launched as those port side take up half the width of the landing area. One series has 4 Sea Hawks and 4 Wyverns port side from just aft the foremost sextuple 40mm mount to just aft the 4.5” mounts with another 4 Sea Hawks to starboard aft of the island clear of the landing area and a few Sea Venoms alongside the island.

 

Obviously my model has both elevators at the deck level.

 

I probably know most of these photos, but (except for a couple on the catapults and 2-3 right behind them) the planes parked along the runway still have their wings folded upwards. That is why I am looking for a photo showing the above-mentioned 3 types, ready to take off (and/or just after landing, waiting for the wings to be folded and to be taken to the hangars by the elevator).

 

3 hours ago, EwenS said:

As for your comments about both lifts serving both hangars, for those RN carriers with double hangars the only ones where that was not the case were Indomitable, Indefatigable and Implacable.

 

That's what I meant, because these were the three immediately preceding the Audacious class.

 

1 hour ago, Dave Fleming said:

 

Thank you for these photos - they're great indeed.

Cheers

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you will have problems finding photos of aircraft in the configuration you seek. That is because it does not reflect practice.

 

By the 1950s naval aircraft all had powered folding wings which made spreading and folding wings much easier to perform as they moved to / from their parking spaces. Powered folding only began to appear during WW2.

 

In the hangar aircraft will have their wings folded unless maintenance required them to be unfolded. The wings needed to be folded on the lifts to make them fit. On arriving on the flight deck they would remain folded while parked, unless some maintenance issue required them to be spread. They would only be unfolded as the aircraft taxis forward from its parking spot to the catapults. On landing the wings will be folded as the aircraft taxis forward from the landing area into its parking spot. Everything is geared to minimising the deck space (hangar or flight) that each aircraft takes up, allowing them to be parked closer together.

 

If you look at the parking area forward, just think how many fewer aircraft could be accommodated if they all had to keep their wings spread.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • KRK4m changed the title to Gannets on HMS Eagle R05 deck in 1956-57

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...