Author Topic: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?  (Read 362 times)

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Offline seadude

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Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« on: October 07, 2021, 11:42:21 am »
I'm sure some people here are already aware of an old World War II British proposal known as Project Habakkuk. In short, it was an idea to build a huge aircraft carrier out of ice......or rather a material known as "pykrete"......for use in the North Atlantic to help hunt down and destroy German u-boats.
So the question is: If such a vessel were actually made, would it have made more economical, political, and military sense to use already designed and proven hardware and systems (Particuarly from Essex class carriers.) to build a Habakkuk ship and get it into production/commission as fast as possible?

Where to build Habakkuk? According to a book titled "Code Name Habakkuk: A Secret Ship Made of Ice" by L.D. Cross, the Habakkuk was proposed to be constructed in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada. A deep port and cold climate were needed. Alaska was too remote. Pudget Sound in Washington state was not cold enough. And any other possible northernmost port or other area in the Soviet Union was far too remote and had little or no transportation network for transporting supplies, plus a lack of a sizeable labor force. Not to mention also that Churchill was suspicious of Josef’ Stalin’s intentions during WWII.
Eventually, a location was chosen in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada. If a Habakkuk ship were to be built, then this was the only suitable location closest to where tests were being done on ice and pykrete in Ottawa and Montreal, plus it was easier to get resources from the U.S. and Canada as those two countries had the most resources to offer (Factories, labor, money, timber, etc.). Plus, the U.S. and Canada were far enough away from Germany and the fighting in Europe. It would be next to impossible for Germany to attack Canada where the Habakkuk was proposed to be built.

Why ship British armament and other stuff overseas to use on the Habakkuk, or why retool American factories to produce British stuff, when instead it is far easier economically to just ship extra American armament and other equipment from American factories up the U.S. east coast to Canada where the Habakkuk was to be built in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada.

What systems, components, and armament might have been shipped by the Americans up the East coast and used on the Habakkuk? One only need to look at the latest design of American ESSEX class aircraft carriers that were used during World War II. Some systems and components can include, but is not limited to the following:
5"/38 cal. guns, 40mm guns, 20mm guns
Mk.37 radar directors
Possibly any other air search or surface search radars used by the ESSEX class.
Aircraft launch catapults, arresting wires and barricade system, aircraft handling elevators.

You have to understand a few things. The battle in the Atlantic between Allied transport convoys and the meager amount of warships that were escorting them vs. the German uboats that were sinking the convoy ships, was taking a heavy toll on merchant shipping and the Allies plans for helping to defend Britain and send vital military supplies to other countries. If a Habakkuk vessel was to be built as originally planned in 1943 or early 1944, then all available speed would have been necessary to use whatever materials and equipment were ALREADY in existence. This would have included already proven and dependable designs of American ESSEX class aircraft carrier components and equipment to be used on the Habakkuk.
You have to understand that the Allies were desperate to stop the Germans in the Battle of the Atlantic. Anything which could have been done or used to help quickly build the Habakkuk and get it into service as fast as possible to stop the German uboat threat was paramount. It makes far better sense economically, militarily, etc. to just ship extra American components and equipment, especially those of ESSEX class carrier design, up the U.S. eastern coast from factories and shipyards, and transport them to Corner Brook in Newfoundland.

The Habakkuk was a project of the combined efforts of the British, Canadian, and American governments. It was a concept originally created and proposed by Britain, who then decided that if a Habakkuk ship were to ever be built, then Britain would need the help of Allies like America and Canada. But if a Habakkuk ship were built, then who would be doing what? What would each country provide toward the construction of the vessel? My list below is just a guess based on research over the last 10 years.

The following list can include, but is not limited to:
1) Design and schematics - Britain
2) Scientists, advisors, engineers, etc. - Britain, Canada, & America
3) Monetary funding for the project - Britain, Canada, and America, with probably the bulk being from America.
4) Pykrete production facility - Canada
5) Habakkuk construction site - To be located in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada.
6) Pykrete, lumber, fibreboard, corkboard, and wood pulp - Canada and America, with probably the bulk coming from Canada.
7) Ice and pykrete research testing facilities - Provided by the National Research Council in Canada.
8 ) Labor construction force - Canada and America, with the bulk being from Canada at the Corner Brook construction site for the Habakkuk.
9) Fuel for Habakkuk's engineering & propulsion systems, and also for the aircraft carried aboard ship - America
10) Refrigeration, engineering, and propulsion systems - America and Canada, with the bulk being from America.
11) Aircraft elevators and elevator systems - America
12) Weapon systems and ammunition - America
13) Crew amenities and comforts, provisions, etc. - America and Canada
14) Lifeboats and rafts - America and/or Canada
15) Bridge island superstructure - America
16) Radar, Navigation, and Communication systems - America
17) Steel, tin, aluminum, and other metals needed for construction - America and/or Canada, with the bulk probably being from America.
18) Aircraft carried by Habakkuk - America and/or Britain, with the majority probably from America.
19) Ship's crew + pilots, etc. - Combination of American, Canadian, and British personnel.
20) Aircraft systems like barricades, catapults, landing signal aids, etc. - America
21) Anchors and anchoring systems - America
22) Ship refueling systems and equipment - America
23) Repair, firefighting, and maintenance systems - America and/or Canada, with the bulk probably from America.
24) All other systems associated with building an aircraft carrier type ship - America

As you can clearly see, America would have borne the brunt of supplying material and other resources for the construction of the Habakkuk as it had more of an industrial manufacturing capability/capacity than what Canada or Britain did. Canada would have been second by providing the wood pulp, making the pykrete, providing the construction site and labor, as well as a few other systems and resources. Britain would not have been able to supply much as it was far across the Atlantic and was suffering dearly due to German u-boat attacks as well as German bombings over London and other parts of the country.

So with all that being said, is the Habakkuk really a British ship? Or is it more of an American ship since America would have to provide a vast majority of expertise, materials, etc.?
« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 11:46:43 am by seadude »
Modeling isn't just about how good the gluing or painting, etc. looks. It's also about how creative and imaginative you can be with a subject.

Offline JayBee

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Re: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2021, 11:53:42 am »
Good grief old chap.
Of course it is British.
Built in British teritory, from a British idea.
What else could it be.
Then of course the idea got no where.
So what more proof do you need!  :rolleyes:
Alle kunst ist umsunst wenn ein engel auf das zundloch brunzt!!

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They are just physical manifestations of collisions between enigma & conundrum particles.

Any aircraft can be improved by giving it a SHARKMOUTH!

Offline PR19_Kit

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Re: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2021, 02:09:08 pm »
Does it really matter?

Even in WhiffWorld?
Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
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Offline Rheged

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Re: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2021, 02:25:11 pm »
Does it really matter?

Even in WhiffWorld?

Doesn't matter at all to me!  Much more important are the questions " Who is going to build the model?", and "At what scale?"

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you....."
It  means that you read  the instruction sheet

Offline PR19_Kit

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Re: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2021, 04:24:35 pm »
Does it really matter?

Even in WhiffWorld?

Doesn't matter at all to me!  Much more important are the questions " Who is going to build the model?", and "At what scale?"


Someone already did on here, I think. Wasn't it Seadude himself?
Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
Kit

Offline seadude

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Re: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2021, 05:17:43 pm »
Does it really matter?

Even in WhiffWorld?

Doesn't matter at all to me!  Much more important are the questions " Who is going to build the model?", and "At what scale?"


Someone already did on here, I think. Wasn't it Seadude himself?

Yes, I did. I built a 1/700 scale model Habakkuk years ago.
But my thread here isn't discussing models, but rather what people thought about a real Habakkuk ship being built.
Do you agree with my theories and conclusions about how it might be built and by whom or not?
Britain certainly can't do it. They certainly didn't have the resources, money, or even a deep water port back then to construct such a ship.
Modeling isn't just about how good the gluing or painting, etc. looks. It's also about how creative and imaginative you can be with a subject.

Offline AeroplaneDriver

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Re: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2021, 09:15:41 pm »
Would the US have deployed a nuclear weapon in 1945 if not for British input?  Does that make Little Boy a British bomb?
So I got that going for me...which is nice....

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Re: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2021, 02:08:36 am »
The UK didn't have the money to fight WWII in the first place, but we did it anyway................

And because we borrowed so much we're STILL paying for it now!
Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
Kit

Offline NARSES2

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Re: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2021, 06:21:54 am »

And because we borrowed so much we're STILL paying for it now!

I think we officially stopped paying in the 70's ?

But anyway I digress.


Do you agree with my theories and conclusions about how it might be built and by whom or not?


Yup I agree. It really wasn't an even barely practical proposition otherwise. My only comment would be that by 1943/44 was it needed ? Surely the auxiliary aircraft carriers had solved the problem, or come close to anyway, but if they had persisted with the scheme, and stranger things have happened, then I agree with your proposition  :thumbsup:
Decals my @r$e!

Offline Rheged

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Re: Building HMS Habakkuk: Using Essex class carrier systems?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2021, 08:12:35 am »
The UK didn't have the money to fight WWII in the first place, but we did it anyway................

And because we borrowed so much we're STILL paying for it now!

We finished paying for WW2 in 2006.   A quick check through the history/current affairs sites that deal with this sort of thing suggest that we are, in fact, up to date with war-related financial matters............. thanks to 85% death duties in the 1950's and similar imposts.


As to Aeroplane Driver's question about the atomic bomb,  I've always looked upon it as a British/Canadian/ US joint effort. See   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tube_Alloys Even after WW2, the USA used William Penney's help and advice https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Penney,_Baron_Penney in nuclear weapon matters.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 08:28:13 am by Rheged »
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you....."
It  means that you read  the instruction sheet