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JonathanRL

[What-If] The Scandinavian Carrier

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The Scandinavian Carrier

 

In 1944, the Swedish Government took delivery of the last of F4F Wildcat Fighters which were given as compensation for P 35 Aircraft who had been embargoed at the eruption of the second world war. The American Officer in charge of the delivery made a joke, that would make the annals of military history when he asked if the Swedish Government would like a Aircraft Carrier alongside its regular order.

The startled reception asked how much one would cost, and the officer left the scene wondering how on earth he would file this in his now rather famous report. The question never really left the tough of the Swedish Navy who had been forced to watch the borders during the war with older vessels. And so it was after intense lobbying that the Swedish Government came to ask the United States for purchase of a Carrier at the end of the war.

 

The question was put on hold, as the need for Carriers was as large as ever during the final struggle of Imperial Japan, but in late 1945, the American Embassy sent an enquiry to see if the offer still stood. It did. A delegation was sent to the United States to tour the various naval bases more or less able to pick and choose amongst the various types. They also witnessed several take-offs and landings upon the Carriers, most impressed by what they saw. A few months later, the verdict came that a light carrier, preferable one of Independence Class would be most suitable to Sweden's needs. A cadre of pilots was sent at once over to the states to receive Carrier training.

 

In may 1946, the United States Navy relived the USS Cowpens (CVL-25) of her duties in the Magic Carpet transports and began the long voyage to Scandinavia. She reached Karlskrona three months later and began her transformation into Sweden's first aircraft carrier. In the Hangars of the aircraft was also stored twenty F-4F Wildcats who would serve as the ships main fighter screen. There where also ten TBF Avengers, who was judged in so poor a condition that they would never see service. Instead, they where stored and forgotten until they where rediscovered in the 1980s to the eternal joy of museums and warbird fans all over the world.

 

The ship was renamed HMS Gustav II Adolf in a ceremony in Stockholm, with the royal family present and in the waters outside the capitol, the king recived a air show by Swedens new carrier pilots who shown their new skills in their Wildcats. One year later, the ship entered active service, forming the core of a task force that included the two Coastal Battleships HMS Gustav & HMS Drottning Victoria as well as several destroyers.

 

In 1948, it was decided to purchase A-1 Skyraiders to provide the carrier with attack & torpedo capacity beyond the guns of the Wildcats. In total, 30 would be purchased and in a visit to Stockholm a little girl remarked that the Skyraiders on the carrier looked like seals on a cliff. The name stuck. The Carriers first trial by fire came in the Catalina Affair in 1952 when Skyraiders and Wildcats was launched to aid in the search effort for the DC-3. Two days later, when a Rescue aircraft was attacked, Skyraiders rushed to the scene and drove off the MiG 15s who had shot down the Rescue Aircraft. The crew would be rescued by a freighter.

 

HMS Gustav II Adolf Order of battle:

Sjöjaktflottiljen (F-4F Wildcat)

Sjöattackflottiljen (Torpedplan 3 Skyraider)

 

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However, in a budget crisis in 1955, it was judged that Sweden could ill afford the upgrades the Carrier would require. The Wildcats was too old for the duty thrust upon them; and the Skyraiders who formed all-duty fighters was under constant strain from overuse. Buying new fighters - or developing one - would delay or cancel the vital A 32 Lansen project. And thus, the Carrier was put on the open market for sale. Norway was the first country to bid on the Carrier and in a gesture of brotherhood and solidarity was sold the ship at a fraction of the asking price. The Wildcats was sent to the scrapheap, and the Skyraiders transformed into ASM Carriers in the Swedish Coastal Battery service.

 

The Norwegian Navy took possession of the Carrier in 1956, and in its service bore the name KNM Norskehavet. While the Carrier was fitted with new steam catapults, the Norwegians had a tough choice trying to fit the new, modern jet fighters on a WW2 era light carrier. It was decided that the F-11 Tiger would be the best choice for the task and 30 aircraft was purchased with 16 based on the Carrier at any given time. Renamed "Isbjorn" (Polar Bear), the Aircraft went into service in 1958 in 1th RnON Squadron.

 

Life in the Norwegian Sea proved a challenge for the Carrier who had to scramble against submarines without any anti-submarine aircraft whatsoever and try and reach Soviet recon aircraft on their patrol routes over the North Atlantic and North Sea but she came trough with flying colours. In 1968, it was decided that the Carrier should be further invested upon, and the F-11 Aircraft was given a avionics upgrade, alongside the capacity to carry the Sparrow Missile.

 

The next challenge for the Carrier came in 1975 when the S-3 Viking was purchased for Operations upon the vessel. A total of six aircraft was purchased, with three upon the vessel at any given time. Two of the aircraft was modified into COD Duties and the other two had to have their bomb bay removed in order to successfully take off and land from the small Carrier.

In 1983, the Carrier was declared obsolete and stricken from the naval record; despite both Finland and Denmark trying to purchase her as a helicopter carrier for anti-submarine duties. This nicknamed her - along with her former service - as the Scandinavian Carrier.

 

KNM Norskehavet Order of battle:

1th RNoN Squadron "The Polar Bears" (F-11 Isbjørn)

2th RNoN Squadron "The True Vikings" (S-3A Viking)

 

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*Both packages can be released with Carrier, Aircraft & all upon request.

Edited by JonathanRL
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Some fast movers for a little boat, That Norwegian Navy S-3's starboard side roundal is backwards. Very cool though.

Same time frame the Ausies had S-2 Trackers and A-4 Skyhawks.

Edited by MAKO69

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That Norwegian Navy S-3's starboard side roundal is backwards

I know. Blame the game engine, but considering how much grief the decals overall gave me, I was not about to put another hour into decals.

The proper Norwegian Roundel is as shown on the F-11. Might fix that one before releasing tough; if I do that.

 

Some fast movers for a little boat.

Indeed. The Tiger and maybe the Skyhawk would be the only ones who could handle it until the Harrier came into the light and by then, the Carrier itself would show her age a little too well.

Edited by JonathanRL

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I didn't even think of the Sea Harrier, that could be great. Look at the Spanish Navy w/ the De Daldo.

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Great work Jonathan. I especially like the Tigers - a very underrated a/c.

 

I have often thought of the same thing. That plane could have been a great little attack jet.

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Posted the Swedish part, including new campaign files so you can fly her in some of the early TSF campaigns.

 

Going to do the Norwegian one tomorrow. She still needs escorts :)

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