The Legend of Habbakuk: The Unfulfilled Dream of a Giant Aircraft Carrier

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The Legend of Habbakuk: The Unfulfilled Dream of a Giant Aircraft Carrier
The Legend of Habbakuk: The Unfulfilled Dream of a Giant Aircraft Carrier

During armed conflicts, one can observe, among other things, significant technical progress. The desire to win provides an incredible incentive to create sometimes insane inventions. World War II was no exception. Many have not even heard of some of her inventions. Take, for example, exploding rats - the idea of ​​the British, which made a lot of noise among the German Nazis, or the Soviet "anti-tank" suicide dogs, which made the German soldiers dislike all dogs. The technical creations created in the early 40s of the XX century can be enumerated for a long time: the Dora and Gustav railway guns, Hobart's toys, the Henschel HS 293 radio-controlled gliding bomb.

aircraft carrier hubbakuk

But there are some projects that have become legend, despite the fact that they did not even have a chance to take part in the battles. We are talking about an invention of the Englishman Jeffrey Pike, which was never realized, - the giant ice aircraft carrier "Hubbakuk".

The life-saving idea of ​​a giant military aircraft carrier


The Hubbakuk project was born during the Second World War. The fascist army effectively blockaded Great Britain, cutting it off from the rest of the world. German submarines intercepted Atlantic convoys of ships, which brought the necessary supplies to the island, using submarines. Aircraft could escort ships only to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. By the fall of 1942, losses had grown so much that the British Isles were on the brink of starvation. It was at this time that the saving idea of ​​creating an aircraft carrier ship from ice and sawdust appeared. The author of the project of the giant ice aircraft carrier "Hubbakuk" is considered to be the British engineer and scientist Jeffrey Pike.

Mad genius Jeffrey Pike


The London Times once named Pike one of the brightest and most extraordinary figures in recent British history. And he truly deserved this glory. When the First World War broke out, young Pike left the prestigious Cambridge and with a fake passport entered Germany, from where, at his own peril and risk, he was going to send intelligence reports to London. A week later, an amateur spy was arrested and hid in the execution block of Berlin's Ruleben prison. There he almost died of pneumonia, but managed to make a fantastic escape and return to his homeland. He literally gushed with ideas. The idea of ​​creating a giant aircraft carrier out of ice, according to one version, came to him in a hospital bed in a psychiatric hospital. The inventor sent his idea to Lord Louis Mountbatten, chief of staff for combined operations. Mountbatten was impressed by Pike's unusual project and decided that his idea needed to be worked out.

The ice "prophet" was given a start in life


Jeffrey Pike gave the name to this project in honor of the prophet Habakkuk. Also Habbakuk is called the deity of the Krinn pantheon - the good god of the sea and wildlife. The material from which it was planned to build "Hubbakuk" was named after its inventor - "pykerite" and consisted of a mixture of 86% ice and 14% sawdust.

It was planned to build a project ship with a length of 600 m, a width of 90 m and a height of 200 m. It was supposed to provide the basing of at least 500 aircraft.Its hull was supposed to have a thickness of more than 12 meters, which would make it invulnerable to shells and torpedoes. Inside the aircraft carrier, a huge hangar and living space was provided for 3,590 sailors and pilots. The Avvakum Project was supposed to move thanks to 26 motor gondolas frozen into the sides. In this case, the maximum speed would have been 7 knots.

According to the calculations of Canadian engineers, it was supposed to spend 300 thousand tons of wood shavings, 25 thousand tons of refractory substances, 35 thousand tons of wood and 10 thousand tons of steel on the construction of the ship. The estimated price is only about 700 thousand pounds. According to the assumptions of the Canadians, the ship could be fully ready by 1944.

End of the Habbakuk project


In February 1943, construction began on a 19-meter prototype ship on the Canadian Lake Patricia, and in August 1943 it was already presented to the Allies. In the fall of 1943, the site of its assembly was chosen - Island Bay in the west of Newfoundland, Canada.

However, suddenly the epic with the "ice prophet" ended. In the late autumn of 1943, the Americans commissioned a strategic air base in Icelandic Keflavik, which completely changed the balance of power in the North Atlantic. At the same time, the Allies acquired new long-range aircraft capable of controlling the space from the English Channel to the equator, and warships began to be equipped with anti-submarine sonars and radars. The giant Hubbakuk was simply no longer needed.

As a result, in December 1943, Project Habakkuk was canceled. Interestingly, the 19-meter prototype ship in Canada has been melting for three years. On Lake Patricia, there is a memorial plaque about the trials of such an extravagant project.

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