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Melbourne   Riachuelo   Vindictive

Line drawing of CVL Melbourne

Displacement 10,000 tons
Armament 8 x 1   4" DP
A few light AA
Aircraft 18
Speed 31 knots
VTS Rating   0   0   6 1

These obsolescent cruisers of the HMS Hawkins Class were taken out of service to be converted into light aircraft carriers in 1922. With nearly a full flight deck and a starboard island they resembled a downsized Glorious. They were always considered trade protection carriers and proved to be good convoy escorts and sub-hunters. In 1936 Brazil bought one from the British to match the "new" carrier that Chile had, and named it Riachuelo. Vindictive remained in British hands but another went to Australia as the Melbourne. The American Vultee aircraft company supplied Vengeance dive bombers and Vanguard fighters to the Aussies.

Only one of these ships saw much action. The Vindictive and Riachuelo often patrolled together in the Atlantic, and managed to drive down or drive off several submarines, but scored no confirmed kills. Melbourne, however led the Australian Navy in a daring attack on the Japanese base at Rabaul. Melbourne's planes hit unexpectedly at dawn, and shot up the fuel tanks and readied planes while the cruisers and light battlecruiser Victoria shelled and destroyed the entire rest of the air garrison on the ground. Japanese pleas for help over the radio brought "Judy" dive bombers from another base and with 80% accuracy smothered Melbourne with hits until she exploded with no survivors.

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