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Science & Technology

Iceberg aircraft carrier proposed during WWII

By T.K. Randall
August 15, 2014 · Comment icon 10 comments



Ice is quite resilient to shell fire. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Ansgar Walk
Eccentric inventor Geoffrey Pyke came up with a number of unorthodox weapon concepts during the war.
At the height of World War II, Pyke was tasked with concocting new and innovative weapons and technologies that could help Britain win the war against the Germans.

One of his more unusual ideas was to hide an undercover vehicle behind enemy lines by disguising it inside a tent with a sign that read "Officer's latrine - for Colonels only" in the hope that none of the soldiers would dare to look inside.

Another would have seen a number of Hitler lookalikes dropped on to occupied Greek islands so that they could order the German troops there to surrender.
Perhaps Pyke's most ambitious plan however aimed to solve the problem of German U-boats in the Atlantic. He had been intrigued by an article in the National Geographic investigating the fact that icebergs could take huge amounts of shell fire without breaking and decided therefore that ice would make the perfect base for an aircraft carrier.

His proposal involved creating huge vessels from a super strong mixture of frozen water and wood pulp, then placing a runway on top so that planes could take off and land from it.

Unsurprisingly however Pyke's idea never actually came to fruition.

Source: Daily Mail | Comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Nick D 9 years ago
Don't tell 'em, Pyke!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Ifonly 9 years ago
A Pykrete ship sounds like one hell of an undertaking, but with iron in such short supply i suppose every possible alternative had to be considered.
Comment icon #3 Posted by shrooma 9 years ago
i posted this yonks ago Bot, try'n keep up eh! .
Comment icon #4 Posted by skookum 9 years ago
I read that Churchill wanted to order 6 of them but they proved to difficult to produce in reality. I think a smaller test ship construction was started but never completed. It was quite well thought out. They were going to run refrigeration tubes throughout so they could also operate in hotter climates. Whacky idea with a touch of genius. Shame none were ever built.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Silent Trinity 9 years ago
At first it sounds ridiculous then you think about it, and the observation of how much shell fire the Iceberg could take etc, and even though I can't believe i'm saying it, but it isn't a totally crazy idea. It just shows that in every moment of lunacy there may be a little sanity lol....granted how the hell you would deal with deploying the mighty HMS ICEBERG to where it is needed in the world is another matter...I am guessing Mediterranean operations are a non no lol
Comment icon #6 Posted by DecoNoir 9 years ago
Somwhat common knowledge to those who study WW2, and not even the weirdest thing to come out of the war! During the invasion of Normandy the Allies staged a diversionary "invasion" of the Pont de Calles with fake radio traffic and inflatable tanks!
Comment icon #7 Posted by CRYSiiSx2 9 years ago
How is this news? This has been known forever.
Comment icon #8 Posted by StarMountainKid 9 years ago
I think it's news for people who don't know about it. I read about this stuff a few years ago, and I still find it fascinating.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Realm 9 years ago
I think they were afraid the carriers would end up in Churchill's martini's
Comment icon #10 Posted by SD455GTO 9 years ago
They'd built and tested a 60 foot craft here in Alberta at Patricia Lake, not too far from Jasper. Little came of it obviously, but what an idea. In fact I now see there's a suprisingly comprehensive info page regarding "Project Habbakuk" and Patricia Lake on Wikipedia (no...really!)


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