Update: HMS Victorious Captain's report for Operation Pedestal

I’ve added this transcript of the original HMS Victorious, Operation ‘Pedestal’report as it provides a fascinating insight of what was to that point the longest running and most intense carrier-involved air battle of the war.

It also demonstrated the power of HMS Victorious’ experimental Fighter Control facilities and techniques, and a first-hand account of this experience is clearly detailed here.

It also comes to some interesting conclusions … this one in particular, which would be reversed just months later as HMS Victorious toured with the USS Saratoga:

It is tempting when planning an operation to try and obtain additional force by loading carriers with more aircraft than they are designed to take. It is emphasized that our carriers are designed and fitted to operate as many aircraft as will stow in the hangars. The addition of a deck cargo slows up operation and this is greatly aggravated if the aircraft forming the deck cargo are too large to go down the lifts. The point is very soon reached where fewer aircraft can be got in the air because there are too many onboard.

This must be read in the context of the difficult mixture of folding and non-folding aircraft Victorious was carrying at the time, and that she didn’t have the additional aircraft handlers and deck tractors that would come soon after… But it does show how the RN had to grapple with the restricted size of these “Batch I” armoured carriers, and the need to operate as many aircraft as possible.