The Illustrious class was a class of aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy that included some of the most important British warships in the Second World War. They were laid down in the late 1930s as part of the rearmament of British forces in response to the emerging threats of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan.
The Illustrious class comprised four vessels: HM Ships Illustrious, Formidable, Victorious and Indomitable. The last of these was built to a modified design with a second, half-length, hangar deck below the main hangar deck. Each of these ships played a prominent part in the battles of the Second World War. Victorious took part in the pursuit of the German battleship Bismarck, Illustrious and Formidable played prominent parts in the battles in the Mediterranean during 1940 and 1941 and all three took part in the large actions of the British Pacific Fleet in 1945.
The later two ships of the Implacable class were also built to modified designs to carry larger air wings. Implacable and Indefatigable both had two hangar levels, albeit with a limited 14-foot (4.3 m) head room.
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