1942 - the height of the Second World War. Great Britain is still unable to undermine the confident position of the Third Reich's fleet in the Atlantic Ocean - the British do not have enough money or resources. The command, led by Winston Churchill, is ready to agree to any, even the most incredible projects in order to give a worthy rebuff to the Nazis. And soon they decide to implement the idea of an ambitious English engineer - to build an aircraft carrier … from ice.
The Second World War found the British Empire at sea, and the Battle of the Atlantic was one of its longest campaigns. But for the fourth year already, the German fleet continued to maintain a dominant position, and Great Britain was exhausted and could not as actively compensate for the loss of equipment as its enemy. The Navy urgently needed new aircraft carriers, but there was simply no metal or finance to buy it. The command is urgently looking for an alternative way out of this difficult situation.
In the process of searching, it was proposed to return to the idea, which was considered by the Admiralty in the late 1930s, and was to create such ships where ice was the main material for construction. Then these projects remained on paper, but in the current difficult conditions they were remembered. The project was named Habbakuk and was led by engineer Jeffrey Pike.
Initially, there were two options for bringing this unusual project to life. The first was to use a whole iceberg as the basis for the future aircraft carrier - it was planned to level its upper part and use such a surface as a runway for fighters and reconnaissance aircraft. The project also included hangars for aircraft and engines for moving it. However, this option was soon dismissed due to the fact that the iceberg, although not immediately, but still melted and lost its stability.
Another way to create "Avvakum" was to build an ice aircraft carrier on a metal "skeleton" with refrigeration units, but even here a problem arose: for all its strength, ordinary ice still could not withstand the load to which it was subjected. And then Jeffrey Pike and biologist Max Perutz created a fundamentally new material based on the same ice, but with the addition of sawdust. The resulting mixture was much stronger than ice and itself had a high buoyancy. The material was named "pykret" (eng. Pykret) in honor of J. Pike.
A test sample of a metal-framed pykrite aircraft carrier was built in just two months. It was successfully tested in Canada, and it seemed that there would still be a unique project. However, the command demanded that the engineers increase the strength of the Avvakum surface so that it could be used for landing heavy bombers. But the fulfillment of this condition meant a significant increase in the cost of the aircraft carrier.
Now the very idea of creating "Avvakum" has ceased to be vital and necessary. In addition, during this period, the dominance of the Third Reich in the war comes to naught. And Britain itself gradually managed to overcome the shortage of raw materials for the military industry. The unique project was consigned to oblivion and was closed in 1943. The aircraft carrier itself had already melted by that time, and its metal part was flooded in Lake Patricia.
For a long time, no one remembered the project, but in the 1990s, divers showed interest in the sunken remains of Avvakum. At about the same time, hydroarchaeologists also turned their attention to this unusual object. And despite the fact that to date the skeleton of the former "ice aircraft carrier" has been significantly destroyed by time and nature, local and visiting divers and historians continue to be interested in a unique, but never fully realized project.
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