During WWII, one of the greatest issues faced in the Atlantic was the limited range of fighters, night bombers, torpedo planes, and maritime patrol craft. This all led to the submarine feeding frenzy known as the Battle of the Atlantic. As the Wolfpacks swarmed outside of aircraft range, escort ships simply were not enough to hold off the terror of the deep.
Many crazy ideas were proposed as potential options defeating this threat and protecting the convoys, but few were as crazy, and interestingly as likely to succeed, as Operation Habakkuk. First concocted by Jeofery Pyke, the idea was to build massive aircraft carriers out of ice. The key was a secret mixture (at the time) of wood pulp and ice to create a self insulating ice that would last much longer and thus be usable much longer.
This idea was cheap, both in cost and resources. As the ship would be grown and not built, it required a fraction of the resources of a normal ship, it needed a smaller work crew than normal ships, and the cost of wood pulp and water was minimal compared to steel and other metals.
The idea also had the advantage of being nearly impossible to sink. As is commonly known, ice floats. Therefore, a ship made of solid ice would float as long as the ice remained unmelted. With no hull to breach, torpedoes would simply chip fragments off the side and otherwise have no effect. Bombs would simply create craters that could be filled with Pycrete (the ice/pulp mix) and frozen closed. Even large naval shells would be ineffective.
Perhaps the largest benefit would be the ability to make the ship as large as desired. With the limitations of steel, dock facilities, or stability, ice ships could be made as large as small islands and hold entire bomber groups and fighter squadrons to protect the convoys.
Unfortunately, no examples were ever produced. *
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