Dutch Rapana class carriers

Hello and welcome to an article in which I discuss a quirky little ship that wouldn’t fit in WoWS. Today, we’re discussing the Rapana class of oil tankers.

Why oil tankers, on a WoWS blog? Because nine of these ships were given a flattop and served as MAC – Merchant Aircraft Carriers.

MV Rapana, nameship of her class.

As there is virtually no chance this ship will ever make it into WoWS I will keep this article brief.

Rapana herself was built at the Wilton-Feyenoord shipyard at Schiedam in the Netherlands during the 1930s and launched in 1935. During the war she was converted to a MAC at North Shields in Britain, entering service in her new role in 1943. The conversion was hasty and did not affect her cargo spaces, she continued to operate as oil tanker during her service, albeit one with a flight deck and a limited quantity of airplanes. Rapana herself served until being scrapped in 1958.

She was 147 meters long overall.

She served under Royal Navy flag during the war, though only the air crew and air wing maintenance crew were navy. The rest of the crew was civilian. Still, as the ship was originally built in the Netherlands, I am treating her as a Dutch ship.

Let’s get to the details, shall we?


Rapana displaced 8,017 GRT. Wikipedia doesn’t list whether this is empty weight or full load. Using Fr05ty and dseehafer’s handy formulas, this gives us 34,000 hitpoints.


As flat-top equipped oil tanker, the only ‘armor’ she had was plating designed to keep all the oil inside when the ship went around a corner.

Main armament:

1x 100mm.

Yeah, her gun isn’t why I’m writing about this ship.


8x 20mm

Nope, not very impressive either.


13 knots.

Wheee ….

Air wing:

Ah, now we get to the meat of it!

Rapana carried a complement of four Fairey Swordfish torpedobombers.

That’s it.

No, there isn’t any more.


Without proper hangar facilities she only had the space to operate four bi-plane torpebo bombers. And though they are very famous ones, they’re still only bi-planes. Slow, fragile and cumbersome, the Swordfish would only really be dangerous en masse in this game, and Rapana carried four. With no reloads.

MV Macoma, one of nine Rapanas.

How would she fit in this game?

Honestly? She’s never going to be in this game, and frankly speaking that’s a good thing.

But, just for S&G, let us speculate.

I think Rapana would make a hilarious dinky little T3 premium carrier, with two wings of two TBs, and no replacements for lost planes. She’d have very little striking power, the planes would take forever to get anywhere. However, slow planes and no replacements would be balanced out by the fact that there is very little AA at tier.

Just, you know, don’t run into a Katori. Which has a fighter plane.

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