The idea of creating ice ships was born during the Second World War. In the early 1940s, the British navy was in a critical situation. In November 1942 alone, 143 British ships were sunk by the Germans. Intense hostilities required the transfer of a huge amount of equipment, and water transport and escort ships were sorely lacking.
Under these conditions, the scientist Jeffrey Pike easily convinced the British military in the implementation of his ambitious project "an aircraft carrier from an iceberg", thanks to which the British fleet could be replenished with formidable weapons in the shortest possible time.
This incredible project of the British army was named "Habbakuk", in honor of the prophet Habbakuk from the Old Testament.
The dimensions of the deck were to be 610 meters long, 180 meters wide and 18 meters thick. The floating ice vessel was planned to accommodate 200 Spitfire fighters and a crew of 15, 000 people. On its deck, planes would have enough room to easily land, take off and refuel.
With a weight of 2.2 million tons, an aircraft carrier made of ice would weigh exactly 48 times more than the tragic Titanic, but compared to the latter, the Hubbakuk would be unsinkable, all holes received during battles would be quickly repaired with the help of frozen water.
According to Pike's design, the Hubbakuk was to be built from pykerite, a mixture of water and sawdust. After freezing, this material acquires the hardness of concrete.
Unlike the ice block, which breaks when hit by bullets or other projectiles, pykerite ricochets bullets.
The inventor explained the advantages of his project: pykerite made it possible to significantly save metal, and also to build a ship in a very short time. It is not known how Pike managed to convince Lord Mountbatten of the genius of his idea, who in turn convinced Winston Churchill himself.
In his November 7, 1942 note, Churchill wrote: "Give great importance to the study of this idea." The British Prime Minister even managed to convince US President Roosevelt to participate in the project, but one of Roosevelt's technical advisers, Vannevar Bush, destroyed Pike's idea using the most convincing arguments.
“Undoubtedly, the construction of an aircraft carrier will lead to significant savings in metal. However, a large amount of precious metal must be used for the troughs through which the refrigerant fluid, Freon, flows. In addition, such a large ice aircraft carrier is almost impossible to control. The construction of the Hubbakuk will cost 80 million dollars, "a crazy sum for those times, especially in wartime.
The abandonment of the project did little harm to the British army, as technical evolution allowed them to equip their fighter planes with new engines, allowing them to fly longer, farther and faster. In addition, from August 1943, the Allies were granted permission from Portugal to use the Azores as an air base.
The inventor of the Habbakuk project committed suicide in 1948. The reason for the suicide was the failure of another project: he could not convince the leadership of the British army to build a system of tunnels that would allow ultra-fast delivery of soldiers by bailout between Burma and China using compressed air.