How big are the aircraft carriers in Girls und Panzer?
Type that into Google and I bet that search results providing a numerical, quantitative value will probably be very difficult to come by, at least until this post is indexed. This post aims to not only rectify that, but also a rather misleading Google Search result as a consequence of my captioning one of my images in an unusual manner. I’ve noticed that one of the images I’ve posted here were unintentionally indexed to Google Images, meaning that if one were to do a search for the UNSC Infinity and its size, they would likely come across an image depicting the Ooarai school vessels from Girls und Panzer. That is to say, searching for something would turn out meaningless, unrelated results; of course, this is unsportsmanlike of me to do so.
- The size of the aircraft carriers in Girls und Panzer are always a bit of a surprise for those who learn of its dimensions for the first time: at 7.6 kilometers long, the Ooarai carrier is actually one of the smaller ones in the Girls und Panzer universe. Despite dwarfing the Imperial II Star Destroyer and UNSC Infinity, the Executor-class Star Destroyers are 19 kilometers in length (2.5 times that of the Ooarai carrier), and Covenant Super-Carrier is roughly 3.81 times longer, at 28.96 kilometers in length; the largest of the school ships would be smaller than these leviathans.
- Figure I: Size comparison between the Ooarai school ship, the UNSC Infinity and other well-known vessels. Because I’m awesome, I was able to reverse engineer some images to form this comparison. The Ooarai vessel is actually one of the smaller vessels in the series. The figure of 7.6 kilometres will be used for subsequent calculations, which are only an estimate.
With this in mind, I have come across discussions concerning the size of the vessels in the anime, which are sufficiently large as to carry small towns on their surface. Thus, the UNSC Infinity from Halo 4 will be used as a yardstick of sorts to carry out the comparison. As a bit of background reading, the INF-101 UNSC Infinity was commissioned into the UNSC Navy following the end of the Human-Covenant war in 2553, Infinity represents the pinnacle of Human technology, incorporating recovered technology from both the Covenant and Forerunners, boasting advanced defensive and slipstream technologies. Infinity is approximately 5.6 kilometres (3.5 miles) from bow to stern, making it the largest known UNSC vessel to date. Said to possess Forerunner technology, Infinity features substantially improved shielding and slipstream technology relative to its predecessors.
- This image comparing the UNSC Infinity to the Forward Unto Dawn can be expanded for more detail. Aside from their armour complement, the ships in Girls und Panzer are largely undefended and do not appear to have airfields. Moreover, they do not appear to have heavy armour plating. In comparison, the Infinity is heavily armed as a warship; aside from four CR-08 Series-8 Mass Accelerator Cannons, a substantial missile network consisting of 1100 missile pods is present to enable ship-to-ship combat, anti-air defense and orbital support for ground forces. Close-in defense against enemy missiles, fighters, and boarding craft is provided by the ship’s M965 Fortress point defense system, which consists of a network of 830 70mm automatic cannons. It also had a number of Mark 2488 Magnetic Accelerator Cannon’s on the top of the ship. Finally, Infinity’s most powerful weapons appear to be two bow-mounted energy weapons that are powerful enough to penetrate Forerunner armour.
- While the Infinity was originally built to combat the Covenant in the event that Earth had fallen, the end of the Human-Covenant War meant that this function would no longer be necessary. Thus, the vessel would be re-purposed as an expeditionary and exploratory ship, as well as being the location of a SPARTAN-IV training site. Infinity is assigned the task of locating Forerunner installations and establish nearby bases to oversee their decommissioning at the beginning of the events in Halo 4.
By comparison, information regarding the school ships in Girls und Panzer was released prior to the start of the season. The original documentation gives us the precise dimensions of the Ooarai carrier. The scan finds that the carrier is 7.6 km in length, with a beam of 1.1 km, and a maximum height of 900 metres. Citations are always more reliable than estimation. One fan guessed that the Ooarai carrier was 600 m long; rather than engage in a long discussion, it’s rather more efficient to simply produce some documentation. This already blows the UNSC Infinity out of the water in size, but you have to remember that the Infinity has…you guessed it, Forerunner technology and two of the most powerful bow-mounted guns seen on any human vessel.
- From left to right, we have the St. Gloriana vessel and the Ooarai vessel. Using a comparison image derived from the “School Ship War” OVA, some rudimentary arithmetic will find that the St. Gloriana ship, the HMS Ark Royal, has a maximum length of 13.24 kilometers.
- The Pravda vessel is depicted to the right here. These images are limited in showing the vessel’s full sizes, and so, the Pravda school ship, known as the Kiev, could be quite difficult to estimate the size for. The full image of all the school ships allows this computation to be carried out more easily: the same technique used to estimate the HMS Ark Royal’s length, when applied here, finds the Kiev to have a length of 13.79 km.
Thus, given that the Ooarai vessel is 7.6 km long, I conclude that the St. Gloriana vessel is 13.24 km long, and the Pravda vessel is 13.79 km in length. It is important to note that these estimations are purely based on the assumption that the aircraft carriers follow very specific standards, so there is a possibility that the actual dimensions may vary by up to 10 percent. The UNSC Infinity was stated to have a length of 5.6 km, making it smaller than the all of these vessels. There are considerable structural challenges when constructing any vessel of this scale: humanity required the use of Forerunner technology to make the Infinity possible, and it stands to reason that ocean-borne vessels larger than the Infinity would be even more challenging. However, given that both Halo 4 and Girls und Panzer are fictional, a rational viewer is willing to suspend their disbelief and enjoy the series for what they are. While Halo 4, being a science-fiction game, does do a more thorough job of accounting for the construction of its mega-vessels compared Girls und Panzer, this does not affect the anime in any way and ends up making the ships’ sizes more of a fun point to consider. At the very least, this post should compensate viewers for being misdirected to an anime blog when they were in fact looking for UNSC Infinity related materials.