Desperate to find solutions to the U-boat threat during World War II, Britain drew up plans to build an unsinkable aircraft carrier out of ice. The brainchild of Geoffrey Pyke, the H.M.S. Habbakuk1 was to be made of a mixture of ice and wood pulp (dubbed “Pykrete,” after its inventor). Incredibly slow-melting, Pykrete could be hammered and sawed like wood. The 280,000 forty-foot cubes needed for construction would take eight months and 8,000 workers to make in Canada. Possessing a draft that promised to keep it out of most of the world’s harbors, the 2,000-foot-long “berg-ship” would displace 2 million tons.

In the end, however, the Habbakuk was never built. Land-based aircraft were attaining longer ranges, U-boats were being hunted down faster than they ... »

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