May 01, 2013

Something Strange And Wonderful

So the other day I was searching for pictures of the USS Liscome Bay when the contents of a thumbnail caught my eye and made me do a metaphorical doubletake.  I simply could not for the life of me figure out what I was looking at.  Of course I had to click on it.

Click the pic for much bigger
And then I started to laugh.  The USS Thetis Bay, CVE-90, with deck-parked PBY Catalinas as she ferries them back to California in 1944.  I've never seen anything like that before!  I looked a little closer, and realized there was also a J2F Duck on deck, to boot!  The Hellcats pale by comparison.  I guess it makes perfect sense to ferry PBYs like this... it's not like they could fly the entire way on their own, particularly when they've been beaten up like these ones... but you just don't expect to see them dwarfing the carrier they're on.

It reminds me of the C-130 landing on a supercarrier: sure, it works, but man does it look weird.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:28 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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1 Hmmm...I seen that picture before but never had the time to see which carrier it was.  So that was LPH-6 was doing in its earlier incarnation?

Posted by: cxt217 at May 01, 2013 09:59 PM (A3Mut)

2 It really throws off one's sense of scale to look at that picture, man. Cool!

Posted by: GreyDuck at May 01, 2013 10:00 PM (xbP2x)

3 In terms of scale, these "jeep" carriers (CVE= "carrier, escort") were small and fairly fragile to begin with but punched waaaay above their weight in the closing years of WWII. Look what Capt. Gallery did with the USS Guadalcanal, or the incredible actions of "Taffy-3" at the Battle of Samar.

Posted by: JT at May 02, 2013 06:52 AM (iStSI)

4 Actually, three such task forces at Samar. TF-3 dumped off all its planes as early as it could, and to the extent that they continued participating in the battle it was operations from ground fields. Meanwhile, two other task forces of CVE's, which the Japanese never found and never even suspected were there, were flying off their planes as fast as they could, and in turn reloading and sending them out again as fast as they could. It was a terrifying day and came out better than they had any right to expect, but TF-3 doesn't deserve all the glory. (Even though they took most of the casualties.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 02, 2013 05:42 PM (+rSRq)

5 Exactly, Steven.  I merely used TF-3 and Guadalcanal as probably the most visible examples of the type.  To be honest, the kudos actually go to the sailors that manned these baby flattops and believed in the ship, themselves, and their training to the point they were able to do what they did.

Posted by: JT at May 03, 2013 06:54 AM (iStSI)

6 CVEs had respectable striking power, since they generally carried about half as many planes as a CV, or about as many as a CVL. The main thing CVEs gave away was speed. CVs and CVLs were about 10 knots faster. On the other hand they were a lot cheaper and quicker to build than CVs or CVLs, which is why so many of them got built during the war. And since they were built on cargo ship hulls, they were fast enough to escort convoys of cargo ships, which is what they were originally intended for.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 03, 2013 10:54 AM (+rSRq)

7

 Actually, three such task forces at Samar.

Ahem - Officially, Taffy 1 to 3 were Task Units, conponents of Task Groups (Such as the four carrier task groups of Task Force 38.) that made up a Task Force (TF 77 in the case of the CVEs.), following USN practice.  Yes, the scheme can also go smaller (Task Elements).

CVEs had respectable striking power, since they generally carried about half as many planes as a CV, or about as many as a CVL.

Depends on which navy and which CVE/CV.  With the exception of RANGER, all USN CVs could carry about 2.5-3.0 or more aircrafts compared to a CVE.  The Royal Navy was closer in respective capacity (And it is a sad testimony on the design limitations of the armored CVs built by the Brits that forced the majority of carrier-based British Corsairs to operate off their CVE instead of the big boy

The main thing CVEs gave away was speed. CVs and CVLs were about 10 knots faster.s.)

The USN concluded that speed was only advantage the INDEPENDENCE class CVLs had over the better escort carriers (The SANGAMON class, which were even pressed into emergency duty temping for fleet carriers during the CV shortage of 1943.) in terms of aircraft handling.  The SANGAMON might have been more survivable, given their origins as fast tankers.  The CVEs did lack armor especially around their munition storage, but so did the INDEPENDENCE class, which eventually forced a revision of the CVE's magazine space at the cost of carrying capacity.

The earlier CVEs were not nearly as good, but acceptable for the duties of convoy defense - hence the moniker the RN used when considering them pre-WW2 as 'trade protection carriers.'

Posted by: cxt217 at May 03, 2013 01:38 PM (A3Mut)

8 How roomy is the inside of a Catalina? Could you, say, furnish it and turn it into a flying houseboat? Cuz that would be cool.

Posted by: andy at May 03, 2013 04:39 PM (R9Rm2)

9 CXT, there's a reason I called the Sangamons "The Best of the Jeeps".

Andy, roomy enough.

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 03, 2013 09:14 PM (9jITs)

10 See!  I knew it was a good idea! (The fact that it's already been done means it's a good idea, right?) As long as one stays away from Saudi Arabia, I suppose. And now I know the source of the "abandoned PBY on the beach" photos, which I didn't before.

Posted by: andy at May 04, 2013 08:07 AM (R9Rm2)

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