The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

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aurora
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The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:23 pm

The Escort Carrier or Escort aircraft carrier (hull classification symbol CVE), also called a "jeep carrier" or "baby flattop" in the United States Navy (USN) or "Woolworth Carrier" by the Royal Navy, was a small and slow type of aircraft carrier used by the Royal Navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy and Imperial Japanese Army Air Force, and the United States Navy in World War II.

They were typically half the length and a third the displacement of larger fleet carriers. While they were slower, carried fewer planes, and were less well armed and armored, escort carriers were cheaper and could be built quickly - this was their principal advantage, as escort carriers could be completed in greater numbers as a stop-gap when fleet carriers were scarce. However, the lack of protection made escort carriers particularly vulnerable and several were sunk with great loss of life.

In the Battle of the Atlantic, escort carriers were used to protect convoys against U-boats. Initially escort carriers accompanied merchant ships and fended off attacks from aircraft and submarines; later in the war, escort carriers were part of hunter-killer groups which sought out submarines instead of being attached to a particular convoy.

In the Pacific theater, CVEs provided air support of ground troops in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. They lacked the speed and weapons to counter enemy fleets, relying on the protection of a Fast Carrier Task Force. However, at the Battle off Samar, one U.S. task force of escort carriers managed to successfully defend itself against a much larger Japanese force of battleships and cruisers. The Japanese met a furious defence of carrier aircraft, screening destroyers, and destroyer escorts, proving that CVEs could appear to have the same striking power as full CVs.
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:04 pm

In the Atlantic, escort carriers originally stayed close to the convoys they were protecting. Over time, tactics evolved that enabled the Jeep carriers and their destroyer escorts to become independent "hunter-killer" groups. They could attack concentrations of U-boats at will and were no longer required to provide constant umbrella coverage for a convoy. This tactic was further refined by having the escort carrier groups concentrate their efforts in areas where U-boats met their supply submarines ("milch cows").

This operational phase was so successful that three Jeeps -- USS Core (CVE 13), USS Card (CVE 11) and USS Bogue (CVE 9) -- and their escorting destroyers sank a total of 16 U-boats and 8 milch cows in a period of 98 days. During this time, U-boats sank only one merchantman and shot down only three planes from the escort carriers. This loss of submarines, particularly the milch cows, was a severe blow to the German Navy. With diminished capability for refueling U-boats at sea, and with no friendly bases in the area, Admiral Karl Doenitz, commander of the German U-boat fleet, was forced to withdraw his remaining supply submarines and cancel all U-boat operations in the central Atlantic.
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:11 pm

The ships sent to the Royal Navy from USA were slightly modified, partly to suit the traditions of that service. Among other things the ice cream making machines were removed, since they were considered unnecessary luxuries on ships, which served grog and other alcoholic beverages. The heavy duty washing machines of the laundry room were also removed since "all a British sailor needs to keep clean is a bucket and a bar of soap" .
Other modifications were due to the need for a completely enclosed hangar when operating in the North Atlantic and in support of the Arctic convoys.
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by Garyt » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:40 am

The escort carriers were definitely of value for the US. They were able to do what they needed, and in what they were able to accomplish in the Atlantic alone they were well worth their weight, as it freed fleet carriers from the duty of ASW warfare. They did sink easier, it seems half were lost from kamikaze attacks, which would sink a fleet carrier or badly cripple it as with the Bunker Hill.

The Japanese "escorts" are another story. You have some as light carriers, like the Ryjo and Zuiho classes, I'd think these were more similar to the US CVL's like the independence. The were smaller than a fleet carrier, but could do almost 30 knots, able to keep up with the fleet (they were abut as fast as the Kaga).

The other carriers the Japanese had that could be considered escort carriers were the Hiyo and Taiyo class carriers. These were converted merchants, about 20-25k displacement, and 27-54 aircraft. These were not true "escorts" either, their displacement was similar to fleet carriers, the Taiyo class was a real bad bang for the buck as they were 20k displacement and only 27 aircraft. The Hito's were a bit better, 25k displacement, 54 aircraft, still not quite the aircraft you would want for the displacement but better than the Taiyo. But both were laking in armor and constructed to mercantile, not military standards so were easy to damage.

But the Hiyo's were used totally different than escort carriers, they supplemented the fleet carriers for the most part. providing much needed ocean going hangar space. The Taiyo's were indeed escort carriers, ferrying plans for much of he early part of the war, being used as true escort carriers beginning around late 1943.

I think they were valuable to a point to , providing carriers when Japan was limited in production, these carriers were forced into a combat role out of necessity. Were they of great value? Hard to say as by the time these came into use Japan was losing the war badly. But they were needed. Japan was struggling to put enough carriers in the ocean, so convoys would either have no protection or the resources of an escort.

It becomes a bit academic though by the time of Leyte Gulf. Japanese did not have nearly enough carrier qualified pilots and planes to fill a large fleet carrier by this time.

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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:12 am

A little ditty from the USN CVE;s

-----------------------------------------Cuts and Guts
Verse 1:--------------------------------------------------- Chorus:
Navy fliers fly off the big carriers..... Cuts and guts, cuts and guts.
Army fliers aren't seen oe'r the sea....The guys that make carriers are nuts. Are nuts!
But we're in the lousy Marine Corps... Cuts and guts, cuts and guts.
So we get these dang CVE's!,,,,, The guys that make carriers are nuts.
Verse 2:---------------------------------------------------- Verse 3:
O Midway has thousand-foot runways.Our catapult shots are so hairy,
And Leyte, eight hundred and ten.... Our catapult gear is red hot
We'd still not have much of a carrier.It never goes off when you're ready,
With two of ours laid end to end.,,,,, It always goes off when you're not!
Verse 4:---------------------------------------------------- Verse 5:
We envy the boys on the big ones..... Some day when this fracas is over
And we'd trade in a minute or two,... And back at El Toro we'll be,
'Cause we'd like to see those poor bastards,We'll load up with rockets and napalm
Try doing the things we do!...... And we'll sink every damned CVE!
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:01 am

The British navy favoured operating the escort carrier in close support of the convoy. The carrier captains were selected from the ranks of surface ship and submarine officers and the carriers sailed within the convoy formations under the close tactical control of the Admiralty ashore. The escort carrier was considered to be primarily a sea-going mobile platform from which aircraft could be flown.

The carriers aircraft were flown in patterns close in to the convoy designed to force the U-boats to remain submerged to escape detection which also inhibited their ability to move swiftly into attack position. Only those U-boats moving in close to and threatening the convoy were attacked. The carriers aircraft did not leave the convoy in order to actively hunt for and search out a U-boat if the U-boat was not an immediate threat to the convoy.

American escort carriers operated in a Task Group consisting of the carrier screened by 4 or 5 escorting destroyers; DDs or DEs, sometimes a mix of the two. The carriers were captained by senior naval aviators highly trained in aircraft carrier flight operations. The carrier captains were also in command of the Task Group in which the carrier was the flagship and they were allowed a high degree of freedom of action.

The American carrier commanders believed every U-boat detected should be pursued and destroyed in the belief that a U-boat only driven off was a U-boat set free to try again. This position was further bolstered by the knowledge that German U-boat production continued in spite of the intense air bombing of the yards in Hamburg and Kiel and that newly constructed U-boats were continually entering the war. If the U-boats were allowed sanctuary, sheer numbers of U-boats might eventually overwhelm the convoys at sea.
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by pgollin » Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:16 pm

.

You totally misunderstand the late war RN ASW tactics.

One MUST understand the difference between "Escort Groups" (essentially they stayed with a particular convoy) and "Support Groups" which cruised around going to specific convoys under threat or being sent to specific areas where U-Boats were operating.

With luck each "Escort Group" and "Support Group" would have its own escort carrier (or at the least the Escort Group would have one or two MACs) - so an important, or particularly threatened convoy might end up with 2 escort carriers from an Escort Group AND a Support Group, plus possibly one or two MACs (in addition there would be one or two tankers modified to act as "escort oilers".

AT LAST, by late war the Allies had the political will and the ships to protect the logistics required to supply the "Second Front" - only for the USN to withdraw many transports to the Pacific because of logistic failures there requiring ships to be used as "loating warehouses".

.

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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:03 pm

You totally misunderstand the late war RN ASW tactics.

One MUST understand the difference between "Escort Groups" (essentially they stayed with a particular convoy) and "Support Groups" which cruised around going to specific convoys under threat or being sent to specific areas where U-Boats were operating.

Well Mr Gollin-as I do understand quite fully the difference between Escort Groups and Support Groups-my father now deceased; served from 1941-44 in HMS Anemone (K48) in various Escort Groups including B4 EG-I have the Naval Historical Branch's full report on the Anemone,along with latter from them about Support Groups.I fail to comprehend your brash statement how "I totally misunderstand the late war RN ASW tactics"-I just hadn't got that far in the thread-I am still in the introductory stage of this topic However I would be interested to see a post on the late war RN ASW tactics,if you feel so inclined,at some time or other.
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by Steve Crandell » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:05 pm

pgollin wrote:.

You totally misunderstand the late war RN ASW tactics.

One MUST understand the difference between "Escort Groups" (essentially they stayed with a particular convoy) and "Support Groups" which cruised around going to specific convoys under threat or being sent to specific areas where U-Boats were operating.

With luck each "Escort Group" and "Support Group" would have its own escort carrier (or at the least the Escort Group would have one or two MACs) - so an important, or particularly threatened convoy might end up with 2 escort carriers from an Escort Group AND a Support Group, plus possibly one or two MACs (in addition there would be one or two tankers modified to act as "escort oilers".

AT LAST, by late war the Allies had the political will and the ships to protect the logistics required to supply the "Second Front" - only for the USN to withdraw many transports to the Pacific because of logistic failures there requiring ships to be used as "loating warehouses".

.
Please ... what is a "MAC"? Could you tell us more about the Pacific "logistic failures"?

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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:35 pm

HG 76 comprised 32 ships homeward bound from Gibraltar, many in ballast, or carrying trade goods.

There was a strong escort, consisting of 36th Escort Group, usually two sloops (Stork and Deptford) and seven corvettes (Convolvulus, Gardenia, Marigold, Penstemon, Rhodedendron, Samphire and Vetch) under the command of Capt FJ Walker RN; this force was augmented by the new escort carrier Audacity, and her three escorting destroyers, Blankney, Stanley and Exmoor II plus four other warships, the sloops Fowey and Black Swan, and the corvettes Carnation and La Malouine: A total of 17 warships.

Ranged against them was the wolfpack Seeräuber (Sea Robber, or Pirate) of six U-boats (U-67, U-107, U-108, U-131, U-434 and U-574), reinforced later by a further three boats
#
On 21st the three boats from Bordeaux, and the U-boats again prepared to attack.
Walker attempted to draw off the attack by having Deptford make a demonstration some way off from the convoy; This was unsuccessful, as some of the merchant ships were confused by the display, and also fired star-shells, revealing their position. U-567 was able to sink Annavore, while Bigalk, in U-751 sighted Audacity who had left the convoy screen, zig-zagging behind the convoy without her escort. He fired, and Audacity was sunk, hit by 3 torpedoes. Marigold, Vetch and Samphire counter-attacked, but without result. Only 12 survivors from Audacity

Later that night Deptford spotted a U-boat on the surface; she attacked, and dropped depth-charges, with no apparent result; however, post-war analysis revealed that she had sunk U-567. Following this Deptford collided with Stork, damaging them both.
During 22 Dec U-71 and U-751 remained in contact, to be joined by U-125 (en route to America), while HG 76 was reinforced by the destroyers Vanquisher and Witch.
On 23 December, Donitz, shaken by his losses and the lack of success, called off the attack; U-67, U-107, U-108 and U-751 returned to bases in France.

Despite the loss of Audacity and the three other ships, the safe arrival of 30 ships and the destruction of three U-boats ( U-127 was not included, and U-567 not confirmed until after the war) was judged to be an outstanding victory. It also confirmed Walker as the Royal Navy’s foremost expert in anti-submarine warfare.
The Admiralty issued an order forbidding escort carriers to leave the convoy screen if their primary duty was the protection of the convoy
Last edited by aurora on Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:38 pm

Merchant Aircraft Carrier (MAC) ships were British bulk grain ships and oil tankers fitted with flight decks enabling them to operate anti-submarine aircraft in support of Allied convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic.
Despite their quasi-military function, MACs retained their mercantile status, continued to carry cargo and operated under civilian command. MACs began entering service in May 1943 and although originally intended as an interim measure pending the introduction of escort carriers, they remained operational until the end of the war in Europe.
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by Steve Crandell » Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:04 pm

aurora wrote:Merchant Aircraft Carrier (MAC) ships were British bulk grain ships and oil tankers fitted with flight decks enabling them to operate anti-submarine aircraft in support of Allied convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic.
Despite their quasi-military function, MACs retained their mercantile status, continued to carry cargo and operated under civilian command. MACs began entering service in May 1943 and although originally intended as an interim measure pending the introduction of escort carriers, they remained operational until the end of the war in Europe.
Is this the ship type which launched Hurricane fighters but couldn't recover them?

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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:15 pm

No Steve this was the CAM ship-a very early RN attempt to get aircraft into the air against the convoy snoopers-FW Condors LR Recon.four engined aircraft
CAM ships were World War II-era British merchant ships used in convoys as an emergency stop-gap until sufficient escort carriers became available. CAM ship is an acronym for Catapult Aircraft Merchant ship. A CAM ship was equipped with a rocket-propelled catapult launching a single Hawker Hurricane, dubbed a "Hurricat" or "Catafighter". CAM ships continued to carry their normal cargoes after conversion.
And yes the pilot had to "ditch"-a dangerous trade!!!
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:01 pm

On September 26, 1942, USS Bogue, was commissioned. Born as Steel Advocate, a Type C3-class ship, she was converted as an escort carrier (CVE), laid down on October 1, 1941, and launched on January 15, 1942.

45 Bogue-class CVEs served in both the US Navy and the Royal Navy, under the lend-lease program. Under the British flag, they served as the Attacker-class.Bogue was named after “Bogue Sound”, a large bay within North Carolina. She joined the Atlantic Fleet in 1943, with a mixed fleet of Americans and British sailors to help the cooperation with British convoys. She would be one of the lead ships of the US hunter-killer doctrine, and proved very effective at her job.

Bogue’s first sorties didn’t result in any “kill”, until May 22, 1943, when she was credited with sinking U-569, a Type VIIC submarine.Her next (and fifth) sortie yielded 2 victories on June 12: U-217 (type VIID) and U-118 (type XB). Her 6th sortie was unproductive, but she renewed with success on her 7th sortie, where her aircraft destroyed U-527 (type-IXC/40).

All in all, Bogue’s group (including her escort destroyers) were credited for 12 submarine kills: 10 German and 2 Japanese, proving how effective the hunter-killer doctrine was. Bogue was decommissioned in 1946 and sold for scrap in 1960.
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Re: The CVE in WW2-was it a real asset??

Post by aurora » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:32 pm

Under the command of Captain Aurelius as Vosseller and the “composite squadron 69″ aboard the USS Bogue left on 5th Hampton Roads in May 1944, accompanied by the escorts Haverfield, Francis M. Robinson, Janssen, Willis and Wilhoite. On 13 May pinpointed the Francis M. Robinson northwest of the Cape Verde Islands, a submarine and attacked it with Hedgehogs. The Japanese submarine RO-501, formerly D 1224 the German Navy, sank with all hands.

On 29 May ran the association in a Casablanca, 15 May left the U-Hunting Association North Africa again to secure a convoy. On the same day the Bogue and her escorts were ordered about 850 nautical miles west of the Cape Verde Islands to track down a German and a Japanese submarine. On the night of 24 June an Avenger torpedo bomber, flown by Lieutenant Commander Jesse D. Taylor pinpointed a Japanese submarine I-52- via radar. I-52, traveling to Bordeaux with 285 tons of war-strategic freight for the German Reich, including molybdenum, tungsten and rubber, 14 Japanese technicians and 3 tons of gold in 146 bars as payment for German engineering, had a few hours before met with U 530, that two radio operator, a pilot n and a Naxos radar detector was transferred aboard the Japanese vessel.

The pilot of the submarine Avenger illuminated by flares, then he dropped two 500-pound depth charges, forcing I-52 for diving. Guided by sonar buoys, Taylor attacked the submarine with a Mark-24 torpedo, the explosion could be heard clearly. Also sounds of submarine shattering were recorded by sonarbuoys. About an hour later heard another Avenger, flown by Lt. (Jg) William Gordon, still screws noise, whereupon another Mark-24 torpedo was dropped. 18 minutes after the dropping of a severe, prolonged underwater explosion occurred and there were sounds of shattering recorded.

Destroyers rushed to scene, found a large oil slick on the water surface and also parts of the of the submarine. Survivors were not found. With a displacement of 3644 tons, was the largest IJN submarine sunk during the Battle of the Atlantic.
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