Long Island class (1940)

US Navy ww2 Escort Aircraft Carriers USS Long Island, USS Charger (CVE-1, CVE-30)

WW2 first escort aircraft carrier

The USS Long island (CVE-1) is probably forgotten today in the mass of aircraft carriers built by the United States during WW2, but is was the equivalent of the British HMS Audacity: The quick conversion of a merchant freighter as a light auxiliary aircraft carrier for the sole purpose of convoy escort. USS Long Island was the first of such conversions, an experiment followed by the much improved USS Charger (CVE-30) in 1942. She was indeed the first completed, in June 1941, before the United States were at war. A prototype, for future conversions and for convoy escort in the Atlantic even before the US were officially at war. And to follow requested lend-lease aircraft carrier transfers to the Royal Navy.

USS Long Island with its measure 12 camouflage in early 1942
USS Long Island with its measure 12 camouflage in early 1942

Long Island in fact preceded many other classes: The lend-lease Avenger, Attacker, and Ameer class, the Bogue class, the Sangamon class (based on T3 tankers), and the mass-produced "jeep carriers" from Henry J. kaiser's yards (Casablanca class) or the larger Commencement Bay class. These numerous "baby flat-tops" served both in the Atlantic, contributing to greatly hamper the U-Boat campaign, but also covered amphibious landings in the Pacific until the end of the war. Cheap and quick to built, they had however limited capacity and small air groups, and were too slow to follow the fleet. That was, in a nutshell, the CVE concept, where "E" stood for "Escort".

A bit of context: USN "quasi war" with Germany (1941)

Historians commonly retained the 7 of december, 1941, and formal declaration of war to start the WW2 countdown for the United States, but in reality, the active participation of the US Navy in convoy escort in 1941, almost guaranteed "hot" encounters with German submarines. It happened as there was the famous end-lease agreement with Great Britain to provide armaments and suppplies. They needed to cross the atlantic, on British but also US flag ships. Roosevelt's Neutrality Act of 1939 already persuaded the Congress a "cash and carry" system in which French or British Ships would take the supplies they need on harbors or at the frontier with Canada for example, but by December 1940 Britain’s PM Churchill worryingly announced that with currency and gold reserves dwindling, his country would not be able to pay cash for military supplies or shipping for long, so a leasing system setup in place: In March 1941, at last the Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act.

uss reuben james
USS Reuben James, sank by U-552 on 31 October 1941.

From then on also, as U-Boats already started to rampage the atlantic and beyond, and this included that U.S. food and war materials were shipped to Britain on US-flag ships. Soon with the activity of u-Bootes well into the mid-atlantic the question of escort was asked, and it was soon made clear by both admiralty due to the limited range of aviation, that the Royal Navy would provide and effective escort up to mid-atlantic, and the US Navy neutality patrols started to also diverge ships to provide escort aso to mid-atlantic. There was still a large gap in between, in which U-Boates operated.

It was hard for USN captains to see American cargo ships sunk under their protection. Soon also they spotted submersibles or persicopes and that was equally hard not to take action. The neutrality rules just stated that USN ships were not supposed to engage any enemy vessel until threatened themselves. It was unclear however if this applied indirectly, for cargo vessels under USN escort. Technically, Rooselevl ably manouvered the congress and opinion into making the USN the the front line in America’s defense against Nazi Germany. The Times of London itself couned the “forward strategy despite a neutral status.” Since this was to be a forward defense reaching far into the Atlantic, the U.S. Navy was to be fully committed, and the dreaded "rules of engagements", on both sides, soon went out of the window. Despite Dönitz's strict instructions, careless U-Boat commanders started to attack all nation's ships in growing numbers in 1941. The destroyer USS Niblack fired the first shots; dropping depth charges on a U-boat while conducting rescue operations near a torpedoed Dutch freighter, off the coast of Greenland on April 10, 1941.

“Belligerent Neutrality” was defined by Joint Chiefs of Staff after January 29, 1941. After two months, it resulted in more clearly defined American assignments in what was in effect, an undeclared war. Roosevelt set guiding principles for a combined strategy with the British and the USN course of action would be conservative until its strength developed for a more effective action. Convoy escort rules were defined at that time. The “belligerent neutrality.” meant from new on, protection of the Atlantic convoy routes became part of the American security policy, and that the USN would take a more active aprt in it, which included softened engagement rules. By May 1941 it was accepted that a captain could, and should, on its own initiative, attack on sight or detected by sonar any U-Boat. On April 18, Admiral King issued Operation Plan 3-41, defining transgression lines, areas where any sighted U-Boat should be attacked and sunk on sight. At the same times, after hundred of British merchant losses, American vessels replaced these in growing numbers in the Atlantic. Transfers of Freighters and oilers were made. Soon the exclusion zone was widened northwards: On June 7, the president approved the “Basic Joint Army and Navy Plan for Defense of Greenland,” which defined the Northeast Greenland Patrol. Greenland itself became a massive mid-atlantic base, integral to the lend-lease organization, notably for planes.

Depht charges dropped during the battle of the Atlantic
Depht charges dropped during the battle of the Atlantic

On June 20, 1941, U-203 tried to get into a firing position against the battleship USS Texas, when sighted, while another sank the SS Robin Moore on June 27. In August, USN ships now escorted convoys on a regular basis, not just diverted from neutrality patrols, in effect violating previous neutality stance, and giving more opportunities of both sides to met in combat. On September 4, U-652 attacked the American destroyer USS Greer and as a result, President Rooselevelt ordered the "shoot on sight" instruction, not only in exclusion zones but for all ships involved in convoy escort. In response, Admiral Raeder soon agreed wth Hitler that no quarters would be made between US and British ships, and U-Boat captains were now freed for any limitations. The Kriegsmarine defined by then a “locally restricted declaration of war.”. Still public opinion was 62% favourable to the president's policy. In September, the British Admiralty Submarine Tracking Room started to send data to the US admiralty on a regular basis, and coordination reached a new level. Convoy HX150 was in September 16, the first entirely U.S. protected convoy, seeing underway a duel between USS Truxton and an unidentified U-Boat, while several cargoes were sunk. In October, admiral King's Atlantic fleet had grow to a significant size: Seven battleships, five cruisers, eight light cruisers, 87 destroyers, and four aircraft carriers were deployed, plus numerous long-range air patrols, from the Carribean to Greenland. On October 17, USS Kearny was badly damaged after a torpedo attack and USS Reuben James, sunk on the 31. By force, president Roosevelt ordered to place the Coast Guard under supervision of the US Navy, normally a wartime measure, symbolic of the level of tension and commitment before December. None expected the war to start on the other side. Designed for the Atlantic, USS Long Island was sent to the Pacific...

Genesis of the Long Island conversion

HMS Audacity: Almost the first (1941)

hms audacity

The advantages of aviation to spot U-Boats and intercept spies such as the FW-200 Condor, while fleet carriers were needed elsewhere, litterally screamed for the construction of light, cheap carriers quickly converted from existing hulls, fully dedicated to convoy escort. Being the pioneer of aircraft carriers, the Royal Navy already looked at the idea in 1939, but nothing really came from it, at least until late 1940 when the situation in the Atlantic was definitively degrading fast. However, British industrial capacities, at full, could not spare men and materials for any of these hypothetic escort carriers from scratch. However, fate intervened. SS Hannover (5537 Tjb), a recent (launched 29 March 1939) German freighter, was captured in the Dutch Indies in March 1940. The admiralty found to be the perfect candidate for such conversion. Renamed Empire Audacity, she served little time under her new maritime board.

She was very quickly converted (Between January and June) at Blythe Shipyard to be sent back in the Atlantic as soon as possible, as an experiment: To simplify design and conversion time, There was no island superstructure, a wooden flight deck with arrestor cables built over the main deck, but no catapult, no lift, nor true hangar. The barebone CV, renamed HMS Audacity, carried only six aircraft on board, stowed at the stern and covered by tarpaulins when not in use. Her large holds stored fuel and ammunition aplenty, well beyond the need of its small air group, so she could also act as supply ship and continue her service as merchant vessel as well. She entered service in June 1941, a mere 19 days after USS Long Island was commissioned, but was way more primitive in its general concept. Her career was short, as she was sank by U 571 on 21 December 1941. The idea was to resurface rapidly with many more conversions in this style, the MAC or "merchant aircraft carriers" of the "Empire class" (not to be confounded with the "merchant auxiliary cruisers"). Having little merchant vessels to spare, the admiralty turned to the US to procure them six siblings. They were suprised to find that the Bureau of Ships already worked on the subject since March...

In search of a suitable hull

USS Hercules, the first C3 cargo in 1940
USS Hercules, the first C3 cargo in 1940

The Mormacmail was a C3 Cargo, requisitioned by the US Navy on 6 March 1941. By that time, the USN was not yet implicated in active convoy escort. So the main concern back then was for the admiralty to just experiment and conduct tests, to prove the feasibility of aircraft operations, from converted cargo ships. The idea was tempting indeed. The need to replace British merchant losses in 1941 led to the United States Maritime Commission (1936) to define new type of standard cargo to be built faster and cheaper. Back in 1936, the goal to to design and build five hundred modern merchant cargo ships, in order to replace World War I vintage vessels, many of which has been previously defined by MARCOM's preecessor, the United States Shipping Board. The war just came out to make this process more urgent.

The C3 Cargo emerged from this program. It was one of the six standards setup by MARCOM: The Liberty ships, Victory ships, and earlier Type C1, C2, C3, C4 freighters and T2 tankers. In 1945 this represented a grand total of 5,777 ocean-going merchant and naval ships. Many would serve almost until the 1990s. They found many roles: Assault and Command ships but also escort aircraft carriers. The C3 was a rather large cargo, as the third type. The C1 (1937) was a 3,805 to 6,000 tonnes GRT, the C2 (1938) was a 5,443 DWT (AF-11), and the C3 (1940) was defined as a 7,800 gross tons vessel with a Displacement of 12,000 deadweight tons.

The C3 cargo became one of the most common standard freighter in WW2: 465 were built during the war. This was more than other types, but less than victory and Liberty Ships, the workhorse of sea trade during the war. This size of th C3 was indeed well suited, as it was found, for the conversion into the Bayfield and Windsor-class attack transports, or the Klondike-class destroyer tenders, among others, and to test the waters for an escort aicraft carrier (In the USN nomenclature, "CVE", "E" standing of course for "Escort".

In 1940, indeed, U.S. Admiral William Halsey already recommended construction of naval auxiliaries for pilot training. In early 1941 the British, in need for new carriers, asked the U.S. to build six on an improved "Audacity" type design, but at that time, a design was already prepared by Bureau of Ships: On 1 February 1941, the United States Chief of Naval Operations gave priority to these "naval auxiliaries" for aircraft transport and they were referred at first as "auxiliary aircraft escort vessels" or "AVG", in February 1942. This was changed as auxiliary aircraft carrier (ACV) on 5 August 1942, and finally CVE. USS Long Island was followed by USS Archer, a near-sister ship, and the Avenger and Bogue-class escort carriers. They also inspired the construction, later, of the "Jeep Carriers", not based on an existing design but built from the keel up, still in record time. Most of the recipes used by BuShips in the conversion of the former collier Jupiter, renamed USS Langley, were reused to gain time.

Design

USS Long Island under conversion at Newport News Shipbuilding Virginia 1 April 1941</em>
USS Long Island under conversion at Newport News Shipbuilding Virginia 1 April 1941

The hull later used was laid down on 7 July 1939, as the C-3 cargo liner Mormacmail, under Maritime Commission contract. She was built by the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Chester (Pennsylvania), in Yard No 185. She was launched on 11 January 1940 sponsored by Miss Dian B. Holt. She was in completion when acquired acquired by the Navy on 6 March 1941. She was subsequently converted and later commissioned on 2 June 1941 as USS Long Island, AVG-1; Her first commander was Donald B. Duncan.

Compared to the conversion of Audacity, the one for USS Long Island was much greater in scope, but as amazing as it was, it took less time to perform: The Mormacmail was requisitioned by the US Navy on 6 march 1941 for conversion, and she was completed and commissioned on 2 june 1941, so about four months, for a ship than could carry 21 planes, artillery, a lift, a hangar, and a catapult. So quite more advanced compared to the Audacity, although loosing its merchant payload in the process. The other tradeoff of the design was the absence of an island, corrected on subsequent designs, like the USS Charger. She displaced 11,300 tonnes standard, 14,050 fully loaded, for a length of 141.7 meters at the waterline, 150 meters overall, for 21.2 meters at the waterline and 31.1m overall at deck level, and a draught of 7.66 meters fully loaded.

Blueprint of the Long Island in 1944
Blueprint of the Long Island in 1944, after receiving her light AA.

As completed she saw her main deck used as hangar deck, a common feature for aircraft carriers, and the deck mounted above. The deck was actually shorter than the hull, missing about 10 meters aft to the stern and the forward deck ending about 20 meters short of the prow. The latter was tall and guaranteed an excellent heavy weather tenure. The freed space was used for the crew to man the winch and harbor rigging, greased the anchors chains. The aft part of the bow deck ended where the hangar started and two 3-in guns were placed on the broadside, one each. The deck was actually not flat, but accused a slight recess backwards (the front was about one meter higher than the aft landing deck). This was to ease braking by gravity for landing planes of a shorter surface. The slight angle forward also helped planes to take off also.

The hull alongside the three-level high hangar was semi-enclosed along the forward part of the hangar, with side galleries, and utility intermediate decks fitted with two small boats and many inflatable rescue boats. The most part of the forward hangar was open, like on USS Langley, the closest conversion made so far. The small boats were winched to the sea under a portico. The aft part of the hangar deck was entirely closed. The was an overhang also over the poop, leaving space to place the main defensive gun of the ship: A 5-in/51 standard dual purpose gun.

The short runway was separated in twi area: The forward section, about 1/3 of the total which comprised a catapult on the left, leaving the right free to srore planes, waiting to be catapulted. The 2/3 aft deck were reserved for landing. It comprised twelve arrestor hooks: A first group of four aft of the rectangular lift, one above it, and four far apart, followed by three extra close "emergency cables" behind the catapult, in case a heavier plane missed all the former. As said above, there was no island, instead a pole past was installed left of the flight deck, supporting a platform o which was installed an air surveillance radar, and aft, another mast carrying antennae and another small surface radar. Large communication antennae were installed aft and two cranes on either side of the flight deck.

Machinery



A main complaint of the first commander of the ship, as a C3 cargo she kept the same machinery: Four Bush-Sulzer diesels, which provided a modest output of 8,500 shp( 6,300 kW), for a maximum speed of 16.5 knots. This was well suited for convoy escort, but barely enough to distance a surfaced U-Boat. She also carried 1,365 tons of diesel oil, providing her with a range of 8,000 nm. She had a single shaft and thus was not very agile.

Armament

The ship was completed in June 1941 with three main artillery pieces: The main 4-inches 50 caliber Mark 9 standard of the USN (102 mm) aft of the ship in an enclosed cradle at the poop. The arc of fire was about 180° aft, but a bit more due to its location and the clearance gave by the high overhanging deck.

This armament was completed by proper long range AA guns, a pair of standard 3-inch/50-caliber gun Mark 20. They were placed on either side of the stern deck: 15–20 rpm, 2,700 ft/s (820 m/s) mzv, range 14,600 yards, 30,400 ft AA ceiling.

There was no light armament, which was added later, four 12.7 mm AA (Browning M2HB) during a 1942 refit and later placed on all four angles of the flight deck, and in 1944, twenty 20 mm Oerlikon AA guns under masks, placed in tandem in five side sponsons along the deck, high enough to fire at any angle and cover the whole flight deck.

USS Long Island Air groups

Between her hangar capacity and deck capacity she could carry as aplan transport up to 30 aircraft, a role she took in 1944.
She had limited capacity compared to the USS Charger, and both carried relatively small planes (no TBD Avenger for example), and it must be said, second-rate planes no longer used on fleet carriers, which had the best air groups available. In June 1941, USS Long Island operated ten Curtiss SOC Seagull, the wheeltrain version, and six Curtiss SBC Helldiver.

The SOC was a wheeled version of a standard observation floatplane served as reconnaissance plane and bomber. The Curtiss SBC was also a biplane, the standard navy dive bomber before its replacement by the Devastator.

Brewster F2A Buffalo: 8 Brewster F2A Buffalos and 8 Curtiss SOC-3 Seagulls, so 16 planes in all constituted the carrier air group by December. At last she received a monoplane fighter. The second as fighter. The reputation of the F2A-3 however, was disastrous due to numerous additions making it overweight, and having a too fragile wheeltrain.

VS-201 or Scouting Squadron 201 was a training unit, operating on USS Long Island. In 1943, they started to be replaced by F4Fs -to great relief of the crews. USS Long Island's Wildcats stayed in service basically until the end of her service in 1945, going from the F-3 to the F-4 standard. VMF-211 then had its remaining Buffaloes relegated as a local defence on Palmyra Atoll, possibly at the end of the summer 1941. In June 1944 as shown in a photo, she carried 21 Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters, 20 Douglas SBD Dauntless scout bombers and two Grumman J2F Duck utility planes, all stored on her deck and later disembarked via cranes on delivery.

In punctual operations, she also carried the Douglas SBD Dauntless, when acting as "taxi", delivering them to Guadalcanal, Henderson field in August 1942. They never operated onboard as a permanent unit.


Accident with a F2A-3, VMF-211, USS Long Island, 25 July 1942.


Seagull SOC-3A from VS-201 onboard AVG-1, 16 Dec. 1941


Grumman F4F-4 onboard USS Long Island, 1943 (author's illustration)


USS Long Island Norfolk Naval Shipyard Portsmouth Virginia 18 October 1941

The relatively cramped hangar is evident here, as she carried the nimble F-4F in June 1942
The relatively cramped hangar of CVE-1 is evident here, as she carried the nimble F-4F in June 1942 (Navsource).

USS Long Island Pearl Harbor Hawaii on 17 July 1942
USS Long Island Pearl Harbor Hawaii on 17 July 1942

USS Long Island underway on 25 May 1943
USS Long Island underway, 25 May 1943

USS Long Island underway Puget Sound Washington 11 February 1944
USS Long Island underway Puget Sound Washington 11 February 1944

USS Long Island, San Francisco Bay, 10 June 1944
USS Long Island, San Francisco Bay, 10 June 1944

USS Long Island at anchor, Ulithi circa 1945
USS Long Island at anchor, Ulithi circa 1945

The USS Long Island in service

In the months prededing the attack on Pearl Harbor, from June to December, USS Long Island operated off Norfolk, Virginia, experimented with landings and take-off operations for the US Navy. The goal was to prove the feasibility of such operations from converted cargo ships. Gathered informations were reported to the admiralty, which confirmed further conversion orders, and generated specific documentation for pilots and crews on such reduced platforms. All in all, USS Long Island greatly improved combat readiness for future small escort carriers, called by pilots "baby flattops".

After December 1941, CVE-1 escorted a convoy to Newfoundland, carrying planes, and qualifying carrier pilots at Norfolk, before sailing our for the West Coast on 10 May 1942, crossing the panama canal and reaching San Francisco on 5 June 1942. CVE-1 joined on arrival Admiral William S. Pye's Task Force One (TF 1). The latter comprised seven battleships, survivors or Pearl and transferred from the Atlantic, providing air cover at sea. TF 1 was tasked to protect the US West Coast, but also to beef up Admiral Chester Nimitz's forces after the Battle of Midway. USS long island however left TF 1 on 17 June, returning to the West Coast to resume its earlier role of carrier pilot training. Like USS Langley, she specialized in training CVE pilots for most of the remainder of the war.

USS Long Island departed San Diego on 8 July, heading to Pearl Harbor, reached on 17 July. She trained south to Palmyra Island, and loaded two squadrons of USMC aircraft bound for the South Pacific (Notably Guadalcanal), reaching her deployment area on 2 August and reaching Fiji on 13 August. She steamed to an area 200 mi (170 nmi; 320 km) southeast of Guadalcanal to launched the 19 Grumman F4F Wildcats and 12 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers she carried, and these planes were te first to land of the recently reclaimed Henderson Field. They became instrumental in the subsequent operations over Guadalcanal, achieving an lmpressive war record and generating aces. USS Long Island retired to safety while being reclassified ACV-1 on 20 August and reached Efate Island in the New Hebrides (23 August 1942).

USS Long Island with its measure 12 camouflage in early 1942
Long Island in November 1941 showing her air group on deck, Seven SOC Seagull floatplanes and one F2A3 Buffalo fighter.

USS Long Island operations at Guadalcanal were later immortalized in the movie "Flying Leathernecks". The aircraft carrier returned to the West Coast on 20 September and all along the year 1943, she spent her time training escort carrier pilots at San Diego, reclassified in between CVE-1 (15 July 1943). In 1944 she interrupted her training service to be used as airplanes/ aircrew transport, from the US West Coast to outposts in the Pacific, to prepare subsequent operations. The war ended as she was returning back to pick up soldiers, sailors and materials afterwards, back home: This was her participation to the Operation Magic Carpet.

Post-war career was a second, civilian life. It was theorized during her conversion in 1941 that it would be easy to convert her back as a civilian vessel. She still had value as such, being a recent ship. As an aircraft carrier however she was no longer needed in her role, largely seen as transitional and dictated by war operations only. She was decommissioned on 26 March 1946, at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Stricken from the Register on 12 April 1946, she was sold at auction to the Zidell Dismantling Company, Portland, Oregon, on 24 April 1947. However on 12 March 1948, Canada-Europe Line, which was searching for affordable hulls to use, like many other postwar maritime companies, purchased the ship for conversion to merchant service.
The conversion was performed quickly and completed in 1949. She started service under a new name, Nelly, as an immigrant carrier on the Europe-Australia-Canada lines. In 1953, she was renamed Seven Seas and by 1955, chartered to the German Europe-Canada Line. On 17 July 1965, a massive fire broke out on board. She was towed to St John's in Newfoundland and later repaired. She sailed the last time on 13 September 1966 and purchased again by Rotterdam University. She was used as a floating students' hostel until 1971. She became afterwards a migrant hostel, until 1977, but by then the old hull was decrepit and she was scrapped in Belgium.

USS Charger: Conversion and design differences

USS Charger in port, June 1942
USS Charger in port, June 1942

The United States Maritime Commission (MC) granted Sun Shipbuilding funds to built four C3-P&C cargo/passenger liners, on 29 November 1939. Unit cost was $2,720,800, and among these, "Rio de la Plata" was the third sister-ship built at this yard in Chester, Pennsylvania, for the Moore-McCormack company. This modified C3 type was meant to be used by the Moore-McCormack's American Republics Line operating on the east coast and South America. Remarkably, she was the first large U.S. passenger ships with diesel engines: Two six-cylinder Sun Doxford diesels for a total ouptut of 9,000 sho and of course, a single screw propeller through reduction gears. Design speed was 17.5 knots (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h). She was fitted also to carry "only" 196 passengers, while all cabins had air conditioning, another innovation. As passenger/cargo ship she had a 17,500 ton displacement, 9,800 DWT. Her size was 492 ft (150.0 m) long overall, 465 ft (141.7 m) between perpendiculars. Air conditioning was also extended to the cargo compartments to avoid moisture, in total 440,000 cubic feet (12,459.4 m3) and 40,000 cubic feet (1,132.7 m3) of refrigerated space. Passengers benefited from 76 staterooms, 22 single cabins, 34 double cabins and 20 cabins with a private veranda.

Her keel, as "Rio de la Plata" or MC hull 61 (yard hull 188) was laid 19 January 1940. The passenger design was however not completed as she was requisitioning by the USN when the war broke out. She has been previously launched on the 1st March 1941, and completion was near when she was taken up for conversion. Initial delivery was planned for 2 October 1941, and the launch was sponsored by Mrs. Felipe A. Espil. The requitisition was performed on 20 May 1941, by the US Maritime Commission. The "combiliner" was to be converted, but design conversion plans were not established yet, so the ship stayed, waiting for her fate until 1st August 1941. It was establish that Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. in Virginia would take on the conversion process, and the hulls of the four ships were towed there. Conversion as escort aircraft carriers as asked by the British, was secured as soon as designs were ready.

The Conversion took place thus from September 1941 to March 1942, so about seven months, much longer than for the USS Long Island. The conversion process was also a prototype for the Bogue, Attacker and Ameer classes. Compared to CVE-1 differences were considerable, as the new ships were slightly larger and were given an island for command and control from the beginning. This was a small structure overhanging to the left side, comprising three decks (radio room, map table, plotting room) and an open bridge. The main command bridge was situated below (third level), with windows. Aft of this island was fitted a sturdy lattice mast to support a larger SC10 radar aerial, navigation radar, radio interception antenna, plus communication antennae.


Modern sterilization equipment aboard USS Charger, 1942


USS Charger preparing a prescription in the ships dispensary, 1942

The hangar was built the same way as for the USS Long Island, above the main deck, fully enclosed aft with windows and a forward part with recesses for utility spaces and inflatable boats flight. It was a bit higher than for the VCE-1 deck, allowing to suspend a plane under the roof if needed. But moreover the compartimentation was completely overhauled. The workship space for example, and many compartments formerly in the hangar were moved below decks, maximizing the hangar space. Indeed, as specified by the admiralty to BuShips, the new CVE, in addition to an island, was to possess at least twice as much planes, so at least 24 (16x2) compared to CVE-1. In fact engineers exceeded this figures, as a total of 36 planes, so almost thrice what was previously carried, is often stated (see below). Many design revisions were also made to improved access to ammunition and fuel lines (Aircraft fuel stowage: 341,000 liters) and prepare the planes before lifting them on the deck. The air conditioning system was also kept, to great comfort for the crews. All these modifications explains her lenghty conversion. It was considered such as success that BuShip was ordered to apply the recipe to all subsequent C3 hull-based CVE conversions. But she was the prototype for the conversion of about 30 C3 ships, with a major difference though: She was the only one without a raised forecastle.

ONI-Charger-LongIsland
USS Long Island and Charger differences explained in this ONI plate

USS Charger was also given like Long island, a lift placed on the centerline aft, but much closed to the end of the flight deck compared to CVE-1. There was also the same catapult, installed the same way on the left of the forward deck, leaving spaced for parked planes on the right. As Long Island, she had many arrestor cables all along the deck, up to the catapult. There was a first serie of nine cable, heavenly space, with a single one above the lift (shich needed to be loosened to allow acess to it), and a serie of five closer cables close to the catapult, acting as emegency cables, plus a foldable net. This allowed in principle relatively havy planes to land if needed. Armament-wise, the same principle was repeated, with a main gun aft, cenrerline on the poop deck and two side 3-in AA guns forward on the main bow deck. The overhang of the deck was about the same so to allow a minimal arc of fire for this defense. Light defense comprised ten 20mm/70 Mk 4 Oerlikon guns inside sponsons along the flight deck's sides: Plans showed five sponsons on each side with the same locations, but two in tandem for the island's side. It seems that due to her role this armament was never augmented. The main armament stated by Conways is three 4-in guns instead of a single one. Plans however only shows a single one. It was established as a 5-inches/38 caliber Mark 12 gun instead of the 4-in, making the ship more efficient in case of a naval fight (which indeed happened when Taffy-3 was attacked at Leyte). The two forward 3-in/50 (76 mm) guns Mark 20 were placed also in two sponsons overhanging on both sides, giving them an even better arc of fire compared to CVE-1.

USS Charger CVE-30 specifications (1942)

Dimensions150 x 21.18/33.88 x 8 m (492 x 70/111 oa x 26 ft)
Displacement8,000 light/11,800 tons standard, 15,126 tonnes FL
Crew856
Propulsion1 shaft, 2 six-cyl Sun Doxford diesels, 9,000 shp
Speed17.5 kn (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h)
Range26,340 nm at 15 knots
Armament5in/38, 2×3in/50, 10x20mm AA
Air group36*

USS Charger, blueprint 1
USS Charger, blueprint, outboard profile 1942

USS Charger, blueprint 2
USS Charger, blueprint, inboard profile, flight deck, walkways

USS Charger, blueprint 3
USS Charger, blueprint, bridge, main and second decks

USS Charger, blueprint 4
USS Charger, blueprint, third deck, two platforms

USS Charger, blueprint 5
USS Charger, blueprint, hull bottom decks

USS Charger's Air groups

Vought Vindicator
Vought SB2U-2 of VS9 onboard ACV30 USS Charger, circa 1942.

Apart the Vindicator, allowed by the larger capacity of the ship, USS Charger also of course carried the F4F Wildcat, until the end of her service in 1945. Since she was completed and operational in the summer of 1941, she was given a more modern air group, comprising at first F2A Buffalo fighters and SOC Seagull reconnaissance planes (repartition unknown). Later in 1943, the F2A were replaced by the F4F. The composition is unknown but the ship being used for training, all types in service onboard the Bogue and Sangamon, and later Casablanca and Commencement Bay types were used on board. She also carried the TBF-1 Avenger and Curtiss SBC Helldiver as well as the Vouht F4U Corsair as shown in photos and videos. The former was the subject of a famous crash on deck photographed 23 March 1943. BuNo 00593 (ENS Richard J. Walsh, USNR) hit the port catwalk on landing, causing major damage to the plane but no injuries fortunately. She also trained pilots flying the Ryan FR-1 Fireball in 1944–46.

CVE-30 underway 1943
CVE-30 underway 1943

USS Charger at anchor, June 1942
USS Charger at anchor, June 1942

Debunking the very large CVE-30 air group

The number of 36 aircraft given is subject to caution of course: The Bogue class only carried 28, and the British CVEs only 24. The Independence class only 30. 36 is almost the same capacity carried by the much larger light British fleet carriers of 1944 (37). The explanation for this aberration should be that the normal hangar capacity was not that different than the other CVEs so we can only guess that this figure started was the maximal possible as a plane carrier: With all planes stacked on the flight deck, plus those inside the hangar. When considering those stacked on USS Long island's deck in 1944 when she acted as plane taxi, 42 were seen, almost all with wings folded. So we can assume 36 was the maximal capacity figure of planes stacked on the deck to left space both for landings and catapulting more, with in addition, the hangar full. If we assume 8 planes on the deck, which seems reasonable to not hamper operations and the rest in the hangar (28), we have a more plausible record. This tells that the usual figure capacity given is related to the hangar capacity, not the maximal capacity. In case of heavy and icy weather for example, the entire air group whould be ideally protected inside the hangar. Since USS Charger was a training carrier we have therefore to assume the figure given is related to the fact she carried always excess planes on her deck, without allocated space inside the hangar. Chesapeake Bay's location made it ideal for year-round training, and never impacted by heavy weather and icy conditions. As a usual practice also, some training air groups were based on land, but still trained to land and take off from the carrier close to the coast, also explaining the larger figure.

The USS Charger in service

USS Charger, AVG-30 underway 1942
USS Charger, AVG-30 underway 1942

F-4F Wildcats onboard CVE-30
F-4F Wildcats onboard CVE-30, May 1944. One is just stopped, while a second one is doing an approach circle, hook down.

USS Charger underway in 1945
USS Charger underway in 1945

USS Charger's operated from March 1942 in Chesapeake Bay as a training aircraft carrier and their support crew for escort carrier operations in the Atlantic (mostly) or Pacific, a bit like her sister ship Long Island. But she carried out this role almost until the end of the war. She played an invaluable role in having well trained crews for the efficient escort of all the convoys that transited through the Atlantic, tasked to cover it against any action from hostile submarines, as part of combined escort carrier groups. These planes were mostly geared towards ASW operations and reconnaissance, so fighters were not a priority and were fewer in numbers. Most of the time, Atlantic CVEs had always a few F4F Hellcats, until the end of the war. They were also often from 1944 fitted with rockets to attack surprised U-Boats. USS Charger was denominated ACV-30 from 20 August 1942, and CVE-30 from 15 July 1943. She only left Chesapeake Bay for two "aicraft taxi" runs, to Bermuda in October 1942, and to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, in September 1945. After a service which earned her no battle stars, but the American Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medals, she was decommissioned at New York on 15 March 1946.

Like CVE-1, USS Charger had no use in the postwar context. She did not pass the "sold for scrap" stage and was directly sold in auction for merchant service. She was awarded on 30 January 1947 by the Vlasov group. Her conversion was considerable, as she became the passenger liner Fairsea, for the Italian managed Sitmar Line. Her entire superstructure above deck was completely modified after several years, and successive accommodation upgrades allowed a very long service, mostly as a migrant carrier from Europe to Australia. She experienced a severe engine-room fire between Tahiti and Panama on 29 January 1969. The lack of spare parts at the time was cited as a fatal case for her retirement. She was sold for scrap in Italy in 1969, last former CVE still in existence at that point.

MS Fairsea
MS Fairsea, Sitmar Line, after refit - Promotional painting.(navsource).

Read More

Robert Gardiner, Conway's all the world's fighting ships 1921-47
Pacific American Steamship Association; Shipowners Association of the Pacific Coast (January 1939). "Sun Gets Four C3 Motorships". Pacific Marine Review. San Francisco: J.S. Hines: 54. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
Colton, Tim (28 March 2014). "Sun Shipbuilding, Chester PA". ShipbuildingHistory. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
Pacific American Steamship Association; Shipowners Association of the Pacific Coast (October 1940). "New Combination Liners for American Republics Line". Pacific Marine Review. San Francisco: J.S. Hines: 30–31. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
Karsten-Kunibert Krueger-Kopiske (2007). "Outboard Profiles of Maritime Commission Vessels — The C3 Cargo Ship, Sub-Designs and Conversions". Retrieved 9 September 2020. Pacific American Steamship Association; Shipowners Association of the Pacific Coast (September 1941). "Navy Takes Rio Ships". Pacific Marine Review. San Francisco: J.S. Hines: 80. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
Pacific American Steamship Association; Shipowners Association of the Pacific Coast (September 1941). "Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company". Pacific Marine Review. San Francisco: J.S. Hines: 106. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
Naval History And Heritage Command. "Charger". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History And Heritage Command. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
"10 pound Pom arrival lists go online". Perth Now. Archived from the original on 1 December 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
Sawyer, L.A.; Mitchell, W.H. (1981). From America to United States: The History of the Long-range Merchant Shipbuilding Programme of the United States Maritime Commission. London: World Ship Society.
Context on warfarehistorynetwork.com
USS Charger on navsource
C3 types on usmm.org
C3 Cargo - the Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
Navsource about CVE-1
Navsource about CVE-30
historycentral.com
cradleofaviation.org
uss charger CVE30
Plans of USS Charger
Moore-McCormack Mormacland
USS Archer's career
On history.navy.mil
On hyperwar Online
On screanews.us
Table 21 – Ships on Navy List June 30, 1919
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command
U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 2003.001.323

Naval History

⚑ 1870 Fleets
Spanish Navy 1870 Armada Espanola Austro-Hungarian Navy 1870 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine
Danish Navy 1870 Dansk Marine
Hellenic Navy 1870 Πολεμικό Ναυτικό
Haitian Navy 1914Haiti Koninklije Marine 1870 Koninklije Marine
Dutch Screw Frigates & corvettes
De Ruyter Bd Ironclad (1863)
Prins H. der Neth. Turret ship (1866)
Buffel class turret rams (1868)
Skorpioen class turret rams (1868)
Heiligerlee class Monitors (1868)
Bloedhond class Monitors (1869)
Adder class Monitors (1870)
A.H.Van Nassau Frigate (1861)
A.Paulowna Frigate (1867)
Djambi class corvettes (1860)
Amstel class Gunboats (1860)

Marine Française 1870 Marine Nationale
Screw 3-deckers (1850-58)
Screw 2-deckers (1852-59)
Screw Frigates (1849-59)
Screw Corvettes (1846-59)
Screw Fl. Batteries (1855)
Paddle Frigates
Paddle Corvettes
screw sloops
screw gunboats
Sailing ships of the line
Sailing frigates
Sailing corvettes
Sailing bricks

Gloire class Bd. Ironclads (1859)
Couronne Bd. Ironclad (1861)
Magenta class Bd. Ironclads (1861)
Palestro class Flt. Batteries (1862)
Arrogante class Flt. Batteries (1864)
Provence class Bd. Ironclads (1864) Embuscade class Flt. Batteries (1865)
Taureau arm. ram (1865)
Belliqueuse Bd. Ironclad (1865)
Alma Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1867)
Ocean class CT Battery ship (1868)
French converted sailing frigates (1860)
Cosmao class cruisers (1861)
Talisman cruisers (1862)
Resolue cruisers (1863)
Venus class cruisers (1864)
Decres cruiser (1866)
Desaix cruiser (1866)
Limier class cruisers (1867)
Linois cruiser (1867)
Chateaurenault cruiser (1868)
Infernet class Cruisers (1869)
Bourayne class Cruisers (1869)
Cruiser Hirondelle (1869)

Curieux class sloops (1860)
Adonis class sloops (1863)
Guichen class sloops (1865)
Sloop Renard (1866)
Bruix class sloops (1867)
Pique class gunboats (1862)
Hache class gunboats (1862)
Arbalete class gunboats (1866)
Etendard class gunboats (1868)
Revolver class gunboats (1869)

Marinha do Brasil 1870 Marinha do Brasil
Barrozo class (1864)
Brasil (1864)
Tamandare (1865)
Lima Barros (1865)
Rio de Janeiro (1865)
Silvado (1866)
Mariz E Barros class (1866)
Carbal class (1866)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1870 Osmanlı Donanması
Osmanieh class Bd.Ironclads (1864) Assari Tewfik (1868) Assari Shevket class Ct. Ironclads (1868)
Lufti Djelil class CDS (1868)
Avni Illah class cas.ironclads (1869)
Fethi Bulend class cas.ironclads (1870)
Barbette ironclad Idjalleh (1870)
Messudieh class Ct.Bat.ships (1874)
Hamidieh Ct.Bat.Ironclads (1885)
Abdul Kadir Batleships (project)

Ertrogul Frigate (1863)
Selimieh (1865)
Rehberi Tewkik (1875)
Mehmet Selim (1876)
Sloops & despatch vessels

Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru
Monitor Atahualpa (1865)
CT. Bat Independencia (1865)
Turret ship Huascar (1865)
Frigate Apurimac (1855)
Corvette America (1865)
Corvette Union (1865)

Regia Marina 1870 Regia Marina 1870 Imperial Japanese navy 1870 大日本帝國海軍 Prussian Navy 1870 Preußische Marine Russian mperial Navy 1870 Российский флот Swedish Navy 1870 Svenska marinen
Norwegian Navy 1870 Søværnet
⚑ 1898 Fleets
Argentinian Navy 1898 Armada de Argentina
Parana class Gunboats (1873)
La Plata class Coast Battleships (1875)
Pilcomayo class Gunboats (1875)
Ferre class Gunboats (1880)

Austro-Hungarian Navy 1898 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine

Chinese Imperial Navy 1898 中华帝国海军
Danish Navy 1898 Dansk Marine

Hellenic Navy 1898 Πολεμικό Ναυτικό
Haitian Navy 1914Marine Haitienne
Koninklije Marine 1898 Koninklije Marine
Konigin der Netherland (1874)
Draak, monitor (1877)
Matador, monitor (1878)
R. Claeszen, monitor (1891)
Evertsen class CDS (1894)
Atjeh class cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Sumatra (1890)
Cruiser K.W. Der. Neth (1892)
Banda class Gunboats (1872)
Pontania class Gunboats (1873)
Gunboat Aruba (1873)
Hydra Gunboat class (1873)
Batavia class Gunboats (1877)
Wodan Gunboat class (1877)
Ceram class Gunboats (1887)
Combok class Gunboats (1891)
Borneo Gunboat (1892)
Nias class Gunboats (1895)
Koetei class Gunboats (1898)
Dutch sloops (1864-85)

Marine Française 1898 Marine Nationale
Friedland CT Battery ship (1873)
Richelieu CT Battery ship (1873)
Colbert class CT Battery ships (1875)
Redoutable CT Battery ship (1876)
Courbet class CT Battery ships (1879)
Amiral Duperre barbette ship (1879)
Terrible class barbette ships (1883)
Amiral Baudin class barbette ships (1883)
Barbette ship Hoche (1886)
Marceau class barbette ships (1888)
Cerbere class arm. rams (1870)
Tonnerre class Br. Monitors (1875)
Tempete class Br. Monitors (1876)
Tonnant Barbette ship (1880)
Furieux Barbette ship (1883)
Fusee class Arm. Gunboats (1885)
Acheron class Arm. Gunboats (1885)
Jemmapes class C.Defense ships (1890)

La Galissonière Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1872)
Bayard class barbette ships (1879)
Vauban class barbette ships (1882)
Prot. Cruiser Sfax (1884)
Prot. Cruiser Tage (1886)
Prot. Cruiser Amiral Cécille (1888)
Prot. Cruiser Davout (1889)
Forbin class Cruisers (1888)
Troude class Cruisers (1888)
Alger class Cruisers (1891)
Friant class Cruisers (1893)
Prot. Cruiser Suchet (1893)
Descartes class Cruisers (1893)
Linois class Cruisers (1896)
D'Assas class Cruisers (1896)
Catinat class Cruisers (1896)

R. de Genouilly class Cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Duquesne (1876)
Cruiser Tourville (1876)
Cruiser Duguay-Trouin (1877)
Laperouse class Cruisers (1877)
Villars class Cruisers (1879)
Cruiser Iphigenie (1881)
Cruiser Naiade (1881)
Cruiser Arethuse (1882)
Cruiser Dubourdieu (1884)
Cruiser Milan (1884)

Parseval class sloops (1876)
Bisson class sloops (1874)
Epee class gunboats (1873)
Crocodile class gunboats (1874)
Tromblon class gunboats (1875)
Condor class Torpedo Cruisers (1885)
G. Charmes class gunboats (1886)
Inconstant class sloops (1887)
Bombe class Torpedo Cruisers (1887)
Wattignies class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)
Levrier class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)

Marinha do Brasil 1898 Marinha do Brasil
Siete de Setembro class (1874)
Riachuleo class (1883)
Aquidaban class (1885)

Marina de Mexico 1898 Mexico
GB Indipendencia (1874)
GB Democrata (1875)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1898 Osmanlı Donanması
Cruiser Heibtnuma (1890)
Cruiser Lufti Humayun (1892)
Cruiser Hadevendighar (1892)
Shadieh class cruisers (1893)
Turkish TBs (1885-94)

Regia Marina 1898 Regia Marina Pr. Amadeo class (1871)
Caio Duilio class (1879)
Italia class (1885)
Ruggero di Lauria class (1884)
Carracciolo (1869)
Vettor Pisani (1869)
Cristoforo Colombo (1875)
Flavio Goia (1881)
Amerigo Vespucci (1882)
C. Colombo (ii) (1892)
Pietro Micca (1876)
Tripoli (1886)
Goito class (1887)
Folgore class (1887)
Partenope class (1889)
Giovanni Bausan (1883)
Etna class (1885)
Dogali (1885)
Piemonte (1888)
Staffeta (1876)
Rapido (1876)
Barbarigo class (1879)
Messagero (1885)
Archimede class (1887)
Guardiano class GB (1874)
Scilla class GB (1874)
Provana class GB (1884)
Curtatone class GB (1887)
Castore class GB (1888)

Imperial Japanese navy 1898 大日本帝國海軍 German Navy 1898 Kaiserliches Marine
Russian Imperial Navy 1898 Российский флот
Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru

Swedish Navy 1898 Svenska Marinen Norwegian Navy 1898 Søværnet
Royal Navy 1898 Royal Navy
HMS Hotspur (1870)
HMS Glatton (1871)
Devastation classs (1871)
Cyclops class (1871)
HMS Rupert (1874)
Neptune class (1874)
HMS Dreadnought (1875)
HMS Inflexible (1876)
Agamemnon class (1879)
Conqueror class (1881)
Colossus class (1882)
Admiral class (1882)
Trafalgar class (1887)
Victoria class (1890)
Royal Sovereign class (1891)
Centurion class (1892)
HMS Renown (1895)

HMS Shannon (1875)
Nelson class (1876)
Iris class (1877)
Leander class (1882)
Imperieuse class (1883)
Mersey class (1885)
Surprise class (1885)
Scout class (1885)
Archer class (1885)
Orlando class (1886)
Medea class (1888)
Barracouta class (1889)
Barham class (1889)
Pearl class (1889)

Spanish Navy 1898 Armada 1898
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)

Infanta Maria Teresa class (1890)
Emperador Carlos V (1895)
Cristobal Colon (1897)
Princesa de Asturias (1896)
Aragon class (1879)
Velasco class (1881)
Isla de Luzon (1886)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Reina Regentes class (1887)

Destructor class (1886)
Temerario class (1891)
TGunboat Filipinas (1892)
De Molina class (1896)
Furor class (1896)
Audaz class (1897)
Spanish TBs (1878-87)
Fernando class gunboats (1875)
Concha class gunboats (1883)

US Navy 1898 1898 US Navy
USS Maine (1889)
USS Texas (1892)
Indiana class (1893)
USS Iowa (1896)

Amphitrite class (1876)
USS Puritan (1882)
USS Monterey (1891)

Atlanta class (1884)
USS Chicago (1885)
USS Charleston (1888)
USS Baltimore (1888)
USS Philadelphia (1889)
USS San Francisco (1889)
USS Newark (1890)
USS New York (1891)
USS Olympia (1892)
Cincinatti class (1892)
Montgomery class (1893)
Columbia class (1893)
USS Brooklyn (1895)

USS Vesuvius (1888)
USS Katahdin (1893)
USN Torpedo Boats (1886-1901)
GB USS Dolphin (1884)
Yorktown class GB (1888)
GB USS Petrel (1888)
GB USS Bancroft (1892)
Machias class GB (1891)
GB USS Nashville (1895)
Wilmington class GB (1895)
Annapolis class GB (1896)
Wheeling class GB (1897)
Small gunboats (1886-95)
St Louis class AMC (1894)
Harvard class AMC (1888)
USN Armoured Merchant Cruisers
USN Armed Yachts

WW1

☉ Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
Majestic class (1894)
Canopus class (1897)
Formidable class (1898)
London class (1899)
Duncan class (1901)
King Edward VII class (1903)
Swiftsure class (1903)
Lord Nelson class (1906)
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
Bellorophon class (1907)
St Vincent class (1908)
HMS Neptune (1909)
Colossus class (1910)
Orion class (1911)
King George V class (1911)
Iron Duke class (1912)
Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
HMS Canada (1913)
HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Erin (1915)
Revenge class (1915)
B3 class (1918)

WW1 British Battlecruisers
Invincible class (1907)
Indefatigable class (1909)
Lion class (1910)
HMS Tiger (1913)
Renown class (1916)
Courageous class (1916)
G3 class (1918)

ww1 British cruisers
Blake class (1889)
Edgar class (1890)
Powerful class (1895)
Diadem class (1896)
Cressy class (1900)
Drake class (1901)
Monmouth class (1901)
Devonshire class (1903)
Duke of Edinburgh class (1904)
Warrior class (1905)
Minotaur class (1906)
Hawkins class (1917)

Apollo class (1890)
Astraea class (1893)
Eclipse class (1894)
Arrogant class (1896)
Pelorus class (1896)
Highflyer class (1898)
Gem class (1903)
Adventure class (1904)
Forward class (1904)
Pathfinder class (1904)
Sentinel class (1904)
Boadicea class (1908)
Blonde class (1910)
Active class (1911)
'Town' class (1909-1913)
Arethusa class (1913)
'C' class series (1914-1922)
'D' class (1918)
'E' class (1918)

WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Campania (1893)
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)

WW1 British Destroyers
River class (1903)
Cricket class (1906)
Tribal class (1907)
HMS Swift (1907)
Beagle class (1909)
Acorn class (1910)
Acheron class (1911)
Acasta class (1912)
Laforey class (1913)
M/repeat M class (1914)
Faulknor class FL (1914)
T class (1915)
Parker class FL (1916)
R/mod R class (1916)
V class (1917)
V class FL (1917)
Shakespeare class FL (1917)
Scott class FL (1917)
W/mod W class (1917)
S class (1918)

WW1 British Torpedo Boats
125ft series (1885)
140ft series (1892)
160ft series (1901)
27-knotters (1894)
30-knotters (1896)
33-knotters (1896)

WW1 British Submarines
Nordenfelt Submarines (1885)
Flower class sloops
British Gunboats of WWI
British P-Boats (1915)
Kil class (1917)
British ww1 Minesweepers
Z-Whaler class patrol crafts
British ww1 CMB
British ww1 Auxiliaries

✠ Central Empires

⚑ Neutral Countries

Europe
Bulgarian Navy Bulgaria
Danish Navy 1914 Denmark
Greek Royal Navy Greece

Dutch Empire Navy 1914 Netherlands
Norwegian Navy 1914 Norway

Portuguese navy 1914 Portugal

Romanian Navy 1914 Romania
Spanish Armada Spain Swedish Navy 1914 Sweden


WW2

✪ Allied ww2 Fleets

US ww2 US Navy
WW2 American Battleships
Wyoming class (1911)
New York class (1912)
Nevada class (1914)
Pennsylvania class (1915)
New Mexico class (1917)
Tennessee Class (1919)
Colorado class (1921)
North Carolina class (1940)
South Dakota class (1941)
Iowa class (1942)
Montana class (cancelled)

WW2 American Cruisers
Omaha class cruisers (1920)
Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
USS Wichita (1937)
Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)

WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
USS Langley (1920)
Lexington class CVs (1927)
USS Ranger (CV-4)
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
Long Island class (1940)
Independence class CVs (1942)
Essex class CVs (1942)
Bogue class CVEs (1942)
Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
Casablanca class CVEs (1943)
Commencement Bay class CVEs (1944)
Midway class CVs (1945)
Saipan class CVs (1945)

WW2 American destroyers
Wickes class (1918)
Clemson class (1920)
Farragut class (1934)
Porter class (1935)
Mahan class (1935)
Gridley class (1936)
Bagley class (1936)
Somers class (1937)
Benham class (1938)
Sims class (1938)
Benson class (1939)
Fletcher class (1942)
Sumner class (1943)
Gearing class (1945)

GMT Evarts class (1942)
TE Buckley class (1943)
TEV/WGT Rudderow classs (1943)
DET/FMR Cannon class
Asheville/Tacoma class

WW2 American Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
PT-Boats
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCI(L) LC
LCT(6) LC
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1943)
Majestic class (1944)
Centaur class (started 1944)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)

WW2 British Destroyers
Shakespeare class (1917)
Scott class (1818)
V class (1917)
S class (1918)
W class (1918)
A/B class (1926)
C/D class (1931)
G/H/I class (1935)
Tribal class (1937)
J/K/N class (1938)
Hunt class DE (1939)
L/M class (1940)
O/P class (1942)
Q/R class (1942)
S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
Z/ca class (1943)
Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
Battle class (1945)
Weapon class (1945)

WW2 British submarines
L9 class (1918)
HMS X1 (1923)
Oberon class (1926)
Parthian class (1929)
Rainbow class (1930)
Thames class (1932)
Swordfish class (1932)
HMS Porpoise (1932)
Grampus class (1935)
Shark class (1934)
Triton class (1937)
Undine class (1937)
U class (1940)
S class (1941)
T class (1941)
X-Craft midget (1942)
A class (1944)

WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
LSI(L) class
LSI(M/S) class
LSI(H) class
LSS class
LSG class
LSC class
Boxer class LST

LST(2) class
LST(3) class
LSH(L) class
LSF classes (all)
LCI(S) class
LCS(L2) class
LCT(I) class
LCT(2) class
LCT(R) class
LCT(3) class
LCT(4) class
LCT(8) class
LCT(4) class
LCG(L)(4) class
LCG(M)(1) class

British ww2 Landing Crafts
LCA
LCP
LCM

WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British MTBs
MTB-1 class (1936)
MTB-24 class (1939)
MTB-41 class (1940)
MTB-424 class (1944)
MTB-601 class (1942)
MA/SB class (1938)
MTB-412 class (1942)
MGB 6 class (1939)
MGB-47 class (1940)
MGB 321 (1941)
MGB 501 class (1942)
MGB 511 class (1944)
MGB 601 class (1942)
MGB 2001 class (1943)

WW2 British Gunboats

Denny class (1941)
Fairmile A (1940)
Fairmile B (1940)
HDML class (1940)

WW2 British Sloops
Bridgewater class (2090)
Hastings class (1930)
Shoreham class (1930)
Grimsby class (1934)
Bittern class (1937)
Egret class (1938)
Black Swan class (1939)

WW2 British Frigates
River class (1943)
Loch class (1944)
Bay class (1944)

WW2 British Corvettes
Kingfisher class (1935)
Shearwater class (1939)
Flower class (1940)
Mod. Flower class (1942)
Castle class (1943)

WW2 British Misc.
WW2 British Monitors
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1920)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1932)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1937)
Zuiho class (1936) comp.40
Ruyho (1933) comp.42
Junyo class (1941)
IJN Taiho (1943)
Chitose class (comp. 1943)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)

WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB
⚑ Neutral

Armada de Argentina Argentinian Navy

Rivadavia class Battleships
Cruiser La Argentina
Veinticinco de Mayo class cruisers
Argentinian Destroyers
Santa Fe class sub. Bouchard class minesweepers King class patrol vessels

Marinha do Brasil Brazilian Navy

Minas Gerais class Battleships (1912)
Cruiser Bahia
Brazilian Destroyers
Humaita class sub.
Tupi class sub.

Armada de Chile Armada de Chile

Almirante Latorre class battleships
Cruiser Esmeralda (1896)
Cruiser Chacabuco (1911)
Chilean DDs
Fresia class subs
Capitan O’Brien class subs

Søværnet Danish Navy

Niels Juel
Danish ww2 Torpedo-Boats Danish ww2 submarines Danish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Merivoimat Finnish Navy

Coastal BB Ilmarinen
Finnish ww2 submarines
Finnish ww2 minelayers

Nautiko Hellenon Hellenic Navy

Greek ww2 Destroyers
Greek ww2 submarines
Greek ww2 minelayers

Marynarka Vojenna Polish Navy

Polish ww2 Destroyers
Polish ww2 cruisers
Polish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Portuguese navy ww2 Portuguese Navy

Douro class DDs
Delfim class sub
Velho class gb
Albuquerque class gb
Nunes class sloops

Romanian Navy Romanian Navy

Romanian ww2 Destroyers
Romanian ww2 Submarines

Royal Norwegian Navy Sjøforsvaret

Norwegian ww2 Torpedo-Boats

Spanish Armada Spanish Armada

España class Battleships
Blas de Lezo class cruisers
Canarias class cruisers
Cervera class cruisers
Cruiser Navarra
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Submarines
Dedalo seaplane tender
Spanish Gunboats
Spanish Minelayers

Svenska Marinen Svenska Marinen

Gustav V class BBs (1918)
Interwar swedish BB projects

Tre Kronor class (1943)
Gotland (1933)
Fylgia (1905)

Ehrernskjold class DDs (1926)
Psilander class DDs (1926)
Klas Horn class DDs (1931)
Romulus class DDs (1934)
Göteborg class DDs (1935)
Mode class DDs (1942)
Visby class DDs (1942)
Öland class DDs (1945)

Swedish ww2 TBs
Swedish ww2 Submarines
Swedish ww2 Minelayers
Swedish ww2 MTBs
Swedish ww2 Patrol Vessels
Swedish ww2 Minesweepers

Türk Donanmasi Turkish Navy

Turkish ww2 Destroyers
Turkish ww2 submarines

Royal Yugoslav Navy Royal Yugoslav Navy

Dubrovnik class DDs
Beograd class DDs
Hrabi class subs

Royal Thai Navy Royal Thai Navy

Taksin class
Ratanakosindra class
Sri Ayuthia class
Puket class
Tachin class
Sinsamudar class sub

minor navies Minor Navies


The Cold War

Royal Navy Royal Navy
Sovietskaya Flota Sovietskaya Flota
US Navy USN (1990)


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