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  1. #1
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    Default WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    I have been interested in aircraft carriers for some time. Locally, we have the USS Hornet, CV-12, museum. I have taken Scouts there a few times for their overnight and merit badge programs.

    Reading thru my sons World History textbook, they talked about WWII in the Pacific. As I read that, and thought about what I have learned of the Hornet, Lexington, Midway ect. There is something that I have not seen...

    All the aircraft carriers were in the Pacific theater. Midway, Santa Cruz, Saipan, Okinawa.

    I have not read of any in the Atlantic, off Normandy, or North Africa.

    I guess there was no island hopping going on in the European theater to need carriers...???
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  2. #2
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    Default Re: WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    Robert, indeed there were carriers in the Atlantic during WWII. The USS Ranger was one of those and you can find her history at:

    USS Ranger

    Also, I found this quote in a historical website about carriers being sent from the Atlantic to Pacific:

    At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), three operational carriers were stationed in the Pacific: Enterprise, Lexington, and Saratoga. (Langley was also in the Pacific but in October 1936 it had been converted from an operational carrier to a seaplane tender.) The other four carriers were located in the Atlantic. Yorktown and Hornet were transferred to the Pacific in December 1941 and March 1942. Wasp entered the Pacific in June 1942. Ranger was dispatched to the Pacific after a overhaul in July 1944.


    On a side-note, the USS Kitty Hawk (comissioned in 1961) was just decommissioned in Bremerton, Washington on January 31 of this year. She was the last conventionally powered (boiler/steam) aircraft carrier in our fleet.
    Jim


  3. #3
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    Default Re: WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    Jim, Your just full of information. I spent many and hour sending fuel to both the Ranger and the Kitty Hawk. Now all these ships, including mine , Camden, are gone.

    Gasp! Does this mean I'm getting....... old?

    The Camden was turned into scrap right here under my nose it TX. Wish I could have seen her again.
    Where Bob Wills is still the king.
    102 acres, and nothing but work! Wouldn't change it for anything.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    Mark, you no doubt sent fuel to the USS Ranger CVA-61. The original USS Ranger CV-4 was the first aircraft carrier built from the keel up as a true aircraft carrier. It was decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1947, the year I was born.
    Jim


  5. #5
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    Default Re: WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    The man I bought my House from is a decorated WWII fighter ace in the Pacific... he shot down 5 japanese planes in one day and was commended for saving the ship on that occasion...

    I had the opportunity to go the current Hornet for a surprise birthday party for him... and boy was he a celebrity... getting on in years... but sharp as a tack...

    He also was the only one or one of the few that launched 3 different ways off the Hornet... Conventional... off the Fan Tail when the flight deck was damaged and sideways from the Hanger Deck when the ship was under attacked...

    I think he flew Grumman Hellcats... he told the captain he would get out from the hanger deck by having the chief retrain the aircraft as he went to full throttle and timed it to the roll of the sea... he bounced on a wave crest and was up...

    Lots of stories about coming home on a wing and a prayer... he told the chief once he had an oil problem... the chief told him half the engine was missing...

    It's great your sharing American History with the next generation!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    I was fortunate, and met a pilot at the Palm Springs Air Museum a few years ago. I was looking at the F4U Corsair; he had piloted them in WWII and Korea, then moved F9F Panther/Cougars. A ship mate/pilot buddy of his, flew from the Hornet in Korea. I met him during one of our Scout trips. Interesting to see his story about parts of the ship(although, the ship is different after it's angle deck conversion.

    Here is an interesting link to some film footage he had

    YouTube - Carrier Operations 1953-54

    I do not know if Juli's footage ever got uploaded; he was at the Palm Springs museum

    They both talked about that hanger catapult, although neither launched from it. Sounded spooky for sure

    Quote Originally Posted by ultrarunner View Post
    It's great your sharing American History with the next generation!
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  7. #7
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    Default Re: WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    Talk about real heros. Our WWII guys were true heros. They were sent overseas and told when the war was over they could come home, some spent 3 years without coming home. I went to Viet Nam and knew I had one year to do and was counting on my first day there. True heros thats what they are and we are losing hundreds every day.
    Dale

  8. #8
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    Default Re: WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    Cruised on the USS America (now sunk in 5000' of water off the Atlantic coast) USS Enterprise, USS Saratoga, USS Independance, USS Ranger and retired off the USS Carl Vinson... Those were the days!

    mark
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    I did some more web search.

    CV-4 USS-Ranger was active in the Atlantic. It launched planes against targets on the Moroccan coast(Casablanca, Operation Torch), and Norway(successful attacks and sinking ships in German convoys).. It also ferried a lot of planes across the Atlantic. Some other small light carriers also were in the Atlantic, but appear to have been used more to move equipment; were called "jeep carriers".

    The British has a couple active aircraft carriers((HMS Ark Royal, HMS Victorious are two); planes from one(HMS Ark Royal) torpedoed the Bismark, resulting in the damaged rudder. Interestingly, the British Navy was very successful in using the Chance-Vought F4U Corsair aboard carriers before the US Navy.

    None of the Eurpoean Axis powers had active carriers. Germany started on one. But, Hitler was wishy washy about it, and halter it's construction when about 80% finished. They also did not have the aircraft to put on it; instead of designing purpose built planes, they tried to modify some Bf109's, with poor results.

    Quote Originally Posted by jinman View Post
    Robert, indeed there were carriers in the Atlantic during WWII. The USS Ranger was one of those and you can find her history at:
    Last edited by RobertN; 10-06-2009 at 04:13 PM. Reason: clarification
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  10. #10
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    Default Re: WWII Aircraft Carriers only in Pacific?

    The USS Wasp was also used in Europe before being sent to the Pacific where she was sunk by a Japanese I Boat. The Wasp made two trips to resupply Malta with Spitfires. She could carry 47 or so Spitfires along with her Wildcats to provide cover. The UK's carriers were much smaller and could only fly in 15 or so planes at a time. So getting the Wasp to help our really boosted the air defense on Malta. After the first trip the Germans somehow managed to destroy half of the 47 Spitfires on the ground before they could be refueled.

    The Wasp made another trip and delivered another 47 planes. The Germans did not catch them on the ground and during the next raid the Germans lost 60 plans.

    The Wasp was then sent to the Pacific where she was lost covering landing on Guadalcanal.

    Carriers were not used as much in Europe since the Allies had ground bases, the UK made a heck of a carrier , and the distances between fields and targets was small compared to the Pacific. Even the B17 was of limited use in the Pacific due to the distances between bases and targets. Only the B29 could travel the distances to get from US bases in the Marianas and Japan. Iwo Jima was taken to end its use as an early warning base by the Japanese as well as providing a base for use of P51 fighters and a place for B29's to land if they had problems.

    Later,
    Dan

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