Fighter catapult ships also known as Catapult Armed Ships were an attempt by the Royal Navy to provide air cover at sea. Five ships were acquired and commissioned as Naval vessels early in the Second World War and these were used to accompany convoys. The concept was extended to merchant ships which were also equipped with rocket assisted launch systems and known as Catapult Aircraft Merchantmen (CAM ships).
There were five fighter catapult ships, collectively known as the Pegasus class. Two, Patia and Springbank, were lost during the war. They were each equipped with a single Fairey Fulmar or "Hurricat" (an adapted Hawker Hurricane Mk.1A).
|Ariguani (F105)||1926||1940||Former Ocean Boarding Vessel, converted to a catapult ship in 1940, war service in the Atlantic after being damaged repaired in 1943 and returned to merchant use.|
|Maplin||1940||Former Ocean Boarding Vessel. Maplin saw war service in the Atlantic in 1940. She was a training ship from 1941 to 1944, in reserve from September 1944 and subsequently an accommodation ship. Maplin's war service was focused on Atlantic convoys and her "Hurricat" was the first to destroy an enemy aircraft, a Focke-Wulf Fw 200 "Condor" in August 1941. The pilot was Robert W H Everett of 804 Naval Air Squadron.|
|Patia||1922||1941||Former Ocean Boarding Vessel. Lost 1941 Foundered after bombing attack|
|Pegasus||1914||1940||Commissioned as seaplane carrier HMS Ark Royal in 1914, renamed Pegasus in 1934.|
|Springbank||1926||1940||Former auxiliary anti-aircraft cruiser. Torpedoed and sunk 27 September 1941.|
An amenities ship is a ship outfitted with recreational facilities as part of a mobile naval base. Amenities ships included movie theaters and canteens staffed by mercantile crews of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service. These ships were intended to provide a place where British Pacific Fleet personnel could relax between operations.Ammunition ship
An ammunition ship is an auxiliary ship specially configured to carry ammunition, usually for naval ships and aircraft. An ammunition ship′s cargo handling systems, designed with extreme safety in mind, include ammunition hoists with airlocks between decks, and mechanisms for flooding entire compartments with sea water in case of emergencies. Ammunition ships most often deliver their cargo to other ships using underway replenishment, using both connected replenishment and vertical replenishment. To a lesser extent, they transport ammunition from one shore-based weapons station to another.CAM ship
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.They were equipped with a rocket-propelled catapult launching a single Hawker Hurricane, dubbed a "Hurricat" or "Catafighter" to destroy or drive away an attacking bomber. Normally the Hurricane fighter would be lost when the pilot then bailed out or ditched in the ocean near the convoy. CAM ships continued to carry their normal cargoes after conversion.
The concept was developed and tested by the five fighter catapult ships, commissioned as warships and commanded and crewed by the Royal Navy – but the CAM ships were merchant vessels, commanded and crewed by the Merchant Navy.Coastal minesweeper
Coastal minesweeper is a term used by the United States Navy to indicate a minesweeper intended for coastal use as opposed to participating in fleet operations at sea.
Because of its small size—usually less than 100 feet in length—and construction—wood as opposed to steel—and slow speed—usually about 9 or 10 knots—the coastal minesweeper was considered too fragile and slow to operate on the high seas with the fleet.
Minesweeping, in conjunction with fleet activities, was usually relegated to the diesel-driven steel-hulled AM-type minesweepers, later to be replaced by the wood-hulled MSO-type minesweeper with aluminum engines.Coastal submarine
A coastal submarine or littoral submarine is a small, maneuverable submarine with shallow draft well suited to navigation of coastal channels and harbors. Although size is not precisely defined, coastal submarines are larger than midget submarines, but smaller than sea-going submarines designed for longer patrols on the open ocean. Space limitations aboard coastal submarines restrict fuel availability for distant travel, food availability for extended patrol duration, and number of weapons carried. Within those limitations, however, coastal submarines may be able to reach areas inaccessible to larger submarines, and be more difficult to detect.Combat stores ship
Combat stores ships, or storeships, were originally a designation given to ships in the Age of Sail and immediately afterward that navies used to stow supplies and other goods for naval purposes. Today, the United States Navy and the Royal Navy operate modern combat store ships. The Sirius and Mars classes (for the US) and the Fort Rosalie and Fort Victoria classes (for the UK) provide supplies, including frozen, chilled and dry provisions, and propulsion and aviation fuel to combatant ships that are at sea for extended periods of time. Storeships should not be confused with fast combat support ships or tenders.Convoy HG 73
Convoy HG 73 was a trade convoy of merchant ships during the Second World War. It was the 73rd of the numbered HG convoys Homeward bound to the British Isles from Gibraltar. The convoy departed Gibraltar on 17 September 1941 and was found on 18 September and was attacked over the next ten days. Nine ships were sunk from the convoy before the submarines exhausted their torpedo inventory on 28 September. Surviving ships reached Liverpool on 1 October.Destroyer tender
A destroyer tender, or destroyer depot ship in British English, is an auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to a flotilla of destroyers or other small warships. The use of this class has faded from its peak in the first half of the 20th century as the roles of small combatants have evolved (in conjunction with technological advances in propulsion reliability and efficiency).General stores issue ship
General stores issue ship is a type of ship used by the United States Navy during World War II and for some time afterwards.
The task of the general stores issue ship was to sail into non-combat, or rear, areas and disburse general stores, such as canned goods, toilet paper, office supplies, etc., to ships and stations.Guard ship
A guard ship is a warship assigned as a stationary guard in a port or harbour, as opposed to a coastal patrol boat which serves its protective role at sea.HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Ark Royal was the first ship designed and built as a seaplane carrier. She was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1914 shortly after her keel had been laid and the ship was only in frames; this allowed the ship's design to be modified almost totally to accommodate seaplanes. In the First World War, Ark Royal participated in the Gallipoli Campaign in early 1915, with her aircraft conducting aerial reconnaissance and observation missions. Her aircraft later supported British troops on the Macedonian Front in 1916, before she returned to the Dardanelles to act as a depot ship for all the seaplanes operating in the area. In January 1918, several of her aircraft unsuccessfully attacked the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben when she sortied from the Dardanelles to attack Allied ships in the area. The ship left the area later in the year to support seaplanes conducting anti-submarine patrols over the southern Aegean Sea.
After the end of the war, Ark Royal mostly served as an aircraft transport and depot ship for those aircraft in support of White Russian and British operations against the Bolsheviks in the Caspian and Black Sea regions during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. She also supported Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft in British Somaliland in the campaign against Mohammed Abdullah Hassan in 1920. Later that year, the ship was placed in reserve. Ark Royal was recommissioned to ferry an RAF squadron to the Dardanelles during the Chanak Crisis in 1922. She was reduced to reserve again upon her return to the United Kingdom the following year.
Ark Royal was recommissioned in 1930 to serve as a training ship, for seaplane pilots and to evaluate aircraft catapult operations and techniques. She was renamed HMS Pegasus in 1934, freeing the name for the aircraft carrier ordered that year, and continued to serve as a training ship until the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939. Assigned to the Home Fleet at the beginning of the war, she took on tasks as an aircraft transport, in addition to her training duties, until she was modified to serve as the prototype fighter catapult ship in late 1940. This type of ship was intended to defend convoys against attacks by German long-range maritime patrol bombers by launching fighters via their catapult to provide air cover for the convoy. Pegasus served in this role until mid-1941 when she reverted to her previous duties as a training ship. This lasted until early 1944 when she became a barracks ship. The ship was sold in late 1946 and her conversion into a merchant ship began the following year. However, the owner ran out of money during the process and Anita I, as she had been renamed, was seized by her creditors in 1949 and sold for scrap. She was not broken up until late 1950.Light aircraft carrier
A light aircraft carrier, or light fleet carrier, is an aircraft carrier that is smaller than the standard carriers of a navy. The precise definition of the type varies by country; light carriers typically have a complement of aircraft only one-half to two-thirds the size of a full-sized fleet carrier. A light carrier was similar in concept to an escort carrier in most respects, however light carriers were intended for higher speeds to be deployed alongside fleet carriers, while escort carriers usually defended convoys and provided air support during amphibious operations.Merchant raider
Merchant raiders are armed commerce raiding ships that disguise themselves as non-combatant merchant vessels.Mine countermeasures vessel
A mine countermeasures vessel or MCMV is a type of naval ship designed for the location of and destruction of naval mines which combines the role of a minesweeper and minehunter in one hull. The term MCMV is also applied collectively to minehunters and minesweepers.Minehunter
A minehunter is a naval vessel that seeks, detects, and destroys individual naval mines. Minesweepers, on the other hand, clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of mines. A vessel that combines both of these roles is known as a mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV).Net laying ship
A net laying ship, also known as a net layer, net tender, gate ship or boom defence vessel was a type of small auxiliary ship.
A net layer's primary function was to lay and maintain steel anti-torpedo or anti-submarine nets. Nets could be laid around an individual ship at anchor, or around harbors or other anchorages. Net laying was potentially dangerous work, and net laying seamen were experts at dealing with blocks, tackles, knots and splicing. As World War II progressed, net layers were pressed into a variety of additional roles including salvage, troop and cargo transport, buoy maintenance, and service as tugboats.Ocean boarding vessel
Ocean boarding vessels (OBVs) were merchant ships taken over by the Royal Navy for the purpose of enforcing wartime blockades by intercepting and boarding foreign vessels.Repair ship
A repair ship is a naval auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to warships. Repair ships provide similar services to destroyer, submarine and seaplane tenders or depot ships, but may offer a broader range of repair capability including equipment and personnel for repair of more significant machinery failures or battle damage.Submarine tender
A submarine tender is a type of depot ship that supplies and supports submarines.
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