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Commencement Bay Class, U.S. Escort Carriers


Photograph of Commencement Bay in dazzle camoflauge

U.S. Navy

Schematic diagram of Commencement Bay class escort carrier

ONI 222


Specifications:


Tonnage 18,908 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 557'1" by 75' by 32'
169.80m by 22.86m by 9.75m
Maximum speed       20.2 knots
Complement 1054
Aircraft 501' (152.7m) flight deck
2 H4C catapults
2 elevators
33 aircraft
Armament 2x1 5"/38 dual-purpose guns
12x2, 3x4 40mm Bofors AA guns
20x1 20mm Oerlikon AA guns
Machinery
2-shaft Allis-Chalmers geared turbine (16,000 shp)
4 Combustion Engineering boilers
Bunkerage 1788.5 tons fuel oil
150,806 gallons (510,000 liters) aviation gasoline
Range 8320 nautical miles (15,400 km) at 15 knots
Munitions capacity 804 tons
Sensors
SK-2 air search radar
SG surface search radar

The Commencement Bays were completed in 1944-45 as the final class of escort carriers. They were a development of the Sangamons, and inherited many of their characteristics, but were built as carriers from the keel up. They had less range, but much better machinery layout and subdivision. Many warship experts regard them as the best of the escort carriers. Only a few units were completed in time to see combat and none were lost in the Pacific.

The air croup was typically 15 TBF Avenger torpedo bombers and 18 F6F Hellcat fighters. The ships could also operate as tankers, with an additional 7359 tons of cargo oil.

Postwar, two of these carriers saw service with Marine air groups in Korea while another ten units were converted to antisubmarine helicopter carriers.


Units in the Pacific:

Commencement Bay       completed 1944-11-20 (Tacoma)
Block Island arrived 1944-12-30
Gilbert Islands completed 1945-2-5 (Tacoma)
Cape Gloucester completed 1945-3-5 (Tacoma)
Vella Gulf completed 1945-4-9 (Tacoma)
Kula Gulf completed 1945-5-12 (Portland)
Salerno Bay completed 1945-5-19 (Tacoma)

References

Chesneau (1992)

Friedman (1983)

Worth (2001)



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