CAM Ship Fighters

Discussions on all aspects of the United States of America during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Carl Schwamberger.
CharlesRollinsWare
Member
Posts: 184
Joined: 23 Apr 2005 21:15
Location: Windsor Locks CT

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by CharlesRollinsWare » 16 Apr 2009 00:16

Gents;

I'm not sure that it is entirely clear from the above, but there were two distinctly different types of ships operating catapult aircraft in defense of convoys

The first type were Royal Navy Fighter Catapult Ships. These were RN ships, manned by RN crews, RN FAA fighter aircraft, and RN FAA aircrew. There were five of these ships, HMS Patia (bombed & sunk 28.04.41 while on trials), HMS Springbank (torpedoed & sunk by U-201 on 27.09.41), HMS Ariguani (torpedoed by U-83 26.10.41, made Gibraltar but deemed a constuctive total loss), HMS Maplin (withdrawn from service in 06.42), and HMS Pegasus (formerly HMS Ark Royal II, formerly the seaplane carrier HMS Pegasus; retired from FCS service 07.41). The first four were relatively modern, "banana" boats. The later was a very old and worn seaplane carrier modified for FCS work.

HMS Pegasus carried 3 Fulmars. She made 3 operational launches that resulted in no interceptions.
HMS Maplin carried 2, later 3 Sea Hurricanes. She made 3 operational launches that resulted in 3 interceptions and made 1 kill.
HMS Springbank carried 2 Fulmars. She made 3 operational launches that resulted in 2 interceptions.
HMS Ariguani initally carried 2 Fulmars, then Sea Hurricanes. She made 3 operational launches that resulted in 1 interception.

The larger group were CAM (Catapult Armed Merchant) ships. These were merchant ships equipped with catapults, RAF fighter aircraft, and RAF aircrew. There were 35 ships of which 12 were sunk by enemy action. They made a total of 8 operational launches that resulted in 6 kill claims.

Although the aircraft were considered expendable, they were often not launched because, one used, they could not be recovered and the folks in charge often chose to retain the aircraft on the possibility that they would be more needed later. A number of launches were made within range of friendly land bases and the pilots made for them they but weather made this a risk.

Hope this is of interest.

Mark E. Horan
Last edited by CharlesRollinsWare on 17 Apr 2009 01:39, edited 1 time in total.

no4mkit
Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 17:49

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by no4mkit » 16 Apr 2009 21:06

Regarding the Fighter Catapult Ships, I've only ever seen one photo (of HMS Springbank) with a Fulmar on the catapult and it's too far off for any detail. Does anyone know of a source for more photo's of plane and catapult? Poolman's "The Catafighters" has nothing other than the one mentioned.

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17487
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by phylo_roadking » 16 Apr 2009 21:25

I've only ever seen one photo (of HMS Springbank) with a Fulmar on the catapult and it's too far off for any detail
HERE'S a question.....

Why - if the testing was done with a Hurricane - did they THEN "revert" to Fulmars for a time??? Before of course going back to Hurricanes? I'd have thought by that point in the war there were enough old Hurricane MkIs about, now surplus to requirements in the UK...and let's face it - it didn't really NEED the MkII-and-after's MerlinXX to catch a Condor!!! As it was, old MkI's were being converted to Sea Hurricanes - with the 50 used as CAM aircraft being known as Sea Hurricanes MkIA...was it just that the Hurricane IA's weren't ready in time???

CharlesRollinsWare
Member
Posts: 184
Joined: 23 Apr 2005 21:15
Location: Windsor Locks CT

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by CharlesRollinsWare » 17 Apr 2009 01:33

Gents;

The reason the Fighter Catapult Ships initially deployed with Fulmar IIs had to do with when the ships were deployed. In early 1941 the Fulmar II was becoming available in large numbers while the Sea Hurricane was not yet in the pipeline. Maplin was completed as the first Sea Hurricanes became available so she got them. The CAM ships came later and were outfitted with released RAF machines fitted with catapult spools.

Pegasus was a very old ship (1914) and was warn out when she was pulled out of service in July 1941 and never received Sea Hurricanes. Patia was lost before she got aircraft. Springbank was scheduled to replace her Fulmars with Sea Hurricanes on her return to the UK but was sunk before she got there. Ariguani did get hers replaced before she was torpedoed and written off as a FCS (though she was eventually repaired and when back to merchant service).

So the real answer is that the RN didn't have available Sea Hurricanes when the ships first came into service while the later arriving CAM ships came into service after the first RAF machines were converted.

Mark

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17487
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by phylo_roadking » 17 Apr 2009 01:51

Some pics of the Fighter Catapault Ships - from uboat.net and fleetairarmarchive.net

Springbank
Image

Ariguani
Image

Pegasus
Image
Image

User avatar
Juha Tompuri
Forum Staff
Posts: 11445
Joined: 11 Sep 2002 20:02
Location: Mylsä

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by Juha Tompuri » 20 Apr 2009 21:14

Discussion over the Fw 200 brake system moved to http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 08&start=0
/Juha

no4mkit
Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 17:49

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by no4mkit » 21 Apr 2009 18:29

Thanks Phylo - haven't seen the photo's of Pegasus before. The FC Ships were evidently a more varied bunch than the CAM's were. Ariguani is almost indistinguishable from a CAM ship.

Mark - thanks for that - that's how I understand the Fulmar vs Hurricane employment as well.

James A Pratt III
Member
Posts: 683
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 00:08
Location: Texas

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by James A Pratt III » 21 Apr 2009 22:07

There is a book I think the title is "Scourge of the Atlantic" which deals with the Fw200 and the CAM ships and their claims and ops.

no4mkit
Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 17:49

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by no4mkit » 22 May 2009 17:07

Thanks for that info James - I've just bought a copy of the book.

For anyone interested, I have a 1/72 scale model/diorama underway of a Hurricat poised on the bow section of a CAM ship. Hope it's ok to post this link:

http://www.mercantilemarine.org/showthr ... 030&page=3

no4mkit
Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 17:49

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by no4mkit » 11 Jun 2010 00:20

As an update to my previous post, the CAM Ship Hurricat project was finished recently - a short article and photo's can be found here:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/inde ... 47734&st=0

nedz
Member
Posts: 147
Joined: 20 Jun 2004 15:03
Location: London UK

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by nedz » 28 Jun 2010 01:15

Interesting story I came across recently about an FCS launch

Source : http://www.oca.269squadron.btinternet.c ... y/1941.htm
10 May 1941

The Fighter Catapult Ship HMS Ariguani joined it’s first convoy, OB319 outward-bound to Halifax via Iceland. It carried oneFairey Fulmar (N9047). The following day [or the 12th] as OB319 was heading for Iceland, a Focke Wulf 200 was sighted and Sub-Lieutenant Harvey was launched from the Ariguani. As the plane was launched its radio broke down. It was a dull, grey, cloudy day. Harvey could not see the Condor, and R/T communication was lost a few hundred yards from the ship. In Ariguani the men saw the two aircraft pass one Another on reciprocal headings, oblivious of each other, the Fulmar at 500 ft., the Condor skimming the wave crests. Frustrated, Harvey orbited for a while, then set course for Iceland, climbing through the clouds up into the bright sunlight. Three hours later he sighted mountains and finally landed at Kaldaðarnes. On the 13th he flew the Fulmar on to Reykjavik where he landed on an unfinished runway. In avoiding a lorry parked at the end of the runway, he went off the concrete and finished up twelve inches from a huge boulder. The Fulmar's wings were folded and it was taken on a lorry down to the docks, where it was collected later by the Ariguani."

User avatar
Pips
Member
Posts: 1127
Joined: 26 Jun 2005 08:44
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by Pips » 28 Jun 2010 12:33

....The CAM ships operated up until the summer of 1943. Over the two years they were in use, there were only eight operational launches, which resulted in the downing of six enemy aircraft and the loss of only one pilot. This success ratio clearly shows that the CAM ship principle was sound. It was also a great morale booster for the other merchantmen, looking over and seeing the beautiful shape of a Sea Hurricane poised menacingly on its catapult...
Only eight operational launches? I find that figure quite surprising. From reading books on the convoy wars, I had gained the impression that launches were quite common. But obviously not.

CharlesRollinsWare
Member
Posts: 184
Joined: 23 Apr 2005 21:15
Location: Windsor Locks CT

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by CharlesRollinsWare » 29 Jun 2010 15:34

The reason operational launches were so rare was simply because it was a one shot deal. Once dispatched, a subsequent need could not be fulfilled. Thus, the folks in charge often chaose to retain the aircraft for mosre dire future situation that never came along.

Mark

User avatar
Tim Smith
Member
Posts: 6177
Joined: 19 Aug 2002 12:15
Location: UK

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by Tim Smith » 01 Jul 2010 17:56

Well, not many Fw 200's were operational on a daily basis. A Fw 200 Gruppe might often only have 6 planes serviceable out of 18 on strength. Plus the Condor crews may have become quite cagey about getting too close to a convoy once they became aware the British had catapult fighters available.

OpanaPointer
Member
Posts: 4003
Joined: 16 May 2010 14:12
Location: United States of America

Re: CAM Ship Fighters

Post by OpanaPointer » 01 Jul 2010 18:39

There's a one page article on page 248 here: http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/TWI/TWI-42-10-02.pdf
Come visit our sites:
hyperwarHyperwar
World War II Resources

Bellum se ipsum alet, mostly Doritos.

Return to “USA 1919-1945”