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CVE Jeep Carriers to cover the black hole mid Atlantic

Discussion in 'Atlantic Naval Conflict' started by gusord, Jan 25, 2017.

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  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The United States commissioned it's first CVE, the USS Long Island, before the British commissioned theirs, HMS Audacity.

    Still, there were some problems with the first US/UK CVEs based on the diesel driven C-3 merchants. The ships were being produced by Sun Shipbuilding, which had not yet been configured for mass-production shipbuilding. Also, the diesels were not performing as reliably as expected. These lead to a switch to steam turbine merchants being produced by Ingalls and Seattle-Tacoma, both were geared for mass production.

    The US Navy was also considering converting several fast passenger liners into aircraft carriers, but this was cancelled at the end of 1941.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Does the article give a source for the "helicopter" comment?
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Can you see them shaving the top decks off Normandie?
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes.
    2. Confidential memo from Captain Daniel J. Callahan to Admiral Stark, 21 December 1940, cited in “The Escort Carrier Program,” 10.


    However, Norman Friedman dates origin of the Roosevelt proposal to Mid-October, 1940. Although no source is given in his US Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History.
     
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  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Sikorsky didn't get into full production until 1942, producing 131 birds that year. Seems ambitious to forecast helicopter carriers in 1940.
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    They did during her salvage
    [​IMG]

    But, this was prior to Normandie and her fire.

    The Liners were the SS Manhattan and her sister-ship SS Washington, SS America, and the Swedish liner Kungsholm. Other liners that had been considered for conversion in the late-30's were the SS California class, SS Mariposa class, and the SS President Coolidge. The US Navy was also looking into some constructing liners purposely designed to be converted into auxiliary aircraft carriers, and operated as liners by the American President Lines - The downside was that the first would take 3 years to build, and the second four years.


    More likely, the were autogyros. But the Navy tests with them reportedly did not go well. No capacity for depth bombs/charges, equipped only with smoke markers to mark the submarine's position for escorting vessels. Although some had hopes that, if accepted, the autogyro would develop into a larger craft capable of carrying bombs.
     
  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    According to the best summary I have found, there was considerable interest by the Navy in autogiros and helicopters pre-war that continued during the war. http://www.gerlecreek.com/coolplaces/pamphlettrial1c.pdf

    Brief Highlights of Cornerstone Events in US Naval Helicopter History
    ...
    January 22, 1931. – The US Navy ordered three XOP -1 autogiro prototypes from Pitcairn Aircraft Co., to be evaluated for naval service. This was the first US Navy contract for rotary wing aircraft in history. September 23, 1931. – LT Alfred M. Pride, USN, piloted an XOP-1 in the first rotary wing aircraft landing and take-off from a ship at sea, USS Langley (CV-1).

    March 12, 1935. – The Navy awarded Pitcairn another contract to produce an autogiro without fixed wings and ailerons. The XOP-2 was the first Navy rotary wing aircraft without fixed wings. This modification, made possible by the implementation of cyclic control of the rotor blades pitch angle, greatly improved controllability at slow airspeeds.

    August 9, 1937. – BuNo A8602, an autogiro built for the Navy by Pennsylvania Aircraft Syndicate, performed demonstration flights, including water landings and take-offs. This autogiro was a modified N2Y-1 tandem-seat biplane trainer. The overall results of evaluations during the 1930s convinced the Navy hierarchy that the autogiro could not satisfactorily meet naval requirements. The Navy needed a hovering vehicle. It would have to wait a few more years before that need could be fulfilled.

    June 30, 1938. – An Inter-Agency was created to administer the rotary wing development program funded by the Dorsey Act. CDR William J. Kossler, USCG, represented the Coast Guard. He would become one of the “Founding Fathers” of helicopter naval aviation.

    July 19, 1940. – The US Army Material Division awarded Platt-LePage Aircraft Co. a contract to build an experimental helicopter, the XR-1, a twin-side-byside-rotor design based on the technology of the German Focke-Wulf Fw-61. This was the second helicopter contract awarded by the US military; the first, awarded by the Army to George de Bothezat in 1921, had failed to produce a practical helicopter.

    December 17, 1940. – The US Army awarded Sikorsky Aircraft a contract to build the XR-4 single-mainrotor and tail rotor helicopter prototype. Sikorsky would use this configuration in all his future helicopter designs. The XR-4 first flew on 13 January 1942.

    April 20, 1942. – Sikorsky offered an XR-4 flight demonstration for the Army and representatives of the US Navy, Coast Guard, and the Royal Navy. USCG CDR Watson A. Burton, Commanding Officer of the New York Coast Guard Air Station, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, NY, and CDR William J. Kossler, who was serving as Chief of the Aviation Engineering Division at Coast Guard Headquarters, witnessed the demonstration. They agreed that the helicopter could meet the requirements of a rescue vehicle and proposed that three helicopters be procured for test and evaluation. Their proposal was immediately rejected.

    May 1942. – CDR Kossler did not give up on his quest. He arranged for his protégée, LCDR Frank Erickson, another helicopter advocate, to be assigned as Executive Officer of the New York Coast Guard Air Station. With their shared enthusiasm for the helicopter as a rescue vehicle, Kossler wanted to bring Erickson close to the Sikorsky factory.

    June 26, 1942. – LCDR Erickson visited the Sikorsky plant in Connecticut and inspected the XR-4 development program. Three days later he submitted a report to Headquarters recommending the procurement of elicopters for convoy antisubmarine patrol and search and rescue duty. Knowing that the Navy was very concerned with the convoy losses in the Atlantic caused by German submarines, Erickson placed emphasis on the helicopter antisubmarine role.

    July 24, 1942. – The Bureau of Aeronautics issued a Planning Directive for the procurement of four Sikorsky XR-4 helicopters for evaluation by the Navy and Coast Guard. CDR Kossler convinced the Commandant of the Coast Guard, ADM Russell R. Waesche, to obtain authorization from ADM Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations, to establish a Coast Guard helicopter test and evaluation program.

    February 15, 1943. – ADM King issued a letter to the Bureau of Aeronautics directing the development and evaluation of helicopters deployed aboard merchant ships for antisubmarine patrol duty. It assigned responsibility to the Coast Guard for the testing and evaluation of helicopters.

    May 7, 1943. – The Army conducted the first sea trials of the XR-4 aboard the merchant tanker Bunker Hill, with Captain Frank Gregory at the controls. The Maritime Commission sponsored this demonstration, conducted in the Long Island Sound. Captain Gregory circled and landed aboard the ship about fifteen times.

    June 1943. – LCDR Erickson began helicopter flight training in the XR-4 at the Sikorsky plant in Connecticut. He soloed after three hours of dual flight training with Sikorsky’s chief test pilot Les Morris, thus becoming Coast Guard helicopter pilot number 1.

    June 10, 1943. – LCDR Erickson submitted another proposal, this time placing all the emphasis on the helicopter’s antisubmarine potential. He recommended that helicopters be equipped with radar and dunking sonar to become “the eyes and ears of the convoy escorts.”

    June 22, 1943. – The Navy contracted a buy of 44 Sikorsky R-5 helicopters. By the time the first R-5, Navy designation HO2S-1, was accepted in December 1945, the war had ended. These helicopters were assigned to NAS New York and USCG Air Station, Elizabeth City, SC.

    October 16, 1943. – The Navy accepted its first helicopter, a Sikorsky YR-4B, Navy designation XHNS-1, BuNo 46445, at Bridgeport, Connecticut. LCDR Erickson flew the one-hour acceptance flight. CDR Charles T. Booth, USN, went to Bridgeport to qualify as a helicopter pilot and to fly the XHNS-1 to the Naval Air Test Center (NATC), NAS Patuxent River, MD. CDR Booth was the first US Navy Officer to become qualified to fly helicopters.

    October 20, 1943. – LTJG Steward R. Graham, USCG, completed helicopter flight training at the Sikorsky plant, soloing after three and a half hours of dual instruction. LTJG Graham became USCG helicopter pilot number two. LCDR Erickson was his flight instructor.

    October 22, 1943. – CDR Charles T. Booth delivered the first XHNS-1 to NATC, Patuxent River. The Army transferred two additional YR-4Bs to the Navy. In time, a total of 20 YR-4Bs from the Army contract of 100 were transferred to the Navy. According to its records, between October 1943 and December 1944 the US Navy accepted 68 YR-4Bs (HNS-1s). They were powered with the R-550 radial engine, its various versions developing between 180 and 200 hp.

    November 19, 1943. – The New York Coast Guard Air Station was designated the first US naval helicopter training base, newly promoted CDR Erickson commanding. Erickson began to train Coast Guard, Navy, Army Air Corps, and British helicopter pilots.
    December 5, 1943. – LCDR John M. Miller, USNR, soloed the HNS-1, becoming US Navy helicopter pilot number 2. CDR Erickson was his flight instructor. A few days later the Navy conducted its first HNS-1 shipboard operational test. LCDR Miller, with Army Brigadier General Frank Lowe aboard as an observer, landed aboard the British freighter M. V. Daghestan in the Long Island Sound.

    December 18, 1943. – Based on the results of this test, the Chief of Naval Operations directed the separation of the helicopter test and development functions from the pilot training function. He further directed that, effective 1 January 1944, the Coast Guard establish a helicopter pilot training program at Floyd Bennett Field, under the direction of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air). The directive established the criteria that after 25 hours of dual and solo flight time, a fixed wing pilot was qualified as a helicopter pilot. From its beginning, the Navy considered helicopter rating as a postgraduate qualification, and only Naval Aviators were sent to helicopter training. This policy continued until 1954.

    January 1, 1944. – The Navy signed a contract with PV Engineering Forum, Frank Piasecki’s emerging enterprise, for the building of a single XHRP-1 prototype. This was the first twin-rotor helicopter in the tandem configuration built in the US. The XHRP-X, a technology demonstrator, first flew on 7 March 1945. The XHRP-1 evaluation was very successful, and the Navy quickly ordered production of twenty HRP-1s, nicknamed the “Flying Banana.”

    January 2, 1944. – The first Atlantic convoy that used the new antisubmarine helicopter patrol capability sailed from New York to Liverpool, UK, with three HNS-1 helicopters embarked. The first sortie at sea was flown from Daghestan by USCG LTJG Steward Graham on 16 January, a 30 minutes flight. With the support of CAPT Kossler and ADM Waesche, CDR Erickson had been able to sell the Navy on the concept of using the helicopter in the convoy antisubmarine patrol role.

    January 3, 1944. – CDR Erickson performed the first recorded helicopter mission of mercy when he flew an HNS-1 through a winter blizzard to deliver a cargo of blood plasma from Manhattan, NY, to the Hospital at Sandy Hook, NJ, to treat over 100 sailors injured in explosions aboard the destroyer USS Turner. This event helped to reverse the perception of helicopters as impractical machines.

    August 11, 1944. – CDR Erickson began testing a bombloading electric hoist installed in an HNS 1, the first rescue hoist installed in a helicopter. After four days of testing over Jamaica Bay, its feasibility was clearly demonstrated, but the electric motor proved to be too weak and slow. Erickson switched to a hydraulic motor that could lift 400 pounds at two and a half feet per second. During new testing six weeks later the hydraulic system performed very satisfactorily, leading to its adoption for service use.

    September 1944. – The Navy accepted three prototypes of the Sikorsky XR-6, Navy designation XHOS- 1. Under Sikorsky license, Nash-Kelvinator in Detroit began production of the HOS-1 in 1945. The Navy accepted 36 helicopters from Nash-Kelvinator before all war production contracts were cancelled shortly after V-J Day, 2 September 1945.

    February 6, 1945. – The sixth and final class of helicopter pilots graduated from CDR Erickson’s helicopter training school. The school was closed after graduating 97 helicopter pilots, including 71 US Coast Guard, 7 US Navy, 11 British, 4 Army, 2 civilians, and 2 CAA pilots. 6 students dropped from training. Additionally, the school trained 255 mechanics.

    March 7, 1945. – CDR Erickson reported that a dipping sonar suspended from an XHOS-1 helicopter performed successfully. LT Steward Graham conducted the test. He soon became the principal test pilot developing helicopter antisubmarine equipment and tactics.
     
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  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Fascinating.
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have a copy of the salvage report. It's about 89% PDF'd. Just have to do the big plates.
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Thanks for the list Rich.

    I was under the impression that the US Navy did some more autogyro tests in 1940, but cannot remember where I picked that up from.
     
  11. green slime

    green slime Member

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    But Germany had already demonstrated helicopters prior to the war, so it wasn't that big a leap to forsee a use.
     

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