The Escort Carriers in Action: The Story, in Pictures, of the Escort Carrier Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet, 1945

The Escort Carriers in Action: The Story, in Pictures, of the Escort Carrier Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet, 1945

The Escort Carriers in Action: The Story, in Pictures, of the Escort Carrier Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet, 1945

The Escort Carriers in Action: The Story, in Pictures, of the Escort Carrier Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet, 1945

Excerpt

The Battle for Leyte Gulf gave the Escort Aircraft Carrier (CVE in Navy language) the reputation of a formidable fighting ship.During the action off Samar Island in October, 1944, in the Battle for Leyte Gulf. a handful of escort carriers. under the overall command of Rear Admiral T. L. Sprague, and their screening destroyers, engaged a major Japanese task force for more than two hours in broad daylight.Although their cause seemed hopeless, they fought a heroic and successful battle, inflicting heavy damage on the Japanese forces.Two CVE's were lost in this action. the GAMBIER BAY and the SAINT LO.

This battle called attention to the development of the CVE into a combat type.As the name implies, these ships were originally conceived for escort and plane-ferry duty. Strictly a development of World War II. they were built to fill a desperate need for an effective weapon to meet the submarine menace in the Atlantic and to extend and protect the long supply lines in the Pacific.They could be easily and quickly converted or mass produced from merchant hulls. In the four years of the war, more than one hundred escort carriers were built, many of them for the British.At one time they were sliding down the ways at the rate of one a week.

The CVE's have fulfilled their original purpose and more.Not only have they ferried the planes and escorted the fleet oilers and troop transports, but they have played a notable part in most major offensive operations in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.The task of the combat CVE's has been to furnish fighter protection and direct air support to our invasion forces, including spotting for naval gunfire, artillery observation and strikes against nearby enemy air bases. Anti-submarine warfare in both oceans has been almost exclusively the responsibility of the escort carriers and the destroyers and destroyer-escorts working with them. The Battle of the Atlantic was . . .

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