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Swordfish on MAC carriers

Discussion in 'Surface and Air Forces' started by aurora7, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. aurora7

    aurora7 recruit

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    The Latest 'Smithsonian Air and Space' magazine issue had an article on Swordfish torpedo planes on MAC carriers.

    I had never heard of MAC carriers before, let alone Swordfish being deployed on them, It was an interesting article.

    Also, I finally learned the reason the swordfish were called 'stringbags'. As a Yank, I thought it had to do with it being a biplane with wire reinforced supports. The article explains why.

    http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/Short-Decks-and-Swordfish-215588071.html
     
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  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Thanks. Its a good article. I am not sure the shopping bag thoery is the true origin of "Stringbag. I think it may have been well known before the MAC ships. The British Nerchant Navy once operated 19 aircraft carriers. Does this put it into the top ten llargest operators of carriers?
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The Wiki list does not take into account Escort Carriers(CVEs) and the like, so I don't think the British Merchant Marine would qualify for the Wiki list.

    The Haze Grey Carrier list is much more thorough
    http://www.hazegray.org/navhist/carriers/

    Don't forget that two of the CAMS(fixed typo) operated under the Norwegian flag, so that leaves 17.
     
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  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    It's probably just a typo, but a CAM (Catapult Aircraft Merchant) ship was different from a MAC (Merchant Aircraft Carrier). CAM ships carried a single fighter, usually a Hurricane, which could be launched by catapult but could not land back aboard, so the pilot had to ditch, bail out, or try to reach a land base if close enough. The catapult on the bow was the only structural alteration, and the ships operated as normal cargo ships. It was a one-shot weapon, primarily intended for use against German reconnaissance aircraft like the FW-200, but as this article shows they also scored against attacking planes on a couple of Murmansk convoys:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAM_ship

    There were also Fighter Catapult Ships which were naval manned and assigned as escorts to convoys.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I hadn't heard about them before. Any good links or details?
     
  7. aurora7

    aurora7 recruit

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  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    So in terms of navies operating Aircraft carriers the US is #1 with 68 the Royal Navy #2 with 22 The IJN #3 with 20 and the British Merchant Navy # 4 with 19. CAM ships were close to suicide missions with the pilot usually forced to ditch, with a slim chance of rescue.
     
  9. WilcoV.

    WilcoV. New Member

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  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Not much, of course there's a wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighter_catapult_ship

    They were usually attached to convoys; Springbank was lost while escorting a Gibraltar convoy. She was unusual in being an AA ship, armed with eight 4", HACS, two quad pompom, etc. with the fighter capability added.

    Blair's Hitler's U-Boat War at one point describes the FCSs' mission as patrolling the Condors' operating area, which would seem to expose them to submarine attack. Some of them carried more than one aircraft, so they could make multiple engagements. Haven't been able to find if they actually scored any kills. Apparently the Admiratly came to prefer the CAM concept, even though it meant sending planes and pilots all the way across the ocean and back.
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    CAM ships were close to suicide missions with the pilot usually forced to ditch, with a slim chance of rescue.

    According to the wiki article there was only one fatality in 8 or 9 combat launches. One pilot was even successfully picked up in cold northern waters on Russian convoy PQ16. They're credited with 8 kills on bombers and FW-200s.
     
  12. WilcoV.

    WilcoV. New Member

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    Do not confuse the two, MAC and CAM ships are two totally different concepts.
    The MAC ships were Meachant carriers with a small flight deck, the pilot could land on the deck again.
    The CAM ships were merchant ships with a catapult. Once airborne, the pilot had to ditch (my article on the CAM: http://www.go2war2.nl/artikel/470/CAM-schepen.htm - sorry for now also only in Dutch)
     
  13. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    In one of my books, there are the lyrics for a song about the Stringbag...Looked high and low on net for it- but no luck. ..I'll try and find.
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  15. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    Well done MrT. Thank you.
     

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