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The Bogue Class of Escort Carriers

The Bogue-class escort carriers were based on the Maritime Commission's Type C3 cargo ship hull. Most were built by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation, but some of the early examples were produced by Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Mississippi and by the Western Pipe and Steel Company of San Francisco, California. They all were named for sounds, and were equipped with derricks for retrieving seaplanes and loading and unloading aircraft.

These vessels were equipped with a variety of weapons, including one or two main guns of 4-inch /50 cal, 5-inch /38 cal, or 5-inch /51 cal plus 40 mm Bofors and 20 mm Oerlikons. The type of main gun and number of smaller guns changed over the course of the war. They could carry as many as 28 aircraft operationally, or more if operating as an aircraft transport with additional aircraft secured to the flight deck.

The 10 remaining Bogue-class escort carriers in US service were re-designated helicopter escort carriers (CVHE) in 1955 and 5 of these were re-designated utility escort carriers(CVU) in 1958, then aircraft ferry(AKV) in 1958 and operating under US Maritime Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) during the Vietnam war.

Transfer to the Royal Navy

Most of the ships of the class were transferred to the Royal Navy under the provisions of the Lend-Lease program; they were given new names for their RN service and returned to the U.S. Navy after the war. The first group to be transferred were known by the RN as the Attacker-class; in their place replacements were constructed with the same names for the American fleet. A second group of ships were built and sent almost in its entirety to the Royal Navy, known as the Ameer-class or the Ruler-class in British service, and sometimes as the Prince William-class in the U.S. Navy.

As delivered, these carriers required modifications to conform to Royal Naval standards and, for some ships, the initial works were done at Burrard Dry Dock at Vancouver, Canada. These included extending the flight deck, fitting redesigned flying controls and fighter direction layout, modifications to hangar, accommodation and store rooms, extra safety measures, oiling at sea arrangements, gunnery and other internal communications, extra wireless and radio facilities, ship black-out arrangements and other items deemed necessary for British service.

The consequential delays in getting these ships into active service caused critical comments from some in the U.S. Navy.

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