WWII Escort carrier HMS Dasher (and others) question - Ships Nostalgia
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WWII Escort carrier HMS Dasher (and others) question

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  #1  
Old 22nd October 2010, 17:02
Iain Crosbie Iain Crosbie is offline  
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WWII Escort carrier HMS Dasher (and others) question

Can anyone tell me whether or not this class of escort carrier (and specifically Dasher if possible) used any kind of catapult for launching aircraft, and whether or not the flight deck was wooden?
It has always been my understanding that catapults on conventional carriers did not appear until the 1950s, however I have seen a reference to the Avenger being fitted with a catapult when built. I also understood that wooden decks were not used by the Royal Navy, but do not know if the American practice of wooden decks was used on these ships, which were built in America.
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  #2  
Old 22nd October 2010, 17:48
WilliamH WilliamH is offline  
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My father seved on HMS Persus, an escort carrier in early1950's. The ship was in Rosythe for 2 or 3 years having an experimental steam catapult fitted. On completion of the modification the ship went to the USA to demonstrate the new catapult, I think the americans bought the system, though I don't know foe certain.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 00:03
gwzm gwzm is offline  
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From the information presented in The Secrets of HMS Dasher by John & Noreen Steele, 3rd edition 2002, HMS Dasher had a timber (sic) flight deck. It appears that she was not fitted with a catapult, according to the sectional drawing of this class of aircraft carrier.
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  #4  
Old 24th October 2010, 08:56
tstoneman tstoneman is offline
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HMS DASHER carried a US-type H.2 hydraulic catapult.
Both the Royal Navy and the US Navy fitted catapults to fleet carriers from the mid 1930s onwards; Iain may be referring to the introduction of the steam catapult, which did take place in the 1950s, trialled in PERSEUS as stated by WilliamH
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Old 24th October 2010, 18:14
Iain Crosbie Iain Crosbie is offline  
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Dasher specification

Thanks for your input gentlemen, but alas as you have given me contradicting information I am no further forward!
I have read that a catapult of some description was used athwartships on the hanger deck of some early carriers, but this was not successful (unsurprisingly) mainly due to being unable to make use of the extra airspeed normally gained by steaming the ship into wind. I do not know if the Dasher's catapult was one of these; there does not seem to be any kind of deck 'slot' in any of the pictures I have seen of her.
It seems strange that the RN would specify a catapult when presumably the aircraft would have had to be modified to be able to use it, thus complicating matters when allocating aircraft to ships. The Swordfish in particular had a very short take-off run rendering a catapult rather superfluous, although I cannot speak for the Sea Hurricane with which Dasher was also equipped.
The plot thickens!
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  #6  
Old 24th October 2010, 20:10
BUGGINS BUGGINS is offline
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the escort carriers did not have catapults.
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  #7  
Old 24th October 2010, 21:13
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Davesdream Davesdream is offline  
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If you have Freidmans book on US Aircraft Carriers, you will find that the following classe's of Escort Carriers did in fact have catapults, mainly hydraulic types. Bogue Class, Independence Class, Kaiser Class, Casablanca Class, mainly positioned on the port side of the forward flight.

Regards
Dave
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  #8  
Old 24th October 2010, 23:19
gwzm gwzm is offline  
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It seems that HMS Dasher did have a catapult - see the last sentence in this extract which appears on the following website http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/se...AHMS&id=102679 :-
The loss of HMS Dasher with 379 lives on 27 March 1943 remained undisclosed until 1945 but was second only, in home waters, to that of HMS Royal Oak among British warship losses in the Second World War. The wreck lies midway between Brodick (Arran) and Ardrossan (five miles south of Little Cumbrae).
HMS Dasher was the fourth of six 'fighter carriers' (commonly termed 'Woolworth carriers') ordered under lease-lend on 29 April 1942. A second ship (HMS Avenger) of this class was lost in November following a massive explosion caused by a single torpedo hit. This class of ship was based around a standard (C3) hull of merchant ship type, and HMS Dasher was converted from the MS Rio de Janeiro, which was built and converted for the carriage of bananas by the Sun Shipbuilding Company of Hoboken, USA. Conversion was carried out by Tietsen and Laird, also of Hoboken, and completed on 1 July 1942. As converted, the basic dimensions of the ship were: length overall 492ft (150m), flight deck length 410ft (125m) and mean draught 26ft (7.9m). A single Sun Droxford diesel engine of 8500 shp gave a nominal speed of 16kts and a single aircraft lift served the hangar that occupied about half the length of the ship. An H2 accelerator [catapult] was fitted but was compatible only with American types of aircraft.

Similar information also apears on other websites. The "catapult" is not obvious in any of the photographs that I found.
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  #9  
Old 25th October 2010, 15:54
Iain Crosbie Iain Crosbie is offline  
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Dasher

You can see why I'm confused!
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Old 25th October 2010, 21:20
BUGGINS BUGGINS is offline
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I should have said that RN escort carrier conversions did not have catapults and whilst the US built RN ones had a catapult close to the port deck edge it could not be used for the British built aircraft - Dasher`s were Swordfish and Sea Hurricane. Thus the catapult could only be used if US built aircraft were embarked.
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  #11  
Old 26th October 2010, 08:29
Iain Crosbie Iain Crosbie is offline  
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Dasher

Thanks everyone. Now about that flight deck... was it wooden or steel?
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  #12  
Old 26th October 2010, 13:04
gwzm gwzm is offline  
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Wooden.
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Old 31st October 2010, 05:05
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In most cases the flight deck were made of Douglas fir....

Regards
Dave
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Old 1st November 2010, 12:06
gwzm gwzm is offline  
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Following on from Iain's question I did a lot of digging about on the net and found that some of the information was contradictory, although we have got it pretty well correct amongst ourselves here on SN.
From what I found out:
- Rio de Janiero (later HMS Dasher, D37) was converted at Tietjen & Lang. (Not Bethlehem Steel Corporation as mentioned on some sites).
- HMS Dasher was designated BAVG-5. (Not BAVG-4 as mentioned in some sources.)
- HMS Dasher had two Doxford six-cylinder diesels. (Not one or four engines as also mentioned on some sites).
- HMS Dasher had a lightweight wooden flight deck on a trusswork superstructure.
- It appears that HMS Dasher did indeed have a catapult but it was only suitable for American aircraft.
If anyone is interested, send me a PM with your e-mail address and I'll send the documents with my summary information and the sources that I reviewed.
All the best,
gwzm
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  #15  
Old 1st November 2010, 14:15
Iain Crosbie Iain Crosbie is offline  
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Dasher

Thanks to you all for your input to this.
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  #16  
Old 20th September 2012, 15:46
jberry6 jberry6 is offline
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HMS Dasher ship plans

Hi,

I wonder if any of you can help? I'm looking for her plans and have been already to Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock or Tiejten & Lang archives and also to various other US and UK archives and have so far come up blank.
Do any of you have any clues?
I would be very much obliged.

J
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  #17  
Old 20th September 2012, 16:51
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A.D.FROST A.D.FROST is offline  
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Hms Dasher

Attachment 30325

Attachment 30326

Attachment 30327

Hope this helps

Last edited by A.D.FROST; 18th July 2013 at 17:27..
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  #18  
Old 20th September 2012, 16:59
jberry6 jberry6 is offline
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This is very interesting! Thank you! I wonder whether you could tell me where these are from? I assume these are generic to the class rather than Dasher - sunk 1943?
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Old 20th September 2012, 17:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jberry6 View Post
This is very interesting! Thank you! I wonder whether you could tell me where these are from? I assume these are generic to the class rather than Dasher - sunk 1943?
From America To United States Pt.Three by L.A.Sawyer & H.Mitchell.
ESCORT CARRIERS in action

HMS AVENGER (RIO HUDSON) HMS BITER (RIO PARANA)
HMS CHARGER (RIO DE LA PLATA) HMS DASHER (RIO DE JANEIRO)

Attachment 30336

Attachment 30337

Last edited by A.D.FROST; 18th July 2013 at 17:27..
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  #20  
Old 20th September 2012, 17:48
jberry6 jberry6 is offline
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Thanks very much! I don't suppose you know if the original plans for Dasher exist somewhere?
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Old 20th September 2012, 18:03
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A.D.FROST A.D.FROST is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jberry6 View Post
Thanks very much! I don't suppose you know if the original plans for Dasher exist somewhere?
Sorry no
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  #22  
Old 1st October 2012, 15:58
jberry6 jberry6 is offline
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Thanks again. I checked the book but the plans were not in it. I wonder if you could tell me where you found them?
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