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HMS Reaper (D82)
HMS Reaper
Career (USA)
Name: USS Winjah
Builder: Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 5 June 1943
Launched: 22 November 1943
Fate: Transferred to Royal Navy
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Reaper
Commissioned: 18 February 1944
Decommissioned: 2 July 1946
Fate: Sold as merchant ship; scrapped 1967
General characteristics
Class & type: Bogue class escort carrier
Displacement: 7,800 tons
Length: 495 ft 8 in (151.08 m)
Beam: 69 ft 6 in (21.18 m)
Draught: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 1 shaft, 8,500 shp (6.3 MW)
Speed: 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h)
Complement: 890 officers and men
Armament: 2 × 5 in (127 mm) guns
4 x twin 40 mm Bofors
10 x single 20 mm Oerlikon
Aircraft carried: 28

The USS Winjah (CVE-54) (originally AVG-54 then later ACV-54) was a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, leased to the Royal Navy during World War II.

Winjah was laid down on 5 June 1943 at Tacoma, Washington, by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding; assigned to the United Kingdom under lend-lease on 23 June; redesignated CVE-54 on 15 July; launched on 22 November; and delivered to the British on 18 February 1944.

Renamed HMS Reaper (D82), the carrier operated in the Royal Navy for the duration of World War II. After arriving at Norfolk, Virginia, on 13 May 1946, Reaper was decommissioned on 20 May and returned to the United States Government. Authorized for disposal on 14 June, Winjah was struck from the Navy Registry on 8 July and sold to the Waterman Steamship Company of Mobile, Alabama on 12 February 1947 as the South Africa Star. She was scrapped in Nikara, Japan in May 1967.

Just after World War II, the Reaper was responsible for bringing many examples of the former German Luftwaffe aircraft captured by the American military's Operation Lusty over to North America, such as the sole examples of the Arado Ar 234 jet recon-bomber, and the Heinkel He 219 night fighter, that exist in American aviation museums in the 21st century.

Design and description[]

These ships were all larger and had a greater aircraft capacity than all the preceding American built escort carriers. They were also all laid down as escort carriers and not converted merchant ships.[1] All the ships had a complement of 646 men and an overall length of 492 feet 3 inches (150.0 m), a beam of 69 feet 6 inches (21.2 m) and a draught of 25 ft 6 in (7.8 m).[1] Propulsion was provided by one shaft, two boilers and a steam turbine giving 9,350 shaft horsepower (SHP), which could propel the ship at 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph).[2]

Aircraft facilities were a small combined bridge–flight control on the starboard side, two aircraft lifts 43 feet (13.1 m) by 34 feet (10.4 m), one aircraft catapult and nine arrestor wires.[1] Aircraft could be housed in the 260 feet (79.2 m) by 62 feet (18.9 m) hangar below the flight deck.[1] Armament comprised: two 4 inch Dual Purpose guns in single mounts, sixteen 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns in twin mounts and twenty 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannons in single mounts.[1] They had a maximum aircraft capacity of twenty-four aircraft which could be a mixture of Grumman Martlet, Vought F4U Corsair or Hawker Sea Hurricane fighter aircraft and Fairey Swordfish or Grumman Avenger anti-submarine aircraft.[1]

Twin 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun.

Notes[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Cocker (2008), p.82.
  2. Cocker (2008), p.79.

References[]

  • Cocker, Maurice (2008). Aircraft-Carrying Ships of the Royal Navy. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-4633-2. 




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