Sangamon-class escort carrier

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USS Santee
USS Santee (ACV-29) at anchor, 1942
Class overview
Name: Sangamon-class escort carrier
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Bogue-class escort carrier
Succeeded by: Casablanca-class escort carrier
Built: 1942
In commission: 1942–1947
Completed: 4
Retired: 4
Scrapped: 4
General characteristics
Type: Escort carrier
  • 11,400 long tons (11,583 t) standard
  • 24,275 long tons (24,665 t) full
  • 525 ft (160 m) wl
  • 553 ft (169 m) oa
  • 75 ft (23 m)
  • 114 ft (35 m) extreme width
Draft: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Propulsion: 2 steam turbines, 2 shafts, 4 boilers, 13,500 shp (10,067 kW)
Speed: 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Complement: 860-1080 officers and men
Aircraft carried: 25-32 Grumman F4F Wildcat & Grumman TBF Avenger or Douglas SBD Dauntless

The Sangamon class were a group of four escort aircraft carriers of the United States Navy that served during World War II.


These ships were originally Cimarron-class oilers, launched in 1939 for civilian use. They were acquired and commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1940–1941. Due to the shortage of MARAD type C3 ships for conversion to desperately needed escort carriers, it was decided in early 1942 to convert four oilers to escort carriers. The conversion took around six months.[2]

Sangamon class CVE drawings.png

These ships were the largest escort carrier conversions built for the U.S. Navy. The late-war Commencement Bay-class escort carriers were about as large, but were built as carriers from keel up. Being built as T3 tanker oilers, the machinery space was located aft, resulting in the placing of the smokestacks on both sides aft of the flight deck. They were excellent examples of the type, roomy and tough with a large flight deck and good stability on even high seas. The Sangamons could operate about 30 aircraft, and were the only escort carriers to operate dive bombers.[3]

The Sangamon class were all renamed for rivers following the contemporary U.S. Navy practice for oilers when taken into naval service and retained those names following their conversions to carriers.

Service history[edit]

From late 1942 until the end of the war the ships saw active duty in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Pacific Campaigns. Three of the class were damaged by Japanese kamikaze attacks at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but all survived the war. In the Pacific, the carriers often operated together as Carrier Division 22.[4]

The ships were withdrawn from active service shortly after the end of the war. Some of them were kept in reserve and reclassified as helicopter escort carriers (CVHE). All had been sold or scrapped by the early 1960s.[5]


Ship Name Hull No. Builder Laid Down Launched Recommissioned as escort carrier Decommissioned Fate
Sangamon CVE-26 Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Kearny, New Jersey 13 March 1939 4 November 1939 25 August 1942 24 October 1945 Struck 1 November 1945; Scrapped in Osaka, Japan, August 1960
Suwannee CVE-27 3 June 1938 4 March 1939 24 September 1942 8 January 1947 Struck 1 March 1959; Sold for scrap 30 November 1959
Chenango CVE-28 Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania 10 July 1938 1 April 1939 19 September 1942 14 August 1946 Struck 1 March 1959; Sold for scrap 12 February 1960
Santee CVE-29 31 May 1938 4 March 1939 24 August 1942 21 October 1946 Struck 1 March 1959; Sold for scrap 5 December 1959

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Friedman 1983 p. 407
  2. ^ Terzibaschitsch 1979 p. 31
  3. ^ Terzibaschitsch 1979 p. 67
  4. ^ Paul H. Silverstone: US Warships of World War II. Ian Allan, London 1965 (reprint 1982), p. 55. ISBN 0-7110-0157-X
  5. ^ Paul H. Silverstone: US Warships since 1945. Ian Allan, London 1986, p. 23. ISBN 0-7110-1598-8


  • Friedman, Norman (1983). U.S. Aircraft Carriers. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-739-9.
  • Terzibaschitsch, Stefan (1979). Flugzeugtraeger der U.S. Navy. Geleitflugzeugtraeger. Munich: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 978-3-7637-5212-6.