Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Sidewheeler See Vee...

...only it's not listed in the Navy's historic rolls as a CV (the hull designation for a carrier) but rather as an IX ("Unclassified Miscellaneous Unit"*).

I've mentioned the Navy's paddlewheel aircraft carriers before, conversions created by adding flight decks and island superstructures to passenger steamers. These emergency wartime conversions served to train aviators in carrier operations on the Great Lakes during World War Two.

Most of the photos of these unique vessels I'd seen online are tiny and it's hard to make out details, so I was tickled to stumble across an article at a British online modeling magazine on a large-scale model of IX-64, USS Wolverine, complete with bunches of illustrations of the ship's details.

Originally launched as the Seeandbee in 1912, a luxury steamer running overnight trips between Cleveland and Buffalo, she was converted to a training carrier in 1942 and sold for scrap in 1947.

There's a detailed photo book on the history of these oddball ships available in Kindle form, too.

*The USS Wolverine was IX-64 and the USS Sable was IX-81. The famous frigate USS Constitution, still on the Navy's rolls, was IX-21 from 1941 until 1975.