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USS Independence Class
Light Carriers CVL's
These two fine models were
built by Nobori Yahagi from steelnavy.com
List Price $52.95-
A120 Our Price $43.95
These carriers can be built
If you are building these ships
The Independence class carriers were a result of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's interest in Navy shipbuilding plans. In August 1941, with war clearly in prospect, he noted that no new fleet aircraft carriers were expected before 1944 and proposed to quickly convert some of the many cruisers then building. Studies of cruiser-size aircraft carriers had shown their serious limitations, but the crisis following the December 1941 Pearl Harbor disaster demonstrated the urgent need to have more carriers as soon as possible. The Navy responded by greatly accelerating construction of the big Essex class carriers and, in January 1942, reordering a Cleveland class light cruiser as an aircraft carrier.
Plans developed for this conversion showed much more promise than expected and two more light cruisers were reordered as carriers in February, three in March and a final three in June 1942. Completed in January-December 1943, simultaneously with the first eight Essex Class, the nine Independence class ships were vital components of the great offensive that tore through the central and western Pacific from November 1943 through August 1945. Eight of them participated in the June 1944 Battle of the Philippine Sea, which effectively eliminated Japan's carrier air power, supplying 40 percent of the fighters and 36 percent of the torpedo bombers.
The Independence class design featured a relatively short and narrow flight deck and hangar, with a small island. To compensate for this additional topside weight, the cruiser hulls were widened amidships by five feet. The typical air group, originally intended to include nine each of fighters, scout-bombers and torpedo planes, was soon reoriented to number about two dozen fighters and nine torpedo planes.
These were limited-capability ships, whose principal virtue was near-term availability. Their small size made for sea keeping problems and a relatively high aircraft accident rate. Protection was modest and many munitions had to be stowed at the hangar level, a factor that contributed greatly to the loss of Princeton in October 1944.
There was also little margin for growth, as their post-war careers showed. Independence was expended as an atomic bomb target, and the rest were laid up in 1947. Five returned to service in 1948-53, two with the French Navy. Two were used as training carriers, while Bataan saw Korean War combat duty with Marine Corps air groups. She and Cabot received anti-submarine warfare modernizations in the early 1950s, emerging with two smokestacks instead of the original four. All but the French ships decommissioned in 1954-56 and were reclassified as aircraft transports in 1959. Cabot got a new lease on life in 1967, when she became the Spanish Navy's carrier Dedalo, serving until 1989.
The nine ships of the Independence class were all converted from
Cleveland class light cruisers building at the New York Shipbuilding
Corporation shipyard, Camden, New Jersey. Initially classified as "aircraft
carriers" (CV), all were re-designated "small aircraft carriers" (CVL) on 15
July 1943, while four ships were still under construction. Individual ships'
construction data follows:
Independence class "as-built" design characteristics:
Independence Museum of Phil., PA asked master builder Ray Guyette
for a model of the USS Monterey
for the museum he built one 7ft long 100 times larger than our 1/700 scale 10" model and here is his 1/72 scale model.