Apologies for the slow progress on these ships but available time is a crucial factor. I do have a few drawings on the go so there should be a few more to follow soon.
In January 1943, as the early Essex class units were nearing completion, BuShips proposed a series of modifications to the Essex design that would incorporate wartime experience from the carrier fleet. The stern and bow areas were considered vulnerable to air attack and by reshaping the bow lines with a clipper bow and adding a stern sponson, the 40mm battery at each end of the ship could be doubled.
The hangar deck catapault would be relocated to the forward flight deck on the portside, thus making space for a third Mk 37 director. To further accomodate the director, a portion of the flight deck overhang would need to be cut away in order to give useful lines of sight. A further reduction of the flight deck was approved to give better firing arcs for the 40mm batteries at either ends of the ship. This amounted to an 11ft reduction of the forward flight deck and 7ft aft.
This is CV-14 TICONDEROGA as delivered to the USN in May, 1944. She was laid down at Newport News on the 1st February 1943 as HANCOCK but renamed on May 1, 1943. After a staggering 15 months build time, CV-14 was commisioned on the 8th May, 1943.
The third director on the port catapult sponson was never fitted and instead was filled by a further two 40mm quads bringing the total to 11 mounts (44 guns). The 20mm battery comprises 55 guns. On the island superstructure, the forward 40mm has been removed to allow for an extended flag plot below the bridge.
Despite being commissioned in May 1944, CV-14 did not reach the combat zone until her arrival in Ulithi on the 29th Oct. This was due to structural alterations and training. The reduction of flight deck space was deemed an unnecessary hazard to flight operations and the full deck was restored before "The Big T" entered the combat zone. In November '44, she supported the invasion of The Philippines and came under attack from "Kamakaze" aircraft, none of which landed a blow. After riding out the typhoon that claimed 800 USN sailors and 3 destroyers, The Big T headed for the coast of Indochina with TF. 38 to attack Japanese shipping.
During a raid on Formosa on the 21st January, 1945, TICONDEROGA was struck by a Kamakze just abreast of the No. 2 5" mount. While the carrier burned, four more Kamakazes dived down. Three were destroyed by the AA batteries but a fourth crashed into the starboard side of the island adding to the carnage. Captain Dixie Kiefer was one of the many wounded. With the damage under control, the carrier had to return to the US for repairs.
CV-14 emerged from Puget Sound on 20th April, 1945 with a new paint scheme, MS 21 and returned to the front line in June 45. After surviving another typhoon, she served the remainder of the war attacking the Japanese mainland. She then took part in Operation Magic Carpet, returning US servicemen to the States. She was decommissioned in Jan 1947, after just 3 years of active duty.