Saturday, 13 May 2017

American escort carrier USS Vermillion (CVE-52) 1943-1944 and British escort carrier HMS Smiter (D55) 1944-1946, SS Artillero 1948-1965 and President Gracia 1965-1967

Laid down as the USS Vermillion by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation, USA on 10 may 1943, assigned under the Lent-Lease programme to the United Kindom on 23 June 1943, launched on 27 September 1943, commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Smiter on 20 January 1944, returned to the USA on 20 March 1946, handed over to the USA, converted by the Newport New Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Norfolk, USA into a merchant ship in 1947, sold to the Compania Argentina de Navigacion Dodero S.A. and renamed SS Artillero in 1948, renamed President Garcia in 1965, wrecked off Guernsey in July 1967 and broken up at Hamburg, Germany in 1967. Laid down as an Bogue-class auxiliary aircraft carrier was she later redesignated as an escort aircraft carrier and in British navy considered as part of the Ruler-class escort aircraft carriers.

Displacement 7.800 tons and as dimensions 151,08 x 21,18 x 8,7 metres or 495,8 x 69.6 x 26 feet. The  machinery consisted of 2 geared steam turbines and 2 boilers supplying via one shaft 8.500 shp allowing a speed of 17,5 knots. Her crew numbered 890 men. Carried maximum 28 aircraft with her to be stored in the hangar (79,2 x 19,9metres/260x62 feet)  below the light deck. Nine arrestor wires, 1 catapult and 2 lifts. The armament consisted of 2x1-4” or 5” guns, 4x2-4cm Bofors anti aircraft guns and 10x1-2cm Oerlikon anti aircraft guns.