USS Shamrock Bay (CVE-84) Escort Aircraft Carrier (United States)
USS Shamrock CVE-84 was part of the large Casablanca-class escort carrier group serving the United States Navy during World War 2.Entry last updated on 9/23/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Escort Carriers were deployed by the navies of the United States, Britain and Japan during World War 2 (1939-1945). These aircraft carriers were completed with reduced dimensions and a reduced war load of aircraft while traveling at slower speeds than their full-sized counterparts and featuring less in the way of self-defense. The trade-off was an effective ocean-going vessel that could be built in short order and at much lower procurement costs in war time - indeed some built were simply modifications to existing commercial vessels.
The Casablanca-class was devised by the American Navy as a 50-strong group of fighting ships to supplement its main carrier inventory. USS Shamrock Bay (CVE-84) formed one of its number and was laid down on March 15th, 1943 by Kaiser Shipyards. She was launched on February 4th, 1944 and was commissioned on March 15th of that year.
As built, she displaced 7,800 tons under light loads and 10,400 tons under full loads. The vessel was given a length of 512.2 feet, a beam of 65.1 feet and a draught of 22.5 feet. Installed power included 4 x boilers feeding 2 x Skinner "Unaflow" 5-cylinder reciprocating engines developing 9,000 horsepower to 2 x shafts. Maximum speed was over 19 knots with a range out to 10,240 nautical miles.
Not as well-defended as her larger sisters, USS Shamrock Bay nonetheless carried some useful self-defense armament - 1 x 5" /38 caliber Dual-Purpose (DP) gun led the way and this was backed by 16 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns (in eight twin-gunned emplacements) and 28 x 20mm Oerlikon AA guns (all single-gunned emplacements).
The profile of USS Shamrock Bay was of a true "flat top" carrier with the flight deck running cleanly from bow to stern. Aircraft launched at the bow and were recovered at the stern. The bridge superstructure was offset to starboard and hangar elevators serviced the flight deck and hangar areas below. Onboard, the warship was crewed by up to 915 personnel and her air wing consisted of twenty-eight aircraft.
Her initial service tenure was in the treacherous Atlantic waters where she was used to reinforce numbers in North Africa and Europe. Due to depletion of escort carriers in the Pacific, her next chapter took place in the Pacific Theater against the Empire of Japan where she served as part of the United States Pacific Fleet from 1944 until 1946. Shamrock Bay would participate in the Philippines Campaign, Iwo Jima and Okinawa before the end of the war in August of 1945. After that she operated as a transport during Operation Magic Carpet when brining veterans back stateside.
For her service in World War 2, the ship earned three Battle Stars. Following decommissioning on July 6th, 1946, she joined other warships in reduced roles as part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet from 1946 until 1958. Her name was struck from the Naval Register on June 27th, 1958 and she was given over for scrapping.