Geezer
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Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:38 pm

I'm amazed that I had never heard about this before ! How many knew that at one point, the U.S. Navy operated aircraft carriers in the Great Lakes ? I just recently heard about this in an email from a friend.

Either shortly before or shortly after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy realized that they were going to need a lot of carrier qualified pilots as quickly as possible, and Commander Richard Francis Whitehead came up with the brilliant idea to train them aboard two aircraft carriers in the Great Lakes.

The decision was made to take two old excursion steamships, the "Greater Buffalo", and the "Seeandbee" and convert them into aircraft carrier training ships. The Greater Buffalo became the U.S.S. Sable, and the Seeandbee became the U.S.S. Wolverine.

There were several reasons that two carriers were specially built for carrier pilot training on the Great Lakes. First, aircraft carriers were at a premium with none that could be spared for pilot training. Second, by having two carriers on the Great Lakes the Navy would not have to provide escort ships for their security. There would also be no need for armor or armament. This idea was the brainchild of Commander Richard Francis Whitehead (later Vice Admiral), aviation aid to the commandant, Ninth Naval District. The Chicago area was ideal for supporting such a carrier training program with the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Naval Air Station, Glenview, and Naval Aviation Mechanics' School on the Navy Pier.

One of the new pilots who trained on the U.S.S. Sable was former President George H.W. Bush.

The links below will take you to the Warbird Information Exchange, and many vintage photos taken during the training; from looking at these pictures, you can readily see that Naval Aviation has come a LONG WAY since WW2 !

http://warbirdinformationexchange.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=48962

http://www.dieselpunks.org/profiles/...logs/great-lakes-aircraft-carriers

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
flyingturtle
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:54 pm

The USN really had brains in these times!

Great find, Geezer!  



David
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connies4ever
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:04 pm

Of course, this would have been in complete violation of the Treaty of Ghent, which forbad American military forces on the Great Lakes. But what's a treaty ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812#The_Treaty_of_Ghent
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Dreadnought
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:14 pm

Paddle-wheeled aircraft carriers - gotta love it.

In fact I'd love to see a nuclear powered one. It's maneuverability would be unparalleled!. Could literally turn on a dime.
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johns624
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:27 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 2):
Quoting connies4ever (Reply 2):
Of course, this would have been in complete violation of the Treaty of Ghent, which forbad American military forces on the Great Lakes. But what's a treaty ?

That's okay, I've seen Canadian and even British warships on the Great Lakes.
 
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cjg225
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:29 pm

Wow. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the post.
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Geezer
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:51 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 2):
But what's a treaty ?

Having "been around" in 1942, I can personally assure you of this; after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, there weren't a lot of people in the U.S. Government OR the U.S. Military who "cared" squat about some stupid treaty made over 120 years before; and not only that.........who said anything about "American military forces" in the great lakes ? Most "military forces" I'm familiar with have weapons; neither of these TRAINING vessels carried ANY weapons, nor did ANY of the aircraft involved in the TRAINING.

Attempting to compare something from 1812, ( when the ENEMY was England ), to a war in 1942, ( where England was very happy to have the U.S. help them kick Hitler's ass ), is slightly beyond ludicrous, (IMO)

[Edited 2013-06-02 15:55:23]
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
connies4ever
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:04 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 6):
Attempting to compare something from 1812, ( when the ENEMY was England ), to a war in 1942, ( where England was very happy to have the U.S. help them kick Hitler's ass ), is slightly beyond ludicrous, (IMO)

Touched a nerve, apparently.   So I've done my job...
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:03 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 2):
this would have been in complete violation of the Treaty of Ghent, which forbad American military forces on the Great Lakes.

There has to have been something before WWI to modify the terms of that Treaty in relation to ships on the Great Lakes.

This new treaty in 1817 allows some military presence on the lakes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rush%E2%80%93Bagot_Treaty

The treaty was to avoid building up an armed border between the US and Canada.

The first "modern warship" built in Canada was the CGS Vigilant built in Toronto in 1904.

The US Navy and Canadian Navy have operated in the Great Lakes for well over 100 years. http://canada.usembassy.gov/news-eve...loyment-to-commemorate-war-of-1812

Over 300 US Navy warships were built on the Great Lakes at various shipyards during/ for WWII.

Not a single one of those warships could have been used without the cooperation of Canada in getting the ships to the ocean.

The only serious discussion about disagreement over having US (or British/Canadian) military ships on the Great Lakes came during the US Civil War - when some US folks felt British government in Canada was sympathetic to the other side during the war.

[Edited 2013-06-02 18:04:54]

[Edited 2013-06-02 18:09:02]
 
connies4ever
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:15 am

I am actually quite sure that waivers could/can be made to allow for new-build ships to find their way to the sea. I don't think the treaty applies to CG vessels as well.

I just like pulling Geezer's beard (figuratively).
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checksixx
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:00 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 9):
I am actually quite sure that waivers could/can be made to allow for new-build ships to find their way to the sea. I don't think the treaty applies to CG vessels as well.

I just like pulling Geezer's beard (figuratively).

Warships are still being built up there. It doesn't apply at all to US or Canadian Coast Guard. Why would we need a waiver?? LoL...as if Canada would do something if we didn't??
 
johns624
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:30 am

Back in 1987(?) the HMS Fife and HMS Juno came through Detroit but didn't dock. Explain that one...
 
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glideslope
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:11 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 2):
Of course, this would have been in complete violation of the Treaty of Ghent, which forbad American military forces on the Great Lakes. But what's a treaty ?

Well, we still have the Peace Bridge between New York and Ontario. Could be worse. Also, none of the planes or ships were armed. They dropped sand bags on targets.   
To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” Sun Tzu
 
ThePointblank
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:18 am

Quoting checksixx (Reply 10):
LoL...as if Canada would do something if we didn't??

We'll join with the British and burn down your White House again, like we did in 1814.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 2):
Of course, this would have been in complete violation of the Treaty of Ghent, which forbad American military forces on the Great Lakes. But what's a treaty ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_...Ghent

The ships were technically unarmed, so they got around that. Considering the very limited capabilities of these training carriers (such as low speeds), and the international situation at the time, everyone could bend the rules a bit.
 
fsnuffer
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:39 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
We'll join with the British and burn down your White House again, like we did in 1814.

Unfortunately that is not the battle plan Canada has for dealing with the United States. Some historian was going through the Canadian Military archives, around the early 70's, and it clearly stated that in the event of war, the army would push south from Montreal, capture Albany NY, and then sue for peace. That plan may not have been looked at in awhile and I don't think Albany is as strategically important today as it was back in the 1800's. We probably would let you keep it without putting up too much of an argument.
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:00 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
We'll join with the British and burn down your White House again, like we did in 1814.

200 years of diplomacy down the drain because of Geezers post.....

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
The ships were technically unarmed, so they got around that. Considering the very limited capabilities of these training carriers (such as low speeds), and the international situation at the time, everyone could bend the rules a bit.

I suspected that as well. Given the need at the time for qualified pilots to escort convoys across the Atlantic and help push the Japanese out of formerly British held territory in the far east, I think people on both sides of the 49th parallel would have been willing to turn a blind eye to some 130 year old treaty, even if there were some small arms on these training carriers. We were quite close our two countries at that time, as we are now, many Atlantic convoys were leaving from Halifax and had ships of many nations.

I'd heard about these training carriers before but hadn't seen the number of photos that were included in the OP. Shows the ingenuity that generation had to adversity. Although, I'd bet the guy that got to captain one of those two was disappointed he didn't get a new Essex class carrier as his assignment.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
connies4ever
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:55 am

Quoting checksixx (Reply 10):
Warships are still being built up there. It doesn't apply at all to US or Canadian Coast Guard. Why would we need a waiver?? LoL...as if Canada would do something if we didn't??

An exchange of diplomatic notes would probably suffice after 1927, and be done once and for all or until annulled. Prior to 1927, Canada's Foreign Affairs (and Defence) were controlled by the United Kingdom, so a British A.netter might be able to explain.

Quoting johns624 (Reply 11):
Back in 1987(?) the HMS Fife and HMS Juno came through Detroit but didn't dock. Explain that one...

Certainly seems odd. I'm quite HM warships have been regularly visiting American ports for quite some time.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:23 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 16):
Prior to 1927, Canada's Foreign Affairs (and Defence) were controlled by the United Kingdom, so a British A.netter might be able to explain.

The Statue of Westminster changed that. Prior to that, Canada was a autonomous state that was nominally under British sovereignty, and thus subordinate to the UK. The Statue of Westminster codified the resolutions announced during the 1926 and 1930 Imperial Conference, which granted full legislative equality to the dominions of the British Empire thereby marking the effective legislative independence of the British Dominions.
 
connies4ever
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:59 pm

Department of Redundancy Department

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 17):
The Statue of Westminster changed that. Prior to that, Canada was a autonomous state that was nominally under British sovereignty, and thus subordinate to the UK. The Statue of Westminster codified the resolutions announced during the 1926 and 1930 Imperial Conference, which granted full legislative equality to the dominions of the British Empire thereby marking the effective legislative independence of the British Dominions.

I believe Reply 16 covers all that. Americans (or anyone else) have almost zero interest in it anyways.

Not just legislative, either, judicial as well.
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Oroka
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:34 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 15):
200 years of diplomacy down the drain because of Geezers post.....

Nah, its two drinkin buddies kidding about the time they got in a fight. Someone walked away with a bloody nose... it healed, its all good now.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:44 am

Quoting fsnuffer (Reply 14):
That plan may not have been looked at in awhile and I don't think Albany is as strategically important today as it was back in the 1800's. We probably would let you keep it without putting up too much of an argument.

They don't want Albany.

Today's battle plan it to cut off the oil from Canada to the US.

The US imports about 93,000 thousand barrels of oil from Canada each month, vs about 115,000 thousand barrels from all the OPEC countries (which includes 23,000+ barrels from Venezuela)

Which is 31% of the US oil imports for March 2013.
 
dandy_don
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:13 am

Submarines were built during WW2 in Manitowac Wisconsin and were then sent to the Mississippi River via Chicago to New Orleans for service.

During initial sea (lake?) trials the Navy forgot about the difference in boyancy between salt and fresh water and a sub undergoing dive testing almost dropped below it's crush depth before recovering.
 
Geezer
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:04 am

Quoting dandy_don (Reply 21):
During initial sea (lake?) trials the Navy forgot about the difference in boyancy between salt and fresh water and a sub undergoing dive testing almost dropped below it's crush depth before recovering.

I spent from 1951 to 1955 working on all of those old WW2 fleet type boats, and I can tell you this; their "crush depth" could probably have been easily exceeded in Lake Michigan, but definitely not in Lake Erie; ( it's much too shallow )
one of our jobs that we did rather frequently, was removing "soft patches" on the hulls so "things" larger than 22 inches max could be removed or new things put in, then installing the soft patches back on the hull; it was about the dirtiest job we had to do, but I always "volunteered" every time a soft patch job came up, because every time we did one, two of us from the Shipfitters Shop always got to ride the boat out to Long Island Sound for a day of dive tests; ( very few non-qualified sub sailors ever get to go to sea on a submarine, and it was extremely interesting to me.

The hulls of the WW 2 Subs were only about 26 to 32 mm in thickness;
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
tommytoyz
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:13 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 22):
I always "volunteered" every time a soft patch job came up, because every time we did one, two of us from the Shipfitters Shop always got to ride the boat out to Long Island Sound for a day of dive tests; ( very few non-qualified sub sailors ever get to go to sea on a submarine, and it was extremely interesting to me.

Thanks for sharing your memories!
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:23 pm

The RCN had some active submarines in WW2. I wonder if any of them ever trained in the Great Lakes? Or, if they were confined to the waters off Halifax.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
connies4ever
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:29 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 24):
The RCN had some active submarines in WW2. I wonder if any of them ever trained in the Great Lakes? Or, if they were confined to the waters off Halifax.

"Active submarines" -- which would be different from the billions we've spent on our current "active" submarines.   
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
flightsimer
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:53 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 2):

It says right there on wiki that the Americans rejected the demands of the British and an impasse occurred and ultimately the British dropped all their demands for a treaty to be agree upon.

Quoting fsnuffer (Reply 14):

LOL! They can take all of upper New York!
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johns624
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:53 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 16):
Certainly seems odd. I'm quite HM warships have been regularly visiting American ports for quite some time

At the time, the HMS Juno seemed to be assigned to the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth as a cadet training ship.
 
777STL
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RE: Aircraft Carriers In The Great Lakes?

Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:14 am

Quoting johns624 (Reply 4):
That's okay, I've seen Canadian and even British warships on the Great Lakes.

Hell, the USN had a frigate off the coast of Chicago in Lake Michigan last year for the Air and Water show. I believe there were also a couple Canadian Naval vessels docked at Navy Pier at the same time as well.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...0813_1_navy-week-navy-pier-frigate

And as far as historical references go:

Here's the Stark docked in Chicago when she was brand new in 1985:

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1...30065_1_frigate-commissioned-ships
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