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8,188 Tons (Standard)
10,902 (Full Load)
512’3" x 65’ 2" x 108'
1 x 5" 38 cal gun
8 x Twin 40mm AA
30 x 20mm AA
1 x catapult
2 x elevators
Built by Kaiser Shipbuilding Company in Vancouver, Washington under a contract from the United States Maritime Commission. Laid down December 9, 1942 as a Type S4-S2-BB3 hull, MCE hull 1093. Yard Number 302. During construction, appropriated by the U.S. Navy (USN) as the second Casablanca-class escort carrier. Launched April 19, 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Clara Klinksick, wife of wife of Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, the Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks.
Originally intended for the Royal Navy as HMS Ameer as part of Lend-Lease, but USS Baffins was chosen instead and this carrier was retained by the U.S. Navy (USN). On June 28, 1943 named USS Liscome Bay (ACV-56) after Liscome Bay in Alaska as the second Casablanca-class escort carrier. On July 15, 1943 assigned hull classification symbol (hull code) CVE-56. Commissioned August 7, 1943 in the U.S. Navy (USN) with Captain Irving D. Wiltsie in command and her crew was largely from USS Glacier.
Departed for San Francisco where she embarked 60 aircraft then steamed to San Diego arriving September 22, 1943. For the next month, underwent training off the coast of southern California. On October 11, 1943 designed the flagship for Carrier Division 24 (CarDiv 24) under the command of of Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinnix. On October 14, 1943 embarked her aircraft contingent and made final preparations to depart for the war zone.
On October 21, 1943 departed San Diego bound for Pearl Harbor arriving a week later and continued to train off Hawaii until assigned to Operation Kourbash. On November 10, 1943 departed Pearl Harbor attached to Task Force 52 (TF-52), Northern Attack Force under the command of Rear Adm. Richard K. Turner for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands and to support the landings on Makin and Tarawa. On November 20, 1943 carrier aircraft from Liscome Bay provided close air support for the landings and flew a total of 2,278 sorties. Afterwards, Liscome Bay remained in the area as mopping up operations continued.
Meanwhile, the Japanese deployed nine submarines to the Gilbert Islands to attack the U.S. Navy forces. On November 23, 1943 Japanese submarine I-175 arrived off Makin and began shadowing a task group including USS Liscome roughly 20 miles southwest of Makin that was in a circular formation steaming at 15 knots and not zig-zagging.
On November 24, 1943 at 4:30am went to routine general quarters at 5:05am as flight crews prepared to launch at dawn. Meanwhile, Japanese Submarine I-175 was shadowing the carrier and fired a torpedo. Without any prior warning at roughly 5:10am a lookout shouted: "... here comes a torpedo!" and moments later it struck abaft of the after engine room and exploded followed by a second detonation causing the entire interior to burst into flames. At 5:33am Liscome Bay listed to starboard and sank claiming the lives of 642 of her crew.
A total of 272 of her crew were rescued.
NavSouce - USS Liscome Bay CVE-56
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