CSS Tayacoba (CVE-1942)


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Like all of the major naval powers, the Confederate States Navy had watched Naval Aviation as it pertained to carrying aircraft to sea in ships. The advent of the small merchant aircraft carrier pioneered in Australis in the mid 1930's showed that the type was viable but how necessary it would prove to be was not realised till the 1939-40 depredations of submarines of both sides on merchant shipping and the need for their protection by aircraft. The CSN had as a matter of urgency in 1939-40 ordered its designers to produce a series of vessels that would be required to populate the CSN with not only warships but also, escort carriers, fast merchantmen, fast oilers and others that would be needed as fleet consorts required to refuel and rearm the main fleet. One of these merchant types was a 580 foot hull that could be used for all of those uses. Twin screwed for maneuverability and speed they proved excellent hulls lasting in their merchant roles for many years after the war.

The original design had no 'big' gun armament, but the use of submarines on the surface at night in amongst the convoys meant that a pair of 3.9" singles were mounted aft as anti-submarine weapons. Otherwise the main focus of the armament was on  anti-aircraft defence with 40mm and 20mm weapons mounted in sponsons hanging off the side of the hangar.

The aircraft hangar was of 18 foot height that allowed all of the current inventory of aircraft to be based on the ships. A 400 x 60 foot area of hangar was fitted which could contain 24-30 aircraft depending on size and type. The old Douglas Devastators being converted to ASW aircraft and where the torpedo went there could now also be mounted three depth charges that could be released as a salvo. All the fighters from Wildcats to Bearcats and Corsairs served on the ships where the high power to weight ratio made take off easy and landing slightly more problematical. (More aircraft were lost on aircraft carriers during WW2 from deck landing accidents than from enemy action.)

This class makes a sharp contrast to the cruiser conversions of the Midway type where the more heavily built merchant hull makes for an overall heavier ship, with the more warship shape of the Midways being built foe speed. The slightly larger deck area of the Midway type also allowed for a few more aircraft to be carried.


Displacement 17,700 tons std 24,250 tons full load
Length 591 ft
Breadth 72 ft (hull) 96ft over sponsons
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 2 shaft steam turbines 28,000shp
Speed 22 knots
Range 14,000 miles at 15 knots (3,000 nm at 28 knots)
Armour splinter plating around magazines
Armament 2 x 3.9" (2x1)

20 x 40mm (10x2)

14 x 20mm (14x1)

Aircraft 24-30
Torpedoes nil
Complement 920 (including aircrew)
Notes CSS Tayacoba



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