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one flight deck modification IS clear

October 17 2009 at 3:39 AM
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Nelson  (no login)

Response to diagonal catapult

< This is the photo that appears in the CVE book previously mentioned. In the book the diagonal catapult can be seen. This photo is a bit fuzzier. >

Although other details are quite clear and distinct to me, e.g., the individual flight deck planks, the small boats, and many other aspects, I still cannot see the flight deck catapult slot in the photo in question of USS LONG ISLAND (CVE 1), purported to have been taken either July 8 or August 7, 1941. After a little measuring and math, however, one thing is clear about the flight deck catapult and the flight deck lengthening: there was NO change in the catapult's location when the 77-foot addition to the forward part of the flight deck was made.

Look at this other photo of the escort carrier, docked at NAS, North Island, in early June 1942.

[linked image]

If the image does not come up on your computer, then highlight and paste

Although with the original 362-foot flight deck, the catapult track led from starboard to the forward portside corner of the flight deck, the catapult track no longer leads to that location after the flight deck was lengthened 77 feet, to a new total of 439 feet. Rather the catapult clearly leads to the port side considerably aft of the forward edge of the flight deck. [Nota bene: Do not be misled by the flag staff forward, erected on the centerline of the flight deck when the ship was in port.] The question is, of course, how far aft of the forward edge of the flight deck does the catapult track end? I did a few simple measurements and a proportional calculation in a ROUGH estimate of that distance.

There are three difficulties in making an accurate estimate:

1. The ship is seen fore to aft, not from either side, so with the resulting perspective, there is an infinite change in scale from fore to aft. Thus any simple linear estimate will be approximate.
2. At that distance, it is difficult to differentiate between the catapult slot and the staining of the flight deck on either side of the catapult track.
3. I measured both of the relevant distances with a plastic ruler from my alma mater, NOT a high tech tool.


As seen from fore to aft, the 439-foot flight deck in this photo enlargement, as seen on my computer screen, measures exactly 35 mm; the distance between the forward edge of the flight deck and what I perceive to be the catapult slot (as distinct from the deck staining) is 6.3 mm (given the vicissitudes of my eyes and plastic rule). When the proportion is done, 6.3 mm is roughly equivalent to 79 feet. Ergo, when the extra 77 feet were added to the forward part of the flight deck, the catapult remained as originally installed: it was NOT touched, other than a probable mechanical overhaul. QED (well, sorta).


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  • measurements made on portside flight deck - Nelson on Oct 17, 2009, 3:24 PM
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