“Lake Michigan’s Aircraft Carriers” by Paul Somers

Discussion in 'Non-fiction' started by vikingBerserker, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    “Lake Michigan’s Aircraft Carriers”
    By Paul M Somers
    Arcadia Publishing - 2003
    ISB: 978-0-07385-3208-0

    Lake Mi.jpg

    “Say I have an idea, let’s take a couple of luxury paddle-wheeled coal-powered cruise ships and turn them into aircraft carriers! Then we’ll take a boat that was involved in the largest loss of life from a single shipwreck on the Great Lakes and turn it into a gunboat.”

    Oddly enough, a conversation like this did not take place in a bar nor was it a joke. The need for training carriers was very evident in the fall of 1941, several months before Pearl Harbor. Lake Michigan was a brilliant choice since the lake was within the US. This would allow the ships to be unarmored, unarmed, not require a lot of escorts, and safe from combat. The next issue was the ships themselves. They could either build new carriers (take too long and would eat up resources) or convert a couple of ships into them. The USN selected the SS Seeandbee to become the USS Wolverine (IX-64) and the SS Greater Buffalo (her and her sister being the largest side-wheeled passenger boat in the word) to become the USS Sable (IX-81). They were converted within a few months and were the last coal powered ships of the USN. So began the life of the Great Lakes Fleet



    The book is 128 pages long broken out into 6 chapters and contains 160 pictures. Since this is part of Arcadia’s “Images of America” line of books there are plenty of pictures! It's a short book so it can be easily read in a day. This book gives credit to a couple of ships that had a huge impact PTO.

    I give it a solid 9 Paddle-Wheels
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Very cool. I will be honest, I was never aware of these two ships.
     
  3. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    There is an excellent 1/72nd model of the U.S.S. Wolverine at Great Lakes Naval Center, (IIRC). Complete with SBD's and F4F's and figures!
     
  4. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Like Chris had never heard of these ships though I lived the vast majority of my life near Chicago. Nice find
     
  5. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I grew up outside of Milwaukee and hadn't heard about these either. Cool find.
     
  6. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    Nice find VB. :thumbup:


    Wheels
     
  7. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    I grew up on the west coast of British Columbia and oddly, I knew of one of these ships(IX-64). :D Sound like an interesting read VB.

    Geo
     
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