CV-14 USS Ticonderoga
Scott Van Aken
Can be built as
full hull or waterline
"The fourth Ticonderoga (CV
14) was laid down as Hancock on 1 February 1943 at Newport News,
Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; renamed
Ticonderoga on 1 May 1943, launched on 7 February 1944, sponsored by
Miss Stephanie Sarah Pell, and commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 8
May 1944, Capt. Dixie Kiefer in command.
Ticonderoga remained at
Norfolk for almost two months outfitting and embarking Air Group 89. On 26
June 1944, the carrier shaped a course for the British West Indies. She
conducted air operations and drills en route and reached Port of Spain,
Trinidad, on the 30th. For the next 15 days, Ticonderoga trained
intensively to weld her air group and crew into an efficient wartime team.
She departed the West Indies on 16 July and headed back to Norfolk where
she arrived on the 22d. Eight days later, the carrier headed for Panama.
She transited the canal on 4 September and steamed up the coast to San
Diego the following day. On the 13th, the carrier moored at San Diego where
she loaded provisions, fuel, aviation gas, and an additional 77 planes, as
well as the Marine Corps aviation and defense units that went with them. On
the 19th she sailed for Hawaii where she arrived five days later.
Ticonderoga remained at Pearl
Harbor for almost a month. She and USS Carina (AK-74) conducted
experiments in the underway transfer of aviation bombs from cargo ship to
aircraft carrier. Following those tests, she conducted air operations — day
and night landing and antiaircraft defense drills — until 18 October 1944
when she exited Pearl Harbor and headed for the western Pacific. After a
brief stop at Eniwetok, Ticonderoga arrived at Ulithi Atoll in the
Western Carolines on the 29th. There she embarked Rear Admiral A. W.
Radford, Commander, Carrier Division 6, and joined Task Force (TF) 38 as a
unit of Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman's Task Group (TG) 38.3.
The carrier sortied from Ulithi with
TF 38 on 2 November. She joined the other carriers as they resumed their
extended air cover for the ground forces capturing Leyte. She launched her
first air strike on the morning of 5 November. The planes of her air group
spent the next two days pummeling enemy shipping near Luzon and air
installations on that island. Her planes bombed and strafed the airfields
at Zablan, Mandaluyong, and Pasig. They also joined those of other carriers
in sending the heavy cruiser Nachi to a watery resting place. In
addition, Ticonderoga pilots claimed six Japanese aircraft shot down
and one destroyed on the ground, as well as 23 others damaged.
Around 1600 on the 5th, the enemy
retaliated by sending up a flock of planes piloted by members of the
suicide corps dubbed kamikaze, or "Divine Wind," in honor of the
typhoon that had destroyed a Chinese invasion fleet four centuries
previously. Two of the suicide planes succeeded in slipping through the
American combat air patrol and antiaircraft fire to crash into USS
Lexington (CV 16). Ticonderoga emerged from that airborne banzai
charge unscathed and claimed a tally of two splashes. On 6 November, the
warship launched two fighter sweeps and two bombing strikes against the
Luzon airfields and enemy shipping in the vicinity. Her airmen returned
later that day claiming the destruction of 35 Japanese aircraft and attacks
on six enemy ships in Manila Bay. After recovering her planes, the carrier
retired to the east for a fueling rendezvous.
She refueled and received
replacement planes on 7 November and then headed back to continue pounding
enemy forces in the Philippines. Early on the morning of 11 November 1944,
her planes combined with others of TF 38 to attack a Japanese reinforcement
convoy, just as it was preparing to enter Ormoc Bay from the Camotes Sea.
Together, the planes accounted for all the enemy transports and four of the
seven escorting destroyers. On the 12th and 13th, Ticonderoga and
her sisters launched strikes at Luzon airfields and docks and shipping
around Manila. This raid tallied an impressive score: light cruiser Kiso,
four destroyers, and seven merchant ships. At the conclusion of the raid,
TF 38 retired eastward for a refueling breather. Ticonderoga and the
rest of TG 38.3, however, continued east to Ulithi where they arrived on
the 17th to replenish, refuel, and rearm.
On 22 November, the aircraft carrier
departed Ulithi once more and steamed back toward the Philippines. Three
days later, she launched air strikes on central Luzon and adjacent waters.
Her pilots finished off the heavy cruiser Kumano, damaged in the
Battle off Samar. Later, they attacked an enemy convoy about 15 miles
southwest of Kumano's not-so-safe haven in Dasol Bay. Of this
convoy, cruiser Yasoshima, a merchantman, and three landing ships
went to the bottom. Ticonderoga's air group rounded out their day of
destruction with an aerial rampage which cost the Japanese 15 planes shot
down and 11 destroyed on the ground.
While her air group busily pounded
the Japanese, Ticonderoga's ship's company also made their presence
felt. Just after noon, a torpedo launched by an enemy plane broached in
USS Langley's (CVL 27) wake to announce the approach of an air raid .
Ticonderoga's gunners raced to their battle stations as the raiders
made both conventional and suicide attacks on the task group. Her sister
USS Essex (CV 9) erupted in flames when one of the kamikazes
crashed into her. When a second suicide plane tried to finish off the
stricken carrier, Ticonderoga's gunners joined those firing from
other ships in cutting his approach abruptly short. That afternoon, while
damage control parties dressed Essex's wounds, Ticonderoga
extended her hospitality to that damaged carrier's homeless airmen as well
USS Intrepid (CV 11) pilots in similar straits. The following
day, TF 38 retired to the east.
TF 38 stood out of Ulithi again on
11 December and headed for the Philippines. Ticonderoga arrived at
the launch point early in the afternoon of the 13th and sent her planes
aloft to blanket Japanese airbases on Luzon while Army planes took care of
those in the central Philippines. For three days, Ticonderoga airmen
and their comrades wreaked havoc with a storm of destruction on enemy
airfields. She withdrew on the 16th with the rest of TF 38 in search of a
fueling rendezvous. While attem pting to find calmer waters in which to
refuel, TF 38 steamed directly through a violent, but unheralded, typhoon.
Though the storm cost Admiral Halsey's force three destroyers and over 800
lives Ticonderoga and the other carriers managed to ride it out with
a minimum of damage. Having survived the tempest's fury, Ticonderoga
returned to Ulithi on Christmas Eve.
Repairs occasioned by the typhoon
kept TF 38 in the anchorage almost until the end of the month. The carriers
did not return to sea until 30 December 1944 when they steamed north to hit
Formosa and Luzon in preparation for the landings on the latter island at
Lingayen Gulf. Severe weather limited the Formosa strikes on 3 and 4
January 1945 and, in all likelihood, obviated the need for them. The
warships fueled at sea on the 5th. Despite rough weather on the 6th, the
strikes on Luzon airfields were carried out. That day, Ticonderoga's
airmen and their colleagues of the other air groups increased their score
by another 32 enemy planes. January 7th brought more strikes on Luzon
installations. After a fueling rendezvous on the 8th, Ticonderoga
sped north at night to get into position to blanket Japanese airfields in
the Ryukyus during the Lingayen assault the following morning. However,
foul weather, the bugaboo of TF 38 during the winter of 1944 and 1945,
forced TG 38.3 to abandon the strikes on the Ryukyu airfields and join TG
38.2 in pounding Formosa.
During the night of 9 and 10
January, TF 38 steamed boldly through the Luzon Strait and then headed
generally southwest, diagonally across the South China Sea. Ticonderoga
provided combat air patrol coverage on the 11th and helped to bring down
four enemy planes which attempted to snoop the formation. Otherwise, the
carriers and their consorts proceeded unmolested to a point some 150 to 200
miles off the coast of Indochina. There, on the 12th, they launched their
approximately 850 planes and made a series of anti-shipping sweeps during
which they sank a whopping 44 ships, totaling over 130,000 tons. After
recovering planes in the late afternoon, the carriers moved off to the
northeast. Heavy weather hindered fueling operations on the 13th and 14th,
and air searches failed to turn up any tempting targets.
On 15 January 1945, fighters swept
Japanese airfields on the Chinese coast while the flattops headed for a
position from which to strike Hong Kong. The following morning, they
launched antishipping bom bing raids and fighter sweeps of air
installations. Weather prevented air operations on the 17th and again made
fueling difficult. It worsened the next day and stopped replenishment
operations altogether, so that they were not finally concluded until the
19th. The force then shaped a course generally northward to retransit Luzon
Strait via Balintang Channel.
The three task groups of TF 38
completed their transit during the night of 20 and 21 January. The next
morning, their planes hit airfields on Formosa, in the Pescadores, and at
Sakishima Gunto. The good flying weather brought mixed blessings. While it
allowed American flight operations to continue through the day, it also
brought new gusts of the "Divine Wind." Just after noon, a single-engined
Japanese plane scored a hit on USS Langley with a glide-bombing
attack. Seconds later, a kamikaze swooped out of the clouds and
plunged toward Ticonderoga. He crashed through her flight deck
abreast of the No. Two 5-inch mount, and his bomb exploded just above her
hangar deck. Several planes stowed nearby erupted into flames. Death and
destruction abounded, but the ship's company fought valiantly to save the
threatened carrier. Capt. Kiefer conned his ship smartly. First, he changed
course to keep the wind from fanning the blaze. Then, he ordered magazines
and other compartments flooded to prevent further explosions and to correct
a 10-degree starboard list. Finally, he instructed the damage control party
to continue flooding compartments on Ticonderoga's port side. That
operation induced a 10-degree port list which neatly dumped the fire
overboard! Fire-fighters and plane handlers completed the job by dousing
the flames and jettisoning burning aircraft.
Wounded denizens of the deep often
attract predators. Ticonderoga was no exception. The other
kamikazes pounced on her like a school of sharks in a feeding frenzy.
Her antiaircraft gunners struck back with desperate, but methodical,
ferocity and quickly swatted three of her tormentors into the sea. A fourth
plane slipped through her barrage and smashed into the carrier's starboard
side near the island. His bomb set more planes on fire, riddled her flight
deck, and injured or killed another 100 sailors, including Capt. Kiefer.
Yet, Ticonderoga's crew refused to submit. Spared further attacks,
they brought her fires completely under control not long after 1400; and
Ticonderoga retired painfully.
The stricken carrier arrived at
Ulithi on 24 January but remained there only long enough to move her
wounded to hospital ship USS Samaritan (AH 10), to transfer her air
group to USS Hancock (CV 19), and to embark passengers bound for
home. Ticonderoga cleared the lagoon on 28 January and headed for
the United States. The warship stopped briefly at Pearl Harbor en route to
the Puget Sound Navy Yard where she arrived on 15 February 1945.
Her repairs were completed on 20
April 1945, and she cleared Puget Sound the following day for the Alameda
Naval Air Station. After embarking passengers and aircraft bound for
Hawaii, the carrier headed for Pearl Harbor where she arrived on 1 May. The
next day, Air Group 87 came on board and, for the next week, trained in
preparation for the carrier's return to combat. Ticonderoga stood
out of Pearl Harbor and shaped a course for the western Pacific. En route
to Ulithi, she launched her planes for what amounted to training strikes on
Japanese-held Taroa in the Marshalls. On 22 May, the warship arrived in
Ulithi and rejoined the Fast Carrier Task Force as an element of Rear
Admiral Radford's TG 58.4.
Two days after her arrival,
Ticonderoga sortied from Ulithi with TF 68 and headed north to spend
the last weeks of the war in Japanese home waters. Three days out, Admiral
Halsey relieved Admiral Spruance, the 5th Fleet reverted back to 3d Fleet ,
and TF 68 became TF 38 again for the duration. On 2 and 3 June 1945,
Ticonderoga fighters struck at airfields on Kyushu in an effort to
neutralize the remnants of Japanese air power — particularly the
Kamikaze Corps — and to relieve the pressure on American forces at
Okinawa. During the following two days, Ticonderoga rode out her
second typhoon in less than six months and emerged relatively unscathed.
She provided combat air patrol cover for the 6 June refueling rendezvous,
and four of her fighter s intercepted and destroyed three Okinawa-bound
kamikazes. That evening, she steamed off at high speed with TG 38.4 to
conduct a fighter sweep of air-fields on southern Kyushu on the 8th.
Ticonderoga's planes then joined in the aerial bombardment of Minami
Daito Shima and Kita Daito Shima before the carrier headed for Leyte where
she arrived on the 13th.
During the two-week rest and
replenishment period she enjoyed at Leyte, Ticonderoga changed task
organizations from TG 38.4 to Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan's TG 38.3. On 1
July, she departed Leyte with TF 38 and headed north to resume raids on
Japan. Two days later, a damaged reduction gear forced her into Apra
Harbor, Guam, for repairs. She remained there until the 19th when she
steamed off to rejoin TF 38 and resume her role in the war against Japan.
On 24 July 1945, her planes joined those of other fast carriers in striking
ships in the Inland Sea and airfields at Nagoya, Osaka, and Miko. During
those raids, TF 38 planes found the sad remnants of the once-mighty
Japanese Fleet and bagged battleships Ise, Hyuga, and
Haruna as well as an escort carrier, Kaiyo, and two heavy
cruisers. On 28 July, her aircraft directed their efforts toward the Kure
Naval Base, where they pounded an aircraft carrier, three cruisers, a
destroyer, and a submarine. She shifted her attention to the industrial
area of central Honshu on the 30th, then to northern Honshu and Hokkaido on
9 and 10 August. The latter attacks thoroughly destroyed the marshaling
area for a planned airborne suicide raid on the B-29 bases in the Marianas.
On the 13th and 14th, her planes returned to the Tokyo area and helped to
subject the Japanese capital to another severe drubbing.
The two atomic bombs dropped on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th, respectively, convinced the
Japanese of the futility of continued resistance. On the morning of 16
August 1945, Ticonderoga launched another strike against Tokyo.
During or just after that attack, word reached TF 38 to the effect that
Japan had capitulated.
The shock of peace, though not so
abrupt as that of war almost four years previously, took some getting used
to. Ticonderoga and her sister ships remained on a full war footing.
She continued patrols over Japanese territory and sent reconnaissance
flights in search of camps containing Allied prisoners of war so that
air-dropped supplies could be rushed to them. On 6 September, four days
after the formal surrender ceremony on board
USS Missouri (BB-63), Ticonderoga entered Tokyo Bay.
Her arrival at Tokyo ended one phase
of her career and began another. She embarked homeward-bound passengers and
put to sea again on the 20th. After a stop in Pearl Harbor, the carrier
reached Alameda, Calif., on 5 October. She disembarked her passenge rs and
unloaded cargo before heading out on the 9th to pick up another group of
veterans. Ticonderoga delivered over a thousand soldiers and sailors
to Tacoma, Wash., and remained there through the 28th for the Navy Day
celebration. On 29 October 1945, the carrier departed Tacoma and headed
back to Alameda. En route, all of the planes of Air Group 87 were
transferred ashore so that the carrier could be altered to accommodate
additional passengers in the "Magic-Carpet" voyages to follow. Following
the completion of those modifications at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in
November, the warship headed for the Philippines and arrived at Samar on 20
November. She returned to Alameda on 6 December and debarked almost 4,000
returning servicemen. The carrier made one more "Magic-Carpet" run in
December 1945 and January 1946 before entering the Puget Sound Naval
Shipyard to prepare for inactivation. Almost a year later on 9 January
1947, Ticonderoga was placed out of commission and berthed with the
Bremerton Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet."
There is more to her history, but it
is after she was converted to an angled deck and so it is not germane to
this kit. Thanks to your tax dollars at work for the background history as
I couldn't have said it better myself.
can never say that you don't get your money's worth in a Trumpeter kit.
While $130 may seem like a lot, the sheer number of parts you get and the
size of the kit is enough to make that seem downright inexpensive. Packaged
in its usual very sturdy box, this kit has over 600 pieces to keep the
modeler busy for weeks constructing this one.
The detail level of the kit parts is
superb. No flash, or sink areas were noted on the various bits. The
underside of most larger parts do have ejector pin marks and for those that
will be visible when looking up from the underside, you'll have to do
considerable work to remove them all. Most of us will just blow them off.
The flight deck comes in three
segments and include cut-outs for the forward and side elevators. A hangar
deck is also provided, but since all the shutters on the side are closed,
it isn't going to be visible. Probably for the super detailers or just to
provide additional strength to the model. For some reason, there is a
separate bow section. Probably to allow everything to fit into the box or
because a larger hull section couldn't be molded.
This kit continues with Trumpeter's
method of providing separate bulkheads to fit around those structures that
are exposed to the weather and for around the 5 inch gun turrets.
Definitely makes it easier to paint when the deck and the bulkheads are
separate colors. As you might expect, there are a lot of AA guns on this
ship and so you'll have plenty of practice attaching these and their gun
tubs. The separate elevators for the main deck have little posts you attach
to them for the full up position. The side elevator can be put into the
folded position should you wish. While the radio masts are shown in the up
position, it looks as if they can be displayed down as when doing ops. As
with other Trumpeter ships, this one can be built as a full hull or
The air wing consists of five
different aircraft; SBD Dauntless, F4U Corsairs, F6F Hellcats, TBM Avengers
and SB2C Helldivers. All of the markings are from the geometric pattern
days of early/mid 1945. For this reason, I'm
not really sure that the SBDs would be appropriate as they were replaced by
the SB2C Helldiver. I'm also not sure that you'd find both Hellcats and
Corsairs on the same ship. When you had Corsairs, you didn't have Hellcats
and vice versa. Anyway, aside from the SBDs, the wings are in sections so
you can display them folded should you wish.
The large decal sheet contains
insignia and markings for the air wing as well as deck stripes and elevator
warning areas. The sheet is well printed and rather large so should work
I've got to say that this is a most
impressive model. A goodly number of aircraft and a lot of detail, which is
what most of us seek in these kits. I'm sure that there are already or soon
to be etched brass sets for this one as I know that ship builders are
rarely satisfied with what come in the box!
Many thanks to
Steven's International for the preview kit.
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