British CAM Ship

  • Warships Of History
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Another unusual Weapons Platform developed by The British Royal Navy during the early years of World War II – was The ''CAM'' Ship. The ''Cam'' (which stood for ''Catapult Aircraft Merchant'' Ship), was a modified Merchant Vessel which was pressed into Escort Service. They saw their height of use between 1940-1941 in The North Atlantic. The need for traditional Warships (Battleships and Heavy Destroyers) – to escort much needed supplies and Troops to battlefields, was at a low. There simply was not enough of them built yet. Hence the need for a ''Stop Gap'' was needed. The CAM Ship fit that bill. As a Merchant Ship, they were given heavy Armor Plating and ''hidden'' Deck Guns. Further, they were outfitted with Anti-Submarine Mines for deployment against German Submarines. The unique portion of The CAMS, was their ability to launch a single Fighter-Torpedo Bomber. A forward mounted catapult was installed which (thanks to rocket assisted launching techniques) – could propel a single Hawker Hurricane into the air to either engage a surfaced Submarine or provide Air Cover. These Planes were seen as ''expendable'' (due to the inability for them to land). A Pilot was expected to do as much damage as possible and ''ditch'' his aircraft (only to be picked up by The CAM). In appearance, The CAMs resembled simple Merchant Ships, but could very effective protect a Convoy in lieu of the traditional Warship. As many as (27) CAMs were modified and deployed, with an average of (2) being used in Convoy Service. The CAM Ship cam to an end in 1942, when with The US involvement into World War II – more traditional Warships could be deployed with Convoys. The CAMs were Ported, but some were still of use as ''Decoy'' Ships in ''unguarded'' Ports. They also were of use as ''Espionage Ships'' ported near Japanese concerns – using communications device to radio exact positioning of Enemy resources.