There sometimes is confusion over the angled deck Essex design. Modelers will want a new model of the angled deck Essex with a Hurricane bow and call it a 27C. That is incorrect. The SCB-27A modifications started on the ships of the Essex class in 1948. In June 1951 the Hornet CVA-12 and Randolph CVA-15 were the last two to go to the yards for SCB-27A modifications. On July 17, 1951 the first two ships to receive SCB-27C modifications, Hancock CVA-19 and Ticonderoga CVA-14, went to the yard, followed in September by Intrepid CVA-11. After completion, Hancock still had an axial deck and open bow. In addition to the changes of SCB-27A, the two most noticeable changes for SCB-27C were widening of the ship with blisters and the replacement of the aft centerline elevator with a starboard aft side elevator. The angled deck and enclosed "Hurricane" bow were actually part of the SCB-125 modifications. While the majority of the angled deck Essexes received their SCB-27C and SCB-125 modifications in the same yard period, HancockIntrepid, and Ticonderoga had one yard period for the SCB-27C, followed by a duty tour, followed by a second yard period for the SCB-125 modifications. Also ships that had already been finished under the SCB-27A modifications were brought up to the SCB-27C standards during their SCB-125. Anyway, in 1957 the USS Hancock CVA-19 was fresh from the yards after receiving her new bow and angled deck as part of her SCB-125 refit, from August 1955 to November 1956. For her far eastern cruise, she carried Carrier Air Task Group 2. A hot new fighter was also included in the mix for this tour. 

This cruise book could have been subtitled "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue". For "Something Old", the tried and true AD Douglas Skyraider is present with Attack Squadron 55 (VA-55). Although the F4U Corsairs carried a few years earlier are long gone, there still is a connection with Marine Fighter Squadron VMF (AW)-214, better known as the Black Sheep. Of course the Marines are flying Navy handoffs in the form of the Banshee. For "Something New" we have the new SCB-125 modifications to the Hancock. However, the ship is not the only spanking new item found for this cruise. Gone are the Grumman Panthers and Cougars and appearing with the fleet, is that twin tailed terror, the futuristic Vought F7U Cutlass, oddly enough fielded by an Attack Squadron VA-116. For "Something Borrowed" there is the North American FJ Fury, the naval version of the USAF F-86 Sabre. For "Something Blue", well... the glossy blue paint schemes of Korean War Essex Air Groups are gone. Even the Spads are sporting light gray paint. However, the sky and sea are still blue, as you can see from the color photographs found throughout this cruise book. 

Han6987.JPG (23307 bytes) Han6875.JPG (18133 bytes) Han6926.JPG (15592 bytes) Han6927.JPG (25646 bytes)
Han6928.JPG (18845 bytes) Han6874.JPG (11368 bytes) Han6883.JPG (20655 bytes) Han6884.JPG (16646 bytes)
Han6933.JPG (21013 bytes) Han6930.JPG (15988 bytes) Han6936.JPG (17991 bytes) Han6941.JPG (22170 bytes)
Han7034.JPG (16028 bytes) Han7035.JPG (15300 bytes) Han7036.JPG (16048 bytes) Han7037.JPG (17983 bytes)
Han7038.JPG (15911 bytes) Han7039.JPG (12564 bytes) Han6932.JPG (17230 bytes) Han6943.JPG (14253 bytes)
Han6950.JPG (9414 bytes) Han6922.JPG (12773 bytes) Han6885.JPG (14112 bytes) Han6925.JPG (16367 bytes)
Han7000.JPG (12697 bytes) Han6934.JPG (14442 bytes) Han6948.JPG (10448 bytes) Han6886.JPG (23652 bytes)
Han6937.JPG (19306 bytes) Han6966.JPG (21314 bytes) Han7029.JPG (18304 bytes) Han7049.JPG (12181 bytes)

The tried and true 5-inch/38 single gun open mounts are still present but the Bofors are gone. Starting with the SCB-27A ships, the World War Two vintage quadruple 40mm guns were replaced by twin three-inch (76mm) guns. You'll notice that these new AA guns have their own radar attached to the gun mounts. 


Guns
HanG6973.JPG (17846 bytes) HanG6909.JPG (23110 bytes) HanG6915.JPG (14601 bytes)
HanG6978.JPG (20382 bytes) HanG6980.JPG (10325 bytes) HanG6981.JPG (15229 bytes) HanG6982.JPG (16878 bytes)
HanG6983.JPG (21143 bytes) HanG6984.JPG (21205 bytes) HanG6985.JPG (52149 bytes) HanG7045.JPG (112124 bytes)

There is a nice assortment of photos of various equipment, mostly tractors, found in the book. At the end of the section is a photograph of the new mirror landing system fielded with the SCB-125 modifications.


Fittings & Equipment
HanE6949.JPG (23492 bytes) HanE6931.JPG (11389 bytes) HanE6954.JPG (19290 bytes)
HanE6967.JPG (11174 bytes) HanE7015.JPG (13319 bytes) HanE6962.JPG (14184 bytes) HanE6914.JPG (7458 bytes)
HanE6924.JPG (18912 bytes) HanE6929.JPG (22430 bytes) HanE6940.JPG (14226 bytes) HanE6958.JPG (20353 bytes)
HanE6961.JPG (19246 bytes) HanE6963.JPG (13464 bytes) HanE6964.JPG (12312 bytes) HanE6965.JPG (19423 bytes)
HanE6968.JPG (14084 bytes) HanE6976.JPG (26629 bytes) HanE6977.JPG (15859 bytes) HanE7032.JPG (14609 bytes)

This cruise book only has a few photographs of underway replenishment shots, far fewer than normally found. However, it also contained photographs of merchant ships found at the port of Kobe. Actually, one of my favorite photographs is the last one with that great big Buick. 


Other Ships
HanS6979.JPG (19946 bytes) HanS6912.JPG (26257 bytes) HanS6975.JPG (23690 bytes)
HanS6974.JPG (25592 bytes) HanS6938.JPG (13470 bytes) HanS6939.JPG (23355 bytes)

Here it is! I know that you have been waiting for this beauty! The Panther couldn't cut it against the MiG-15 and the Cougar was just a Panther with new wings slapped on it. What the USN needed was a cutting edge fighter design and that cutting edge in 1957 was the Vought F7U Cutlass. Not many cruise books are found with squadrons of the Cutlass but "Strike", the 1957 Hancock book has them. Only a Caddy could rival the beauty of those twin tails. In the era before computer assisted flight, the Cutlass proved more dangerous for her own pilots than for MiGs. The design was very difficult to fly, with low power engines subject to flameout in rain and had a very high accident rate. It was quickly pulled as the USN went on to another new hot fighter design. The navy had a lot of those hot new fighter designs that had a very short life span between the Panther of 1950 and the Phantom of the 1960s. As mentioned above, for this tour it was an attack squadron, VA-116, that fielded the Cutlass for this tour, not a fighter squadron (VF). 


The Cutting Edge Cutlass of VA-116
HanCu6992.JPG (13920 bytes) HanCu6882.JPG (20549 bytes) HanCu7008.JPG (13212 bytes)
HanCu6903.JPG (15129 bytes) HanCu6907.JPG (24504 bytes) HanCu7056.JPG (11213 bytes)
HanCu6888.JPG (17515 bytes) HanCu6895.JPG (15842 bytes) HanCu7013.JPG (16953 bytes)
HanCu6913.JPG (24384 bytes) HanCu6917.JPG (19891 bytes) HanCu6971.JPG (20236 bytes) HanCu6996.JPG (15754 bytes)
HanCu6997.JPG (15137 bytes) HanCu7009.JPG (10857 bytes) HanCu7010.JPG (15873 bytes) HanCu7011.JPG (24224 bytes)
HanCu6957.JPG (15299 bytes) HanCu7012.JPG (9381 bytes) HanCu7014.JPG (14586 bytes) HanCu7017.JPG (17880 bytes)
HanCu7018.JPG (11069 bytes) HanCu7019.JPG (21819 bytes) HanCu7020.JPG (22603 bytes) HanCu7021.JPG (22487 bytes)

Hey Admiral! Against the MiGs, our Panthers stink! Boy Howdy, we sure could use some of those Sabres that the air force flyboys have. All of them are becoming aces and getting all of the girls, while the only people that will dance with us are Marines! The F-86 Sabre was the outstanding US fighter of the Korean War. The navy had almost always gone with their traditional aircraft manufacturers, primarily Grumman, but in the Korean War the navy had no design remotely equal in performance to the MiG-15. Even if the F-86 was an USAF design, the navy tried its own version called the FJ Fury. In 1957  one fighter squadron assigned to Hancock flew the Fury, the Fighting 143. 


The Fighting Fury of VF-143
HanF6991.JPG (11960 bytes) HanF6998.JPG (11096 bytes) HanF6999.JPG (12880 bytes)
HanF6877.JPG (16713 bytes) HanF6880.JPG (13997 bytes) HanF6897.JPG (11524 bytes)
HanF6916.JPG (17346 bytes) HanF6921.JPG (16111 bytes) HanF6935.JPG (18506 bytes)
HanF6952.JPG (16442 bytes) HanF7001.JPG (21273 bytes) HanF7005.JPG (13879 bytes) HanF7006.JPG (19503 bytes)
HanF7007.JPG (10744 bytes) HanF7002.JPG (21728 bytes) HanF7003.JPG (16554 bytes) HanF7004.JPG (25593 bytes)

Time for Black Sheep Banjo Music as Marine Fighter Squadron VMF (AW)-214 of Pappy Boynton and Solomon Islands Fame is on the Hancock. The AW in the designation shows that it is all weather, as the McDonnell F2H Banshee, which could fly at night and in the worst weather, was still around after the Panther and Cougar day fighters had disappeared. The USN still had the Banshee for photo-reconnaissance work, as can be seen in some of the photos with both versions flying side-by-side. The Marine fighter version has the WE tail markings, while the navy long nose photographic bird has the PP tail markings. 


Banshees of the Black Sheep of VMF(AW)-214
HanBan6994.JPG (11042 bytes) HanBan7040.JPG (15808 bytes) HanBan7042.JPG (10240 bytes) HanBan6911.JPG (24629 bytes)
HanBan6905.JPG (17854 bytes) HanBan6879.JPG (16159 bytes) HanBan6891.JPG (18834 bytes) HanBan6892.JPG (13989 bytes)
HanBan6899.JPG (16142 bytes) HanBan6953.JPG (13238 bytes) HanBan7041.JPG (12477 bytes) HanBan7043.JPG (14767 bytes)
HanBan7044.JPG (12888 bytes) HanBan7046.JPG (16964 bytes) HanBan7047.JPG (19034 bytes) HanBan7048.JPG (13956 bytes)
HanBan7051.JPG (14599 bytes) HanBan7052.JPG (13098 bytes) HanBan7058.JPG (17598 bytes) HanBan7059.JPG (16038 bytes)

The Douglas AD Skyraider was an anachronism, a propeller driven aircraft in the age of jets. However, it was the radial Wright R-3350 Cyclone, which produced up to 2,800 hp, that made the Skyraider so valuable as a strike aircraft. This power plant was the most powerful piston engine put into a USN service aircraft and allowed the Able Dog to carry up to 8,000 pounds of ordnance. It is ironic that in the early jet age, jet designs came and went like the fall fashions but the big, burley Skyraider continued to fly on and on in service. For the 1957 cruise Hancock had one attack squadron of Skyraiders, Attack Squadron 55. The Skyraiders of VA-55 served alongside of the Panthers and Cougars on Essex in 1953-1954 (click for Essex 1953-1954 cruise book) and although the fast movers were replaced by the Cutlass and Fury, the old chugging AD was still there. 


Skyraiders of VA-55
HanAD6993.JPG (14815 bytes) HanAD7055.JPG (128879 bytes) HanAD6900.JPG (96568 bytes) HanAD7057.JPG (15416 bytes)
HanAD7022.JPG (19438 bytes) HanAD6881.JPG (106231 bytes) HanAD6893.JPG (18143 bytes) HanAD6923.JPG (14986 bytes)
HanAD6894.JPG (12671 bytes) HanAD6898.JPG (27942 bytes) HanAD6901.JPG (10523 bytes) HanAD6920.JPG (15981 bytes)
HanAD6887.JPG (16595 bytes) HanAD6951.JPG (16000 bytes) HanAD6955.JPG (16439 bytes) HanAD7023.JPG (13875 bytes)
HanAD7024.JPG (11689 bytes) HanAD7025.JPG (18837 bytes) HanAD7026.JPG (17356 bytes) HanAD7028.JPG (15459 bytes)
HanAD7030.JPG (19078 bytes) HanAD7031.JPG (17057 bytes) HanAD7033.JPG (15091 bytes) HanAD6876.JPG (15679 bytes)

Two other units flew special variants of the Skyraider,. The AD-5Q Guppies of VAW-11 Detachment India provided airborne early warning, while the Skyraiders of VC-35 Detachment Item (VAAW-25) provided night and all weather attack capability. Both of these units had also sailed on the Essex in 1953 but by 1957 had slight name changes, VC-11 Team Item to VAW-11 Detachment India and VAN-25 to VAAW-25. 


Playboy Guppies & AW Skyraiders
HanADQ7060.JPG (16668 bytes) HanADQ7064.JPG (20603 bytes) HanADQ7063.JPG (21229 bytes)
HanADQ6947.JPG (5631 bytes) HanADQ7061.JPG (14828 bytes) HanADAW7065.JPG (23030 bytes) HanADAW7066.JPG (11433 bytes)

To fight the USAF in the budget battles in Congress, the USN needed its own nuclear attack capability. Although the navy was developing the ballistic missile submarine, the carriers needed their own little boomers. The first machine that could be carried by a carrier and that was capable of carrying the bulky nuclear bombs of the period was the North American AJ Savage. The Savage was the airframe used in the USN nuclear capable Heavy Attack Squadrons from 1950 to 1957. They were supplanted by the twin jet Douglas A3D Skywarrior in the late 1950s.


Packing the Big Egg - AJ Savage
HanSav6995.JPG (19914 bytes) HanSav6904.JPG (11347 bytes) HanSav6889.JPG (14266 bytes) HanSav6919.JPG (14996 bytes)
HanSav6959.JPG (18882 bytes) HanSav6960.JPG (12727 bytes) HanSav7068.JPG (16707 bytes) HanSav7069.JPG (13431 bytes)

There were two new faces for the utility aircraft. Gone was the elegant Sikorsky Dragonfly with the appearance of the new two rotor Piasecki H-25 HUP Retriever. Also making an appearance is the long-serving COD. 


Utility Players - Angels & the COD
HanCod6945.JPG (19499 bytes) HanCod6946.JPG (12534 bytes) HanCod6956.JPG (18344 bytes)
HanSik7053.JPG (15326 bytes) HanSik7054.JPG (13914 bytes) HanSik6910.JPG (15391 bytes)
HanSik6890.JPG (20585 bytes) HanSik6969.JPG (12257 bytes) HanSik6970.JPG (20192 bytes) HanSik7027.JPG (18911 bytes)

Another interesting feature found in this book is color graphic art used throughout the volume. A full page color print is found at the start of each section. So far this is the best example of graphic art that I have seen in a 1950's cruise book. The last print shown in this section brings home that even in a peacetime environment, naval aviation can be deadly. Two pilots, AD and Banshee, were lost, along with a deck crewman. 


Peter Maxx Goes to Sea
HanP6902.JPG (15937 bytes) HanP6942.JPG (29860 bytes) HanP6944.JPG (27769 bytes)
HanP6972.JPG (29546 bytes) HanP6986.JPG (27424 bytes) HanP6988.JPG (25040 bytes) HanP7070.JPG (26907 bytes)

The USS Hancock CVA-19 "Strike" 1957 Far Eastern Cruise Book is an excellent volume on the ship as she was commissioned after her SCB-125 modifications. In addition to the new angled deck and Hurricane bow, Hancock fielded that hot new twin tailed terror, the Vought F7U Cutlass. The volume has a good selection of color photographs and an early example of graphic arts. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________