Have you seen what they are doing with Reapers lately?

No, not the guys in black shrouds that go around picking up souls, I’m talking about the very real drone series from General Atomics. Introduced in 2007 as a sort of super-sized version of the Predator, variations of the series have clocked six million flight hours and completed 430,495 total missions as of late 2019 while flying 11 percent of total Air Force flying hours, at only 2.6 percent of the USAF’s total flying hour cost– and maintaining a 90 percent availability rate.

The Air Force has quietly pulled off a couple of key mission enhancements in the past couple of months when it comes to Reaper.

In September, a Creech AFB-operated MQ-9 successfully went air-to-air, using an AIM-9X Block 2 Sidewinder missile against a target BQM-167 drone that was simulating an incoming cruise missile.

An MQ-9 Reaper, assigned to the 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron, armed with an AIM-9X missile sits on the flight line, Sept. 3, 2020, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley Stevens)

This month, they doubled the number of Hellfires that could be mission-carried by a Reaper, growing from four to eight.

A 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron MQ-9A Reaper carrying eight Hellfire missiles sits on the ramp at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 10, 2020. This was the first flight test of the MQ-9 carrying this munition load. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley Stevens)

This new capability is part of the MQ-9 Operational Flight Program 2409, a software upgrade set to field by the end of calendar year 2020. Previous to this software, the MQ-9 was limited to four AGM-114s across two stations. The new software allows flexibility to load the Hellfire on stations that previously were reserved for 500-pound class bombs or fuel tanks.

“The hardware/launcher is the same that we use on the outboard stations,” said Master Sgt. Melvin French, test system configuration manager. “Aside from the extra hardware required to be on hand, no other changes are required to support this new capability and added lethality. The Reaper retains its flexibility to fly 500-pound bombs on any of these stations, instead of the AGM‑114s, when mission requirements dictate.”

Reaper, with about 200 airframes in USAF service, also has a maritime variant that readers of this page should find very interesting– the MQ-9B SeaGuardian which can be utilized for mine countermeasures, ASW, SAR, and general sea patrol with a 25 hour all-weather loiter time that is cheaper and less crew-intensive than a manned aircraft and could really free up a limited number of P-8s, P-3s, and HC-130Js for more dynamic taskings.

SeaGuardian

The SeaGuardian variants can carry a 360-degree patrol radar and two 10-tube sonobuoy pods, while still being able to clock in with Hellfires and 500-pound bombs if needed. If you told me they could find a way to mount an anti-ship missile and some Mk. 50 torps, perhaps on a paired aircraft operating in teams, I wouldn’t doubt it.

SeaGuardian is not science fiction. Last month the platform concluded a set of maritime test flights over the sea-lanes off the coast of Southern California and last week kicked off a series of validation flights on Oct. 15 for the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, Japan. 

Fallschirmjäger Ost und West

As part of the so-called Black Reichswehr, the off-the-books shadow military effort during the Weimar Republic, the Germans frequently sat in on Soviet military operations in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Great War fighter ace Hermann Goring observed Russian paratrooper demonstrations several times in that period– the first in the world.

Headed back to Germany, he formed a platoon-sized group of budding paratroops from among Prussian police in the Berlin-based Polizeiabteilung Wecke and by October 1936 was arranging his own demonstration jumps to encourage enough volunteers to form an airborne Fallschirmschützen (Parachute rifle) company and later a Fallschirmjaeger battalion, which went on to be 1. Fallschirmjäger Regiment (I/FJR 1). Within two years, he had two official battalions of Fallschirmtruppen in his Luftwaffe.

While the Russkis were the first to make combat jumps– dropping small teams into Finland as early as November 1939 during the Winter War, the Germans soon caught up and 1/FJR 1 jumped into Dombas, Norway to cut a road the following April while 3/FJR 1 would simultaneously capture the key Royal Norwegian Air Force field at Stavanger and 4/FJR 1 went on at the same time to key targets in Denmark.

Bundesarchiv Bild 141-0864, Kreta, Landung von Fallschirmjägern

Then of course came Belgium. Holland, Greece, Crete, etc at al. ending the war with a full-fledged albeit not fully capable “paratrooper army.” (1. Fallschirm-Armee).

Once the Western Allies reformed the West German military in 1955 and the Warsaw Pact did the same for the East Germans, the respective Bundeswehr and Nationale Volksarmee christened new airborne units– on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain.

For the NVA, this meant 40. Fallschirmjägerbataillon (later Luftsturmregiment) Willi Sänger, formed in 1962, as opposed to Luftlandejägerbataillon 9 (later Fallschirmjägerbataillon 261) which predated it going back to 1956.

This great Cold War period video compares the two units: 

Warship Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020: The Kaiser’s Gorgon

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020: The Kaiser’s Gorgon

Naval History and Heritage Command NH 46824

Here we see the Gazelle-class kleiner kreuzer SMS Medusa of the Kaiserliche Marine passing under the Levensauer Hochbrücke in the Kiel Canal, likely between 1901 and 1908. The sleek little vessel with beautiful lines and a prominent bow would go on to live a long life, a rarity for 20th Century Teutonic warships.

Medusa and her nine assorted sisters were built to scout for a growing battle fleet, and most importantly show the German flag around the world in ports both tropical and frozen. Just over 344-feet long, smaller today than a typical frigate, they were powered by two triple-expansion engines that gave the class a (planned) speed of 21.5-knots, which sounds slow by 21st Century standards but was fairly fast for ~1900.

Armed with ten 10.5 cm/40 (4.1″) SK L/40 naval guns and some torpedo tubes, they followed the traditional cruiser trope of being intended to sink anything faster than them and outrun anything bigger. She was built at AG Weser, Bremen for 4,739,000 Goldmarks and commissioned July 1901.

German light cruiser, either THETIS, ARIADNE, AMAZONE, or MEDUSA. Photo by Arthur Renard, Kiel, 1901. NH 47870

The 1914 Jane’s entry for the class. Of note, there were many small differences in dimensions, displacement, powerplant, and torpedo tube armament amongst the 10 vessels in the class. In a very real way, there could be considered at least three different flights among the Gazelles. Even Jane’s recognized this at the time, detailing Medusa not with a 10-ship Gazelle listing but with a five-ship subclass along with near-identical sisters Nymphe, Thetis, Ariadne, and Amazone.

Medusa spent her first decade on a series of flag-waving and training cruises around Europe, making just about every cherry port call you could want from Stockholm to Constantinople. During this time, her gunners were considered the best in the fleet, winning the Kaiserpreis für Kleine Kreuzer, a feat that resulted in her becoming the fleet gunnery school ship for a period.

Tyske kryssaren Medusa at Gustafsberg Juli 05, Swedish Bohusläns museum UMFA53278 2009

In May 1908, the still relatively young Medusa— as with most of her class– was overhauled and placed in reserve, tasked with second-line duties as larger, faster cruisers such as the Königsberg, Dresden, and Kolberg classes were joining the fleet.

Guns of August…

Nonetheless, when the Great War came, the Gazelles were reactivated and pressed into fleet service as scouts. In such work, they often tangled with much more powerful British vessels.

Medusa’s sistership, SMS Ariadne was sent to the bottom at Heligoland Bight on the fourth week of the war after she was caught between two of Beatty’s battlecruisers, while sister SMS Undine exploded after being hit by two torpedoes in 1915 and SMS Frauenlob was lost at Jutland opposing British cruisers as part of IV Scouting Group.

Medusa’s war service was more pedestrian, serving in a coast defense role along the Baltic to include being the flagship of Vizeadmiral Robert Mischke in the Küstenschutzdivision der Ostsee. She did see some action supporting German troops moving through Latvia in 1916 and ended the war as a tender to the old school frigate König Wilhelm in Flensburg.

Weimar Days

Post Versailles, the heart of the Kaiserliche Marine lay wrecked at Scapa Flow and the Allies took the better part of what remained afloat, leaving the newly-formed Weimar Republic’s Reichsmarine to rise like a phoenix with clipped wings from the ashes using obsolete vessels that London, Paris, and Washington neither wanted for their own fleets nor felt would be a threat.

When it came to the eight pre-dreadnoughts and six plodding cruisers allotted for the Germans to retain, ironically Medusa was the best of the lot and she served as the Reichsmarine’s first flagship from July 1920 through February 1921, when the duty was passed off to the battleship SMS Hannover, which by then was dusted off enough for active service.

To give her some better teeth, Medusa’s 450mm torpedo tubes were upgraded with larger 500mm tubes and she was fitted with rails to carry as many as 200 sea mines. The new Republic’s first active warship, Medusa cruised the Baltic in the summer of 1920, making Weimar Germany’s inaugural port calls in Finnish and Swedish harbors, a task she would repeat in 1924.

By March 1929, with the Reichsmarine able to add a few new K-class cruisers to the list as one-for-one replacements for their oldest boats, Medusa was disarmed and transferred to Wilhelmshaven to serve as a barracks ship. Her experienced crew changed hulls almost to a man to become plankowners on the brand-new German light cruiser Karlsruhe, the latter of which was known around Kiel as Ersatz Medusa during her building and outfitter.

Of her six sisters that survived the Great War, Gazelle was scrapped in poor shape in 1920, followed by SMS Nymphe and SMS Thetis which were scrapped in the early 1930s. Likewise, SMS Niobe was sold to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1925. Besides Medusa, the Germans only kept her sisters Arcona and Amazone, which, like our subject, were disarmed by the 1930s and hulked.

New war and a new look

As the Reichsmarine transitioned to the Kreigsmarine in 1935, and the world marched into war once again, Medusa swayed at her moorings until early 1940 when she was towed to Rickmers, Wesemünde, where she was reworked into a floating anti-aircraft battery, dubbed a flak kreuzer. She was not alone in this task as the Germans converted not only her sister Arcona in such a way but also a mix of seven captured Danish, Dutch, and Norwegian warships of similar vintage.

Medusa, her engine rooms gutted and funnels/masts removed, emerged with a new camouflage scheme and looked far and away different than when she was in the Kaiser’s service.

Her armament consisted of five 105/60 SK C/33 guns— good high-angle AAA weapons rated to 41,000 feet in altitude– as well as two 37mm flak guns, eight 20mm flak guns, HF/DF equipment, searchlights, a low-UHF band Würzburg gun-laying radar, and a Kleinkog fire control device, all state of the art for the time.

She would be crewed by the men of Marine Flak Abteilung 222 who not only manned Medusa but five other heavy batteries ashore as well.

Stationed typically at various roadsteads off Wilhelmshaven, Flak Batterie Medusa was frequently towed from anchorage to anchorage to minimize the risk of her being targeted specifically and, between 13 May 1940 and 3 May 1945, would sound her air raid alarm 789 times, sending up flak on at least 136 of those occasions. It should be noted that the Allies, primarily the British, carried out at least 102 air raids on the vital port, with 16 of those being large-scale attacks.

Note Medusa’s scoreboard, with numerous RAF and U.S. bomber outlines, none of which I can confirm. It should be recognized that the famous Flying Fortress, Memphis Belle (Boeing B-17F-10-BO #41-24485) was the recipient of flak while raiding Wilhelmshaven in 1943

Medusa remained afloat and fully operational until she was targeted by an airstrike on 19 April 1945 which killed 22 and seriously wounded 41 others. As the Allies were closing in on Wilhelmshaven, she was towed to the Wiesbaden Bridge and scuttled by her gunners there during the predawn hours of 3 May in an effort to block the channel. The city’s 33,000-man garrison, to include the former residents of Medusa, officially surrendered to Maj. Gen. Stanislaw Maczek’s 1st Polish Armored Division later the same day.

A local firm was granted salvage rights in 1947 and scrapped her wreck over the remainder of the decade.

When it comes to her two remaining sisters, they also proved fairly lucky in Kriegsmarine service. The unarmed ex-SMS Amazone was used post-war as an accommodation hulk for refugees and broken up in Hamburg in 1954 while Arcona, who like Medusa served as a floating AAA platform, was seized by the Royal Navy at Brunsbüttel in May 1945 and subsequently scrapped in 1949.

Today, Medusa is well-remembered in the model collection of the International Maritime Museum Hamburg, where both a circa 1900 white-hulled and a circa 1945 camouflage 1:100 scale example reside.

Speaking of models, Combrig offers an excellent 1:700 scale version of the Kaiser’s gorgon.

Those flak gunners lost on her decks in April 1945 are commemorated in a marker at Wilhelmshaven.

Specs:

Via Combrig

(1900, Kleiner kreuzer)
Displacement: 2,659 tons normal; 3,082 full
Length: 344.8 ft overall; 328 waterline
Beam: 40 ft
Draft: 15.9 ft; 17.5 maximum
Propulsion: 9 x Schulz-Thornycroft water-tube boilers; 7,972 hp; two 3-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, two 3.5m props
Speed: 21.5 knots (designed), 20.9 knots in practice, 22 trials (all Gazelles were different in this)
Range: 3,560 nmi at 10 knots on 300 tons coal (560 tons max)
Complement: 14 officers, 243 enlisted men
Armor: (Sheathead & Muntz)
Deck: 25mm at ends, 50mm amidships
Conning tower 75-80 mm
Gun shields: 50 mm
Armament:
10 x 10.5 cm/40 (4.1″) SK L/40 (1,000 shells in magazine)
14 x 37mm 1-pounder Maxim Guns (autocannons)
2 x 45 cm (17.7 in) submerged beam tubes (5 torpedoes)

(1945, Flak kreuzer)
Displacement: 3,100 tons
Length: 344.8 ft overall
Beam: 40 ft
Draft: 15.9 ft
Propulsion: None, was towed and generators supplied on-board power while afloat
Armor: Deck: 20-50 mm, Conning tower 80 mm
Complement: 6 officers, 37 NCOs, 237 enlisted in embarked flak batteries and support personnel
Armament:
5 x 105/60 SK C/33 AAA guns
2 x 37mm Flak 36/37
8 x 20mm Flak 30

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find. http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

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Love Boat shows teeth

Sigh…

There is really no way to sugar coat it, the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) has been a pear-shaped embarrassment in terms of naval acquisition, making the LCS and Ford programs look squared away by comparison.

Awarded in 2008, DDG-1000 took eight years to complete, which is kinda shocking for a “destroyer” but of course isn’t when you keep in mind it is actually 14,800-tons, pushing into the size envelope of a WWII-era Baltimore-class heavy cruiser, making them the largest non-carrier surface asset constructed for the Navy since the 15,500-ton nuclear-powered USS Long Beach (CGN-9) commissioned in 1961.

The Zumwalts were to showcase two new weapons platforms, namely the 155 mm Advanced Gun System– which likely will never be operational in practice– and the MK 57 VLS, which uses four-cell missile packs spread along the peripheral edges of the vessel instead of the more traditional 8-cell VLS modules bunched fore and aft.

Mk-57 Peripheral Vertical Launching System (VLS), for now, unique to the Zumwalt-class destroyers

At least it looks like the MK 57 is (almost) up and running, with a test launch of an SM-2 at Point Mugu, on 13 October– notably just 72 hours short of the $4.4B Zumwalt’s 4th commissioning anniversary.

“Today’s successful firing event is a critical milestone in the maturation of this incredible ship class and represents the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work and partnership of Zumwalt’s talented crew and the engineers, designers, and programmers helping us to bring her capabilities to the Fleet,” said Capt. Gary Cave, Zumwalt’s commanding officer. “It is a day we’ve been looking forward to and demonstrates the strides we are taking to add combat capability to our surface force.”

Steel City Corsairs

Here we see a right side view of two Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-11-CV Corsair II strike aircraft taking off during exercise Sentry Castle ’81. The Corsair to the right is carrying a blue AIM-9 Sidewinder exercise missile. Both of the aircraft are assigned to the 112th Tactical Fighter Group, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, based out of the Pittsburgh IAP Air Reserve Station. The photo was taken on July 9, 1981, by SSGT Marvin Lynchard, USAF.

DF-ST-82-07990

DF-ST-82-07990

Lynchard caught a great passing photo of 112th Corsairs lifting off, especially remarkable for early 1980s camera equipment.

v

Note the Sidewinder, the “flash white” underbelly, full-color markings complete with PA ANG shield, and forest top camo, standard for their intended mission of flying tactical ground support in Western Europe on a real-life REFORGER ala Red Storm Rising. DF-ST-82-07991

He also caught this guy…

2LT Robert S. Roth, the pilot aboard an A-7 Corsair II aircraft, prepares for take-off on a flight mission during exercise Sentry Castle ’81. The pilot is assigned to the 112th Tactical Fighter Group, Pennsylvania Air National Guard. DF-ST-82-07989

Note Roth’s squadron insignia, a Steeler’s flash with an A-7 worked in

As for the history, the 112th TFG was formed in 1942 as the 350th Fighter Group flying P-39 Airacobras with the Twelfth Air Force in North Africa, eventually upgrading to P-47 Jugs and taking the fight to Italy. Reformed as the 112th postwar and allotted to the PA-ANG, they were one of the last units to fly F-51D Mustangs before switching to jets (Sabers/Thunderstreaks) in 1954.

Upgrading to the F-102 in 1960, they performed NORAD air defense missions on 24-hour alert until 1975 when they switched to the less sexy but more modern A-7. The 112th would take the Corsair to war in 1989 during the Panamanian excursion but sit out Desert Storm. They were inactivated in 1992.

If you like these pictures, NARA has over 100 of Lynchard’s photos digitized, covering a wealth of DOD subjects through the early 1980s into the early 1990s. A great time machine. 

Enjoy!

The Standard Bearer for the Modern .32 Pocket Gun

Ludwig (Louis) Wilhelm Seecamp was a pre-WWII German gunsmith who, once called up and placed in the Gebirgsjäger, logically served as a unit armorer, furthering his firearm skills. Post-war, he emigrated to Canada and then to the U.S., starting a career with Mossberg that endured across the 1950s and 60s.

At age 72, he founded L.W. Seecamp Co. in 1973 after a lifetime of experience, specializing in double-action M1911 conversions until, in his 80s, he patented a series of compact DAO all-stainless pocket pistols that didn’t skimp on craftsmanship.

The LWS 32

The small double-action gun didn’t have sights, which adhered to Seecamp’s wartime experience on the Eastern Front. 

As noted by the company’s history, “Ludwig had become a firm believer in the value of DA after a Walther P-38 saved his life in WWII. That incident, which left him with a cheek-long scar and some missing teeth from a bullet wound, also convinced him point shooting rather than sight use is the reality in close range combat.”

The LWS 32 proved so popular, introduced at a time when John Browning’s circa 1899 cartridge was dying out in defensive pistol use, that the handgun market was soon flooded with pocket pistols in the same caliber and general layout. These included the Beretta 3032 Tomcat, the NAA Guardian, and the Kel-Tec P-32.

As they say, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Happy Birthday, Alpini

With bragging rights that self-credit them as the oldest continually-formed Alpine mountain infantry in the world, Italy’s Alpini date back to 15 October 1872, when 15 companies were formed to a concept developed by Captain Giuseppe Perrucchetti, trained and equipped to fight successfully in the most inhospitable climates along frozen peaks and rocky crags.

Italian Alpini at his post on the front with Austria, 1916. IWM Q 65104

Italian Alpini climbing Fiat–Revelli Modello 1914 machine gun in the Dolomites during the First World War

Italian Alpini on parade in the Baltic during NATO operations, 2019. 

Since then, the “Black Feathers” have been an elite force, tapped by Italy for much overseas use from the Boxer Rebellion to the more recent wars in Afghanistan. They fought the Austro-Hungarian Kaiserjäger and German Alpenkorps in the Great War as well as both with and against the German Gebirgsjäger, French Chasseurs Alpins, and U.S. 10th Mountain in WWII.

These days, the Alpini form two light brigades– Julia and Taurinense– as well as a separate Ranger-style airborne unit, 4° Reggimento Alpini Paracadutisti. Their motto is Di Qui Non Si Passa! (“Nobody passes here!”)

For Pocket Knife Fans

Recently snagged these plastic cards as part of a T&E I am doing on Case knives. I have a few extra on hand to pass on to fans of folding knives. Just shoot me an email with your shipping address to egerwriter@gmail.com and I will drop one in the mail (no, this is not a plot to add you to a mailing list for anyone or send your info to an eagerly awaiting Nigerian prince.)

For those of you who would rather just have the digital version, of course just click “save as” on the images.

Happy Monday!

Sisters from another mister, ADM De Grasse edition

Here we see a starboard beam view of the Spruance-class destroyer USS Comte De Grasse (DD-974) and the French Tourville-class fregate De Grasse (D-612) underway near Cape Henry on their way to Norfolk, October 1981. The ships at the time were participating in the U.S./French bicentennial celebration to mark the joint American Colonial-French operation that concluded the 1781 siege at Yorktown.

A starboard beam view of the destroyer USS COMTE DE GRASSE (DD-974) and the French destroyer De GRASSE (D-612) underway near Cape Henry on their way to Norfolk. The ships participated in the joint U.S./French bicentennial celebration at Yorktown, Va.

Photo 330-CFD-DN-SC-82-02122 in the National Archives

Note De Grasse‘s Lynx Mk.2(FN) helicopter on her stern, her Crotale EDIR short-range SAM looking aft, a battery of MM38 Exocet anti-ship missiles amidships, and her twin GIAT 100mm/55 cal M68 guns forward. The whopping missile-like object loaded just aft of the Exocets is a Malafon ASW rocket-assisted glider-delivered torpedo. The first two ships of the class commissioned with three 100mm mounts, including one over the stern, while De Grasse completed with two to make way for the newly introduced Crotale. The 4,500-ton frigate commissioned in 1975 and served the Marine Nationale until for almost 40 years. Decommissioned in 2013, she’s awaiting her fate at the French ship graveyard at Landévennec but RUMINT is that she may go to the Philipines as part of a package deal on Scorpène-class submarines.

The larger USS Comte De Grasse in the background was commissioned at Pascagoula in 1978 and returned their several times during her career– I once toured her as a kid. She is shown above in her “pre-Tomahawk ” layout that included a stand-alone ASROC launcher forward. After 1984, she was fitted with two 4-cell Mk 143 armored box launchers for said cruise missiles. Just short of her 20th year with the fleet and still young, DD-974 was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 5 June 1998 then sunk as a target in 2006.

The two De Grasses, named of course for French ADM Franҫois-Joseph-Paul de Grasse, who commanded the French fleet at Yorktown, would meet on at least one other occasion in honor of their shared namesake.

In March 1997, a year before she was decommissioned, USS Comte de Grasse got underway for France to participate in Spontex 97, a multinational ASW exercise sponsored by the French Navy. After the exercise wrapped up, she joined her old friend, the French fregate De Grasse, at Brest during a period that coincidentally corresponded with the 216th anniversary of the date Adm. de Grasse sailed for America with the fleet that became victorious at the Battle of the Virginia Capes in 1781.

Big Water Flattop

Continuing in the same vein of pre-WWII American carriers that made it to the post-war (see yesterday’s post on Enterprise), flashing back some 75 years ago today, I give you the USS Ranger CV-4 in the Mississippi River, coming into view of New Orleans. 

Ranger, who we have talked about extensively on a past Warship Wednesday, only earned two battle stars for her wartime service, which was spent in the Atlantic as she was deemed too slight to fight it out with the Empire of Japan, only finally being sent to the Pacific in July 1945. Nonetheless, she struck blows against the Vichy French and Germans spread out from Morocco to Norway.

As detailed by DANFS, the end of her career was a postscript.

Departing San Diego 30 September 1945, Ranger embarked civilian and military passengers at Balboa and then steamed for New Orleans, arriving 18 October. Following Navy Day celebrations there, she sailed 30 October for brief operations at Pensacola [it was thought she would be a training carrier there but was found to be in poor condition and the job was instead handed over to USS Saipan (CVL-28) then later USS Monterey (CVL-26)].

After calling at Norfolk, she entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 18 November for overhaul. She remained on the eastern seaboard until decommissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard 18 October 1946. Struck from the Navy list 29 October 1946, she was sold for scrap to Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pa., 28 January 1947.

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