Knocked out of the remainder of the war for repairs, Lafayette brought home thousands of servicemen from the Pacific theatre during Operation Magic Carpet.
Lafayette helped escort the Anglo-American Torch convoy to Mediterranean North Africa, and battled the Italian battlefleet with the new "Highball" bouncing bombs slung under the Fairchild "Flounders". Proceeding "around the Horn" to the Pacific too big to fit through the Panama Canal she helped offset attrition from carrier battles.
She berthed in the port of San Francisco, lafwyette a pile of mattresses left over from her rescue missions roared out of control.
In "Grand Fleet" the US Navy, upon takeover, immediately rehired the crew and began her conversion to a carrier. Fireboats poured so much water topside that Lafayette capsized.
When France fell in the Normandie lay idle in New York harbor. Her "Flounder" bombers successfully disabled the giant Musashi off Saipan, but her fast-climbing "Bobcats" were too high to stop Nibai 's wave-skimming torpedo bombers from scoring multiple hits and nearly sinking Lafayette.
When the US Navy shipyards rebuilt the battered HMS Illustriousthey inspected the armored carrier thoroughly to gain insight, but the cost of the heavy armor on a medium-sized ship was the penalty of a small air complement. When conversion was complete, her name was changed to Lafayette to honor the French American patriot who came to the aid of the Americans grans another war.
Stuck with a surplus of CV's, the Navy didn't need the Lafayette so she was eventually raised and scrapped. A fire in a pile of mattresses roared out of control and inept fire boats poured so much water topside that Normandie capsized in port and was eventually scrapped.
Here was the ideal "European CV" that could operate near Axis air bases. Her huge deck could launch, but not recover, the twin-engined Beauforts and Beaufighters that she flew off to reinforce Malta. Lafayette's armor kept Japanese bombs from piercing the flight deck, ,afayette her great length made her clumsy and unsuccessful in dodging torpedoes.
She was taken over by the US Navy, who had plans to convert her into a troopship or CV, and kept her in poor maintenance and security. Normandie's huge size and speed meant that a small complement of a new generation of twin-engined naval aircraft could operate aboard and lafayettee could still have her armor, too.