SS Red Oak Victory, now a museum ship
|Builders:||6 shipyards in the US|
|Class and type:||Cargo ship|
|Displacement:||15,200 tons (at 28-foot draft)|
|Length:||455 ft (138.7 m)|
|Beam:||62 ft (18.9 m)|
|Draft:||28 ft (8.5 m)|
|Depth of hold:||38 ft (11.6 m)|
|Speed:||15–17 knots (28–31 km/h)|
The Victory ship was a class of cargo ship produced in large numbers by North American shipyards during World War II to replace losses caused by German submarines. They were a more modern design compared to the earlier Liberty ship, were slightly larger and had more powerful steam turbine engines giving higher speed to allow participation in high speed convoys and make them more difficult targets for German U-boats. A total of 531 Victory ships were built.
One of the first acts of the United States War Shipping Administration upon its formation in February 1942 was to commission the design of what came to be known as the Victory class. Initially designated EC2-S-AP1, where EC2 = Emergency Cargo, type 2 (Load Waterline Length between 400 and 450 feet (120 and 140 m)), S = steam propulsion with AP1 = one aft propeller (EC2-S-C1 had been the designation of the Liberty ship design), it was changed to VC2-S-AP1 before the name "Victory Ship" was officially adopted on 28 April 1943. The ships were built under the Emergency Shipbuilding program.
The design was an enhancement of the Liberty ship, which had been successfully produced in extraordinary numbers. Victory ships were slightly larger than Liberty ships, 14 feet (4.3 m) longer at 455 feet (139 m), 6 feet (1.8 m) wider at 62 ft (19 m), and drawing one foot more at 28 feet (8.5 m) loaded. Displacement was up just under 1,000 tons, to 15,200. With a raised forecastle and a more sophisticated hull shape to help achieve the higher speed, they had a quite different appearance from Liberty ships.
To make them less vulnerable to U-boat attacks, Victory ships made 15 to 17 knots (28 to 31 km/h), 4 to 6 knots (7.4 to 11.1 km/h) faster than the Libertys, and had longer range. The extra speed was achieved through more modern, efficient engines. Rather than the Libertys' 2,500 horsepower (1,900 kW) triple expansion steam engines, Victory ships were designed to use either Lentz type reciprocating steam engines, steam turbines or Diesel engines, variously putting out between 6,000 and 8,500 hp (4,500 and 6,300 kW). Most used steam turbines, which had been in short supply earlier in the war and reserved for warships. All were oil-fired, but for a handful of Canadian vessels completed with both coal bunkers and oil tanks. Another improvement was electrically powered auxiliary equipment, rather than steam-driven machinery.
To prevent the hull fractures that a few Liberty ships developed, the spacing between frames was widened by 6 inches (150 mm), to 36 inches (910 mm), making the ships less stiff. The hull was welded not riveted.
The VC2-S-AP2, VC2-S-AP3, and VC2-M-AP4 were armed with a 5-inch (127 mm)/38 caliber stern gun for use against submarines and surface ships, and a bow-mounted 3-inch (76 mm)/50 caliber gun and eight 20 mm cannon for use against aircraft. These were manned by United States Navy Armed Guard personnel. The VC2-S-AP5 Haskell-class attack transports were armed with the 5-inch stern gun, one quad 40 mm Bofors cannon, four dual 40 mm Bofors cannon, and ten single 20 mm cannon. The Haskells were operated and crewed exclusively by U.S. Navy personnel.
The Victory ship was noted for good proportion of cubic between holds for a cargo ship of its day. A Victory ship's cargo hold one, two and five hatches are a single rigged with a capacity of 70,400, 76,700, and 69,500 bale cubic feet respectively. Victory ship's hold three and four hatches are double rigged with a capacity of 136,100 and 100,300 bale cubic feet respectively.Victory ships have built in mast, booms and derrick cranes and can load and unload their own cargo without dock side cranes or gantry if needed.
The first vessel was SS United Victory launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation on 12 January 1944 and completed on 28 February 1944, making her maiden voyage a month later. American vessels frequently had a name incorporating the word "Victory". The British and Canadians used "Fort" and "Park" respectively. After United Victory, the next 34 vessels were named after allied countries, the following 218 after American cities, the next 150 after educational institutions and the remainder given miscellaneous names. The AP5 type attack transports were named after United States counties, without "Victory" in their name, with the exception of USS Marvin H. McIntyre, which was named after President Roosevelt's late personal secretary.
Although initial deliveries were slow—only 15 had been delivered by May 1944—by the end of the war 531 had been constructed. The Commission cancelled orders for a further 132 vessels, although three were completed in 1946 for the Alcoa Steamship Company, making a total built in the United States of 534, made up of:
|272||VC2-S-AP2||6,000 hp (4.5 MW) general cargo vessels|
|141||VC2-S-AP3||8,500 hp (6.3 MW) vessels|
|3||VC2-S-AP7||Post war completion|
Of the wartime construction, 414 were of the standard cargo variant and 117 were attack transports.Because the Atlantic battle had been won by the time that the first of the Victory ships appeared none were sunk by U-boats. Three were sunk by Japanese kamikaze attack in April 1945.
Many Victory ships were converted to troopships to bring US soldiers home at the end of World War II as part of Operation Magic Carpet. A total of 97 Victory ships were converted to carry up to 1,600 soldiers. To convert the ships the cargo hold were converted to bunk beds and hammocks stacked three high for hot bunking, Mess halls and exercise places were also added. Aiken Victory, SS Chanute Victory, SS Cody Victory, SS Colby Victory, SS Cranston Victory, SS Gustavus Victory, SS Hagerstown Victory, SS Maritime Victory, and SS U.S.S.R. Victory.Some examples of Victory troopship are: SS
Some 36 Victory ships continued in service and served in the Korean War and a 100 Victory ships served in the Vietnam War. Many were sold and became commercial cargo ships and a few commercial passenger ship. Some were laid up the United States Navy reserve fleets and then scrapped or reused. Many saw postwar conversion and various uses for years afterward. The single VC2-M-AP4 Diesel-powered Emory Victory operated in Alaskan waters for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as North Star III.AP3 types South Bend Victory and Tuskegee Victory were converted in 1957–58 to ocean hydrographic surveying ships USNS Bowditch and Dutton, respectively. Dutton aided in locating the lost hydrogen bomb following the 1966 Palomares B-52 crash.
Starting in 1959, several were removed from the reserve fleet and refitted for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. One such ship was SS Kingsport Victory, which was renamed USNS Kingsport and converted into the world's first satellite communications ship. Another was the former Haiti Victory , which recovered the first man-made object to return from orbit, the nose cone of Discoverer 13, on 11 August 1960. USS Sherburne was converted in 1969–1970 to the range instrumentation ship USNS Range Sentinel for downrange tracking of ballistic missile tests.
Four Victory ships became fleet ballistic missile cargo ships transporting torpedoes, Poseidon missiles, packaged petroleum, and spare parts to deployed submarine tenders:
In the 1960s two Victory ships were reactivated and converted to technical research ships by the U.S. Navy with the hull type AGTR. SS Iran Victory became USS Belmont and SS Simmons Victory became USS Liberty. Liberty was attacked and severely damaged by Israeli forces in June 1967 and subsequently decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register. Belmont was decommissioned and stricken in 1970. Baton Rouge Victory was sunk in the Mekong delta by a Viet Cong mine in August 1966 and temporarily blocked the channel to Saigon.
Most Victory ships were constructed in six West Coast and one Baltimore emergency shipyards that were set up in World War II to build Liberty, Victory, and other ships. The Victory ship was designed to be able to be assembled by the smallest capacity crane at these shipyards.Some ships were built in Britain and Canada.
|MCV Hull Numbers||Notes|
|Bethlehem Fairfield||Baltimore, Maryland||94||VC2-S-AP2||93||602–653, 816–856||23 more cancelled|
|VC2-M-AP4||1||654||Diesel engine variant|
|California Shipbuilding||Wilmington, California||131||VC2-S-AP3||32||1–24, 27, 29, 31–33, 37, 41, 42|
|VC2-S-AP5||30||25, 26, 28, 30, 34–36, 38–40, 43–62||63–66 Transferred to Vancouver as 812–815|
|VC2-S-AP2||69||67–84, 767–811, 885–890||10 more cancelled|
|Kaiser Shipbuilding||Vancouver, Washington||31||VC2-S-AP5||31||655–681, 812–815||17 more cancelled|
|Oregon Shipbuilding||Portland, Oregon||136||VC2-S-AP3||99||85–116, 147–189, 682–701, 872–875||19 more cancelled|
|VC2-S-AP5||34||117–146, 860–863||12 more cancelled|
|VC2-S1-AP7||2||876, 877||Originally AP3|
|Permanente/Kaiser Yard #1 (See Richmond Shipyards)||Richmond, California||53||VC2-S-AP3||10||525–534|
|VC2-S-AP2||43||535–550, 581–596, 702–711|
|Permanente/Kaiser Yard #2||89||VC2-S-AP5||22||552–573|
|VC2-S-AP2||67||574–580, 597–601, 712–766|
Three are open for tours as museum ships:
Liberty ships were a class of cargo ship built in the United States during World War II. Though British in concept, the design was adapted by the United States for its simple, low-cost construction. Mass-produced on an unprecedented scale, the Liberty ship came to symbolize U.S. wartime industrial output.
A troopship is a ship used to carry soldiers, either in peacetime or wartime. Operationally, standard troopships–often drafted from commercial shipping fleets–cannot land troops directly on shore, typically loading and unloading at a seaport or onto smaller vessels, either tenders or barges.
USNS Kingsport (T-AG-164) was built as SS Kingsport Victory, a United States Maritime Commission VC2-S-AP3 (Victory) type cargo ship. During the closing days of World War II the ship was operated by the American Hawaiian Steamship Company under an agreement with the War Shipping Administration. After a period of layup the ship was operated as USAT Kingsport Victory by the Army under bareboat charter effective 8 July 1948. When Army transports were transferred to the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Service the ship continued as USNS Kingsport Victory (T-AK-239), a cargo transport. On 14 November 1961, after conversion into the first satellite communication ship, the ship was renamed Kingsport, reclassified as a general auxiliary, and operated as USNS Kingsport (T-AG-164).
SS American Victory is a Victory ship which saw brief service in the Pacific Theater of Operations during the waning months of World War II, Korean War from 1951-1954, and Vietnam War from 1967-1969. Built in June 1945, she carried ammunition and other cargo from U.S. West Coast ports to Southeast Asia, then ferried cargo, equipment and troops back to the U.S. after the war ended. She survived two typhoons and one hurricane. She sailed around the world twice.
Technical research ships were used by the United States Navy during the 1960s to gather intelligence by monitoring, recording and analyzing wireless electronic communications of nations in various parts of the world. At the time these ships were active, the mission of the ships was covert and discussion of the true mission was prohibited. The mission of the ships was publicly given as conducting research into atmospheric and communications phenomena. However, the true mission was more or less an open secret and the ships were commonly referred to as "spy ships".
USNS Michelson (T-AGS-23) was a Bowditch class oceanographic survey ship of the United States Navy. Launched as the SS Joliet Victory in 1944, Maritime Commission hull number MCV 114, a type VC2-S-AP3 Victory ship, she was named after Albert Abraham Michelson. The ship was reactivated from the James River Maritime Administration Reserve Fleet on 8 February 1958, delivered to the Navy Department at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 8 August 1957 and converted to an AGS by the Charleston Naval Shipyard. USNS Michelson (AGS‑23) was placed in service on 15 December 1958 under the operational control of MSTS Atlantic.
The Type C4-class ship were the largest cargo ships built by the United States Maritime Commission (MARCOM) during World War II. The design was originally developed for the American-Hawaiian Lines in 1941, but in late 1941 the plans were taken over by the MARCOM.
SS Haiti Victory (T-AGM-238) was originally built and operated as Greenville class cargo Victory ship which operated as a cargo carrier in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean during World War II.
The SS Lindenwood Victory was a Victory-class cargo ship built during World War II. The Lindenwood Victory was a type VC2-S-AP2 victory ship built by Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard 2, of Richmond, California. The Maritime Administration cargo ship was the 766th ship built. Her keel was laid on May 12, 1945. SS Lindenwood Victory was an armed cargo ship She was built in just 70 days, under the Emergency Shipbuilding program for World War II. SS Lindenwood Victory was an armed cargo ship, named for Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, one of 150 educational institutions that had Victory ships named after them. The 10,600 ton ship was constructed for the Maritime Commission.
The SS Lincoln Victory was a Victory ship built during World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. She was built by the California Shipbuilding Company, launched on April 27, 1944 and completed on June 15, 1944. The ship’s United States Maritime Commission designation was VC2-S-AP3, hull number 13 (V13); she was initially operated by the Eastern SS Lines as a United States Merchant Marine ship.
SS Frontenac Victory was a Victory ship built for the United States War Shipping Administration late in World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. It saw service in the European Theater of Operations in the Atlantic Ocean during 1945, and in the immediate post-war period. SS Frontenac Victory was part of the series of Victory ships named after cities; this particular ship was named after the city of Frontenac, Missouri. It was a type VC2-S-AP2/WSAT cargo ship with the U.S. Maritime Commission (MARCOM), "Victory" (MCV) hull number 625, shipyard number 1597, and built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Baltimore, Maryland.
SS Hagerstown Victory was a Victory ship-based troop transport built for the U.S. Army Transportation Corps (USAT) late in World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. It saw service in the European Theater of Operations during 1945 and in the immediate post-war period repatriating U.S. troops. Hagerstown Victory was one of 97 cargo Victory ships converted to a troopship.
SS Rushville Victory was a Victory ship-based troop transport built for the US Army Transportation Corps (USAT) late in World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. It saw service in the European Theater of Operations in 1945, 1946 and in the immediate post-war period repatriating US troops.
SS New Bern Victory was a cargo Victory ship built during World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. The New Bern Victory (MCV-639) was a type VC2-S-AP2 Victory ship built by Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards. The Maritime Administration cargo ship was the 639 ship built. Her keel was laid on January 15, 1945. She was launched on March 8, 1945 and completed on March 31, 1945. The 10,600-ton ship was constructed for the Maritime Commission. The American Export Line and later the Isthmian Steamship Company operated her under the United States Merchant Marine act for the War Shipping Administration. Named for the city of New Bern, North Carolina.
SS Elmira Victory was a Victory ship built during World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. It was built and launched by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation on May 12, 1944 and completed on May 31, 1944. The ship's United States Maritime Commission designation was VC2-S-AP3 and hull number 105 (1021). The ship was Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation's 21st victory ship. The Maritime Commission turned it over for Merchant navy operation to a civilian contractor, the Isthmian Steamship Company under the United States Merchant Marine act for the War Shipping Administration. She was named after the city of Elmira, New York.
The SS Minot Victory was a Victory ship built during World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. It was laid down and launched by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation, and completed on February 1, 1945. The ship's United States Maritime Commission designation was VC2-S-AP3 and hull number 149 (1203). The Maritime Commission turned it over for merchant navy operation to a civilian contractor, the Isthmian Steamship Company under the United States Merchant Marine act for the War Shipping Administration. She was named after Minot, Maine and Minot, North Dakota.
The SS Bucknell Victory was a Victory-class cargo ship built during World War II. The Bucknell Victory was a type VC2-S-AP2 victory ship built by Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard 2, of Richmond, California. The Maritime Administration cargo ship was the 728th ship built. Her keel was laid on December 27, 1944. SS Bucknell Victory was an armed cargo ship, named for Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, one of 150 educational institutions that had Victory ships named after them. She was built in just 70 days, under the Emergency Shipbuilding program for World War II. The 10,600 ton ship was constructed for the Maritime Commission.
SS Georgetown Victory was a Victory ship built for the War Shipping Administration late in World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. She was a type VC2-S-AP2/WSAT cargo ship with the United States Maritime Commission (MCV) -"Victory"; hull number 653, shipyard number 1597 and built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Baltimore, Maryland, she was laid down on 8 March 1945. Georgetown Victory, named after Georgetown University, was launched from the Bethlehem-Fairfield shipyard at Baltimore on April 28, 1945 and completed on 22 May 1945.
SS Cuba Victory was built and operated as Victory ship class cargo ship which operated as a cargo carrier in World War 2, Korean War and Vietnam War.
The SS Saginaw Victory was a Victory ship built during World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. It was laid down and launched by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation, and completed on February 9, 1945. The ship's United States Maritime Commission designation was VC2-S-AP3 and hull number 152. The Maritime Commission turned it over for merchant navy operation to a civilian contractor, the Pacific-Atlantic SS Company under the United States Merchant Marine act for the War Shipping Administration. She was named after Saginaw, Michigan. Victory ships were designed to supersede the earlier Liberty ships. Unlike Liberty ships, Victory ships were designed to serve the US Navy after the war and to last longer. Compared to Liberty ships, Victory ships were faster, longer, wider, taller, and had a thinner stack which was set further forward on the superstructure. They also had a long, raised forecastle.
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