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USS Catoctin (AGC-5) on 5 February 1944.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        APPALACHIAN (AGC-1)
Design:        MC C2-S-B1
Displacement (tons):        7,431 light, 12,800 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        459.25' oa, 435.0' pp x 63.0' e x 24.0' lim.
Original Armament:        2-5"/38 2-40mmT 18-20mm (1943-44: all)
Later armaments:        2-5"/38 2-40mmT 4-40mm 14-20mm (1944: AGC-5);
2-5"/38 4-40mmT 14<18-20mm (1944-46: AGC 1-3); 2-5"/38 4-40mmT 8-20mm (1946-47: AGC-1); 2-5"/38 4-40mmT 6<10-20mmT (1946-47: AGC-2, 5)
Complement:        
544 (1944)
Speed (kts):        16.4
Propulsion (HP):        6,000
Machinery:        G.E. turbine (De Laval in AGC-3), 1 screw

Construction:

AGC Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
1 APPALACHIAN 27 Feb 43 Federal SB & DD, Kearny 4 Nov 42 29 Jan 43 2 Oct 43
2 BLUE RIDGE 15 Mar 43 Federal SB & DD, Kearny 4 Dec 42 7 Mar 43 27 Sep 43
3 ROCKY MOUNT 15 Mar 43 Federal SB & DD, Kearny 4 Dec 42 7 Mar 43 15 Oct 43
5 CATOCTIN 31 Aug 43 Moore DD, Oakland 14 Nov 42 23 Jan 43 24 Jan 44

Disposition:

AGC Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
1 APPALACHIAN 14 May 47 1 Mar 59 30 Dec 59 MA/S 10 Dec 59
2 BLUE RIDGE 14 Mar 47 1 Jan 60 26 Aug 60 MA/S 18 Aug 60
3 ROCKY MOUNT 22 Mar 47 1 Jul 60 30 Jun 60 MA/T 1 Mar 73
5 CATOCTIN 26 Feb 47 1 Mar 59 30 Dec 59 MA/S 10 Dec 59

Class Notes:

FY 1943 (AGC 1-3), 1944 (AGC-5). These ships were all of the type designated C2-S-B1 by the MC, although CATOCTIN, from a different builder, was listed as 1" shorter (459.2'). In a memo of 28 Jul 42 the Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet (CominCh) stated that there was an urgent need to acquire three vessels for conversion to "Combined Operation and Communication Headquarters Ships Administrative Flagships (APF)," similar to the type employed by the British in conducting amphibious landing operations. The official type designation AGC was quickly assigned, and by June 1944 the nomenclature for the type, which had always been considered part of the amphibious forces, had changed from Combined Operations and Communications Headquarters Ships to Amphibious Force Flagships. On 19 Sep 42 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended that three C2 hulls be acquired to satisfy this requirement. In the same report the Board recommended acquisition of 6 AKAs (15-20) and 24 APAs (33-56). The allocation of hulls between the different types changed several times--at one time MC hulls 200-202, building at Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., were to have been AKA 16-18, but in December 1942 they were redesignated for conversion to AGC 1-3 and MC hulls 205-207 replaced them as AKAs. The complete design for the conversion not yet being available, the Navy and the MC agreed in mid-December that the three ships would be turned over to the Navy in unfinished condition and that the Navy would arrange for their ultimate conversion. Federal was to deliver the hulls structurally complete up to the level of the main deck with some additional watertight bulkheads and flats and two pairs of kingposts shown on plans provided by the Navy. The superstructure originally contemplated for the cargo ship (AK) conversions of these ships would be installed with the exception of the pilot house, but no work on the superstructure other than the installation of the structure itself would be done. If the Navy could get the necessary structural arrangement plans to Federal in sufficient time, the yard would install in whole or in part the additional deck houses and superstructure for the final conversions. The main propulsion engineering spaces would be essentially complete, though no dock trials would be run, and provision would be made for an additional turbo generator in the engine room. All lighting and wiring would be omitted except in the engineering spaces, and ship control equipment would not be installed but would be delivered with the ship. The builder estimated that the ships could be delivered in this condition in February and March 1943. BuShips, which was then working on the contract plans and specifications, assigned the tasks of drawing up the working plans and acting as design agent for the conversions to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the yard's work on plans for the lower priority AP-74 reconstruction to be delayed as necessary. The incomplete ships were delivered at around the time estimated by Federal and taken to repair yards in the New York area for conversion.

On 9 Aug 43 Commander Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, forwarded to VCNO recommended changes in the layout of these ships based on combat use of ANCON (AGC-4). On 12 Aug 43 VCNO relayed these to BuShips, stating that they would eventually be approved in whole or in part and directing the Bureau to examine them. These included replacing the two 5"/38 guns with two 40mm quad mounts, relocating the radar plotting facilities, and rearranging the flag bridge area. BuShips responded on 21 Aug 43 that none of the major items on the list could be undertaken without considerable delay in the delivery of AGC 1-3 and that the ships would be completed on Philadelphia's existing plans except for 13 minor changes that would be accomplished on a not to delay basis. VCNO responded on 31 Aug 43 by approving all of the changes recommended on 9 Aug 43 except the changes to the armament but then stating that only those changes which could be completed during the present conversion period on a not to delay basis would actually be undertaken. The approved items were authorized for accomplishment later as the vessels became available. They were also to be incorporated into plans for AGC-5, which were to be expedited. On 13 Sep 43 BuShips reported that it had been possible to work into the conversions 12 more items, including the addition of ten 20mm guns to the original eight, renaming the radar plotting facilities "Combat Information Center," and providing interior communications from CIC to other key spaces.

AGC-5: On 3 Jul 43 CominCh directed the acquisition of one more vessel suitable for conversion to an AGC, similar to AGC 1-3 with such modifications as experience had proved necessary, for completion in the first quarter of 1944. On 15 July the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) asked the Maritime Commission for the first available hull then building at the Moore Drydock Co., MC hull 291 (SS TITAN). On 16 Jul 43 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended the acquisition of TITAN or a similar hull as AGC-5. On 17 Jul 43 VCNO, acting on CominCh's directive, authorized the acquisition of TITAN, and on 30 Jul 43, the name CATOCTIN was assigned to her. Due to the advanced stage of construction of TITAN which rendered alterations uneconomical and would have delayed the ship's conversion, MC hull 295 (SS MARY WHITRIDGE) was substituted on 31 Jul 43 and the Navy name and number were reassigned to this hull on 6 Aug 43. Initially the conversion was to have been done by Todd-Erie Basin Yard, Brooklyn, with the Philadelphia Navy Yard as design agent, but in mid-August it was decided to have Philadelphia do the conversion. CATOCTIN was placed in full commission on 31 Aug 43 for the ferry voyage from Oakland, Calif. to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. For this voyage she was to have carried enough cargo to properly ballast the ship and might have been given a temporary merchant ship armament (preferably 1-5", 2-3", and 2-20mm). She was placed out of commission at Philadelphia on 11 Oct 43 for conversion. On 31 Aug 43 VCNO directed that the changes recommended based on experience with ANCON (AGC-4) be incorporated into her conversion, and on 3 Nov 43 BuShips advised Philadelphia that changes based on the material inspection and trials of AGC-2 were also to be incorporated. Subsequently it was decided to give her additional flag facilities to serve as a Task Force Headquarters Ship. In the next group of AGC's to be converted, AGC 7-14, the same configuration was applied to AGC 7-9 while the other five were modified for use as Task Group flagships.

Ship Notes:
AGC Name MC# Notes
1 APPALACHIAN 200 Delivered 27 Feb 43 84.4% complete. Converted by Todd Erie Basin DD, Brooklyn, N.Y. In USN reserve 1946-59. To buyer 30 Dec 59, scrapped by 2 Aug 60.
2 BLUE RIDGE 201 Delivered 15 Mar 43 80.9% complete. Converted by Bethlehem 56th St., Brooklyn, N.Y. In USN reserve 1946-60 (in service in reserve at San Diego 1955-60). To buyer 26 Aug 60, scrapped by 14 Jul 61.
3 ROCKY MOUNT 202 Originally listed as ROCKY MT. Delivered 15 Mar 43 83.1% complete. Converted by Bethlehem Steel, Hoboken, N.J. In USN reserve 1946-60. To NDRF 15 Jan 60. To buyer 28 Mar 73.
5 CATOCTIN 295 Ex merc. MARY WHITRIDGE. Ferry commission 31 Aug-11 Oct 43. Converted by NYd Philadelphia. In USN reserve 1946-59 (in service in reserve at Norfolk 1947-50 and Philadelphia 1950-59). To buyer 30 Dec 59, scrapped by 27 Sep 61.

Page Notes:
AGC        1943
Compiled:        31-Dec-2001
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2001