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USS Hamul (AD-20) in the early 1950s
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Class: HAMUL (AD-20)
MC C3-Cargo (Federal)
8,560 light, 14,800 lim.
492.0' oa, 465.0' pp x 69.75' e x 24.75' lim.
1-5"/51 4-3"/50 2-1.1"Q 8-20mm (1942)
Later armaments: 1-5"/38 4-3"/50 2-1.1"Q 8-20mm (1944); 1-5"/38 4-3"/50 8-20mm (1946-47); 1-5"/38 4-3"/50 2-40mmT 12>8-20mmT (1951-56); 1-5"/38 4-3"/50 (1957);
Machinery: DeLaval turbine, 1 screw
||5 Jun 41
||Federal SB & DD, Kearny
||9 Oct 39
||6 Apr 40
||15 Jun 41
||9 Jun 62
||1 Jul 63
||1 Jul 63
||16 Oct 75
FY 1941. Called C3-Cargo by MC. The Navy's war plans called for wartime requirements for auxiliaries to be handled by conversions of merchant ships rather than by new construction, and in the mid-1930s the Navy began to prepare plans for the conversion of ships to various auxiliary types in the event of national emergency. In January 1935 CNO selected the five ships of the CITY OF BALTIMORE (ID-3514) class for possible conversion to destroyer tenders (XAD) and asked the Bureau of Construction and Repair to prepare conversion plans. BuC&R circulated draft plans to other Bureaus on 8 Jul 36 and distributed final plans to the Naval Districts on 17 Nov 36. These plans were updated in March and April 1939 but the XAD conversions were postponed on 19 Nov 40 when the ships were acquired for conversion instead to combat loaded transports (AP-13 and APA-6 classes). On 3 Oct 36 BuC&R circulated to other Bureaus draft plans for another XAD conversion, this time for four large freighters of the J. L. LUCKENBACH (ID-4019) class. Final plans were distributed to the Naval Districts on 4 Mar 37 but no further action was taken on this project. These four ships had served during World War I as the naval transports SOUTH BEND, MARICA, SOL NAVIS, and EDELLYN.
In November 1938 the MC ordered the first six of its large and fast C3-type freighters from Federal, Kearny. The design, one of several designated C3-Cargo by the MC, may have been prepared by Gibbs and Cox, who also designed the privately-built HAWAIIAN MERCHANT class for the Matson Line (see AS-22) and the C3-S-A1 type for Todd (see the AD-26 and AV-14 classes). One of these, SEA PANTHER, was renamed DOCTOR LYKES before her completion on 10 May 40 and served as a merchant ship until her acquisition as AK-30 by the Navy on 5 Jun 41. Of her five sisters, one was lost in 1942, one became ANNE ARUNDEL (AP-76), and three became WSA or Army troop transports. Four similar ships were built by Moore Dry Dock, Oakland (see AV-8).
On 15 Jan 41 the Secretary of the Navy approved the acquisition of two destroyer tenders of the Maritime Commission C3 type but the Maritime Commission resisted supplying these and a list of other ships requested by the Navy. On 26 May the President intervened in the dispute and directed the Maritime Commission to turn over to the Navy 19 ships including 12 cargo ships of 15 knot speed. The President's directive added two ships to the ten AKs requested by the Navy, possibly to provide hulls for the two ADs. Nine of the units, AK 23-31 were to be turned over immediately, the other three eventually followed as AK 41-43.
HAMUL (AK-30) received an austere conversion at the Charleston Navy Yard in June 1941 including an armament of only 2-.50 cal. and 8-.30 cal. machine guns. 1-4"/50 was added in late March 1942. She, like MARKAB (AK-31), was assigned to serve as an AK attached to a combat loaded transport division. Alterations were limited, however, because on 14 Jul 41 the Auxiliary Vessels Board, noting that the MC still had not supplied the requested ADs, earmarked AK 30-31, both C3s, for eventual conversion to ADs. The Board's plan in July was for AK 30-31 to remain AKs until relieved by BELLATRIX and ELECTRA (AK 20-21), but on 5 Nov 41 it noted that the latter ships had been delayed and that the first of the two conversions would have to begin without waiting for them if both ADs were to be completed, as initially desired, by 1 Jul 42. The second conversion was to begin as soon as the first of the new AKs was available.
On 7 Oct 41 BuShips, then developing the conversion plans, noted that HAMUL was considerably smaller than DIXIE (AD-14), and while she was of the same length and beam as CASCADE (AD-16) her total internal volume would be much less than the latter because the number of decks and the extent of the superstructure would be less. HAMUL was modified to an AD following MARKAB by the Alabama DD & SB Co., Mobile, Ala., between 13 May 42 (when she was placed in commission in ordinary) and 7 Jan 43. The design agent for the conversion was George G. Sharp of New York. Structural changes included a new upper deck, new boat deck, new first and third platforms, new watertight bulkheads, and removal of some kingposts. The ship was placed in full commission as an AD on 18 Dec 42 and reported for duty on 4 Feb 43 after fitting out at the Norfolk Navy Yard. As in the case of MARKAB, the long delay in her completion (originally to have been 1 Sep 42) was attributed to multiple factors, including late delivery of materials due to inadequate priorities and insufficient supervision and a low percentage of skilled labor at the conversion yard, although HAMUL left the conversion yard in better shape than did MARKAB thanks to lessons learned from the earlier conversion.
||Ex merc. DOCTOR LYKES, ex SEA PANTHER (ID-5001B, completed 10 May 40). Converted to AK-30 at NYd Charleston (S.C.). To AD-20 2 Jun 42 and converted by Alabama DD & SB, Mobile, Ala. To NDRF 25 Sep 62, to buyer 2 Dec 75.
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2001