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USS Arctic (AF-7) in March 1922
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        ARCTIC (AF-7)
Design        EFC 1015
Displacement (tons):        4,997 light, 12,600 full
Dimensions (feet):        416.5' oa, 402.5' pp x 53.0' wl x 26.4' full
Original Armament:        None installed (1921)
Later armaments:        2-3"/50 (Feb 1940: AF-9);
2-5"/51 4-3"/23 (Sep 41: AF-7);
2-5"/51 4-3"/50 0<8-20mm (Sep 40: AF-8, Oct 40: AF-9, Nov 41: AF-7);
1-5"/51 4-3"/50 8-20mm (1942: all);
1-5"/38 4-3"/50 8-20mm (1945: AF-9)
Complement:        210 (1929: AF-7)
Speed (kts.):        11
Propulsion (HP):        2,800
Machinery:        Parsons geared turbine (Curtis in AF-8), 1 screw

AF Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
7 ARCTIC 4 Nov 21 Moore DD, Oakland 18 Mar 18 4 Jul 18 7 Nov 21
8 BOREAS 6 Dec 21 Moore DD, Oakland 19 Mar 18 4 Jul 18 25 Mar 41
9 YUKON 14 Nov 21 Moore DD, Oakland 13 Dec 18 7 Jun 19 6 Dec 21

AF Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
7 ARCTIC 3 Apr 46 1 May 46 3 Jul 46 MC/D 25 Jul 47
8 BOREAS 15 Feb 46 28 Mar 46 18 Jul 46 MC/D 25 Jul 47
9 YUKON 18 Mar 46 17 Apr 46 1 Jul 46 MC/D 25 Jul 47

Class Notes:
On 2 Jun 20 CNO's Plans Division reported that CULGOA, CELTIC, and GLACIER were each approximately thirty years old and that there was at present a bill before Congress authorizing the sale of certain ships by the Shipping Board, and recommended that three of the refrigerator ships on this list be purchased to replace the worn out Navy vessels. Of particular interest were six long radius oil burners, all of which were of the Emergency Fleet Corporation's Design 1015 and which included S.S. YAMHILL, YAQUINA, and MEHANNO. CNO asked the Plans Division to see if these ships could be transferred to the Navy without cost, and in response the Navy's lawyers determined that ships could be acquired from the Shipping Board by Presidential Executive Order. By 17 Oct 21 negotiations between the Navy and the Shipping Board had reached the stage at which 27 specific hulls (12 tankers, 3 refrigerating ships, 11 cargo ships, and one passenger & cargo ship) had been selected to replace an equivalent number of worn out Naval auxiliaries. On 29 Oct 21 Executive Order No. 3570 authorized the transfers. SecNav on 2 Nov 21 assigned new Navy names to 17 of the ships including YAMHILL, YAQUINA, and MEHANNO, which became ARCTIC, BOREAS, and YUKON. All three ships were inoperative and available without delay, the first two at Jamaica Bay, N.Y. and MEHANNO at Hog Island, Pa.

On 2 Nov 21 CNO directed the 3rd Naval District to have ARCTIC replace CULGOA, which would transfer to ARCTIC the personnel and material necessary to put that ship in commission. ARCTIC had no significant defects and needed only to have adequate living spaces, galley and bake shop equipment and heads and washrooms for the larger Navy crew installed along with a supply office in a new wooden house on the boat deck. ARCTIC completed work at the New York Navy Yard in mid-January. CNO on 2 Nov 21 also informed the 3rd Naval District that BOREAS was to be placed in commission at New York and would ultimately relieve CELTIC, then at Guam. In BOREAS the engines, boilers, and generating plant, which had not been laid up properly, needed significant work. When ready BOREAS was to proceed to relieve CELTIC with minimum crew and with equipment reduced to bare necessities for the voyage. As of 8 Dec 21 the tentative date of completion of BOREAS at the New York Navy Yard was 1 May 22. Finally CNO on 2 Nov 21 directed the Commandant, 4th Naval District, to place YUKON in commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and have her proceed to the Pacific as the relief for GLACIER. She was to proceed to Mare Island with a minimum crew and with equipment reduced to bare necessities for the voyage. By 8 Dec 21 the plans for YUKON had changed, and the cargo ship QUINCY had been designated to receive personnel, material, and equipment from GLACIER at Mare Island and sail for Philadelphia where she would place YUKON in commission before herself being relieved there by REGULUS. YUKON's scheduled completion date was 1 Feb 22. In the meantime, however, the Navy had found that postwar force reductions had dramatically reduced its requirements and funding for auxiliary vessels, and YUKON was decommissioned at Philadelphia after only four months of service and BOREAS was put directly into reserve without being commissioned. For much of the interwar period the Navy's supply ship duties were shared between ARCTIC with the Battle Fleet in the Pacific and BRIDGE with the Scouting Fleet in the Atlantic. The authorized armament of 2-5"/51 and 4-3"/50 guns was maintained in storage at navy yards for all three ships but not installed on any of them.

As part of the naval buildup at the end of the 1930s, SecNav on 17 Oct 39 directed the recommissioning of YUKON, and steps were soon also taken to commission BOREAS. YUKON received few alterations and generally resembled ARCTIC after activation, but BOREAS underwent a major refurbishment similar to the one given DENEBOLA (AD-12) at about the same time and emerged with an enlarged superstructure and her full authorized armament installed. According to the commanding officer of BOREAS on 29 Apr 42, "although ARCTIC and this vessel were originally sister ships and the hulls are alike … they are now laid out entirely differently." YUKON and ARCTIC also received their armaments, but in early 1942 YUKON requested the removal of her forward 5"/51 gun because it interfered with the vision from the pilot house. The change was approved for all three ships in April 1942. YUKON suffered war damage off Iceland in September 1944 and during her repairs became the only ship of the class to receive a modern 5"/38 gun.

Ship Notes:
AF Name EFC Notes
7 ARCTIC 146 Ex merc. YAMHILL (ID-3806, completed 7 Feb 19). To buyer 19 Aug 47, scrapped by 25 Feb 48.
8 BOREAS 147 Ex merc. YAQUINA (ID-3851, completed 13 Feb 19). Commissioned in ordinary 6 Aug 40, activated by Robins Dry Dock (Todd), Brooklyn, N.Y., full commission 25 Mar 41. To buyer 28 Nov 47, scrapped by 22 Sep 48.
9 YUKON 102 Ex merc. MEHANNO (ID-4496, completed ca. 21 Feb 20). Decomm. 14 Apr 22, recomm. 19 Jan 40. To buyer 29 Jul 47, scrapped by 3 Feb 49.

Page Notes:
AF        1921
Compiled:        28 Jul 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012