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USS Hyades (AF-28) in September 1949.
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Class: HYADES (AF-28)
6,313 light, 15,300 lim.
468.7' oa, 445.0' pp x 63.0' e x 28.0' lim.
1-5"/38 4-3"/50 12-20mm (1944: both)
Later armaments: 1-5"/38 4-3"/50
6<7-20mm (1946-47: both); 1-5"/38 4-3"/50 4<10-20mmT (1947-55: both); 1-5"/38 4-3"/50 (1958-59: AF-28);
(1957-61: both); 2-3/50
G.E. turbine, 1 screw
||30 Sep 43
||10 Dec 42
||12 Jun 43
||1 Aug 44
||19 Feb 44
||17 Jun 43
||22 Dec 43
||28 Oct 44
||31 Dec 68
||1 Oct 76
||1 Sep 71
||13 Oct 83
||19 Dec 69
||19 Dec 69
||15 Mar 74
||15 Mar 74
FY 1944. The C2-S-E1 was a privately designed variant of the C2 developed by the Waterman Steamship Co. It was somewhat longer than the standard C2 (468.75 vice 459 feet) and had numerous minor differences in appearance. Thirty of these ships were built, all at the Gulf Shipbuilding yard at Chickasaw, Ala., which Waterman had bought and re-opened in 1940. Six of these ships served in the Navy, including four APA's of the APA-52 class and two AF's of the AF-28 class.
On 2 Nov 42 the Navy asked the Maritime Commission for three fully-refrigerated C2s, MC hulls 183-185, then under construction at the Moore Drydock Co. On 18 Feb 43 the Navy accepted the substitution of OCTANS (AF-26) and PICTOR (AF-27) for two of these, leaving a requirement on the books for one new C2. (See OCTANS, AF-26, for full details on these actions).
On 14 May 43 the Navy resumed its effort to acquire a new C2 reefer, informing the Maritime Commission that it needed ships that could deliver provisions directly to fleet units rather than just servicing shore bases. The Navy letter stated that that the OCTANS and PICTOR and other similar ships were not suitable for economical conversion to Fleet issuing ships due to age, condition, and general arrangement features, and that the addition of these two vessels to the fleet had not relieved COMSERVPAC of the problem of supplying provisions direct to fighting units. On 3 Jun 43 VCNO directed the acquisition of FLYING SCUD (MC hull 188), but at the same time he directed the Bureau of Ships to carefully examine how much insulation had been installed in the ship because the Navy was aware that the Moore C2s were being constructed to carry frozen beef in bulk and would not be suitable to carry balanced rations, as required of naval AFs, without considerable conversion of their refrigerated holds. The Maritime Commission offered to substitute a modified C2-S-E1 dry cargo vessel under construction at Gulf SB Corp., Chickasaw, Alabama, and on 7 Jul 43 VCNO cancelled the acquisition of FLYING SCUD. (This ship was acquired in 1961 as AF-61.) On 16 Jul 43 the Auxiliary Vessels Board agreed that the Gulf ship (MC hull 481) was more suitable to help meet the need for service facilities in the South Pacific and recommended the Navy acquire the ship.
In the meantime, CNO on 12 Jun 43 had directed the acquisition of another AF of suitable characteristics for assignment to the Service Force, Atlantic Fleet. VCNO briefly considered the "banana boat" DARIEN, but the Auxiliary Vessels Board concluded that the Gulf ships would be suitable for this purpose also and recommended the acquisition of a second one, MC hull 485, for Atlantic duty. Both were to be fitted as "Provision Stores Ships (for Fleet Issue)." They were completed as merchant ships and then sent to a conversion yard in Baltimore, being put in commission for the ferry trip and decommissioned on arrival. They may have carried merchant ship armaments (1-5" and 2-3") on their ferry voyages.
The few modern C2s acquired by the Navy during the war turned out to be of great utility as store ships in the postwar Navy, and, with ALDEBARAN (AF-10), both HYADES and GRAFFIAS remained in commission continuously until decommissioned in the late 1960s.
||Ex merc. IBERVILLE. Delivered incomplete. Ferry commission 30 Sep-14 Oct 43. Converted by Bethlehem Steel, Key Highway, Baltimore, Md. To NDRF 18 Mar 69, to buyer 17 Jan 84.
||Ex merc. TOPA TOPA. Delivered incomplete. Ferry commission 19 Feb-2 Mar 44. Converted by Bethlehem Steel, Key Highway, Baltimore, Md. To NDRF 20 May 70, to buyer 14 May 74.
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2001