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USS Anacapa (AG-49) on 13 December 1945.
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Class: ANACAPA (AG-49)
Design: Cargo, 1919
Displacement (tons): 3,328 gross, 7420 lim.
Dimensions (feet): 335.25' oa x 49.8' x 20.4' lim.
Original Armament: 2-4"/50 2-3"/50SP (Aug. 1942, as Q-ship)
Later armaments: 2-3"/50DP 2-3"/50SP 5-20mm (Oct. 1943)
Complement: 75 (1944)
Speed (kts.): 8
Propulsion (HP): 1,600
Machinery: Pusey & Jones vertical triple expansion, 1 screw
||20 Jun 42
||New Jersey SB, Gloucester
||3 Jul 18
||15 Feb 19
||31 Aug 42
||21 Mar 46
||12 Apr 46
||12 Aug 46
||30 Jan 47
FY 1942. This ship was one of many requisitioned by USSB while under construction during World War I. Her building yard became part of the Pusey & Jones yard at Gloucester, N.J. Her design was numbered 1153 after World War I. She was modified between the wars as a lumber carrier, for which purpose she received four tall masts of equal height.
Following U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941 German submarines began to inflict serious damage on the U.S. merchant marine along the Atlantic seacoast. Somewhat in desperation the American government decided to try the use of submarine decoy ships or "Q-ships." The idea of using "Q-ships" during World War II reportedly originated with President Franklin D. Roosevelt during a meeting with the Navy leadership on 19 Jan 42. "Q-ships" appeared to be innocent merchant vessels but carried a heavy concealed gun battery with which they would engage an attacking submarine. The Navy ultimately deployed as "Q-ships" USS ATIK ("AK-101"), ASTERION ("AK-100," later AK-63), EAGLE (AM-132), IRENE FORSYTE (IX-93) and BIG HORN (AO-45) in the Atlantic and ANACAPA (AG-49) in the Pacific. Priority was given to the first two of these; for their history see USS ASTERION (AK-63). On 3 Jun 42 the VCNO informed the Auxiliary Vessels Board in a secret letter that CominCh desired to acquire the lumber schooner COOS BAY "for urgent naval use," and the Board concurred on 6 Jun 42. This ship had been acquired from the Coos Bay Lumber Co. by WSA on 14 Apr 42 and was being operated under a General Agency Agreement. The Navy purchased her on 20 Jun 42 for service as a submarine decoy ship (Q-ship), and after conversion at the Destroyer Base, San Diego, she operated as such off the west coast of North America from August 1942 to October 1943. On 1 October 1943 CominCh reassigned her to Service Forces, Pacific, for use an interisland cargo ship in the Central Pacific and in Alaska. At this time her armament was modified, with two 3"/50DP replacing the two 4"/50 guns
On 13 Mar 45 the ship requested alterations in her ordnance consisting of the transfer of one 3"/50DP gun from the boat deck amidships to the forecastle deck and removal from the ship of two 3"/50SP (Mk.3) guns located in the sleeping quarters under the forecastle deck. "Those guns were installed when this ship was on special duty and now must be considered obsolete." They fired between 010 and 085 degrees to starboard and between 275 and 350 degrees to port through droppable flaps on either bow measuring 17 x 3 feet in four overlapping sections. This arrangement was acceptable--indeed advantageous--in tropical weather, but in the Aleutian climate where the ship now operated the temperature in these sleeping quarters fell below 50 degrees during May 1945 and was accompanied by high relative humidity, with the result that the crew was showing susceptibility to upper respiratory infections in addition to experiencing discomfort. The change was finally authorized by CNO on 7 Aug 45 but was then disapproved on 14 Sep 45 because of the end of the war.
||Ex merc. COOS BAY, originally CASTLETOWN (ID-3997, completed 9 Jun 19). Converted to Q-ship at the Destroyer Base, San Diego. Merc. COOS BAY 1946, renamed GEORGE OLSON 14 Apr 47, converted to a barge 22 May 63, total loss Feb 64.
Compiled: 07 Sep 2009
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2009