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USS Zaniah on 9 September 1944.
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Class:        BASILAN (AG-68)
Design:        MC EC2-S-C1
Displacement (tons):        5,371 light, 14,350 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        441.5' oa x 56.9' e x 23.0' lim.
Original Armament:        1-5"/38 4-40mmS 12-20mm
Later armaments:        1-5"/38 4-40mmS 9>4-20mm (AG 68-69, 1947)
Complement:        180 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        12.5
Propulsion (HP):        2,500
Machinery:        Albina vertical triple expansion, 1 screw

AG Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
68 BASILAN 21 Apr 44 Delta SB 5 Feb 44 21 Mar 44 10 Oct 44
69 BURIAS 24 Apr 44 Delta SB 11 Feb 44 27 Mar 44 9 Oct 44
70 ZANIAH 22 Dec 43 Todd Houston SB 29 Oct 43 12 Dec 43 2 Sep 44
71 BAHAM 31 Dec 43 St. John's River SB 10 Nov 43 21 Dec 43 18 Aug 44

AG Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
68 BASILAN 22 Apr 46 22 May 47 14 May 47 MC 9 Jun 72
69 BURIAS 9 Apr 46 17 Jul 47 15 Aug 47 MC 2 Nov 70
70 ZANIAH 29 Apr 46 22 May 47 14 May 47 MC 10 Jul 72
71 BAHAM 19 Jul 46 22 May 47 30 Jun 47 MC 9 Jun 72

Class Notes:
FY 1944. On 2 Dec 43 the Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Area, wrote that he had an urgent need for self-propelled special barracks and stores ships and requested the conversion of Liberty cargo vessels for this purpose. Subsequently a request was received for two distilling ships (AW) for use in advance areas. On 22 Feb 44 CNO informed CinCPOA that additional Liberty ships for this purpose were not available but that eleven of this type were then under conversion to add facilities to carry 1,000 troops on short hauls and suggested converting four of them (AK 118-121) instead to combination special stores-barracks ships with increased distilling capacity and potable water storage. CinCPOA concurred on 5 Mar 44. The Auxiliary Vessels Board considered the matter on 14 Mar 44, and in view of the conversion work load in ship repair yards and the reluctance of the Maritime Commission to assign additional Liberty cargo ships to the Navy for conversion and manning, it looked at this idea of using four Liberty ships now available to the Navy or on order and combining the barracks ship and distilling ship conversions to provide the facilities desired by CinCPOA in one ship.

The Board noted that in a report of 11 Jun 43 it had authorized the acquisition of 12 Liberty hulls for conversion to ARG 4-15 and that hulls had not yet been selected for two of these, ARG 12-13. In view of the more urgent need at this time for "combined barracks - stores - distilling ships," it recommended that the two hulls authorized as ARG 12-13, which would not be due for delivery until November 1944 and January 1945, be acquired in April 1944 from the MC for conversion to AG 68-69.

The Board then noted that on 30 Oct 43 it had authorized the conversion of 11 Liberty ships, AK 114-123 and 129, to include facilities for transporting about 1,000 troop passengers on short hauls. The Board recommended that two of these, AK-120 and AK-122, be converted instead to combined barracks - stores - distilling ships and be designated AG 70-71. These two ships were among ten whose acquisition as cargo ships had been recommended by the Board on 20 Sep 43.

The two AKs, which had been accepted from WSA under bareboat charter in December 1943 and had begun their AK/troopship conversions, were retained at their conversion yards for the more elaborate conversion to AG 70-71. AK-122 had embarked 1-3"/50 and 8-20mm in January 1944 and her armament as an AG was listed as 1-3"/50 4-40mmS 12-20mm until shortly after commissioning. AK-122 was converted at the Charleston Navy Yard, which became the lead yard and design agent for all four conversions; AK-120 was converted at Alabama D. D. Co. On 13 Mar 44 CNO asked the MC to provide two hulls from Delta SB at New Orleans instead of the two hulls (never selected) at Bethlehem-Fairfield, Baltimore, that were to be converted by Bethlehem's Key Highway yard to ARG 12-13. The Norfolk Navy Yard was notified on 27 Mar 44 of the definite cancellation of the conversion of ARG 12-13 at Baltimore, and the two Delta hulls were delivered incomplete to the Navy in April 1944 and converted to AG 68-69 at Mobile, Ala. by the Waterman S.S. Co. and Alabama D.D. Co. respectively.

Conversion features specified by CNO on 13 Mar 44 included facilities for 20 officers, 80 CPO's, and 700 other enlisted men in addition to the ship's company, two evaporators with a capacity of 20,000 gallons per day (half of the capacity originally desired), and total fresh water tank capacity of 1,000 tons. All remaining cargo spaces were to be fitted for stores and spares usually carried in repair ships and tenders. While the ships were enroute to the Western Pacific at the end of 1944 they were further upgraded to add some of the features then being installed in AG 73-78. These modifications to make them "electronics repair and staff maintenance ships" or "maintenance headquarters ships" included more extensive hull alterations and the addition of multiple types of radar and radio equipment. AG 70 and 71 were modified in November-December 1944 at Pearl Harbor while AG 68-69 were modified in January-March 1945, AG-68 at San Diego and AG-69 at Pearl Harbor.

Ship Notes:
AG Name MCE Notes
68 BASILAN 2460 Ex ARG-12 14 Mar 44. Ex merc. JACQUES PHILIPPE VILLERE. Delivered incomplete. Ferry commission 21-24 Apr 44. Converted by the Waterman S.S. Co. To buyer 26 Jun 72.
69 BURIAS 2458 Ex ARG-13 14 Mar 44. Ex merc. MOLLIE MOORE DAVIS. Delivered incomplete. Ferry commission 24-26 Apr 44. Converted by the Alabama D.D. Co. To buyer 17 Feb 71, scrapped by 30 Mar 71.
70 ZANIAH 2422 Ex AK-120 14 Mar 44. Ex merc. ANTHONY F. LUCAS. Ferry comm. as AK-120 22 Dec 43 to 29 Dec 43, taken to the Alabama D.D. Co. for addition of troop carrying facilites and then converted to AG-70. Merc ANTHONY F. LUCAS 1947 (MC). To buyer 8 Sep 72.
71 BAHAM 1217 Ex AK-122 14 Mar 44. Ex merc. ELIZABETH C. BELLAMY. Ferry comm. as AK-122 1 Jan 44 to 6 Jan 44, taken to the Charlestown Navy Yard for addition of troop carrying facilites and then converted to AG-71. Merc. ELIZABETH C. BELLAMY 1947 (MC). To buyer 22 Jun 72.

Page Notes:
AG        1944
Compiled:        07 Sep 2009
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2009