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USS Oberon (AKA-14) on 7 February 1944
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        LIBRA (AKA-12)
Design:        MC C2-F (Federal)
Displacement (tons):        6,973 light, 14,225 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        459.2' oa, 435.0' pp x 63.0' e x 26.4' lim.
Original Armament:        1-5"/51 4-3"/50 8-20mm (1942: all)
Later armaments:        1-5"/51 4-3"/50 12<18-20mm (1942-43: all);
1-5"/38 4-3"/50 16<18-20mm (1944:AKA 13-14); 1-5"/38 4-3"/50 2-40mmS 16>8-20mm (1944-47: AKA-13); 1-5"/38 4-3"/50 14-20mmT (1952-55: AKA-13);
1-5"/38 2-40mmT 18>10-20mm (1944-47: AKA-14);
1-5"/38 3-40mmT 8-20mm (1947-48: AKA-14);
1-5"/38 4-40mmT 18-20mm (1944: AKA-12); 1-5"/38 4-40mmT 8<14-20mmT (1946-57: AKA-12, 14)
Complement:        340 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        16.5
Propulsion (HP):        6,000
Machinery:        G.E. turbine, 1 screw

Construction:
AKA Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
12 LIBRA 30 Dec 41 Federal SB & DD, Kearny 5 Jun 41 12 Nov 41 13 May 42
13 TITANIA 27 May 42 Federal SB & DD, Kearny 25 Oct 41 28 Feb 42 27 May 42
14 OBERON 15 Jun 42 Federal SB & DD, Kearny 17 Nov 41 18 Mar 42 15 Jun 42

Disposition:
AKA Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
12 LIBRA 6 Oct 55 1 Jan 77 31 Jul 64 MA/T 27 Sep 84
13 TITANIA 19 Jul 55 1 Jul 61 1 Oct 62 MA/T 23 May 74
14 OBERON 27 Jun 55 1 Jul 60 30 Jun 60 MA/T 3 Dec 70

Class Notes:
FY 1942. On 30 Dec 41 the Auxiliary Vessels Board took under consideration a verbal directive from the Secretary of the Navy to acquire nine vessels for use as combat loaded transports (APA 22-30) and three C2's as auxiliaries for combat loaded transport divisions (AK53-55). The board recommended that any three C2's that could be made available on completion of their present voyages be acquired, but the Maritime Commission instead made available three C2-F type ships that were under construction. MC hull 130 was acquired almost immediately as AK-53, while on 29 Jan 42 CNO asked BuShips to acquire MC hulls 131-132 as AK 54-55. The acquisition of MC hull 131 as AK-54 was cancelled on 13 Feb 42, however, and MC hull 133 was substituted using a new hull number, AK-56. (A few days later POLLUX, a new C2 serving as AKS-2, was wrecked, and MC hull 131 was selected in March 1942 as AKS-4 to replace her.)

The Navy had a commercial repair yard convert LIBRA (AK-53) to a combat-loaded cargo ship after her delivery, and the MC amended its contract for TITANIA and OBERON (AK 55-56) to have the builder complete them with military features as part of the MC Military Program. All three ships were converted along the lines of BELLATRIX (AK-20) with two tall center kingposts with 40-ton booms for lifting tank lighters placed between pairs of regular kingposts fore and aft. Other conversion features as specified in January 1942 included a full armament; accommodations for a crew of 233 plus 150 embarked troops along with hammocks for 65 more men who were to handle the boats; and stowage and handling facilities for seven 45-ft. tank lighters, seven 36-ft. landing boats, and two 26-ft. motor whaleboats. AK-53, 55, and 56 became AKA 12-14 effective February 1943 when the hull designations for combat loaded transports (APA) and cargo ships (AKA) were created. AKA 12-14 and AKA 3-4 were the only AKA's in the postwar fleet that did not have the quadruped masts developed for the AKA-15 and later classes because their two triple sets of kingposts filled the same function, although they were considered to be of too heavy a design.

Ship Notes:
AKA Name MC# Notes
12 LIBRA 130 Ex merc. JEAN LYKES. Ex AK-53 1 Feb 43. Converted by Brewer DD, Staten Is., N.Y. In USN reserve 1947-50 and 1955-60. To NDRF 1 Jun 60, to MA 30 Jun 60, stk. 1 Jul 60. Reacq. from MA 23 Aug 62. In NDRF 10 Sep 63 to 1984. To LKA-12 1 Jan 69. To buyer 17 Apr 85.
13 TITANIA 132 Ex merc. HARRY CULBREATH. Ex AK-55 1 Feb 43. Converted by builder. Served in MSTS as a commissioned naval vessel from 1 Oct 49 to 5 Jun 53. In USN reserve 1955-60. To NDRF 25 May 60, to buyer 10 Jul 74.
14 OBERON 133 Ex merc. DELALBA. Ex AK-56 1 Feb 43. Converted by builder. Served in MSTS as a commissioned naval vessel from 1 Oct 49 to 1955. In USN reserve 1955-60. To NDRF 2 Mar 60, to buyer 28 Dec 70.

Page Notes:
AKA        1941
Compiled:        26-Mar-2006
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2006