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USS Indus (AKN-1) circa February 1944.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        INDUS (AKN-1)
Design:        MC EC2-S-C1
Displacement (tons):        4,023 light, 14,550 lim
Dimensions (feet):        441.5' oa, 416.0' wl/pp x 56.9' e x 28.3' lim
Original Armament:        1-5"/38 1-3"/50 12-20mm
Later armaments:        1-5"/38 4-40mmS 10-20mm (AKN-2, 1945)
1-5"/38 4-40mmT 8-20mm (AKN-3, 1946)
Complement:        --
Speed (kts.):        12.5
Propulsion (HP):        2,500
Machinery:        Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw

AKN Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
1 INDUS 5 Nov 43 Bethlehem-Fairfield SYs 4 Oct 43 29 Oct 43 15 Feb 44
2 SAGITTARIUS 8 Dec 43 Bethlehem-Fairfield SYs 8 Nov 43 30 Nov 43 18 Mar 44
3 TUSCANA 8 Jan 44 Bethlehem-Fairfield SYs 5 Dec 43 29 Dec 43 28 Mar 44

AKN Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
1 INDUS 20 May 46 5 Jun 46 23 May 46 MC/R 24 Mar 67
2 SAGITTARIUS 16 Jan 46 7 Feb 46 19 Jan 46 MC/R 12 Sep 72
3 TUSCANA 28 Jan 46 25 Feb 46 29 Jan 46 MC/R 24 Mar 67

Class Notes:
FY 1944. In July 1943 three offices within the OpNav staff wrote about an urgent need for Net Cargo Ships (AKN) in Pacific operations, to transport and install net defenses in harbors at advanced bases before they were occupied by important fleet units. In response the Auxiliary Vessels Board noted that Liberty (EC-2) ships were the type most suited for this purpose, that three of them were required, and that when not engaged in net related work they could be used to carry other types of cargo. On 3 Aug 43 the Board therefore recommended the acquisition of three EC-2s for used as AKNs.

On 20 Aug 43 the VCNO provided BuShips with a description of the desired conversions. The primary functions of the ships were to transport nets to the scene of operations, to assemble net panels (which measured 73' x 40') on deck and to launch them, to dress net tenders (YNs) with moorings, and generally to fulfill the functions of a net depot at an advanced base. Their secondary function was, when not engaged in the installation of specific net defenses, to transport supplies for the maintenance of existing installations and for the equipage of net tenders. The conversions were to be very similar to standard Navy cargo ship (AK) conversions except that clear spaces were to be reserved on the weather deck forward of the bridge, one to starboard and one to port, for assembling net sections and floats. These spaces would measure about 140 by 15 feet. A working space was also to be provided in the 'tween deck and fitted with work benches, welding equipment, stowage for net tools, shackles, and other net equipment. Additional searchlights and cargo lights were to be fitted to support night operations, and two 38-foot buoy boats were to be carried.

The history of AKN-2 written by the ship provides some more insights into the conversions. Extra heavy gear on deck (booms and winches), cleared foredecks, cutaway bulwarks, and built-up hatches made the AKN an efficient net layer. She could carry baled net, buoys, jackstays, clips, shackles, etc., and on her broad decks assemble and launch a complete net line. Working with net layers (ANs, ex YNs), an AKN provided complete facilities for a finished job.

The conversion yard for all three ships was a few hundred yards up the Patapsco River from their construction yard. After conversion the three ships completed fitting out at the Norfolk Navy Yard.

In May 1945 an internal OpNav memorandum noted that the then-current Basic Post War Plan called for retaining two of these ships in the active postwar fleet. The memorandum recommended instead converting two of the larger and faster Victory (VC-2) ships for this purpose. It is possible that this requirement ultimately led to the conversion of LSV-6 to AKN-6 in late 1945. See the MONITOR (LSV 5-6, 3-4) class for further details on this conversion.

Ship Notes:
AKN Name MCE Notes
1 INDUS 1814 Ex merc. THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Delivered 93.2% complete. Converted by Maryland DD, Baltimore, Md. To NDRF 1946 as merc. THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Repaired while inactive 8 Nov 54 - 17 Jan 55. To buyer 26 Apr 67, scrapped by 7 Nov 67.
2 SAGITTARIUS 1835 Ex merc. J. FRED ESSARY. Delivered 93% complete. Converted by Maryland DD, Baltimore, Md. To NDRF 1946 as merc. J. FRED ESSARY. Repaired while inactive 10 Jan 55 - 16 Mar 55. To buyer 4 Oct 72.
3 TUSCANA 2406 Ex merc. WILLIAM R. COX. Delivered 94.5% complete. Converted by Maryland DD, Baltimore, Md. To NDRF 1946 as merc. WILLIAM R. COX. Repaired while inactive 14 Mar 55 - 6 Jun 55. To buyer 18 Apr 67, scrapped by 7 Dec 67.

Page Notes:
AKN        1943
Compiled:        24 Aug 2008
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2008