Quick Links Menu.

USS Housatonic (AO-35) on 26 May 1942
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        CHICOPEE (AO-34)
Design        Tanker, 1941
Displacement (tons):        5,375 light, 22,325 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        520.0 oa, 500.0 wl x 68.0' e x 30.75' lim.
Original Armament:        1-4"/50 2-3"/50 (1942)
Later armaments:        1-4"/50 4-3"/50 12-20mm (1942); 1-4"/50 4-3"/50 2-40mmT 12-20mm (1943: AO-35);
1-5"/38 4-3"/50 2-40mmT 12-20mm (1944); 1-5"/38 4-3"/50 4-40mmT 8-20mm (1944)
Complement        202 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        17
Propulsion (HP):        9,000
Machinery:        1 screw, G.E. turbine

AO Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
34 CHICOPEE 1 Jan 42 Sun SB & DD 14 May 41 6 Sep 41 9 Feb 42
35 HOUSATONIC 9 Jan 42 Sun SB & DD 2 Apr 41 2 Aug 41 19 Feb 42

AO Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
34 CHICOPEE 14 Feb 46 26 Feb 46 1 Jul 46 MC/D 22 Oct 47
35 HOUSATONIC 11 Mar 46 28 Mar 46 22 Oct 46 MC/D 14 Oct 47

Class Notes:
FY 1942. In 1941 the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. began construction of what became a series of eleven single-screw tankers to a new design that featured a waterline length shorter than its immediate predecessor (500 instead of 521 feet) and a slightly more powerful propulsion plant (9,900 hp instead of 9,020 hp). The Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey had bought four of the six ships of the earlier class (one of which, ESSO COLUMBIA, was completed as USS ATASCOSA, AO-66) and ended up buying the first two ships of the new class, ESSO ALBANY and ESSO TRENTON, and the last two, ESSO NEW ORLEANS and ESSO RALEIGH. The new design proved to be extremely successful -- although designed for a service speed of 15.5 knots, ESSO ALBANY reached a speed of 17.03 knots on trials at about 85 percent of the rated capacity of her turbine machinery.

On 23 December 1941 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended the immediate acquisition of five tankers of the 16.5 to 17 knot (T2) type recently constructed by the Maritime Commission to replace the four AO-22 class type tankers that the President and Secretary of the Navy had just ordered converted to auxiliary aircraft carriers. The Board noted that a fifth ship was necessary because the T2 type ships were slower than the 18-knot T3 type vessels they were replacing. The Board was informed that 11 vessels of the T2 type had been completed and were operating. Of the five ships ultimately selected (AO 34-38), the first two were not from the Maritime Commission's T2-tanker building program at all but were ships with very similar specifications that had just been completed privately for Standard Oil of New Jersey. For the specifications of the standard type of T2 tanker mass produced by the MC during the war see the SUAMICO (AO-49) class. ESSO ALBANY carried out three coastal voyages for Standard Oil before the Navy took her over while ESSO TRENTON was taken over immediately following completion. Both reverted promptly to the company following the war and saw long commercial service.

Ship Notes:
AO Name Notes
34 CHICOPEE Ex merc. ESSO TRENTON (completed Dec 41). Converted by Cramp SB 4 Jan 42 to 14 Feb 42. Merc. ESSO TRENTON (MC) 1946, ESSO CHATTANOOGA 1947, SAN FRANCISCO 1962 and converted to container ship with new enlarged midbody, scrapped 1978 and midbody used in new SEA-LAND ADVENTURER.
35 HOUSATONIC Ex merc. ESSO ALBANY (completed 21 Nov 41). Conversion by Cramp SB completed 21 Feb 42. Merc. ESSO ALBANY (MC) 1946, ESSO BETHLEHEM 1947, LOS ANGELES 1962 and converted to container ship with new enlarged midbody, scrapped 1978 and midbody used in new SEA-LAND PIONEER.

Page Notes:
AO        1942
Compiled:        24 Jul 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010