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USS Mettawee (AOG-17) circa September 1943
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Class: METTAWEE (AOG-17)
Design MC T1-M-A1
Displacement (tons): 769 light, 2,250 lim.
Dimensions (feet): 220.5' oa, 212.5' wl x 37.0' e x 13.0 lim.
Original Armament: 1-3"/50 6-20mm
Later armaments: --
Complement 60 (1944)
Speed (kts.): 10
Propulsion (HP): 800
Machinery: 1 screw, Fairbanks-Morse diesel
||5 Apr 43
||East Coast SYs
||13 Aug 42
||28 Nov 42
||26 Aug 43
||15 Apr 43
||East Coast SYs
||13 Aug 42
||28 Nov 42
||26 Aug 43
||29 Mar 46
||1 May 46
||10 Sep 46
||7 Jan 64
||27 Mar 46
||21 May 46
||1 Jul 46
||7 Feb 64
FY 1943. In 1941 the Maritime Commission developed a design for a small tanker for light petroleum products in response to a British request for assistance under the Lend-Lease program, and in November 1941 it ordered the first 16 vessels of this type, which it designated T1-M-A1. Orders for a second batch of 16 ships followed in March and May 1942. 26 of these 32 ships were completed to the T1-M-A1 design, and all of the A1's except for the two transferred to the Navy as AOG 17-18 were loaned to Britain under Lend-Lease as originally intended.
On 5 Oct 42 Commander Service Squadron South Pacific informed CinCPac that, until the situation at Guadalcanal and Tulagi permitted the construction of bulk storage, it would be necessary to transport large quantities of aviation gasoline and diesel and other fuels periodically from Espiritu Santo to Guadalcanal. In addition to more fuel barges he urgently requested one small tanker similar to AOG-12 and AOG-13 for use as a floating aviation gasoline depot. CinCPac relayed the request to CominCh who replied on 11 Oct 42 that he had directed OpNav to provide craft including WHIPSTOCK (YO-49) or equivalent. WHIPSTOCK was one of four large 235-foot, 10,000 gallon capacity self-propelled fuel oil barges that had recently been built for the Navy. CominCh added that the situation for all oil barges and tankers was very tight and asked for CinCPac's estimate of future needs for such vessels. CinCPac replied with a request that the number of AOG's assigned to him be increased from the current 3 (AOG 1-3 had already been promised by CominCh) to six. The Navy Department considered filling the requirement with three small tankers to be acquired from the MC and then decided to ask for six of the new T1-M-A1 tankers instead. In a 4 Nov 42 letter to the Munitions Allocations Board CominCh stated that planned operations in the South Pacific and Southwest Pacific urgently required a number of small tankers which were not obtainable from normal sources and that there were 28 tankers of the type desired being built by the MC under Lend-Lease for the United Kingdom. The MC classed these as T1-M-A1 coastal tankers with a capacity of 11,500 barrels. CominCh asked that six of these be allocated to the United States instead of to the UK, four to be delivered to the Navy as soon as possible and the remainder as early in 1943 as practicable. This letter was also provided to the Auxiliary Vessels Board, which on 7 Nov 42 concurred that six of these vessels were essential at this time and recommended that they be acquired, converted to provide for Navy crews, and fitted to permit the transportation or storage of both gasoline and diesel oil. The Board suggested MC hulls 571-72, 639-40, and 899-900 for acquisition, but hulls 571-72, under construction by the Lancaster Iron Works, Perryville, Md., and likely to be delayed, were soon replaced by hulls 901-902. SecNav asked the MC for the ships on 30 Dec 42, and on 25 Jan 43 VCNO informed BuShips and others involved that the MC had approved the request. He added that the vessels would be accepted without certain items of construction and equipment and transferred by the Navy to private yards for conversion.
Initially the Navy designated these six ships as gasoline barges (YOG 47-52), probably because they were comparable in size and configuration to the WHIPSTOCK type fuel oil barges (YO 46-49). On 18 Feb 43 Commander Service Force, Pacific Fleet wrote to the VCNO that the YOG designator indicated that these vessels would be fitted out for harbor or inshore services only, while their prospective operations included transportation of cargo to distant ports and operation from advanced bases. He requested that their designation be changed to AOG, that they be assigned names, and that they be provided an armament, equipment, and personnel consistent with the new designation. The ships were reclassified AOG 17-22 on 25 Mar 43.
AOG 17-18 were the first two of four ships (MC hulls 899-902) ordered on 19 May 42 from Marine Maintenance Corp., Bayonne, N.J., as part of the second batch of 16 T1-M-A1's ordered by the MC for the British. They were reordered on 18 Feb 43 from the same shipyard under its new name, East Coast Shipyards, Inc. The other ships in this contract, AOG 19-20 (MC hulls 901-2), were transferred to the MC Military Program on 9 Apr 43 for completion to the T1-M-A2 design, making hulls 899-900 the only A1's in the Navy and the only T1's not acquired by the Navy under the MC Military Program..
||Ex YOG-47 25 Mar 43, ex merc. CLEARWATER. Delivered to Navy incomplete (70%), completed and converted by Bethlehem Steel Co., Hoboken, N.J. (completed 9 Sep 43). Laid up as merc. CLEARWATER (MC) 1946. No bids when offered ca. 1947. Sold as METTAWEE, to buyer 22 Jan 64, scrapped by 9 Apr 64.
||Ex YOG-48 25 Mar 43, ex merc. TONGUE RIVER. Delivered to Navy incomplete (70%), completed and converted by Bethlehem Steel Co., Hoboken, N.J. (completed 7 Sep 43). Laid up as PASQUOTANK 1946 although in registers as TONGUE RIVER. No bids when offered ca. 1947. To buyer 2 Mar 64, scrapped by 24 Aug 65.
Compiled: 14 Aug 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010