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USS Saint Mihiel (AP-32) on 5 July 1943
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        CHATEAU THIERRY (AP-31)
Design:        EFC 1024
Displacement (tons):        9,306 light, 13,433 full
Dimensions (feet):        448.0' oa, 436.75' pp x 58.0' m x 28.0' mn
Original Armament:        1-5"/51 4-3"/23 (1941)
Later armaments:        1-5"/51 4-3"/50 8-20mm (1942-43)
Complement:        --
Speed (kts.):        15.5
Propulsion (HP):        6,000
Machinery:        G.E. Curtiss geared turbine, 1 screw.

AP Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
31 CHATEAU THIERRY 15 Jul 41 American International SB 25 Jan 19 24 Dec 19 6 Aug 41
32 ST. MIHIEL 22 Jul 41 American International SB 20 Nov 18 18 Nov 19 22 Jul 41

AP Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
31 CHATEAU THIERRY 9 Sep 43 20 Sep 43 9 Sep 43 RTO 2 Jan 57
32 ST. MIHIEL 16 Nov 43 24 Nov 43 16 Nov 43 RTO 30 Apr 57

Class Notes:
No FY assigned. On 23 Oct 1917 the U.S. Shipping Board's Emergency Fleet Corporation ordered 70 "Type B" (Design 1024) troop transports from the mass production shipyard then under construction at Hog Island, Pennsylvania. This order was placed about six weeks after 50 "Type A" (Design 1022) freighters had been ordered from this yard. After postwar cancellations only 12 of the transports were delivered, 11 to the Army and one (WRIGHT, AZ-1) to the Navy. The Army soon found that its new transport fleet exceeded both its postwar requirements and budget. In 1922 it transferred two of the ships to the Navy (ARGONNE and CHAUMONT, AP 4-5), and by mid-1932 it had returned all but two of the others to the Shipping Board. These two, CHATEAU THIERRY and ST. MIHIEL, remained in Army service for the entire interwar period.

In 1935 the Army and Navy agreed that the Army would operate its own ships except where naval opposition was expected, in which case the ships would be Navy manned. However, experience in the first part of World War II indicated that naval opposition by the enemy, in the form of submarines, could be encountered anywhere. In April 1941 the CNO proposed to the Chief of Staff of the Army that a board review the issue. The Board recommended on 28 Apr 41 that the Army "surrender operation of its transport service for the term of the present emergency" following procedures that it enumerated, the first of which was that the Navy would commission the Army transports with Navy crews as soon as possible. (The Army used the term "transports" for all ships in the Army Transport Service, including cargo ships and other types.) On 14 May 41 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended the implementation of this plan, which then covered 26 Army ships, and on 22 May 41 the Secretary of War approved the transfer of the ships, noting that jurisdiction over each ship was to pass at the time it was manned by the Navy. On 5 Jun 41 the Secretary of the Navy approved names for the 26 ships, all but three of which (AP 21-22 and AK-39) retained their Army names. The hull numbers AP 20-36 (less 23), AK 32-40, and APL-1 (for the barracks ship in Newfoundland) were soon assigned to them. The Navy manned, took over and commissioned AP 20-29 and 31-33 before the end of July, but it then found that it did not have the personnel to man the remaining ships, and ultimately the Navy was able to man only 15 of the 26 ships (all AP's). Five of the ships commissioned (AP-20, 28, and 31-33) were later returned to the Army because of more urgent demands for trained Navy personnel and because the Army wanted to convert them to hospital ships.

CHATEAU THIERRY performed most of her Navy service in the North Atlantic while ST. MIHIEL operated primarily in the Alaska theater. CHATEAU THIERRY was initially converted by Robins D.D. and Repair Co., Brooklyn, N.Y. in August 1941 and received her armament at the New York Navy Yard in December 1941. Her original 3"/23 antiaircraft guns were replaced by 3"/50s during a repair period at Robins in March 1942. By September 1942 she had lost her forward goalpost mast, possibly during repairs that month at the Bethlehem Steel 56th Street yard in Brooklyn. ST. MIHIEL was converted on the West Coast and retained her forward mast throughout her Navy career. The Army request for the return of these two ships plus AP-20 for use as hospital ships was dated 21 Jun 43. The Navy retained ST. MIHIEL long enough to make one additional voyage. Both ships were converted to hospital ships at Boston, CHATEAU THIERRY between September 1943 and February 1944 and ST. MIHIEL between November 1943 and May 1944. The Army laid CHATEAU THIERRY up at Seattle in early or mid-1946 after her evaporators failed. ST. MIHIEL began conversion to a military dependents transport in April 1946 but in June was ordered to the east coast for layup.

Ship Notes:
AP Name EFC Notes
31 CHATEAU THIERRY 678 Ex USAT CHATEAU THIERRY, ex USAT MANILA 1919, ex merc. MOUNT BIENVILLE 1919, ex SKAMANIA 1918 (ID-4491C, completed Nov 20). Converted by Robins DD (Todd), Brooklyn, N.Y. To USAHS CHATEAU THIERRY 1943. To MC reserve fleet from Army 29 Aug 46. To buyer 17 Jan 57, scrapped by 18 Feb 58.
32 ST. MIHIEL 672 Ex USAT ST. MIHIEL, ex USAT ARGONNE 1919, ex merc. MOUNT POCKSHA 1919, ex SINNEMAHONING 1918 (ID-4491G, completed Oct 20). To USAHS ST. MIHIEL 1943. To MC reserve fleet from Army 28 Oct 47. To buyer 15 May 57, scrapped by 3 Oct 58.

Page Notes:
AP        1941
Compiled:        31 May 2009
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2009