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USAT Monterey during World War II.
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Class:        ALAMEDA (AP-68)
Design:        Pass. & Cargo, 1932
Displacement (tons):        9,560 displacement
Dimensions (feet):        404.4' oa, 385.0' wl x 57.5' x 23.6'
Original Armament:        1-4"/50 2-3"/50 (1942, as USAT)
Later armaments:        1-4"/50 2-3"/50 6-20mm (1942-3: as USAT)
Complement:        --
Speed (kts.):        16
Propulsion (HP):        6,500
Machinery:        Geared turbines

AP Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
68 ALAMEDA 6 Aug 42 Newport News SB & DD -- 17 Sep 32 --

AP Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
68 ALAMEDA -- -- 22 Aug 42 Canc. --

Class Notes:
FY 1942. Between 1919 and 1921 the U.S. Shipping Board established shipping services on several new routes, including a freighter service from New York to Colombia and later to Haiti. The Colombian Steamship Co. was formed to operate this service, and later extended it to other parts of the Caribbean, Brazil, and other East Coast ports. In 1932 it took delivery from the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. of its first passenger and cargo vessels, COLOMBIA and HAITI. In 1938 the Colombian Line was consolidated with the Grace Line and the two passenger and cargo ships were sold to the Cuba Mail Line, becoming MEXICO and MONTEREY. (HAITI also saw a brief period of service with the Puerto Rico Line in 1938 as PUERTO RICO.) The Army chartered MONTEREY from her owners in February 1942 and from WSA in January 1943 while MEXICO remained under civilian (WSA) control throughout the war.

On 1 Aug 42 CominCh directed that arrangements be made immediately for the partial conversion and the manning by Navy crews of ten vessels, which he specified by name and which became AP 42-43 and 66-73, for use in connection with "prospective movements overseas of U. S. troops." (the North Africa landings). On 3 Aug 42 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended acquisition of these ships, three from the Army and seven including MONTEREY from WSA. They were to be Navy manned and converted to modified combat loaded transports. The "must" items for these conversions were that the vessels be able to run, shoot, hoist and lower landing boats and tank lighters, mess and berth their complements, and have bulk gas and Diesel stowage for fueling the landing craft, plus such other items of a combat loaded transport as might be possible during the limited availability. Specifically, the Board recommended that provision be made for carrying the maximum number of landing boats and tank lighters, including adequate fuel stowage for them, along with the accomplishment of such other conversion features as might be applicable on a not-to-delay basis. The Board noted that the program was an urgent one--the conversions were to be completed within 30 days of the arrival of the ships at the conversion yards or as soon thereafter as possible.

One of these ships, MONTEREY, was under Army control, having been bareboat chartered by the Army from her owners in February 1942 and converted at Robins DD (Todd), Brooklyn, N.Y., in February and March. The War Shipping Administration (WSA) bareboat chartered MONTEREY to the Navy on 6 Aug 42. The Navy planned to convert the ship to a combat loaded transport at the Robins yard and also planned to add 2-3"/50 guns for a total of 4 and increase the 20mm gun armament to 8. Navy conversion instructions for this ship also called for her to be fitted with 4 Welin davits and stowage for 16 landing boats and 2 tank lighters. The Navy found the ship unsuitable for conversion for this purpose, however, and on 22 Aug 42 it cancelled acquisition of the ship (for which it had selected the name ALAMEDA on 20 Aug 42) along with all pertinent conversion directives. In mid-September the Bureau of Ships studied the possibility of converting the ship to a combined operations flagship, but this design work was not completed. Some Navy records show her as returned to WSA on 25 Sep 42, but correspondence shows the Navy was still trying on 30 Sep 42 to get WSA to take her back "as is." She apparently reverted to her Army charter of February 1942 and supported the North Africa invasion as an Army ship. On 16 Jan 43 WSA took her over from her civilian owners and bareboat chartered her back to the Army. WSA operated her sister MEXICO, ex COLOMBIA throughout the war as a civilian transport. MEXICO also went to Turkey after the war (as ISTANBUL).

Ship Notes:
AP Name Notes
68 ALAMEDA Ex USAT MONTEREY, ex merc. MONTEREY, ex PUERTO RICO, ex HAITI (ID-4874, completed 18 Dec 32). Navy acquisition cancelled. To MC 20 Mar 46, to NDRF 26 Jun 46. Turkish ADANA (ex CANKIRI?) 16 Apr 48. Beached 1952 after engine room flooded at anchor. Scrapped 1968 after a serious fire.

Page Notes:
AP        1942
Compiled:        05 Jun 2007
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2007