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USS Susan B. Anthony (AP-72) on 14 September 1942
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Class:        SUSAN B. ANTHONY (AP-72)
Design:        Pass. & Cargo, 1929
Displacement (tons):        9,055 light
Dimensions (feet):        505.2' oa, 482.75' wl x 63.5' molded
Original Armament:        1-5"/51 4-3"/50 8-20mm
Later armaments:        4-3"/50 2-40mmT 20-20mm (1943)
Complement:        450 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        18
Propulsion (HP):
Machinery:        Turbo-electric drive, 2 screws

AP Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
72 SUSAN B. ANTHONY 7 Aug 42 New York SB 4 Feb 29 14 Nov 29 7 Sep 42

AP Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
72 SUSAN B. ANTHONY -- 29 Jul 44 7 Jun 44 Lost --

Class Notes:
FY 1942. SANTA CLARA was a larger version of the British-built SANTA MARIA (later McCAWLEY, APA-4) and SANTA BARBARA (later BARNETT, APA-5), 20 feet longer, two knots faster, and about the same tonnage. Her propulsion was different, consisting of two turboelectric units with a combined output of 12,000 hp. All three ships had two smokestacks, but the forward one was a dummy which on each ship the Navy cut down to a stump during conversion.

On 9 Jun 41 the Philadelphia Navy Yard delivered to the Bureau of Construction and Repair plans for the conversion of SANTA CLARA to a combat-loading troop transport (XAP). The drawings provided for a total of 26 36-foot landing craft and an armament including 5" and 3"/50 guns and 8-.50 cal. AA machine guns (on foundations for 20mm guns). BuShips told the yard on 24 Jul 41 that in general it found the plans to be satisfactory subject to a few changes that it listed. On 30 Jun 41 Philadelphia had noted that it had no record of the "Id. number" for this ship, and that with the present system of numbering conversion drawings it was necessary to incorporate the Id. number in the title block. BuShips replied that the Id. number was 5043, the highest number known to have been assigned. The ship remained in commercial hands until she was taken over by the War Shipping Administration to support Army troop movements and converted by Robins DD (Todd), Brooklyn, N.Y. in late February 1942. She made two voyages to the southwest Pacific before transiting the Panama Canal in July enroute to New York, where the Navy took her over in August. Her merchant ship armament of 1-5"/51 (reassigned from the just burned USS LAFAYETTE, AP-53) and 1-3"/50 was installed at Robins in February 1942.

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 SANTA CLARA from WSA. The ships 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.

The Navy conversion instructions for SUSAN B. ANTHONY (ex SANTA CLARA) called for 6 Welin davits and stowage for 25 landing boats and 2 tank lighters, and she appears to have carried this loadout during the North Africa invasion. The surviving boats were put ashore in December, and in February 1943 the ship received eight merchant-type lifeboats. When landing craft were re-embarked in May 1943 the ship was noted to have tender stability. Calculations by BuShips revealed that the ship was "very critical" and in July the Bureau recommended she be used as a convoy-loaded transport (AP) and not as an APA. She participated in the Sicily operation with 21 LCVP, lost ten of them during the operation, and transferred the rest to USS THOMAS JEFFERSON (APA-30) afterwards. Her Welin davits were removed at the New York Navy Yard in August, when other topside weights were also removed and the 20mm gun armament was moved to lower positions.

Ship Notes:
AP Name Notes
72 SUSAN B. ANTHONY Ex-merc. SANTA CLARA (ID-5043, completed Mar 30). Converted for Navy by Bethlehem 56th St., Brooklyn, N.Y. Sunk by mine off Normandy

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