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USS Doyen (APA-1) near San Pedro, California, on 17 June 1943
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        DOYEN (APA-1)
Design:        MC P1-S2-L2
Displacement (tons):        4,351 light, 6,710 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        414.5' oa, 405.0' pp x 56.0' e x 18.5' lim.
Original Armament:        4-3"/50 2-40mmT 10-20mm (1943: both)
Later armaments:        4-3"/50 2-40mmT 4-20mmT 2-20mm (1945-46: APA-1)
Complement:        456 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        19
Propulsion (HP):        8,000
Machinery:        Westinghouse turbines, 2 screws

APA Name Ord. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
1 DOYEN 31 Dec 40 Consolidated Steel, Long B. 18 Sep 41 9 Jul 42 22 May 43
11 FELAND 31 Dec 40 Consolidated Steel, Long B. 25 Nov 41 10 Nov 42 21 Jun 43

APA Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
1 DOYEN 22 Mar 46 12 Apr 46 26 Jun 46 MC/R 23 Jan 74
11 FELAND 15 Mar 46 28 Mar 46 27 Jun 46 MC/R 7 Feb 64

Class Notes:
FY 1941. These two transports were part of a large group of auxiliaries whose construction or acquisition was directed by SecNav on 5 Aug 40 in the 70% Expansion Program along with many combatant ships. This program was the second increment of the Two Ocean Navy mobilization effort. SecNav specified that several of these auxiliaries, including the two transports, were to be built by the Maritime Commission (MC) on commercial standards, incorporating during construction as many military conversion features as possible. They became part of the MC Military Program, which the MC established to handle such work. The date the MC awarded the contract is shown in the table--the contract date of record in Navy files is 10 Jan 41 and in MC lists is 24 Feb 41. DOYEN inherited her original hull number (AP-2) and Congressional authorization from a transport, HEYWOOD, that was authorized in 1916 as an improved sister to HENDERSON (AP-1) but was never funded or built. The name HEYWOOD was reused on AP-12, later APA-6.

On 3 Apr 39 the General Board had updated its recommended specifications for an "ideal transport," taking into account recommendations from the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force. It was to be a relatively large ship, around the size of the 535-foot (oa) passenger vessels that later became the HARRIS (APA-2) class, and was to have capacity for 165 troop officers, 3,000 enlisted men, and 300,000 cubic feet of cargo. Later, however, the Secretary of the Navy directed the development of plans and specifications for a much smaller transport. This was probably in response to a directive from President Roosevelt who, according to Norman Friedman's "U.S. Amphibious Ships and Craft," had been so impressed by the British conversions of three small but fast "Glen" liners to carry 500 troops each (a quarter of a British brigade) that in July 1940 he ordered two similar ships built for the Marines. The function of this ship was described in August 1940 as "to serve as a transport for an advance base unit of Marines in Caribbean waters" and "not to serve in the regular transport service" i.e., not to be a regular peacetime transport. The initial specifications for this ship included a capacity for 60 troop officers, 650 enlisted men, and 75,000 cubic feet of troop cargo, plus an unusually shallow draft (18 feet) and 16 instead of 42 boats. On 18 Jul 40 the MC produced a preliminary study for a 409.5-foot (oa), 6,350 tons (max) "small transport for marines" called "Design P-X-L" that generally followed these parameters. Its 19 boats included one 45-foot tank lighter which was stowed on a ramp in the stern from which it could be launched with a tank on board in weather that would prevent its launching with a conventional crane or boom.

On 12 Aug 40 the Navy asked the MC to develop a design on the basis of this study and submit it to the Bureau of Ships for approval. The MC submitted the plans, now the P1-S2-L1 type, to the Navy (and, Friedman reports, to President Roosevelt) in early September and estimated that the first ship could be delivered approximately 14 months from contract date. In its generally favorable critique of the plans on 7 Sep 40 the Marine Corps noted that the ship was designed to carry a total of 672 troops, while a Marine combat team with additional supporting and service troops would total about 1,300. The Marines concluded that two ships of this type could transport a combat team and that, while not as economical as a single ship, they would ensure better dispersion. In addition, the two ships would carry more boats than one large transport. The Marines also liked the speed of the ship and its ability to operate in shallow water. They recommended that the ships be built in pairs and that two be constructed now—as SecNav had already directed in August.

The specifications for the small transport were examined by the General Board, which on 3 Oct 40 generally concurred with them. During detailed negotiations in October 1940, BuShips asked the MC to replace the single stack in its design with two stacks to increase the area available for living space. The MC argued against a reduction in speed because it had adapted the machinery installations from those developed for its standard C1-type freighters. BuShips noted that the number of boats then in the design, 12, was the maximum that could be carried on a vessel of this size without serious overcrowding. With the major design issues resolved, the MC awarded the construction contract on the last day of 1940.

The ships were formally acquired from MC on completion on 20 Apr 43 and 16 Jun 43 respectively. Their entry into service was delayed because it was discovered as they neared completion that they were 550 tons overweight, three feet over draft, and of dubious stability. Numerous modifications were made in response to these problems, including the plating over of the ramp in the stern and replacement of the mainmast by a light tripod, but the shios tended to heel excessively even after lightening. The 72 small amphibious transports and cargo ships of the APA-57 and AKA-21 classes whose construction had been directed in February 1943 do not seem to have experienced similar problems.

Ship Notes:
APA Name MC# Notes
1 DOYEN 181 Ex AP-2 1 Feb 43. To NDRF 1946. Repaired while inactive under the Emergency Ship Repair Program 22 Nov 54-19 Jan 55. Merc. training ship BAY STATE (Mass. Maritime Academy) 1957 (loaned 15 May, delivered 24 Oct) to 1973. To buyer 12 Feb 74.
11 FELAND 182 Ex AP-18 1 Feb 43. To NDRF 1946. Repaired while inactive 28 Oct 54-28 Dec 54. To buyer 16 Mar 64.

Page Notes:
APA        1941
Compiled:        12 May 2007
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2007