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S.S. Stanley Dollar, later USS Tackle (ARS-37), circa 1919
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Class: TACKLE (ARS-37)
Design Cargo, 1912
Displacement (tons): 5,375 displ., 2,168 gross
Dimensions (feet): 310.4' oa, 296.4' wl x 44.4' x 20.3' max
Original Armament: 1-3"/50SP
Later armaments: 1-3"/50DP 6-20mm (1943)
Speed (kts.): 11
Propulsion (HP): 1,800
Machinery: 1 screw, triple expansion
||19 Jun 43
||Newport News SB & DD
||26 Oct 12
||5 Aug 43
||13 Sep 45
||11 Oct 45
||24 Jul 46
||18 Mar 49
FY 1944. This ship was built in 1912 as the lumber-carrying steamer ADELINE SMITH for the C. A. Smith Lumber Company, which operated on the Pacific coast. She was designed by Edward S. Hough of San Francisco with several novel features suitable for lumber carriers, including Hough's patented center-trunk, a hollow longitudinal bulkhead over two feet thick along the center line in the cargo hold that gave the ship additional structural strength, and a long deck amidships that lacked either camber or sheer to facilitate cargo handling. Her bridge and deckhouse were right aft. From 1922 to 1941 the ship operated on the West Coast as the lumber carrier W. R. CHAMBERLAIN, JR.
On 3 Jan 42 WSA chartered the small freighter at San Pedro, Cal., from her owner, W. R. Chamberlain & Co. and simultaneously chartered her to the Army. The Army delivered her to a contractor, Johnson, Drake, & Piper, Inc., of New York City, and she was then converted to a salvage vessel by the San Diego Marine Construction Co., and fitted out, equipped, and manned for a salvage expedition conducted by the North African Military Mission. Her forecastle was built up to provide accommodations for her much enlarged crew and a new low deckhouse was fitted amidships containing a carpentry shop and a machine shop. The ship also received an air conditioning system and diesel generators. W. R. CHAMBERLAIN, JR. sailed from San Diego on 28 Apr 42 and arrived on 12 Aug 42 at Massawa, Ethiopia, where she participated in the clearance and reopening of the port. This project had been undertaken in April 1942 as Lend-Lease assistance to the United Kingdom under the leadership of Cdr. (soon Capt.) Edward Ellsberg, USNR. In November 1942 Gen. Eisenhower ordered Capt. Ellsburg to the newly captured port of Oran, Algeria, to salvage ships there, and in mid-December 1942 Ellsburg ordered the three salvage ships operated at Massawa by Johnson, Drake & Piper, W. R. CHAMBERLAIN, JR., and two tugs owned by the Army, RESOLUTE and INTENT (see note below), to proceed to Oran via the Cape of Good Hope. W. R. CHAMBERLAIN, JR. departed Massawa in early January 1943. By the time she arrived at Oran Ellsberg had been invalided home and the Navy had decided to take over the three ships.
On 29 Mar 43 CinCUS directed that appropriate action be taken in respect to the salvage tugs RESOLUTE and INTENT and the salvage vessel W. R. CHAMBERLAIN, JR. On 16 May 43 the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Northwest African Waters, advised the suitability of these vessels for service by the Navy in the African area. W. R. CHAMBERLAIN, JR. arrived at Oran, Algeria, on 18 May 43 and was purchased there by WSA from W. R. Chamberlain & Co. for the Navy on 21 May 43. Confirming these actions, the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended on 24 May 43 that the salvage tugs RESOLUTE and INTENT be acquired by the Navy by transfer from the Army, that the salvage vessel W. R. CHAMBERLAIN, JR. be purchased through WSA, and that all be manned by Navy crews. The designation of the latter as USS TACKLE (ARS-37) was approved on 8 Jun 43. The Navy decided to man them with Navy crews to permit their use in active military zones. VCNO directed on 3 Jul 43 that TACKLE be accepted from WSA and commissioned, title to be transferred as of the date accepted, which was determined to have been at Oran on 21 May 43 (corrected from 19 Jun 43). TACKLE was commissioned at Palermo, Italy, on 5 Aug 43 and subsequently served as a store and quarters vessel for salvage gear and salvage personnel and as a salvage gear cargo ship.
TACKLE suffered shock damage to her propulsion plant at Naples, Italy, on 5 Nov 43 from a nearby bomb detonation, and the ship subsequently reported that her armament was insufficient and that her .50 caliber machine guns should be replaced by at least 6-20mm AA. On 4 Sep 44 the ship's stern was damaged by an underwater explosion (probably a mine) at Port de Bouc, France, and she was towed to Toulon by ARIKARA (ATF-98) for repairs.
An internal BuShips memorandum of 22 Dec 44 noted that TACKLE, due to her large storage and repair facilities, had been adequately functioning as a salvage tender in the Mediterranean, not being particularly suitable to perform actual salvage operations due to her larger dimensions and lack of some of the characteristics of regular Navy salvage vessels (ARS). For these reasons and to keep the designation of this vessel in line with the LST's then being converted to salvage tenders (ARST), the memorandum requested that action be taken to reclassify TACKLE from ARS to ARST. BuShips formally forwarded this recommendation on 9 Jan 45 to CNO, who on 13 Jan 45 recommended that she be reclassified ARST-4 effective 1 Feb 45. SecNav approved this recommendation on 15 Jan 45. In the meantime, on 26 Dec 44 the ship underwent an annual material inspection at Mers el Kebir, Algeria, and was found to be in old and deteriorated condition despite strenuous efforts by her crew to keep her operational. The inspectors concluded that she would not be able to continue uninterrupted operations without a major overhaul. On 19 Jan 45 the commander of Commander Salvage Group Eighth Fleet reported that he would not require the ship's services in the Mediterranean after 10 Feb 45 and recommended that she be ordered back to the continental U.S. for a determination if an overhaul was warranted. On 6 Feb 45 Commander Eighth Fleet recommended that due to her age and general condition she be transferred back to WSA for operation as a coaster in the Mediterranean and added that if she were sailed to the U.S. a tug should accompany her.
On 17 Feb 45 CominCh informed Com8thFlt that vessels capable of limited steaming were required for dry cargo floating storage in forward areas in the Pacific and asked if TACKLE would be suitable for this purpose. Com8thFlt answered in the affirmative on 28 Feb 45 and proposed to have the ship depart Oran around 15 Mar 45 escorted by one ATF, noting that her maximum sustained speed was seven knots. CominCh approved this proposal on 1 Mar 45, and the ship was reclassified IX-217 on 2 Mar 45 effective 20 Mar 45. She departed the Mediterranean towed by MORENO (ATF-87) on 17 Apr 45 and arrived on 21 May 45 at Norfolk, where on 30 May 45 she underwent a full Insurv Board inspection. The Board found TACKLE to be in very poor condition, deteriorated and worn with age and thirty three years' service, and unfit for service as a mobile floating dry storage vessel without a major overhaul that would be incommensurate with her basic characteristics. Instead the Board recommended that she be decommissioned and disposed of as scrap. TACKLE reported for disposition on 21 Jun 45 and on 25 Jun 45 CNO ordered her decommissioned, which was accomplished on 13 Sep 45.
Note: RESOLUTE (ST-182) is shown in Army records as a 96-foot diesel-electric tug built in Gulfport, Miss., in 1942. Gulfport completed five 102-foot tugs for Lend Lease to the British at this time, of which BYT 3-5 reportedly received the British names HELPFUL, INTENT, and RESOLUTE respectively. These three tugs were not transferred to the British but were eventually taken into the U.S. Navy. BYT-4 was completed in March 1942 and immediately reclassified YT-252 on 5 Mar 42 (her USN name was DEKANISORA), while BYT-3 and BYT-5 were completed on 2 Feb 42 and 13 Apr 42 but were not reclassified YT-459 (named EDENSHAW) and YT-458 (named EVEA) respectively until 16 May 43. It would seem that INTENT and RESOLUTE were BYT-3 and BYT-5, that they went to the Army upon completion in early 1942 for the Massawa operation, and then passed to the Navy in Algeria on 16 May 43. The names INTENT and RESOLUTE for the two tugs at Massawa are confirmed in multiple sources, indicating that the British names of BYT 3-5 were actually INTENT, HELPFUL, and RESOLUTE respectively. INTENT (ex BYT-3) may have had the otherwise unattributed U.S. Army designation ST-181. After becoming U.S. Navy vessels, EDENSHAW (YT-459 ex INTENT, BYT-3) and EVEA (YT-458 ex RESOLUTE, BYT-5) were lend-leased to France in late 1944 and served in the French Navy as COOLIE and MALABAR until 1976 and 1967 respectively. Coincidentally, EDENSHAW was assisting TACKLE when the salvage ship was damaged by a mine in southern France in September 1944.
Stories from the wartime career of this ship between April 1942 and May 1943 are related in the book BARNACLES AND BEDLAM (Laguna Hills, Calif., 1996) by Paul B. Behm, a former crewman.
||Ex lumber carrier W. R. CHAMBERLAIN, JR., ex STANLEY DOLLAR 1922, ex ADELINE SMITH 1919 (ID-3480, completed 27 Nov 12). To ARST-4 1 Feb 45 and to IX-217 20 Mar 45. Merc. TACKLE (MC) 1946. To buyer 30 Mar 49, scrapped by 18 Jul 49.
Compiled: 31 Mar 2011
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010