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USS Beaver (ID-2302) in 1918
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Class: BEAVER (AS-5)
Design Pass. & Cargo, 1910
Displacement (tons): 4,737 light, 6,250 full
Dimensions (feet): 380.0' oa, 355.0' pp x 47.0' wl x 20.3' mn, 22.7' mx
Original Armament: 4-5"/51
Later armaments: 2-5"/51 4-3"/50 8-20mm (1942);
3-3"/50 2-40mmT 4-20mmT (1945)
Complement 348 (1929)
Speed (kts.): 16.5
Propulsion (HP): 4,500
Machinery: Vert. 3-exp., 1 screw
||1 Jul 18
||Newport News SB & DD
||27 Nov 09
||1 Oct 18
||17 Jul 46
||15 Aug 46
||5 Aug 46
||19 Jul 50
The passenger-cargo steamers BEAR and BEAVER were built for the San Francisco & Portland Steamship Co., a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad, and operated between ports in the two Pacific Coast states for which they were named (California and Oregon). When BEAR was wrecked on an uncharted rock in 1916 the company ceased operations and BEAVER was laid up. On 14 May 18 BEAVER was ordered requisitioned but this was suspended and on 18 Jun 18 she was ordered taken over by purchase under the Urgency Deficiency Act of 15 Jun 17. She was taken over by the Navy on 1 Jul 18, and on 25 Sep 18 Com-12 was authorized to pay the owner.
On 17 May 18 BEAVER was ordered fitted out at the Mare Island Navy Yard as a submarine tender. The plans of CAMDEN were to be followed as far as practicable. Alterations included a machine shop, refrigerating plant, electrical plant, battery shops, and facilities for the care, handling and storage of torpedoes, warheads and ammunition for the subs. She was commissioned at Mare Island in October 1918. Her normal capacity in 1920 was estimated to be 7 "S" class subs, the limiting factors being crew space, storeroom space, and capacity for charging batteries and H.P. air. A maximum emergency capacity of 11 "S" class subs could be sustained for short periods while cruising. She was rated in 1936 as designed to tend 6 subs with a maximum capacity of 8.
BEAVER was designated AS-5 when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20. In 1920 she was made tender to Submarine Division 18 in the Pacific, and in 1921 she escorted the six "S"-class subs of this unit to Manila. Returning to the United States she was assigned as tender to Submarine Division 16 in 1923 and in 1925 she escorted the six "S" boats of this unit to Manila, joining CANOPUS (AS-9) and her six subs. BEAVER remained a unit of the Asiatic Fleet until 1932, when she and her six subs were reassigned to Pearl Harbor. The now elderly tender was transferred to the East Coast at the end of 1940. In April 1942 her anti-aircraft armament was upgraded during an interim availability at the Philadelphia Navy Yard at the expense of two of her four 5" guns. During the same availability the yard investigated the ship's watertight integrity and found it unsatisfactory, and in May the ship underwent a material inspection after which Commander Submarine Squadron 7 recommended that at the first opportunity the valuable equipment and machine tools be removed from the old ship and used to outfit a tender of more modern design and that BEAVER then be stricken from the Navy list. His superior, Commander Submarines Atlantic Fleet, agreed in June that BEAVER was not as fit for war as more modern tenders but noted that she was providing valuable services and recommended that she be maintained in her current status and that only minimal repair and modification work be accomplished on her. In July BuShips concurred that only alterations of urgent military necessity should be undertaken.
Despite her shortcomings BEAVER in October 1942 was sent to Britain in a convoy that lost a quarter of its ships to submarine attacks. From Roseneath, Scotland, she supported modern U.S. submarines participating in the invasion of North Africa. She returned to New York in July 1943 and departed ten days later for the Pacific. After a tour in Alaska she arrived at San Diego in February 1944 to help establish a submarine training school and tend its assigned submarines. At this time the number of diesel engines in the Navy was increasing rapidly with the production of thousands of landing craft and small combatants, and in around May 1945 it was decided to give BEAVER a minimal conversion to an Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship (ARG). The conversion as requested by ComServPac on 21 May included an increase in electrical generating capacity, the replacement of torpedo stowage and repair facilities with an overhaul shop for diesel engines, the reconfiguration of storerooms for torpedo spares to accommodate ARG type spares and shop stores, and a lighter, updated armament. She was converted between 19 Jun 45 and 28 Aug 45 at the Naval Repair Base, San Diego, and was reclassified ARG-19 on 25 Jun 45. She then served in occupied Japan until returning to Seattle in May 1946 for disposal.
||Ex merc. BEAVER (ID-2302, completed Feb 10). To ARG-19 25 Jun 45. To buyer 28 Aug 50, scrapped by 10 Apr 51.
Compiled: 21 Jun 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012