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USS Griffin (AS-13) on 5 March 1944
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Class:        GRIFFIN (AS-13)
Design:        MC C3-Cargo (Sun)
Displacement (tons):        8,613 light, 14,500 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        492.0' oa x 69.5' e x 24.25' lim.
Original Armament:        1-5"/51 4-3"/23 (1941-42: both)
Later armaments:        1-5"/51 4-3"/23 4-20mm (1942: AS-14);
1-5"/51 4-3"/50 8<14-20mm (1942-43: both);
4-3"/50 10<14-20mm (1944-45: both)
Complement:        911 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        16.5
Propulsion (HP):        8,500
Machinery:        4 Busch-Sulzer diesels, 1 screw

AS Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
13 GRIFFIN 13 Dec 40 Sun SB & DD 1 May 39 11 Oct 39 31 Jul 41
14 PELIAS 15 Nov 40 Sun SB & DD 8 May 39 14 Nov 39 5 Sep 41

AS Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
13 GRIFFIN 12 Oct 46 1 Aug 72 9 Apr 73 MA 9 Apr 73
14 PELIAS 1 Feb 47 1 Aug 71 18 Oct 73 MA 18 Oct 73

Class Notes:
FY 1941. The Navy's war plans called for wartime requirements for auxiliaries to be handled by conversions of merchant ships rather than by new construction, and in the mid-1930s the Navy began to prepare plans for the conversion of ships to various auxiliary types in the event of national emergency. On 24 Feb 37 the Bureau of Construction and Repair circulated draft plans to other Bureaus for converting ten large but old (1920-21) freighters of the STEEL ENGINEER (ID-4606) class to submarine tenders (XAS). The Bureau distributed final plans on 13 May 37 to the Naval Districts and followed them on 22 Dec 39 with updated plans, but none of these ships was converted.

In 1939-1940 the Sun SB & DD Co. built four diesel-propelled C3 freighters (called C3-Cargo by the MC) of which the first two became AS 13-14 and the other two became HMS ARCHER (BAVG-1) and USS LONG ISLAND (AVG-1). They were not built in response to a request from a shipping company for motorships but from a desire of the MC to obtain an operating comparison with similar steam-propelled ships. Propulsion was by four 7-cylinder, two stroke cycle, Busch-Sulzer diesel engines driving a single screw through electro-magnetic couplings and reduction gears. MORMACPENN was described as the fastest cargo vessel yet built for American-flag operation, as she had reached a speed of 19.7 knots during her trials and ran at 20 knots for a portion of her initial voyage from Baltimore to New York for loading.

On 20 Jun 40 CNO, acting as Secretary of the Navy, wrote to the Maritime Commission stating that world conditions made it necessary for the Navy to acquire from the merchant marine 18 to 21 additional auxiliary vessels ranging in size and type from transports to tugs, including one and possibly two submarine tenders (AS) of the diesel-propelled C3 type. On 20-21 Jun 40 BuC&R circulated to other Bureaus plans for the conversion to submarine tenders of MORMACPENN (ID-5002) and the other three Sun diesel C3s. On 28 Jun 40, at CNO's request, SecNav authorized the Bureau of Ships to acquire and convert seven of these 18 to 21 auxiliaries, presumably those for which funds were then available, which became AP 8-11 (later APA 2-5), AS-13, AV-8, and AH-5. AS-14, the possible second ship in the June letter, was included in a large group of auxiliaries whose construction or acquisition was directed on 5 Aug 40 in the 70% Expansion Program (the second increment of the Two Ocean Navy mobilization effort) along with many combatant ships. AS-13 and AS-14 were both in service with Moore-McCormack Lines when acquired; the Navy purchased AS-13 directly while it acquired AS-14 through the Maritime Commission. The firm of George G. Sharp prepared the contract plans and specifications for the conversion of AS-13 and on 15 Aug 40 asked the Navy to send it a copy of the Booklet of General Plans of a recent submarine tender for guidance; BuShips forwarded the booklet plan of FULTON (AS-11) on 20 Aug. AS-14 was converted in the same manner as AS-13 at a different repair yard in Brooklyn.

Ship Notes:
AS Name MC# Notes
13 GRIFFIN 44 Ex merc. MORMACPENN (ID-5002, completed 18 Jan 40). Converted by Robins Dry Dock (Todd), Brooklyn, N.Y. In USN reserve 1946-72 (in service in reserve as a reserve fleet accomodation ship at Stockton, Calif., from 2 Jul 59). To buyer 11 Apr 73.
14 PELIAS 45 Ex merc. MORMACYORK (ID-5002A, completed 1 Apr 40). Converted by Bethlehem 56th St., Brooklyn, N.Y. In USN reserve 1946-71 (in service in reserve 1 Feb 47 to 21 Mar 50 and from 1955 to 12 Jun 70 as reserve fleet accomodation ship at Mare Island). To buyer 7 Nov 73.

Page Notes:
AS        1940
Compiled:        12 Jul 2008
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2008