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USS Alstede (AF 48) on 18 May 1946.

USS Alstede (AF 48) on 18 May 1946.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class: ALSTEDE (AF 48, C2-S-B1(R) and R2-S-BV1)
Design: MC C2-S-B1(R) and R2-S-BV1; SCB 57 for AF 55 only.
Displacement (tons): (48-49) 7,300 light, 14,150 full; (50-52) 6,319 light, 13,860 full; (54-55) 7,050 light, 14,150 full (55: 12,900 full)
Dimensions (feet): 459' oa, 435' wl x 63' e/wl x 27' max nav (50-52: 26')
(AF 48): 10-20mmT; (1952) 4-40mmT, 10-20mmT; (1959) 4-40mmT; (1965) 2-40mmT
(AF 49): 12-20mmT; (1956) 2-40mmT, 6-20mmT; (1959) 2-40mmT
(T-AF 50-52): none
(AF 54): 10-20mmT; (1956) 4-40mmT, 6-20mmT; (1957) 4-40mmT
(AF 55): none; (1952) 6-3"/50T; (1956) 4-3"/50T; (1967) 2-3"/50T
(AF 60): none
(AF 61, 62, and AF 52): (1961) 1-3"/50S; (AF 61: 1963, AF 62 and 52: 1965) none; (AF 61 and 52: 1969) 3-20mmT
Accommodations: (AF 48) 21 officers, 243 enlisted; (AF 49) 17/122; (AF 50-52) 14 officers, 40 unlicensed; (AF 54) 22 officers, 215 enlisted; (AF 55) 17/277.
Speed (kts.): 16
Propulsion (HP): 6,000
Machinery: Geared steam turbines, 2 boilers (48, 49, 55: 465psi/750deg, 50-52, 54: 450/750), 1 screw

48ALSTEDE10 May 1946Moore DD, Oakland30 Sep 194428 Nov 194417 May 1946
49ZELIMA27 Jul 1946Moore DD, Oakland5 Dec 19442 Mar 194527 Jul 1946
50BALD EAGLE1 Mar 1950Moore DD, Oakland17 Feb 19427 May 19421 Mar 1950/S
51BLUE JACKET1 Mar 1950Moore DD, Oakland23 Oct 194114 Feb 19421 Mar 1950/S
52GOLDEN EAGLE, ARCTURUS1 Mar 1950Moore DD, Oakland8 Dec 194115 Mar 19421 Mar 1950/S
54PICTOR13 Sep 1950Moore DD, Oakland18 Mar 19424 Jun 194218 Oct 1950
55ALUDRA30 Nov 1950Moore DD, Oakland23 Aug 194414 Oct 19447 Jul 1952
60SIRIUS18 May 1956Moore DD, Oakland5 Jan 194211 Apr 194212 Jan 1957
61PROCYON8 Aug 1961Moore DD, Oakland15 Apr 19421 Jul 194224 Nov 1961
62BELLATRIX22 Aug 1961Moore DD, Oakland16 Oct 19444 Dec 194418 Nov 1961

AFNameTDecomm/CustStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
48ALSTEDE31 Oct 196931 Oct 196917 Jun 1970MA/T24 Jul 1970
49ZELIMASep 19691 Jun 19761 Sep 1971MA/T25 Nov 1981
50BALD EAGLET16 Jul 1970/C19 Oct 19711 Sep 1971MA/T1 Mar 1973
51BLUE JACKETT19 Aug 1970/C19 Oct 19711 Sep 1971MA/T1 Mar 1973
52GOLDEN EAGLE, ARCTURUST16 Mar 1973/D1 Oct 197618 Oct 1973MA24 Jul 1997
54PICTOR13 Dec 19691 Jun 19761 Jul 1972MA/T25 Nov 1981
55ALUDRA12 Sep 19691 Jun 197616 Nov 1977MA/T16 Nov 1977
60SIRIUS3 Feb 19641 Aug 19651 Aug 1965MA/T13 Apr 1971
61PROCYONDec 19701 Jun 19761 Jul 1972MA/T25 Nov 1981
62BELLATRIX30 Sep 19681 Oct 196814 Apr 1969MA/S24 Mar 1969
Fates: MA (Custody to MA, misc. transfers); MA/S (Title to MA and ship sold by MA); MA/T (Title to MA, ship sold later)

Class Notes:
On 24 February 1941 the MC ordered six ordinary cargo ships of the C2-S-B1 type (MC hulls 183-188) from the Moore Dry Dock Co. in Oakland, Cal., but before delivery it was decided that a group of refrigerated vessels was required to carry frozen meat to Allied forces. These six ships were therefore converted while building with refrigerated holds and the suffix (R) was added to their designation. Following the success of these ships six more ships (MC hulls 1202, 1205-07, 1210, and 1212) were selected from a large group of C2-S-B1 cargo ships ordered from Moore on 11 June 1942 and were built, instead of being converted, as reefer ships designated R2-S-BV1 with full refrigerated capacity and intended for permanent use after the war. All six of the C2-S-B1(R) ships and four of the six R2-S-BV1 ships ended up in the Navy after the war.

On 18 March 1946 the Auxiliary Vessels Board received a request from the DCNO for Operations (OP-03) for the Navy to take title to two MC-built refrigerated cargo ships, OCEAN CHIEF and GOLDEN ROCKET, to be manned with the crews of two smaller ADRIA (AF 30) class AFs. This request was based on post-war requirements for two fast, fully-refrigerated ships for point to point transportation of frozen provisions to Pacific bases. In its report No. 105 of 29 March 1946 the Board noted that the two ships were then under allocation to the Navy operating with merchant crews. The allocation had to terminate on 30 June 1946 to avoid payment of charter hire. The Board was informed that sufficient personnel to man the ships could not be realized by decommissioning two of the small ADRIA (R1-M-AV3) class ships but that one ADRIA plus SATURN (AF 49), a former German ship with special type boilers that would be expensive to replace, would provide enough men. The Board therefore recommended that title to the two ships be acquired by the Navy from WSA before 30 June 1946 and that they be manned by minimum naval crews sufficient only for operation in the transportation of bulk refrigerated cargoes for the logistic supply of bases. The expense was charged to a wartime program, Program 45c of FY 1944.

As acquired ALSTEDE and ZELIMA, MC Design R2-S-BV1 ships, had single-temperature (15 degree F) open hold reefers without insulation between levels of the holds and suitable only for carrying refrigerated cargo like frozen meat in bulk for complete discharge by holds. They could only handle the split cargoes needed for fleet issue (zero degrees F for quick frozen foods and 30 degrees for chilled items) through extensive modifications, including the installation of insulation on transverse watertight bulkheads, and their centrifugal type compressors could not provide the necessary zero degree freeze temperature. On 10 May 1948 Commander, Service Force Pacific recommended that they be converted for fleet issue in two phases, the first phase to provide for issuing at sea and the second to make them fleet issue ships. Although BUSHIPS advised in 1948 that there were then no funds available for such conversions, the conversions had been carried out by mid-1950. In contrast to later fleet issue ships, ZELIMA's Replenishment Handbook (ca. 1960) warned that she was not equipped with modern, time saving cargo handling equipments such as fork lift trucks, vertical lift conveyors, etc., and that it took about twelve hours to break out a normal load for a carrier task group, the last four hours being devoted to the breakout of chill and freeze items.

AF 50-52, C2-S-B1(R) ships, were among the Army ships operating out of continental US ports that were to be acquired on 1 Mar 1950 for which names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 21 Feb 1950. GOLDEN EAGLE had been in Army service from 1948 to 1950. They would have been used in point to point service (until 1960 for AF 52).

On 5 September 1950 BUSHIPS directed that GREAT REPUBLIC, a C2-S-B1(R) refrigerated cargo ship with characteristics like ALSTEDE, be transferred from MARAD (MA) for active service in the Navy's operating forces and be converted similarly to AF 48 and AF 49 with facilities for 13 officers, 19 CPOs and 100 other enlisted, a reefer plant modified to permit split operation, and an armament of ten 20mm twin mounts with all other guns removed. GREAT REPUBLIC was named PICTOR for a constellation and designated AF 54 on 18 Sep 1950. She was delivered to NSY Mare Island on 13 September 1950 and commissioned on 18 October 1950. She served as a fleet issue ship.

The SCB first proposed characteristics for a full conversion of a C2 cargo ship to a store ship (reefer), SCB Project No. 57, in a memo of 22 April 1949. An AF conversion (AF 55, SCB Project No. 57) was included in the First Supplemental FY 1951 Shipbuilding and Conversion Program along with an AKS (SCB 49) and an AOR (SCB 50) conversion. The SCB forwarded its final recommended characteristics for the AF to CNO on 16 October 1950, and CNO approved the SCB characteristics for all three FY 1951 conversions and forwarded them to BUSHIPS and BUORD by letter on 27 October 1950. Major alterations for the AF listed in October 1950 included the replacement of the existing open hold centrifugal blower type compressors with Navy Standard reciprocating reefer machinery suitable for "fleet issue" and the installation of insulated hatch trunks and brine coil cooling in isolated boxes. On 6 December 1950 CNO informed BUSHIPS that SS MATCHLESS (R2-S-BV1) had been designated as the AF and WACCAMAW (AO 109) as the AOR. New York SB Corp. was awarded a contract on 22 Dec 1950 for the conversion. On 16 January 1951 the Navy approved the name ALUDRA and designation AF 55 for SS MATCHLESS. In accordance with the SCB characteristics, ALUDRA was listed in April 1952 with an authorized armament of 6-3"/50 twin mounts (not yet installed), and in April 1955 she was listed with the six mounts installed including two just aft of the amidships superstructure. However rigging, kingposts and booms interfered with the arcs of fire of these amidships guns and for this reason they were soon removed. In addition space for gun magazines, ready service rooms, etc., was more readily available near the bow and stern. Photos in Febuary 1956 show the ship with only four twin mounts, two at each end.

SIRIUS, ex TRADE WIND, a C2-S-B1(R), was ordered in May 1956 to be acquired as a steam-powered replacement for POLARIS (AF 11), which was powered by by an unreliable main propulsion diesel and needed an overhaul. POLARIS had been serving as a testbed for improved underway replenishment gear, and the funds for her overhaul were used instead in the Triple A Yard in San Francisco to transfer her UNREP booms and winches to SIRIUS. SIRIUS became a commissioned USN ship with no gun armament and conducted UNREP trials beginning in 1957 and culminating in April 1959 in trials with PASSUMPSIC (AO 107) for the development of the FAST (Fast Automatic Shuttle Transfer) UNREP system that became a key feature of the AOE 1 class. SIRIUS was also the first in this group of C2 reefers to be disposed of.

On 13 September 1961 effective 13 October 1961 the name of AF 52 was changed from GOLDEN EAGLE to ARCTURUS and she moved from MSTS to commissioned status with the active fleet. At the same time the newly acquired FLYING SCUD (MC 188, C2-S-B1(R)) and FLEETWOOD (MC 1207, R2-S-BV1) were renamed and reclassified PROCYON (AF 61) and BELLATRIX (AF 62), both as commissioned store ships. The single 3" gun attributed to them in 1961 was probably displaced by a helicopter deck, and these three commissioned ships were also effectively unarmed.

Ship Notes:
48ALSTEDE1206FY 1946 (Acq). Ex merc. OCEAN CHIEF (R2-S-BV1, completed 4 May 1945). Delivered by MA to Spanish buyer 24 Sep 1970.
49ZELIMA1212FY 1947 (Acq). Ex merc. GOLDEN ROCKET (R2-S-BV1, completed 16 Jul 1945). Naming notice of 27 Jul 1946 spelled name ZELINA, later corrected. Converted at NSY Mare Is. To MA custody 3 Jun 1970. Sold for use as fish processing ship but BU 1981 in Taiwan.
50BALD EAGLE186FY 1950 (Acq). Ex merc. BALD EAGLE (C2-S-B1(R), completed 28 May 1943). To Army 4 Oct 1948. To MA custody 16 Jul 1970. To buyer 1 Jun 1973.
51BLUE JACKET183FY 1950 (Acq). Ex merc. BLUE JACKET (C2-S-B1(R), completed 25 Mar 1943). To Army 1 Oct 1948. To MA custody 19 Aug 1970. To buyer 1 Aug 1973.
52GOLDEN EAGLE, ARCTURUS184FY 1950 (Acq). Ex merc. GOLDEN EAGLE (C2-S-B1(R), completed 23 Apr 1943). To Army 18.9.1948. From MSTS to Navy (BUSHIPS) and custody accepted by NSY New York 14 Aug 1961, renamed ARCTURUS 13 Oct 1961, comm. 18 Nov 1961. Late in 1972, as she prepared for a Mediterranean deployment, her refrigeration compressor system broke down completely, and early in October, the Navy decided to inactivate her. To MA custody 18 Oct 1973. When stricken in 1976 was designated for disposal by MA. Two invitations in 1982 attracted no bidders. Shown in MA records as sold as scrap ship 21 Aug 1985 but there was no such sale. Stricken again 9 Dec 1985 and designated for target use to destruction and then for MA disposal. Later in and out of MA reserve fleet in James River as target (including out 15 Oct 1990). Finally withdrawn from MA reserve fleet 3 April 1997 for preparation as NAVAIR (PAX RIVER) target ship. Sunk 24 Jul 1997 by gunfire from USS COLE (DDG 67) off Cape Hatteras.
54PICTOR187FY 1951 (Acq). Ex merc. GREAT REPUBLIC (C2-S-B1(R), completed 29 Jun 1943). Title to USN 31 May 1956. To MA custody 11 Aug 1970. Sold for use as fish processing ship. BU 1987 in Taiwan.
55ALUDRA1202FY 1951 (Conv). Ex merc. MATCHLESS (R2-S-BV1, completed 23 Mar 1945). Title to USN 31 May 1956. To MA custody 1 Oct 1969. To buyer 16 Feb 1978. As mercantile fish (crab) processing ship ALEUTIAN MONARCH she burned 12 Nov 1981 at Udamat Bay (Unalaska Is.), Alaska, and was scuttled 19 Nov 1981 in nearby deep water.
60SIRIUS185FY 1956 (Acq). Ex merc. TRADE WIND (C2-S-B1(R), completed 30 Apr 1943). To MA custody 22 Jun 1964. To buyer 10 May 1971. Caught fire in the scrapyard at Seattle and capsized January 1972, raised around April 1973 and BU.
61PROCYON188FY 1962 (Acq). Ex merc. FLYING SCUD (C2-S-B1(R), completed 18 Aug 1943). By Aug 1970 scheduled for decomm at Mare Is. To MA custody 4 Feb 1971. Sold for use as fish processing ship, BU 1987 in Taiwan.
62BELLATRIX1207FY 1962 (Acq). Ex merc. FLEETWOOD (R2-S-BV1, completed 21 Jun 1945). While an overhaul late in the summer of 1968 was being prepared, the decision was taken to decommission her instead. Delivered to buyer 14 Apr 1969.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 22 Jul 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Special sources: NARA: RG 19 Entry P 62 Box 7, RG 19 Entry UD 1024-A Box 1, RG 19 BUSHIPS Confidential Corresp 1946-61 File QB/Aux Vess Bd.