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USS Calamares (AF-18) on 21 August 1943.
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Class: PASTORES (AF-16)
Refrig. P&C, 1912
7,657 light, 13,750 lim.
486.5' oa, 470.0' pp x 55.0' e x 27.4' lim
1-4"/50 4-3"/50 (1942: both)
Later armaments: 1-4"/50 4-3"/50 8-20mm (AF-16, 1942);
1-5"/50 4-3"/50 (AF-18, 1942); 1-5"/50 4-3"/50 8-20mm (AF-18, 1943);
1-5"/38 4-3"/50 8-20mm (AF-18, 1944)
Machinery: Workman, Clark vertical quadruple expansion, 2 screws
||13 Feb 42
||17 Aug 12
||13 Feb 42
||2 Mar 43
||13 Sep 13
||10 Apr 43
||14 Mar 46
||28 Mar 46
||14 Mar 46
||23 Dec 46
||25 Apr 46
||8 May 46
||6 May 46
||17 Sep 47
FY 1942 (AF-16), 1943 (AF-18). In 1911-12 the United Fruit Co. ordered three flagships for its rapidly expanding fleet from its usual British shipbuilder, Workman, Clark. These were intended for the company's most important service, its Costa Rica line. All three ships served in the USN during World War I and one of them, TENADORES, was wrecked near Nantes, France, during that war. The aging ships lost their certification to carry passengers in 1937 at which time CALAMARES had her superstructure cut down a deck.
In December 1941 the Navy negotiated with the Maritime Commission (WSA) for the indefinite time chartering of PASTORES, CALAMARES, and two "mail boats," TALAMANCA and ANTIGUA. They received hull numbers (AF 15-18) and Navy names (their mercantile ones, retained) on 27 Dec 41. They received 30-day limited conversions for operation under time charter beginning in mid-late December 1941, PASTORES at the Bethlehem Steel yard in Baltimore and CALAMARES at Tietjen & Lang Dry Dock and Repair Co., Hoboken, N.J. The conversions were similar to those being done on merchant ships being armed except that the gun installation was somewhat more elaborate. While operating with civilian crews under time charter and WSA allocation, they were classified "U. S. Naval Store Ships;" they became "USS" only when they shifted to bareboat charters and were commissioned with naval crews. On 10 Jan 42 the Auxiliary Vessels Board approved a recommendation from the Director of the Naval Transportation Service that these four ships be acquired on bareboat charter when the Bureau of Navigation could furnish Navy crews for them. PASTORES was so acquired in February 1942. The acquisition of CALAMARES was deferred, however, and as of May 1942 she was operating under bareboat charter to WSA who allocated her to the Navy for exclusive use. (A United Fruit crew operated her under a General Agency Agreement.) On 22 Sep 42 the VCNO requested that she and ANTIGUA (AF-17) be acquired by requisition purchase and given full conversions to Provision Store Ships (AF). The Auxiliary Vessels Board concurred with this recommendation on 29 Sep 42, noting that in view of their prospective operations in the Southwest Pacific area it was desirable that they have Navy crews. The VCNO on 17 Feb 43 directed the implementation of this decision, and CALAMARES was finally bareboat chartered by the Navy from WSA in March 1943. Her second conversion, in April 1943, involved adding some crew berthing and adding 8-20mm guns, the larger guns having been installed in her first conversion. CALAMARES appears to have been one of only three Navy ships to carry a 5"/50 gun during World War II, the others being CRATER (AK-70) and THURSTON (AP-77).
||Ex merc. PASTORES (ID-4540, completed Dec 12). Taken over under time charter on 20 Dec 41 (accepted 23 Dec.) and converted by Bethlehem Steel, Key Highway, Baltimore, Md. (Dec 41-Jan 42). Traded in by owner as part payment for new ships and to NDRF as PASTORES 14 Mar 46. To buyer 22 Apr 47, scrapped by 12 Aug 48.
||Ex merc. CALAMARES (ID-3662, completed Dec 13). Taken over under time charter on 12 Dec 41 and converted by Tietjen & Lang DD (Todd), Hoboken, N.J. (Dec 41-Jan 42). Converted for USN manning by United Engineering Co., Alameda, Cal. ( Apr 43). Traded in by owner as part payment for new ships and to NDRF as CALAMARES 6 May 46. To buyer 2 Dec 47, scrapped by 27 Apr 49.
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2001