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USS Dutchess (APA-98) circa November 1944
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        WINDSOR (APA-55)
Design:        MC C3-S-A3
Displacement (tons):        8,276 light, 13,143 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        473.1' oa, 450.0' pp x 66.0' e x 25.0' lim
Original Armament:        2-5"/38 2-1.1"Q 12-20mm (1943: APA 55)
Later armaments:        2-5"/38 2-1.1"Q 18<22-20mm (1943-44: APA 55-56)
2-5"/38 2-40mmT 18-20mm (1944-45: APA 55, 91, 97-98, 103, 105);
2-5"/38 4-40mmT 14-20mmT (1945-46: APA-56)
Complement:        470 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        18.6
Propulsion (HP):        8,000
Machinery:        Bethlehem turbine, 1 screw

Construction:
APA Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
55 WINDSOR 17 Jun 43 Bethlehem Sparrows Pt. SY 23 Jul 42 28 Dec 42 17 Jun 43
56 LEEDSTOWN 15 Jul 43 Bethlehem Sparrows Pt. SY 26 Aug 42 13 Feb 43 16 Jul 43
91 ADAIR 15 Jul 44 Bethlehem Sparrows Pt. SY 28 Jul 43 29 Feb 44 15 Jul 44
97 DAUPHIN 23 Sep 44 Bethlehem Sparrows Pt. SY 22 Dec 43 10 Jun 44 23 Sep 44
98 DUTCHESS 4 Nov 44 Bethlehem Sparrows Pt. SY 1 Feb 44 26 Aug 44 4 Nov 44
103 QUEENS 16 Dec 44 Bethlehem Sparrows Pt. SY 2 Mar 44 12 Sep 44 16 Dec 44
105 SHELBY 20 Jan 45 Bethlehem Sparrows Pt. SY 13 Jun 44 25 Oct 44 20 Jan 45

Disposition:
APA Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
55 WINDSOR 4 Mar 46 12 Apr 46 1 Aug 46 MC/D 14 Apr 47
56 LEEDSTOWN 7 Mar 46 12 Apr 46 1 Jul 46 MC/D 17 Feb 47
91 ADAIR 30 Apr 46 8 May 46 3 May 46 MC/D 23 May 47
97 DAUPHIN 3 Apr 46 17 Apr 46 4 Apr 46 MC/D 22 Jun 48
98 DUTCHESS 4 Apr 46 17 Apr 46 5 Apr 46 MC/D 22 Sep 48
103 QUEENS 10 Jun 46 19 Jun 46 11 Jun 46 MC/D 22 Jun 48
105 SHELBY 14 May 46 5 Jun 46 16 May 46 MC/D 4 Nov 48

Class Notes:
FY 1943 (APA 55-56), 1944 (others). The C3-S-A3 type was practically identical to the C3-E, which was among the first C3 types built under the Maritime Commission's shipbuilding program. The C3-E was designed privately for the American Export Line and differed from all later C3's in being shorter (473 vice 489 to 492 feet) and in having an old fashioned counter stern (a distinctive feature of American Export ships into the 1950s). The first four C3-E's (including AK-41), ordered in August 1938, were followed by four more C3-E's (including AP-67 and AKA-10), and then by 15 ships of the C3-S-A3 type (including the APA-55 class). All ships of the APA-55 class were completed under the MC Military Program and were converted to APAs by their builder before delivery.

On 28 Aug 42 CominCh directed the acquisition of 24 combat loaded transports and 6 combat loaded cargo ships. The Bureau of Ships, forewarned of this program on 20 Aug 42, had been told that the vessels would have to be acquired from the Army and that three quarters of them would probably be of older types. By early September the Navy planned to ask for larger ships of at least 15 knots speed and had gained the support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On 17 Sep 42 the JCS wrote to the Maritime Commission in support of the Navy request, stating that there was a need to increase the number of combat loaded transports and cargo ships, that 30 C2, C3 or equivalent hulls were needed, that these ships would be continually employed for war operations, and that they should be in addition to any ships then building for Army or Navy account. The Auxiliary Vessels Board determined on 19 Sep 42 that the only available source for these ships was the Maritime Commission building program. It identified 30 candidate C2 and C3 hulls (along with three for acquisition as AGC 1-3) and directed acquisition of the ships. On 24 Sep 42 MC confirmed that it would provide the ships. The 24 APAs (APA 33-56) were to be taken from the production lines of five yards: Western Pipe and Ingalls (C3-S-A2 design, APA 33-48), Moore (C2-S-B1 design, APA 49-51), Gulf (C2-S-E1 design, APA 52-54), and Bethlehem Sparrows Point (C3-S-A3 design, APA 55-56).

On 9 Jul 43 CominCh wrote that the known requirements for APAs and AKAs now exceeded the total numbers provided for by existing construction and conversion programs and directed that enough MC hulls be acquired to support the immediate acquisition of 8 APAs and 6 AKAs and the subsequent delivery of one APA every month and one AKA every two months. The Auxiliary Vessels Board on 16 Jul 43 identified 14 MC hulls (soon increased to 15) for conversion to APA 91-105 and 11 to become AKAs and directed their acquisition. The name BOONE was originally proposed on 30 Aug 43 for APA-105 but was rejected because a Coast Guard ship already had it, and the name SHELBY was proposed instead on 3 Sep 43. APA 97-98, 103, and 105 were rebuilt as passenger and cargo ships after the war and served as American Export's "Four Aces" during the 1950s.

Ship Notes:
APA Name MC# Notes
55 WINDSOR 589 Ex merc. EXCELSIOR (completed and to WSA 16 Jun 43). Ex AP-100 1 Feb 43. Merc. PAUL REVERE 1947, EXPEDITOR 1949. Scrapped 1972.
56 LEEDSTOWN 590 Ex merc. EXCHEQUER. Ex AP-101 1 Feb 43. Ex USS WOOD 17 Mar 43. Merc. MINUTE MAN 1947, EXILONA 1949. Scrapped 1970 as ILONA.
91 ADAIR 594 Ex merc. EXCHESTER. Merc. EXPRESS 1947. Scrapped 1970 as PRESS.
97 DAUPHIN 1675 Merc. EXOCHORDA 1948 (rebuilt as passenger & cargo ship, MC design P1-S1-DR1). To NDRF 1959. Sold by MA 27 Sep 67 (to buyer 4 Oct 67), became dormitory ship STEVENS. Scrapped 1975-79
98 DUTCHESS 1676 Merc. EXCALIBUR 1948 (rebuilt as passenger & cargo ship, MC design P1-S1-DR1). Sold foreign (Liberia) 1965. Scrapped 1974 as ORIENTAL JADE.
103 QUEENS 1677 Merc. EXCAMBION 1948 (rebuilt as passenger & cargo ship, MC design P1-S1-DR1 at Bethlehem Steel, Hoboken, N.J. between 27 Nov 47 and 25 Nov 48). To NDRF 1959. Loaned to Texas Maritime Academy 26 Apr 65 as TEXAS CLIPPER, active to 1995. Towed from the MC Beaumont reserve fleet to Brownsville, Texas, in Nov 06 for preparation for sinking as a fish reef during 2007.
105 SHELBY 1678 Merc. EXETER 1948 (rebuilt as passenger & cargo ship, MC design P1-S1-DR1). Sold foreign (Liberia) 1965. Scrapped 1974 as ORIENTAL PEARL.

Page Notes:
APA        1943
Compiled:        12 May 2007
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2007