HMS Assistance (AR-17) on 3 February 1945
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Class:        HMS ASSISTANCE (AR-17)
Design:        MC EC2-S-C1
Displacement (tons):        5,801 light, 10,920 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        441.5' oa, 416.0' pp x 56.9' e x 22.0' lim.
Original Armament:        1-5"/38 3-3"/50 2-40mmT 12-20mm (1945: all)
Later armaments:        1-5"/38 3-3"/50 2-40mmT 8>4-20mmT (1951-56: AR 19-21)
Complement:        --
Speed (kts.):        12.5
Propulsion (HP):        2,500
Machinery:        Hooven, Owens, Rentschler Co. vertical triple expansion, 1 screw

Construction:
AR Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
17 AR-17 (ASSISTANCE) 28 Jun 44 Bethlehem-Fairfield SYs 17 May 44 20 Jun 44 --
18 AR-18 (DILIGENCE) 20 Jul 44 Bethlehem-Fairfield SYs 7 Jun 44 8 Jul 44 --
19 XANTHUS 16 Aug 44 Bethlehem-Fairfield SYs 27 Jun 44 31 Jul 44 9 May 45
20 LAERTES 28 Sep 44 Bethlehem-Fairfield SYs 7 Aug 44 13 Sep 44 24 Mar 45
21 DIONYSUS 25 Oct 44 Bethlehem-Fairfield SYs 4 Sep 44 10 Oct 44 28 Apr 45

Disposition:
AR Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
17 AR-17 (ASSISTANCE) -- 13 Dec 46 20 Jan 45 Trf. 23 Jan 74
18 AR-18 (DILIGENCE) -- 10 Feb 49 3 Mar 45 Trf. 19 Mar 73
19 XANTHUS 26 Feb 47 1 Sep 62 1 Sep 62 MA 15 Jul 74
20 LAERTES 26 Feb 54 1 Sep 62 1 Sep 62 MA 10 Jul 72
21 DIONYSUS 1 Jul 55 1 Sep 61 1 Sep 62 MA --

Class Notes:
FY 1944. On 26 Feb 44 CNO directed the acquisition and conversion of these ships in response to a requisition (BAD 2671) for Heavy Duty Fleet Repair Ships submitted by the British on 31 Jan 44. The hull alterations and armament were to be based on the ARG type, and BuShips was then to install such repair ship facilities as could be accommodated. Liberty hulls already under construction for allocation to the U.K. were selected for the conversions. In a preliminary planning meeting on 3 February 1944, an effort was made to use the plans of TUTUILA (ARG-4), but it soon became apparent that the characteristics desired by the British differed in so many details that entirely new internal arrangement plans would be needed. Arguments over the alterations continued into June 1944, with the U.S. reportedly insisting on retaining some items that would make the ships suitable for U.S. use if they did not go to the U.K. Initially all five were to have been transferred to Britain under Lend Lease, and the British assigned names to all five, but the last three were reallocated to the USN on 23 Nov 44 before completion. AR-19, the only unit not converted at Baltimore, was modified at East Boston, Mass. where she was towed in late August 1944; her commissioning was delayed by the late delivery of a diesel generator auxiliary power switchboard.

Ship Notes:
AR Name MCE Notes
17 AR-17 (ASSISTANCE) 2649 Delivered 79.9% complete. Converted by Maryland DD, Baltimore, Md. Trf. (Lend-Lease) to Britain. Arrived at Norfolk 30 Jul 46, decommissioned by the U.K. and returned to U.S. custody 15 Aug 46, to MC 7 Feb 47. To buyer 1 Mar 74.
18 AR-18 (DILIGENCE) 2658 Delivered 79.9% complete. Converted by Maryland DD, Baltimore, Md. Trf. (Lend-Lease) to Britain. Returned to U.S. custody 29 Jan 46 at Subic Bay, stk. 20 Mar 46, reinst. 30 Apr 48, to MC 4 Jan 49. To buyer 21 May 73.
19 XANTHUS 2664 Delivered 79.9% complete. Ex HMS HECLA 6 Dec 44. In service for ferrying under tow ca. 16 Aug to 24 Aug 44. Converted by Bethlehem Simpson Yard, East Boston, Mass. In USN reserve 1947-61 (in service in reserve from 26 Feb 47 as a reserve fleet accommodation ship at Norfolk). To NDRF 11 Jan 61, to buyer 15 Aug 74.
20 LAERTES 2674 Delivered 79.9% complete. Ex HMS DUTIFUL 6 Dec 44, ex HMS RELIANCE. Converted by Maryland DD, Baltimore, Md. In USN reserve 1946-51 (decommissioned 15 Jan 47, recommissioned 19 Dec 51) and 1953-61. To NDRF 22 Aug 61, to buyer 8 Sep 72.
21 DIONYSUS 2681 Delivered 79.9% complete. Ex HMS FAITHFUL 6 Dec 44. Converted by Maryland DD, Baltimore, Md. In USN reserve 1946-51 (decommissioned 31 Jan 47, recommissioned 13 Feb 52) and 1955-60 (decommissioned 1 Jul 55). To NDRF 28 Dec 60. Delivered by MA to North Carolina 31 May 78 for use as a fish reef.

Page Notes:
AR        1944
Compiled:        31 Jul 2007
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2007