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Haskell-class Attack Transport

Haskell-class Attack Transport

This article refers to the entire Haskell-class; it is not about an individual vessel.

Country United States
Displacement 6720 tons standard; 14837 tons full
Length 455 feet
Beam 62 feet
Draft 24 feet
Machinery Steam turbine engine, 1 propeller
Power Output 8500 SHP
Speed 19 knots
Crew 536
Armament 1x5in/38 Dual Purpose gun, 4x to 12x40mm twin Bofors autocannon, 10x20mm Oerlikon machine guns
Capacity 1,562 passengers or 150,000 cubic feet/2,900 tons of cargo
Landing Craft 2 LCM, 2 LCPL, 2 LCPR, 18 LCVP

Haskell-class attack transports (APA) were amphibious assault ships of the United States Navy created in 1944. They were designed to transport 1,500 troops and their combat equipment, and land them on hostile shores with the ships’ integral landing craft.

Of the 111 Haskells built in time to see action in WWII, all served in the Pacific Theater with most participating in the Okinawa landings. Some also landed Marines and Army troops and transported casualties at Iwo Jima. Ships of the class were among the first Allied ships to enter Tokyo Bay at the end of World War II, landing the first occupation troops at Yokosuka. After the end of World War II, most participated in Operation Magic Carpet, the massive sealift of US personnel back to the United States. A few of the Haskell-class were reactivated for the Korean conflict, with some staying in service into the Vietnam War.

Design

The Haskell-class design, Maritime Commission standard type VC2-S-AP5, is a sub type of the World War II Victory ship design which, in turn, was a follow-on class from the highly successful Liberty ship design. A total of 117 Haskell-class ships were launched in 1944 and 1945, with 14 more being cancelled.

Victory ships, even armed Victory ships, were manned by civilian merchant marine crews but Haskells, seen as pure combat vessels, had US Navy or US Coast Guard crews.

The design was intended for the transport and assault landing of over 1,500 troops and their heavy combat equipment. During Operation Magic Carpet, up to 1,900 personnel per ship were carried homeward.

The Haskells carried 25 landing craft to deliver the troops and equipment right onto the beach. The 23 main boats were the LCVP Higgins boats. The LCVP was 36 feet (11 m) long and designed to carry 36 equipped troops. The other 2 landing craft were the 50 foot (15 m) long LCM (3), capable of carrying 60 troops or 30 tons (27 t) of cargo, or the 56 foot (17m) LCM (6). They also carried one gig.

The Haskell-class ships were armed with one 5″/38 caliber gun, up to twelve Bofors 40 mm guns (one quad mount, four dual mounts), and ten Oerlikon 20 mm guns.

Ships of the Haskell class

Haskell-class attack transports included APA-117, USS Haskell, the lead ship, through APA-247, the never completed USS Mecklenburg. The hulls for APA-181 through APA-186 were repurposed to be hospital ships before they were named. Ultimately those hospital ships were built on larger C4 plan and the six VC2 hulls were built in a merchant configuration. APA-240 through APA-247 were named, but cancelled in 1945 when the war ended. With the special exception of the USS Marvin H. McIntyre, the Haskell-class ships were all named after counties of the United States.

Fate

Most of the Haskell-class ships were mothballed in 1946, with only a few remaining in service. Many were scrapped in 1973-75. A few were converted into Missile Range Instrumentation Ships.

As of the 31 May 2010 MARAD inventory, there is only one ship built as Haskell-class left in the inventory: The USS Sherburne, which was converted to USS Range Sentinel – She in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at James River, Virginia. Her status is listed as “Disposal.”

USS Gage, the last remaining ship in the original Haskell configuration was scrapped in 2009.

Sources: Wikipedia, NavSource, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

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