Victory-class Merchant Vessel
|Builder||Six shipyards in the United States|
|Displacement||15,200 tons standard|
|Armament||1x127mm gun, 1x76mm AA gun, 8x20mm Oerlikon cannons|
|Cargo Hold Depth||11.5m|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
This article refers to the entire Victory-class; it is not about an individual vessel.
ww2dbaseVictory Ships were officially named on 28 Apr 1943. The first ship completed was the SS United Victory which was launched from Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation on 12 Jan 1944, followed by another 15 within the next four months. Production ramped up beginning in the second half of 1944, however, resulting in a total of 531 built by the end of the Pacific War. Most of them were equipped with weapons, but a number of them were built with military applications in mind; this sub-type received its own designation as the Haskell-class attack transports. Most of the Victory Ships were manned by the civilian sailors of the United States Merchant Marine, with armament operated by men of the Navy Armed Guard of the United States Navy; Haskell-class attack transports were considered purely military vessels, thus they were completely crewed by Navy sailors. Additional three Victory Ships built in 1946 increased total production count to 534. Detailed production numbers are as follows.
|VC2-S-AP2||With 6,000-horsepower steam engines||272|
|VC2-S-AP3||With 8,500-horsepower steam engines||141|
|VC2-M-AP4||With diesel engines||1|
|VC2-S-AP5||US Navy Haskell-class attack transports||117|
|VC2-S-AP7||Post war models built for the Alcoa Steamship Company||3|
ww2dbaseThe Victory Ships were built by six shipyards in the United States. They were as follows.
|Bethlehem Fairfield||Baltimore, Maryland||VC2-S-AP2||93|
|California Shipbuilding||Wilmington, California||VC2-S-AP3||32|
|Kaiser Shipbuilding||Vancouver, Washington||VC2-S-AP5||31|
|Oregon Shipbuilding||Portland, Oregon||VC2-S-AP3||99|
|Permanente/Kaiser Yard #1||Richmond, California||VC2-S-AP3||10|
|Permanente/Kaiser Yard #2||Richmond, California||VC2-S-AP5||22|
ww2dbaseThe Victory Ship design benefited from the operating experiences of the Liberty Ships. Compared to the Liberty Ships, Victory Ships were several knots faster, thus being able to reach their destinations faster, thus minimizing the risk of being intercepted by German surface and submarine raiders. Because they were placed into service after the Battle of Atlantic had largely already been won by the Allies, however, only two of them were sunk by German submarines, so the speed advantage in terms of minimizing threat would be only theoretical. Another improvement on the Victory Ships were the stronger hulls, which allowed them to endure the rigors of the high seas, particularly the extreme cold weathers of the north which had fractured the hulls of Liberty Ships. In the Pacific Ocean, three of them were sunk by kamikaze special attacks in Apr 1945.
ww2dbaseVictory Ships remained in use for years to come, participating in the Vietnam War and several National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) missions, for example.
Last Major Revision: Jan 2009
Victory-class Merchant Vessel Interactive Map
Victory-class Merchant Vessel Operational Timeline
|7 Jun 1944||The first of the newer, larger, and faster Victory-class ships was laid down at the Kaiser Richmond Shipyard No. 1. The ship would become SS Legion Victory and would serve until 1970.|
|17 Jul 1944||The Liberty ship A. E. Bryan exploded whilst loading ammunition and explosives at Port Chicago, California, United States, taking with her the Victory ship Quinalt Victory berthed nearby. Ninety-seven men on the two ships were vapourised and even a 12 ton locomotive on the dockside vanished without trace. In total, 320 men were killed and 390 injured. More than 200 of the dead were black sailors being used as loaders. Later many sailors refused to work until safety was improved. Fifty were court martialed, convicted of mutiny and jailed. A public outcry led to their release but they were still deprived of all veteran's benefits for the rest of their lives. The last surviving "mutineer" Freddy Meeks was finally pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 1999. Four years later he died, aged 83.|
|10 Nov 1944||The keel of Hobbs Victory was laid down at Yard No. 2, Kaiser Richmond Shipyards, Richmond, California, United States.|
|9 Jan 1945||SS Hobbs Victory was launched at Yard No. 2, Kaiser Richmond Shipyards, Richmond, California, United States.|
|5 Apr 1945||SS Hobbs Victory was struck by Japanese special attack aircraft while at anchor between Kuba and Aka Islands near Okinawa, Japan. She steamed into the East China Sea as the ships in the anchorage dispersed. She was discovered by the Japanese and was struck by another special attack aircraft, destroying her port side boiler and rendering her dead in the water.|
|6 Apr 1945||SS Hobbs Victory, struck by two special attack aircraft on the previous day, was destroyed in the East China Sea when the ammunition in her cargo hold exploded amidst firefighting efforts.|
|28 Apr 1945||Japanese special attack aircraft damaged 5 destroyers, 2 hospital ships, and victory ship Bozeman Victory off Okinawa, Japan. None of the four G4M bombers carrying Ohka special attack aircraft hit their targets.|
|24 May 1945||Victory ship American Victory was launched at the CalShip yards, Los Angeles, California. [Currently a museum ship in Tampa, Florida]|
|31 May 1945||Victory ship Lane Victory was launched at the CalShip yards, Los Angeles, California. [Currently a museum ship in Los Angeles, California]|
|27 Sep 1945||The last ship of 467 produced at CalShip, Council Bluffs Victory, was launched at Terminal Island, Los Angeles, California, 3 years almost to the minute after the yard's first ship was launched.|
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Thomas Dodd, late 1945
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