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Victory Ship Design

There was an awareness that the Liberty ships were only a stop-gap measure from the very beginning of the wartime shipbuilding effort. Liberty ships were based on an old design of a British freighter, and were limited in speed to about 9 knots because faster turbine engines were not being produced in enough quantity to supply that class of cargo ship. The limited speed meant that they could travel only in convoys, unable to outrun 11-knot enemy submarines. There was also a desire to build wartime cargo ships that could become the mainstay of the US merchant fleet after the war, and this would necessitate a faster turbine-driven ship. Construction of more turbine engines was given a priority as early as 1941.

In the fall of 1942 design was begun on a 15-knot cargo vessel of 10,000 tons deadweight, the AP1. It was stated that the design "should be generally such as to utilize to the greatest possible extent the principles found effective in the production of the present liberty ship," i.e., its simplicity and standardization.

Where the design required changes in production components, for example, a different shape of steel beam to support the deck , negotiations were needed to convince the steel companies that the necessary retooling of their plants would be of benefit in the future. Because availability of turbine engines was still unsure, the Victory ship was designed so it could be built to accommodate several types of engines, including the untried German-designed Lentz reciprocating engine. In late 1943, decline in the amount of steel available also forced the pace of shipbuilding to slow. This slowdown gave time to change over to a different type production.

The standardized design adopted by the Commission called for a 445-foot by 63-foot steel vessel. Initially designated EC2-S-AP1, the design was re-designated VC2-S-AP1 on April 28, 1943, when the ships were given the "Victory" appellation by which they were henceforth known. The chairman of the Maritime Commission, in an early 1943 speech, noted "We have developed a new emergency ship, the Victory ship, to replace the Liberties. The new ship is designed to permit use of the Lentz engine, turbines, or diesels. Its expected speed is 15-17 knots as against the Liberties' 11 knots, and it will be a good competition ship in post-war, which we cannot claim for the Liberty ship."

The Victory ships ultimately were slightly over 455 feet long and 62 feet wide. Like the Liberty ships, each had five cargo holds, three forward and two aft. The Victories could carry 10,850 deadweight tons (the weight of cargo a ship can carry) or 4,555 net tons (the amount of space available for cargo and passengers), a larger load than the Liberties could manage. Victory ships typically carried a crew of 62 civilian merchant sailors and 28 naval personnel to operate defensive guns and communications equipment. The crew quarters were located amidships.

The Victory ships were different from the Liberty ships primarily in propulsion, the triple-expansion marine steam engine of the latter giving way to more modern, faster turbines or diesels. The AP1 Victory ship was powered by a 5,500-hp steam engine; the AP2 Victory by a 6,000-hp steam engine; the AP3 by a 8,500-hp steam engine; and the AP4 by a diesel engine. Their cruising speed was 15-17 knots (approximately 18.5 miles per hour).

The lines were different, as was the construction of the ships. Hull fractures had claimed some Liberty ships because of their rigidity. In order to resolve the problem, Victory ship hulls were built with frames on 36-inch centers as opposed to stiffer 30-inch centers on the Libertys. This made the hull very rigid. This rigidity caused the hull to fracture in some of the ships. The Victory ships had their hull frames set 36 inches apart. Because the hull could flex, there was less danger of fracture.

Better stability and two enlarged tanks aft of the machinery space that carried fuel, dry cargo, or saltwater ballast did away with the need for fixed ballast. The resultant flexibility of draft meant that an inherent problem of the Liberty ships, a stiffness after removal of wartime equipment, was done away with. Additionally, the Victory ship design included a 'tween deck in three cargo holds, and electric handling of cargo and anchors, as opposed to the steam-driven winches and capstans of the Liberty ships.

VC2-S-AP2 Victory Ship

The SS RED OAK VICTORY was of this type, one of only ten "Boulder Class" Victory ships modified to function as ammunition carriers. It was delivered to the Navy and commissioned the USS RED OAK VICTORY for the duration of the war. The VC2-S-AP2 Victory Ship is a welded steel, full-scantling, screw-propelled, steam-powered vessel 455 feet, 3 inches long overall with a 62-foot beam, a 38-foot depth of hold, and 28-foot draft. The ships were registered at 7,612 tons gross and 4,555 tons net, and displaces 15,200 tons. Designed with a straight, raked stem with a paravane skeg fitted on the forefoot, and a cruiser stern, the ship's lines were radically different from her Liberty Ship predecessors, with a semi-V-shaped bow, and a parallel, 70-foot midbody section.

Transversely framed on 36-inch centers, the ship has a double bottom that carried fuel oil, salt water ballast, and reserve feed water. A Victory Ship had two complete decks, a forecastle deck that extends over the number one hold, and a first platform deck in two of her holds. The ship is subdivided by seven full watertight bulkheads that extend to the main deck with the sole exception of the fore peak bulkhead, which extends to the forecastle deck. The VC2-S-AP2 ships were arranged to carry general cargo in five holds, three forward and two abaft the midship machinery space. Hold No. 1 has a 22-foot, 4-inch by 25-foot hatch; Hold No. 2 has a 22-foot, 4-inch by 24-foot hatch; Hold No. 3 has a 22-foot, 4-inch by 36-foot hatch; Hold No. 4 has a 22-foot, 4-inch by 36-foot hatch; and Hold No. 5 has a 22-foot, 4-inch by 24-foot hatch. The flush main deck is also interrupted by the forecastle deck, the midship house, and a small poop deck house.

A Victory Ship has three masts, each with a masthouse. The ship is cargo rigged to serve every hatchway. The 100-foot, 8-inch high foremast, located at the forecastle bulkhead, serves Hold No. 1. The 109-foot, 4-inch mainmast, located at frame 52 and supported by standing rigging, serves Holds No. 2 and 3. Kingposts at the forward end of the midships house also serve Hold No. 3, while kingposts at the after end of the superstructure serve Hold No. 4. The 104-foot, 11-inch mizzenmast, at frame 122 and supported by standing rigging, serves Holds No. 4 and 5. Cargo was discharged from the five hatchways by means of 14 five-ton booms, the latter two located to serve hatchways fore and aft of the super-structure. The masts and kingposts support 14 five-time booms equipped with single-part topping lifts. The ship also carries two large heavy-lift booms, rated at 30-ton and 50-ton lifting capacity, on the main- and mizzenmasts. The booms serve Holds No. 3 and 4.

A Victory Ship had 12 electric motor-driven cargo winches, clustered in two groups of four around the main-and mizzenmasts and with two located forward and two aft of the superstructure. Ten single-drum, single-speed winches serve the five-ton booms; four single-drum, two-speed winches serve the 30- and 50-ton booms. Each winch is driven by a 50 horsepower, watertight, enclosed motor. The winches have control equipment, resistors and brake arranged on a common bedplate under waterproof enclosures. The single-speed winches have a capacity of 7,450 pounds at 220 feet per minute. The 2-speed winches have a capacity of 7,450 pounds at 220 feet per minute in high gear and 19,000 pounds at 85 feet per minute in low gear. All winches are operated through pedestal controllers conveniently located near the hatchways. The one-speed, double reduction herringbone gear winches have 18- by 20-inch drums and were manufactured by Pacific Iron & Steel Works at Hoisting Machinery, Tacoma, Washington. The winches are driven by 50-hp, 230-volt, 180-amp, 600-rpm motors manufactured by General Electric Co., Schenectady, NY. The double-speed, reduction herringbone gear winches with 20- by 20-inch drums are also manufactured by Pacific Iron & Steel with motors by General Electric.

A Victory Ship had an electric-motor-driven, horizontal-shaft type anchor windlass on the forecastle deck. Manufactured by the Hesse-Ersted Iron Works of Portland, OR, the windlass is capable of raising two anchors simultaneously from a 30-fathom depth of water at a chain speed of 30 feet per minute. The windlass motor, a General Electric compound wound type, is rated at 60-hp, 230-volts, 226-amps, and 600-rpm. Warping heads on the wildcat shaft of the windlass provide the facilities for handling mooring lines.

The Victory Ship's ground tackle includes two 9,500 lb. cast-steel best bowers, stowed in the hawsepipes, and one 3,420 lb. stream anchor stowed on the main deck aft. The anchors were manufactured by Baldt. The anchor chain is 300 fathoms of 2 1/8-inch diameter stud-link cast steel chain, manufactured by Baldt, in two lengths; other lines include a 90-fathom, 1 1/2-inch diameter wire rope stream line; a 130-fathom, 1 3/4-inch diameter wire rope towline; two 73-fathom 1-inch diameter wire rope hawsers; two 73-fathom wire rope warps; and two 73-fathom lengths of 8-inch sisal rope. All of the wire ropes are mounted on reels located on the weather deck.

Other deck machinery includes an electric warping capstan on the main deck aft, with its machinery below. The smooth-barrel, reversible, vertical-motor driven capstan was manufactured by Sellers. It produces a line pull of 20,000 lbs. at a rope speed of 30 feet per minute. The capstan motor is a 35 hp, 230-volt, 138-amp, 600-rpm Westinghouse. RED OAK VICTORY has four 24-foot steel lifeboats, two motor-propelled, with a combined capacity of 124 persons, stowed in gravity-type davits manufactured by the Welin Davit & Boat Corp. of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. An electrical winch, also manufactured by Welin, is provided for each davit, driven by motors manufactured by General Electric. In addition to the lifeboats, four 20-person life rafts, mounted on skids fore and aft of the midships house, and two 15-person life floats, mounted aft on the deckhouse, are available for lifesaving.

A Victory Ship was armed with six single 20mm Oerlikon guns, a 3-inch/50-caliber gun forward, and a 5-inch/3-caliber gun aft. The mounts for each weapon, include the circular steel splinter shields for the bow and stern guns. The majority of the space in the poop deckhouse was for the ship's 28-member Armed Guard, which manned the guns. Their quarters and mess were at the main deck level, while below, accessible by trunk, is the magazine, with shell hoist.

Accommodations are provided for 62 officers and crew in the midships house. The captain's stateroom and office are on the cabin deck, starboard side. The quarters for deck officers, engineers and radio operators are on the cabin and boat decks. The quarters for the crew are on the main deck. The officers' mess and pantry are located at the after end of the deckhouse on the starboard side of the boat deck. The crew's mess and pantry are located on the deck below the officers' mess. The galley is located at the after end of the deckhouse on the main deck. The hospital is on the portside on the main deck. The quarters for both the officers and crew are comfortably and conveniently arranged. Built-in berths are provided for the officers' staterooms and pipe berths for the hospital and crew's quarters.

The galley is equipped with oil-burning ranges manufactured by the Washington Stove Works of Everett, Washington, two steam-jacketed kettles, a Hobart mixer, manufactured by that Troy, New York, company, a vegetable peeler manufactured by the Anstice Co. of Rochester, New York, and a refrigerator manufactured by Bailey. There are also refrigerators in the officers' pantry and aft pantry. Steward's stores, dry stores, and refrigerated stores are located on the second deck, admidships.

The wartime issue equipment, included: the radio equipment the high frequency, low frequency, emergency frequency transmitters, high receiver, low receiver, alarm signal keyer, auto alarm, and crystal receiver, all manufactured by Federal Tel. & Radio Corp. of Newark, New Jersey, and the radio receiver and radio direction finder in the chart room. The gyrocompass, bearing stands, and repeater compasses, were all manufactured by the Dodge Division of the Chrysler Corporation of Detroit.

The bridge is completely outfitted, with magnetic compass in a compensating binnacle, engine room telegraphs, bells, fog horn, rudder angle indicator, echo depth sounder, and clinometer. Telephones for shipboard communication, manufactured by Hose McCann remain in working condition. The ship's wartime issue Maytag washers, and the machine shop in the engineering spaces, with a lathe, drill press, and grinder and all spare parts, complete the fully functional, operational appearance.

Ventilation below decks is naturally supplied through four 36-inch cowls, two 24-inch cowls, and two 18-inch cowls, with each kingpost also serving as an exhaust trunk from the holds with 30-inch diameter Breidert exhaust heads installed at the top of each kingpost. Two 20,000 axial flow supply fans with ducts lead to several terminals in the machinery spaces, with a single 12,000 axial flow fan with ducts leading from the heated space.

The main propulsion unit is housed midship, with a cross-compound, double-reduction geared, impulse-reaction type marine steam turbine unit rated at 6000 shaft horsepower, manufactured by Westinghouse, driving a single screw at a speed of 100 rpm. The shafting, forged steel and 16 inches in diameter, runs aft to the manganese bronze, four blade, right hand screw. Manufactured by Dorance on August 31, 1944, the 18-foot, 3-inch diameter screw weighs 29,765 lbs., has a pitch of 17' 6" and drives a maximum speed of 15 knots.

Steam is provided by two sectional-header, single-pass design boilers manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox. Rated at 525 psi, with an operating pressure of 465 psi, the boilers produce 27,500 pounds of steam per hour at 750 degrees, with a furnace volume of 450 cubic feet. The boilers are 12 sections wide and are 39-feet, 6-inches athwartship by 11-feet, 8-inches fore and aft, and 21-feet, 3-inches overall height to the top of the economizers. Fitted with interdeck superheaters and economizers, each boiler is fired with water-cooled side walls and refractory in the front and rear walls and floors.

Electrical power is provided by an inboard and outboard turbo-generators, the turbines manufactured by the Joshua Hendy Iron Works of San Francisco, California, and the generators manufactured by the Allis-Chalmers Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The three-wire marine direct current generators produce 300-kilowatts, with 120 and 2140 volts and 1250 amps and 1200-rpm. The ship also has emergency diesel generators in the engine room and in the emergency diesel room. The steering gear, a slide electro-hydraulic, double-ram type, was manufactured by the Baldwin Locomotive Company, and is located aft.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2011 17:43:27 ZULU