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Chiwawa-class oiler
AO-72 Niobrara.jpg
USS Niobrara AO-72
Class overview
Name: Chiwawa
Builders: Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard
Sparrows Point, Maryland
In commission: 24 December 1942 - 12 November 1957
Completed: 5
Active: 2 in commercial service as lake freighters
Lost: 1
General characteristics
Class & type: Chiwawa class oiler
Type: MARAD T3-S-A1
Tonnage: 16,543 DWT
Displacement: 21,077 tons
Length: 501 ft 7.75 in (152.9 m)
Beam: 68 ft (20.7 m)
Draft: 29 ft 10.5 in (9.1 m)
Depth: 37 ft (11.3 m)
Installed power: 7,000 shp (5,200 kW)
Propulsion: geared steam turbine
single screw
Speed: 15.3 knots (28.3 km/h)
Range: 14,500 nmi (26,900 km; 16,700 mi)
Capacity: 133,800 bbl (~18,000 t)
Complement: 214–247
Armament: 1 × 5"/38 caliber gun mounts
4 × 3"/50 caliber gun mounts
8 × 40 mm AA gun mounts
8 × 20 mm AA gun mounts
2 × depth charge projectors

The Chiwawa-class oilers were United States Navy oilers of the T3-S-A1 design built during World War II at Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard of Sparrows Point, Maryland. The class consisted of five ships, all of which survived the war.

All of the ships of the class initially were to be built for private companies, but the outset of World War II, the ships were transferred to the United States Maritime Commission and given new names. Later, when allocated to the U.S. Navy, they were renamed again.[1]

Often the Chiwawa class is seen as part of the Kennebec class. In some cases the Kennebec class is divided into three classes, the Kennebec class (AO-36 to AO-40, AO-48), the Mattaponi class (AO-41 to AO-44, AO-47) and the Chiwawa class. The first two classes were of the T2 and T2-A designs whereas the Chiwawas were of the T3-S-A1 design, mainly differing in having only a 7,000 shp engine and a top speed of 15.3 knots.

Three of the ships — Chiwawa (AO-68), Escalante (AO-70), and Neshanic (AO-71) — were decommissioned at the end of the war. The remaining two — Enoree (AO-69) and Niobrara (AO-72) — were in and out of commission until late 1957.

Chiwawa (now Lee A. Tregurtha) and Neshanic (now American Victory) are still in commercial service on the Great Lakes.[1] Enoree[2] and Niobrara[3] were both eventually scrapped while Escalante, then known as George MacDonald, sank in 1960.[1]

Ships of the class[edit | edit source]

Name Original name Commissioned Final decommission Fate
USS Chiwawa (AO-68) Samoset 24 December 1942 6 May 1946 converted to laker, 1961; still in service
USS Enoree (AO-69) Sachem 23 January 1943 22 October 1957 scrapped, 1982
USS Escalante (AO-70) Shabonee 30 January 1943 12 December 1945 sunk, 1980
USS Neshanic (AO-71) Marquette 13 March 1943 19 December 1945 converted to laker; still in service
USS Niobrara (AO-72) Citadel 20 February 1943 12 November 1957 Scrapped after 1982

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wharton, George. "Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Lee A. Tregurtha". Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping. http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/leeatregurtha.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  2. Priolo, Gary P. (2005). "AO-69 Enoree". NavSource Online. NavSource Naval History. http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/19/19069.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  3. Priolo, Gary P. (2007-06-29). "AO-72 Niobrara". NavSource Online. NavSource Naval History. http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/19/19072.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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