Armed Guard WWII tankers SS SS Bear Paw, and the SS Balls Bluff

April 23, 2009

Sir, my father-in-law was in the Navy in WWII, with the Armed Guard on two tankers, he's 80 now, but memory serves, so he was on the SS Bear Paw, and the SS Balls Bluff. I would like to get a picture of one of the vessels or one similar and if possible some of the convoys they
were involved with. I'm working on a Christmas present for him. It is a Merchant Marine flag with his name and service number in one upper corner and the ship's names and convoys in the other corner. He is a marvelous man and I want to do this to honor his service. Please help
if you can.

Thanks, Dave

Lest we forget:
Larry Hyland US Army
Richard Mitchell US Army
Dave Hyland USAF
Walter Hyland US Navy
Robert S. Neff US Navy...
For all that went in harms way, this is the price a lot have paid!

Hello Dave,

Both tankers were T2-SE-A1 Tankers:

Ball's Bluff, T2-SE-A1

Bear Paw, T2-SE-A1

Tankers were developed around the turn of the century to carry liquid cargo: gasoline, oil, or molasses. During World War II, American tankers made 6,500 voyages to carry 65 million tons of oil and gasoline from the U.S. and the Caribbean to the war zones and to our Allies. They supplied 80% of the fuel used by bombers, tanks, jeeps and ships during the War.

T2-SE-A1 was the workhorse of the tanker fleet (481 built):

 a.. 523 feet long overall
 b.. 68 foot beam
 c.. 30 foot draft
 d.. 10,448 Gross tons
 e.. 21,880 Loaded displacement tons
 f.. 6,000 shaft horsepower Turbo-Electric propulsion
 g.. Speed 14.5-16 knots
 h.. Liquid capacity 141,200 barrels (42 gallons or 162 liters per barrel).
[nearly 6 million gallons]

A typical tanker crew included 42 to 45 mariners and 17 Navy Armed Guard. The same ship as a Navy Fleet Oiler carried a crew of 250 to 325. In 1943, desperate for cargo capacity, "skeleton decks" about 7 or 8 feet above the deck (to keep the planes out of the waves and to make lashing simpler) were attached to many tankers to carry planes and PT boats.

Skeleton deck carrying planes on tanker


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