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
Lest we forget:
Both tankers were T2-SE-A1 Tankers:
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 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.