USS Susan B. Anthony (AP-72)

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Template:Infobox ship imageTemplate:Infobox Ship Career {{Infobox ship characteristics
Hide header= Header caption= Ship type=ocean liner (1930–42)

transport ship (1942–44)

Ship tonnage= Template:GRT<ref name=LR/>
tonnage under deck 5,440<ref name=LR/>
8,825 NRT<ref name=LR/>
Ship displacement= Template:ConvertTemplate:Citation needed Ship length= Template:Convert<ref name=LR/> Ship beam= Template:Convert<ref name=LR/> Ship draft= Template:Convert<ref name=LR/> Ship depth= Template:Convert<ref name=LR/> Ship power= 2,660 NHP<ref name=LR/> Ship propulsion= turbo-electric transmission;<ref name=LR/>
twin screw<ref name=LR/>
Ship speed= Template:Convert Ship range= Ship capacity= Ship complement=158 officers and men Ship armament=

USS Susan B. Anthony (AP-72) was a turbo-electric ocean liner of the Grace Steamship Company that was built in 1930, became a United States Navy transport ship in 1942 and was sunk by enemy action in 1944.

Building and civilian service

The New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, New Jersey completed the ship in March 1930 as SS Santa Clara.

She had six water tube boilers with a combined heating surface of Template:Convert and a working pressure of 300 lbf/in2.<ref name=LR/> Santa Clara was turbo-electric: her boilers supplied steam to two turbo generators that fed current to electric motors on her twin propeller shafts.<ref name=LR/> General Electric made her turbo generators and propulsion motors, and her power output was rated at 2,660 NHP<ref name=LR/>

Santa Clara gave more than a decade of civilian service before being commissioned into the Navy in 1942. Notable passengers included Walt Disney and some of his staff in 1941.<ref name=MM>Template:Cite web</ref> They had been in Chile researching for the film The Three Caballeros, left Valparaíso on Santa Clara on 4 October and reached New York on 20 October.<ref name=MM/>

Entry into Navy service

The Navy chartered Santa Clara on 7 August 1942 and Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's New York yard converted her for war service. The Navy renamed the ship after the women's suffrage and women's rights campaigner Susan B. Anthony, making her one of the few Naval vessels named after a woman. She was commissioned on 7 September 1942 under the command of Captain Henry Hartley.

Invasion of North Africa, 1942

After almost a month of drills and exercises in the lower Chesapeake Bay, the transport — carrying troops and equipment — left the bay on 23 October for the Operation Torch the Allied invasion of North Africa. At the end of a 15-day crossing, she reached the transport area off Mehdia, French Morocco. Early the next morning, on 8 November, the Northern Attack Group opened the assault on Mehdia and Port Lyautey. Despite the general difficulties encountered in handling landing craft, she disembarked her troops and unloaded their equipment in relatively good order. She stayed in the area for a week before sailing on the 15th for Safi, Morocco to unload the rest of her cargo. On 18 November she left Safi for Norfolk, Virginia, and arrived at Hampton Roads on the last day of the month.

Over the next seven months Susan B. Anthony made three voyages bringing troops and supplies across the Atlantic to North Africa; the first to Casablanca and the remainder to Oran, Algeria.

Invasion of Sicily, 1943

After a brief voyage to the Gulf of Arzeu ferrying men and equipment, she returned to Oran on 25 June 1943 to prepare for the Allied invasion of Sicily. She embarked men and loaded material on 30 June-1 July, refueled on the 2nd, and left Oran three days later.

Anthony approached the coast of Sicily on the 9th near the town of Scoglitti. She spent the early hours of the next day landing troops and equipment. By 0435 hrs enemy aircraft were attacking the ships of the assault force. Bombs fell close to Anthony but she emerged with only minor damage from bomb fragments. Just before 0600 hrs she started toward the inshore anchorage, but withdrew after shore batteries fired on her. About four hours later she was able to enter the anchorage and send her salvage crew to aid broached and disabled landing craft.

Through that day and the next she came under repeated air attacks. Just after 2200 hrs on the 11th a twin-engine plane commenced an attack run at her, but by the time it had closed within Template:Convert, her anti-aircraft guns had shot it down in flames. Less than 10 minutes later another enemy bomber met a similar fate.

Late in the afternoon of 12 July Susan B. Anthony left for Oran. There she loaded prisoners; sailed for the US; and reached New York on 3 August 1943.

Atlantic convoys, 1943–44

For the next 10 months Anthony crossed and recrossed the Atlantic moving soldiers and cargo between various ports in the US, England, Iceland, Northern Ireland and Scotland in preparation for Operation Overlord, the cross-channel invasion of Europe at Normandy. On these voyages she visited ports including Belfast, Northern Ireland; Holy Loch, Gourock, and Glasgow in Scotland; Hvalfjörður and Reykjavík, Iceland; Mumbles and Milford Haven in Wales, and Newport.

Sinking off Normandy, 7 June 1944

Early in the morning of 7 June 1944, while cruising through a swept channel off Normandy, Susan B. Anthony struck a mine that exploded under her number 4 hold. Immediately she lost all power, and her rudder went hard left and stuck. By 0805 hrs, holds numbers 4 and 5 were shipping water badly, and the ship took on an 8° list to starboard. In an effort to save his ship, the commanding officer, Commander TL Gray, USNR, ordered the embarked soldiers to move to the port side. This human ballast soon brought Anthony back to an even keel.

At 0822 hrs fleet tug Template:USS came alongside, prepared to tow the paralyzed Anthony to shallow water. However, fires soon erupted in her engine and fire rooms, and she began to settle more rapidly. The captain now concluded that the ship was lost and ordered her abandoned. With Pinto and two destroyers alongside, the troops were evacuated expeditiously and without resorting to lifeboats and rafts. AnthonyTemplate:'s crew followed closely behind the soldiers. By 0905 hrs, the main deck was awash at the stern and she was listing badly. The last member of the salvage crew hit the water at about 1000 hrs, with Commander Gray soon following. At 1010 hrs Susan B. Anthony sank. No one was killed, and few of the 45 wounded were seriously hurt. All 2,689 people aboard were saved, which the Guinness Book of World Records 2000 lists as the largest rescue of people without loss of life.Template:Citation needed

Susan B. Anthony was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 29 July 1944.

Honors

Susan B. Anthony was awarded three service stars for World War II service.

References

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External links

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Template:Coord Template:Unique United States Navy transports