Alchiba-AK-23 - History

Alchiba-AK-23 - History


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Alchiba

A star—frequently spelled AlChiba—in the constellation Carvi.

(AK-23: dp. 14,125; 1. 459'1"; b. 63', dr. 26'5", s. 16.5 k., cpl. 356; a. l 5", 4 3", 4 .50 cal. mg.; cl. Arcturus; T. C2)

Marmacdove was laid down under a Maritime-Commission contract (MC hull 21) on 15 August 1938 at Chester Pa., by the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; launched on 6 July 1939; sponsored by Miss Alice W. Clement, owned by operated by the MooreMcCormack Lines, acquired by the Navy oh 2 June 1941, renamed Alchiba the next day and simultaneously designated AK-23; converted by the Boston Navy Yard for naval service as a cargo ship; and placed in commission at Boston on 15 June 1941, Comdr. Allen P. Mullinix in command.

Alchiba was assigned to the Naval Transportation Service and sailed to Charleston, S. C., for shakedown training. She then carried out training exercises along the east coast through early October and sailed—via Quonset Point, R.I.—for Halifax, Nova Scotia, to take on cargo and personnel for transportation to Iceland. She departed Halifax on 22 October and reached Reykjavik, Iceland, on 31 November. The vessel discharged cargo there before sailing back to the United States. She reached New York City on 26 December, was briefly drydocked there for repairs, and got underway again on 11 January 1942.

The ship arrived at Charleston—via Norfolk, Va.—on the 19th took on supplies and equipment destined for the Pacific theater and set sail on 27 January. She transited the Panama Canal on 2 February; joined the Base Force, Pacific Fleet; and continued on to the Society Islands. Alchiba reached Bora Bora on the 17th and began discharging her cargo. She departed that port on 14 March and shaped a course for Chile. She reached Antofagasta Chile, on 29 March and took on a load of ingot and electrolytic copper. After transiting the Panama Canal on 8 April, the cargo ship arrived back in New York City on 19 April and unloaded her cargo.

One week later, Alchiba moved to Charleston and underwent a period of repairs and alterations. She resumed duty late in May and sailed for Hampton Roads to take on cargo and personnel destined for service in the South Pacific. The ship then got underway on 10 June, transited the Panama Canal on the 17th, and reached Wellington, New Zealand, on 11 July.

The vessel was assigned to Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet, and became a member of Transport Division 10. On 22 July, she sailed for Koro Island, Fiji Islands, to participate in amphibious landing exercises—the rehearsal for the first American assault landing in the Pacific theater. Upon completing this training, she embarked marines and filled her holds with ammunition, amphibious tractors, gasoline, and general supplies and got underway for operations in the Solomon Islands. The vessel arrived off Guadalcanal on 7 August, disembarked her troops, unloaded her cargo, and left the Solomons two days later, bound for New Caledonia. After her arrival at Noumea on the 13th, the ship loaded on more cargo and, nine days later, commenced a voyage which took her to Pago Pago, American Samoa; Tongatabu, Tonga Islands; and Espiritu Santo New Hebrides.

Alchiba returned to Guadalcanai on 18 September. After unloading cargo to support marines struggling for that island, she sailed back to New Caledonia for more supplies and returned to Guadalcanal on 1 November. During November the ship shuttled supplies and personnel between Guadalcanal and Tulagi. She was anchored off Lunga Point at 0616 on 28 November when two torpedoes from the Japanese submarine 1-16 exploded on the vessel s port side. At that time, her hold was loaded with drums of gasoline and ammunition, and the resulting explosion shot flames 150 feet in the air. The commanding officer ordered the ship to get underway to run her up on the beach. This action undoubtedly saved the ship. Hungry flames raged in the ship for over five days before weary fire fighting parties fnally brought them under control.

Salvage operations began soon thereafter. Most of her cargo was saved, and temporary repairs were in progress when Alchiba was torpedoed again on 7 December. An enemy submarine's conning tower had been spotted shortly before two torpedoes were fired. One passed close under the cargo ship's stern, but the other struck her port side near the engine room. The blast killed three men, wounded six others, and caused considerable structural damage. Once the fires and flooding were controlled salvage operations resumed and enabled the ship to get underway for Tulagi on 27 December 1942. Alchiba remained there through 18 January 1943. On that day, she was moved to Espiritu Santo for further repair work. While at that island, the ship was redesignated AKA-6 on 1 February. She left Espiritu Santo on 6 May, bound for the west coast of the United States, and entered the Mare Island Navy Yard, Valleio, Calif., on 2 June.

Her refurbishing there lasted until earty August when she conducted sea trials off the California coast before sailing on 13 August for Port Hueneme, Calif., to take on cargo. Six days later, she headed for the South Pacific to continue her service providing logistics support for Allied fighting men. She made runs to New Caledonia and Guadalcanal and in mid-November participated in the landings on Bougainville. Alchiba continued her supply duties in the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia through late March 1944. On the 25th, the ship began a voyage via Pearl Harbor back to the west coast of the United States.

On 30 May, Alchiba entered the Moore Drydock Co., Oakland,


Modern Alaska

As Alaska territorial leaders looked forward to Alaska statehood, they wondered about the rights of Alaska Natives to their land. Leaders in both Native and non-Natives communities knew the sad history of Indian land rights in the Lower 48. Congress had included a "disclaimer clause" (Alaskans disclaim any right or title to land that may be subject to Native title) in the Alaska statehood act in order to prevent a repeat of what had happened to Indian lands. At the state constitutional convention territorial leaders had discussed setting aside some land in the proposed state as Native land, but in the end, referred that question back to the federal government.

All of Alaska faced a similar situation in 1959 as the new state leaders began selecting the 104 million acres that had been granted in granted in the statehood act. Native groups protested many of the selections, based on the disclaimer in the statehood act (Alaska could not claim title to lands that may already be subject to Native title). What lands in Alaska might be subject to Native title? Congress had never made any treaties with Alaska Natives. Congress and the executive branch had taken about 54 million acres (of Alaska's 375 million acres) in specific withdrawals, creating the Tongass and Chugach National Forests, Katmai National Monument, Mt. McKinley National Park, Glacier Bay National Monument, Petroleum Reserve No. 4 (renamed National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska in 1980), and a number of small fish and wildlife refuges. These withdrawals had ended any Native title on those lands. But nearly all of the rest of Alaska could be subject to Native title.

In the years just before and after statehood the federal government made several proposals for projects in Alaska that threatened Natives and Native lands. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) proposed detonating five low-yield nuclear devices at a site in the Arctic Ocean near Point Hope, to test whether such devices could be used in heavy construction In this case it was to build a ship harbor. The fallout from the explosions would have contaminated vegetation eaten by migrating caribou , which the Inupiaq of the region depended on for food. Criticism forced the AEC to eventually abandon the plan, but the disregard of Native interests and well-being alarmed Native leaders and sympathetic non Natives. At the same time the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed construction of a high dam on the Yukon River, in the Ramparts area below Yukon Flats. It is where the river had cut into a hard rock formation that was capable of holding a large dam. Seven Native villages would have been flooded, causing the relocation of people and homes. In addition, the resulting reservoir would have flooded the breeding habitat of tens of thousands of migratory waterfowl. The Corps eventually abandoned the project, but concern over the plan to force village relocations generated more Native resentment.

In 1962, following a conference of Inuit people in Barrow discussing the AEC project, Eskimo artist Howard Rock urged the founding of a Native newspaper, to keep people informed on issues important to Native people and their communities. With funding from philanthropist Henry S. Forbes, Rock began the Tundra Times which was published weekly until 1997. Equal rights for minorities was a driving issue during the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, and Alaska Natives quickly learned to describe their common concerns. They developed sophisticated political strategies to encourage people to address concerns. . Many Alaska Natives had previously been sent by the BIA to schools outside Alaska. Though their adjustment was very difficult, it was these schools that brought together many young Natives who would go on to become important leaders. . They often used the perspectives they had learned from other Native Alaskans at the Indian schools. Awareness, energy, and new leadership helped Alaska Natives stay informed about the state's land selections, and to take action to protect Native rights. I In 1966 Native leaders from across the state formed the first statewide Native organization, the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), to advocate for Alaska Native interests.

By 1966, title to Alaska land was in complete confusion. Between 1959 and 1966 the state had indicated the lands it would like, and Natives continued to protest. By 1966 more land was under protest than the total number of acres in the state because many Native claims overlapped. No planning for economic development could take place if potential investors did not have clear title to the land they were interested in.

When things seemed to be out of control, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, stopped the state land selection process. At that time the federal government had given provisional title to about 12 million acres the state had selected. Remarkably, this included the lands at Prudhoe Bay, between the Arctic National Wildlife Range, established in 1960, and Petroleum Reserve No. 4.

In 1968 the federal government produced a big report on Alaska Native conditions and on historic Native land use patterns called Alaska Natives and the Land.
(U.S. Federal Field Committee for Development Planning in Alaska, Alaska Natives and the Land [U.S. Government Printing Office, 1968]).

Based on this report and other information, federal, state and Native negotiators finally agreed on the general outlines of a settlement. Natives would gain clear title to lands they had historically used and the U.S. government would pay them for surrendering potential claims to other lands. The challenge to all Alaskans was how to make the money work for Natives forever. This challenge was the hardest part of the settlement. The AFN brought forth a solution to this question with a revolutionary proposal. The money would be used to fund regional and village economic development corporations. All Alaska Natives who chose to would become shareholders in one or another of these corporations. The role of the corporations would be to invest the money for profit. Dividends would be paid to Native shareholders from the earnings of the corporation of which they were members.


Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
An act to provide for the settlement of certain land claims of Alaska Natives, and for other purposes.

There were great celebrations in Alaska with the passage of ANCSA. Native leaders took pride in the fact that Alaska Natives would have official title to land they had always thought of as theirs. State leaders cleared a hurdle to economic development and the state land selection process. Alaskans and non-Alaskans alike applauded the measure of justice given to Alaska's Native people who had long been ignored, discriminated against and taken for granted.

http://arcticcircle.uconn.edu/SEEJ/Landclaims/

Native leaders noted that the ANCSA settlement raised Alaska Natives in the eyes of many Alaskans, achieving for all Alaska Natives a dignity and legitimacy they did not have before the act. But there were - and are - critics of the act also. Many Natives have argued that not enough land was granted Native title, and that Natives received too little money for giving up potential title to so much more land. Some noted that while the leaders in regions and villages prospered under the act, many ordinary villagers have not. Others suggested that because the corporations have a responsibility to make a profit, and that most opportunities to do that are outside Alaska, corporate leaders are focused on circumstances far from village Alaska. Soon after the act was passed leaders worried that Natives born after 1971 had no way to participate directly, since they could not become shareholders except by inheritance. And there was concern that corporations might lose the land if their investments were unsuccessful and the corporation faced bankruptcy.

In 1989 Congress passed amendments to address some of these concerns. The amendments allowed corporations to create new stock by dividing the existing shares, if a majority of the shareholders agreed. For corporations that this option, the value of all shareholders' class A stock is devalued, so few corporations have taken advantage of this option. The amendments also allowed corporation land to be put into "land bank" status, so as not to be taxed until developed. In recent years shareholders have debated the role of the corporations. Some leaders called for greater attention to the social aspects of Native life others pointed out that the legislation establishing the corporations did not mention any social obligations. . This question is likely to be heavily debated in the future.

Alaska Federation of Natives
Alaska Federation of Natives
ANCSA amendments
http://www.lbblawyers.com/87amtoc.htm
http://www.alaskool.org/

While some of the corporations have been successful and have produced cash dividends for their shareholders, not all have. ANCSA provides that successful corporations must share some of their profits with all the other corporations. The corporations have also had a substantial impact on Alaska's economy. Native corporations are the largest single private landholders in Alaska. They are some of the most successful businesses. In 2004 Native corporation assets totaled $2.9 billion. Their combined total payroll was $408 million from the employment of 12,123 people. In 2002 the corporations distributed $45.6 million in dividends to shareholders. Corporations profits for that year were $124 million.


Alchiba-AK-23 - History

USS Alchiba , a 14,125 ton cargo ship, was built at Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1938-40 as the civilian freighter Mormacdove . She was acquired by the Navy in June 1941 and soon placed in commission. During the rest of the year, she operated in the western and north Atlantic, reaching as far east as Iceland. In early 1942, Alchiba went to the Pacific to take cargo to the Society Islands, then returned to the U.S. east coast by way of Chile and the Panama Canal. She was back in the Pacific in mid-June and arrived in New Zealand the next month to become part of the Amphibious Force. In early August she took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal and continued to provide logistics support for the Guadalcanal campaign during the next four months.

On 28 November 1942, while anchored off Guadalcanal's Lunga Point, Alchiba was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-16 , setting fire to her forward holds. She was run aground to prevent sinking, and the blazes were extinguished after five days of hard work. However, on 7 December the ship was again torpedoed, probably by a Japanese midget submarine, opening up her after hull and starting more fires. Again, Alchiba 's crew controlled the flooding and flames. Her wounds were patched up sufficiently for her to return to the United States for permanent repairs, which lasted until August 1943. Meanwhile, in February 1943, she had been reclassified as an attack cargo ship, with the new hull number AKA-6.

During the rest of 1943 and into March 1944, Alchiba performed logistics duties in the South Pacific, also taking part in the invasion of Bougainville in November 1943. Following an overhaul in mid-1944, the ship was plagued by recurrent engine troubles, was in and out of shipyards for the next year, and completed only one voyage to the south Pacific during this time. In July and August 1945, Alchiba crossed the ocean to deliver cargo to bases in the central and western Pacific. She stayed in the former combat zone until late October and then returned to the U.S., reaching the east coast by way of the Panama Canal in mid-December. USS Alchiba was decommissioned in January 1946. Transferred to the Maritime Commission in July of that year, she was sold to commercial interests in 1948.

This page features all our views of USS Alchiba (AK-23, later AKA-6).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 18 June 1941.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 79KB 740 x 595 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 18 June 1941.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 80KB 740 x 560 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 18 June 1941.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 90KB 740 x 590 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Photographed circa early 1942.
Note her camouflage scheme.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 83KB 740 x 550 pixels

Courtesy of James Russell.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 72KB 740 x 575 pixels

Guadalcanal-Tulagi Landings, 7-9 August 1942

A U.S. Marine Corps M2A4 "Stuart" light tank is hoisted from USS Alchiba (AK-23) into a LCM(2) landing craft, off the Guadalcanal invasion beaches on the first day of landings there, 7 August 1942.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 130KB 530 x 765 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Fighting fires in her forward holds, with the assistance of a tug (probably USS Bobolink , AT-131), while she was aground off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, circa late November 1942.
Torpedoed on 28 November by the Japanese submarine I-16 and torpedoed again on 7 December, she was salvaged and repaired.
Note smoke venting from the top of her kingposts.

U.S. Marine Corps Photograph.

Online Image: 80KB 740 x 530 pixels

Afire off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, circa late November 1942, after she had been torpedoed in the forward holds.
Alchiba was torpedoed on 28 November by the Japanese submarine I-16 . Her crew ran her aground and delivered her cargo while fighting fires, which burned until 2 December. She was torpedoed again on 7 December, but was salvaged and reentered service.
Photographed by Sgt. Robert Brenner.

U.S. Marine Corps Photograph.

Online Image: 76KB 740 x 605 pixels

Aground and afire off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, circa late November 1942. She had been torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-16 on 28 November.
Men are handling cargo on the beach, possibly assisting in unloading Alchiba while she was fighting her fires.
Note barbed wire fencing in the foreground.


USS Alchiba (AK-23, later AKA-6), 1941-1946

USS Alchiba, a 14,125 ton cargo ship, was built at Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1938-40 as the civilian freighter Mormacdove. She was acquired by the Navy in June 1941 and soon placed in commission. During the rest of the year, she operated in the western and north Atlantic, reaching as far east as Iceland. In early 1942, Alchiba went to the Pacific to take cargo to the Society Islands, then returned to the U.S. east coast by way of Chile and the Panama Canal. She was back in the Pacific in mid-June and arrived in New Zealand the next month to become part of the Amphibious Force. In early August she took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal and continued to provide logistics support for the Guadalcanal campaign during the next four months.

On 28 November 1942, while anchored off Guadalcanal's Lunga Point, Alchiba was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-16, setting fire to her forward holds. She was run aground to prevent sinking, and the blazes were extinguished after five days of hard work. However, on 7 December the ship was again torpedoed, probably by a Japanese midget submarine, opening up her after hull and starting more fires. Again, Alchiba's crew controlled the flooding and flames. Her wounds were patched up sufficiently for her to return to the United States for permanent repairs, which lasted until August 1943. Meanwhile, in February 1943, she had been reclassified as an attack cargo ship, with the new hull number AKA-6.


An Interview With Rob Citino, National WWII Museum Expert

To gain a better understanding of the role that capitalism specifically had on the outcome of the Allied war effort, we sat down with National WWII Museum expert Rob Citino for a comprehensive comparative discussion of economic policies.

Rob Citino, Phd is an award-winning historian and scholar who has published ten books on military history. His principal academic focus has been on the Wehrmacht. Dr. Citino is one of the experts featured in the This Is Capitalism videos.

Our discussion with Dr. Citino ranges from the interplay of government and private industry in the U.S. war economy of World War II to the economic challenges, successes, and failures of four key belligerents of World War II to the rise of the United States as an economic superpower in the postwar era.

Warfare History Network:

The This is Capitalism videos hone in on Bill Knudsen of GM and Andrew Higgins who invented the Higgins boat. These were individuals whose contributions not only made US industry more productive, but also dramatically changed how we fought war, on a strategic and even tactical level. What other capitalists and industrialists shaped the US war effort in such a way?

Rob Citino:

Well first of all, what America was able to do as a result of individuals like Bill Knudsen and Andrew Higgins, and also as a result of our social economic system and as a result of our fantastic material wealth (much of which was lying fallow during the depression) was to mass produce and employ an economy of scale on a way that was just unheard of to the other countries, with the possible exception of the Soviet Union. We’ll have to nuance that when we get to the Soviet Union.

If you look at others, another name that has to be mentioned up top is Henry Kaiser. He was the master builder of the war. Kaiser was an energetic and hard driving guy, he was always going in all directions at once. So he started a road construction business, a lot of innovation was there in the 20s and 30s. Earth movers and Mac trucks, caterpillar tractors, even the use of hard hats on building sites. Kaiser would help build the Hoover Dam and the Grand Coulee Dam.

Kaiser went from construction to shipbuilding, having never built a ship before in his life, during World War II in Richmond, California and Portland, Oregon. They were Liberty Ships, a kind of a floating train car, the most ungainly think you could ever imagine, and he banged them out with abandon.

The Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore, Maryland, is ablaze with light as workers toil around the clock to produce a new generation of cargo vessels to deliver critical supplies to U.S. troops at war across the Atlantic and Pacific.

It used to take months to build a ship. Kaiser’s company could bang them out in 10 days. A ship is a funny thing to build because for most construction projects you speed up at the end. You’ve done all of the heavy lifting in the beginning and at the end it really goes quickly. Shipbuilding goes slowly at the end because you have to put the deckhouses on, but you can clamp together the hull fairly quickly. Kaiser was the one who hit on the notion that you can prefab these things, preassemble the deckhouses and then use a crane to put them on top of an already full constructed ship. I think that was a real breakthrough in shipbuilding. Some Liberty Ships experienced cracking in the course of the war, which almost certainly had to do with them being built as quickly as they were, but that’s mass production. You might have a certain amount of wastage in mass production because you’re going so rapidly, but at the same time, the end result is still far more ships than anyone else was able to put on the water.

Now the next point you referenced was a good one, because what are numbers? They mean nothing. I’m a historian of the German army in World War II, that’s what I’ve written all my books. And the Germans had some of the greatest achievements really against numerically superior forces, early on in the war especially, so I don’t think numbers are as important.

It’s what those numbers allowed Americans to do in the course of WWII. You said it affected strategy and even tactics. If we were going to come to grips with our enemy in the Pacific, Japan, an island nation all the way across the Pacific, or in Europe, Germany, we had to get across the Atlantic to get there. We had to form and deploy gigantic forces in a short amount of time, and the only way to get them there is by sea. You can air transport light forces into a theater, like paratroopers and light vehicles perhaps, but in order to bring the heavy metal (the way the United States fights wars is with a lot of materiel, a lot of ammunition, and a lot of heavy artillery) if you’re going to get these things to theater, the only way you can do it is by sea. And so someone like Kaiser, building these Liberty Ships literally enabled the U.S. Army, and other forces, the Air Force would have to be included as well, to fight a two ocean war simultaneously.

Higgins boats loaded with American soldiers approach the beach at Saipan. By the end of the war, the U.S. military could conduct massive amphibious operations thousands of miles away from the continental U.S. thanks to an ample supply of special-purpose landing crafts and Liberty Ships.

The real peak of that achievement is June 1944: spearheading an alliance, the United States landed a massive force in Europe, tens of thousands on the first day and millions of follow-on forces, and literally within weeks launched a gigantic landing on the island of Saipan in the Marianas. There has never been a military power before, and maybe there never will be again, with that kind of global reach. And it’s things like being able to build a Liberty Ship faster than the Germans could torpedo them in 1942 that enabled this. It’s nothing romantic, it’s a battle of attrition. You have to produce more than you’re losing. And, by and large, that is the margin of victory across all fronts for the Americans in World War II. So it is someone like Knudsen, an expert on production and the assembly line, someone like Higgins, building a little shallow draft boat for river traffic down here in the New Orleans swamps and bayous, someone like Kaiser, figuring out a way to build a big transport ship in an ungodly short amount of time, that allows America to fight the war of the rich man. The Germans always talk about their own war effort of the Wehrmacht as the war of the poor man, or the poor man’s war, and they always looked with envy at America’s material wealth. But they never would’ve seen it if we weren’t able to deploy in Europe with the vast merchant marine and naval armada we were able to build.

What specific challenges did industrialists face as they converted from a commercial market to a war footing?

The biggest one I think is machine tools. You don’t produce anything if you don’t have the correct machine tools. These are the point of a spear of a drill press, or the typical way that you’re setting up a lathe or a punch press. And building machine tools had to be first. Obviously, what goes into making a refrigerator for civilian use is a different animal than boring out a 16 inch battleship gun. And so you had to create these machine tools first. That was the biggest challenge. Machine tools are high precision and there are only a few firms in America that make them.

The first thing that had to be done though was to contact machine tool producers and give them new specs, give them loans plus contracts to enable them to produce machine tools. That’s the biggest one.

The second one I think is exploiting American economies of scale by building larger factories than had ever been built. And that’s not romantic, thinking of the Willow Plant of Michigan for example. It was built very quickly, and in many ways not everything worked, not everything fit together. There was a pretty bad record of safety and accidents while on the job, and it was kind of like the whole thing was gonna break down all together. It also required Americans to be willing to move from wherever they happened to live and go where there was work. And I know again you could play inspiring music behind the soundtrack of that, but what I mean was that people were forced to uproot their lives if they wanted to keep working in a wartime economy. And those big firms which got bigger and bigger and bigger replaced a lot of small firms which went under all through 1940 and 1941. So I think the first thing is machine tools and the second thing is rationalization: larger and larger corporations supplanting smaller, single-room machine shops across America.

Once production goes into play, then the big third one, which is the one we’ve already discussed to a certain extent, is getting that stuff from America to the Theaters and the front. That was a big challenge, and that was still being played up in ‘42 and ‘43. When we went to war in late ‘41, the first thought of General George Marshall, who was the Chief of Staff of the Army, was to invade Europe: beat the Wehrmacht, beat the Germans in France, push back into Germany, and march into Berlin and capture Hitler. But he soon realized that we couldn’t. We didn’t have the transport capability. Even if we did have the transport capability, we didn’t have the landing craft that could actually land on a hostile shore and get troops into action quickly. This is, of course, the famous Higgins boat: Landing Craft Personnel (LCP), and the Landing Craft Tank (LCT). There are all sorts of varieties of it. That ship had barely been designed, and it certainly wasn’t in the kind of mass production that it was going to take.

A U.S. Marine Corps M2A4 Stuart light tank is hoisted from the attack cargo ship USS Alchiba (AK-23) into a LCM(2) landing craft off the Guadalcanal invasion beaches on the first day of the landings, August 7, 1942.

Napoleon famously said that an army marches on its stomach. That is to say: you can only do what you are supplied to do. It doesn’t matter how good your generals are or how good your soldiers are, if they aren’t being fed or if they don’t have any ammunition, then they’re not going anywhere. The absolute upper limit of U.S. operational mobility of World War II was the Higgins boat: we could only do what the amount of landing boats would allow us to do. Thankfully, we wound up producing so many of them that there was no real practical upper limit, only a theoretical upper limit. That’s where that production story becomes so important in terms of strategic and operational challenges.

One of the theories on how the American postwar economy boomed attributes the success of the American economy to monumental government spending. Is this a misconception and, if so, what can we attribute to the success of the postwar American economy?

There’s a famous book, Arthur Herman’s Freedom’s Forge, which attributes the entire success of the World War II economy onto a handful of these Knudsens and Higgins’ and Kaisers that you and I have been talking about. They brought their patriotism forward, the innovation, the entrepreneurial skills that U.S. workers on all levels enabled. I don’t deny any of that, but the portrait has been overdrawn. Cost-plus contract gave every World War II contractor a guaranteed 8 percent profit, more or less. A guaranteed 8 percent profit is a lot of money for a $10 billion industry. Things like Cost-plus contract, a five-year amortization rather than 16, and letters of intent that could be used for borrowing [also impacted the success of the World War II economy]. Henry Stimson who was Secretary of War at the time said “you have to let business make money, otherwise business won’t work.” It’s quoted all the time. What’s not quoted all the time is the preface to that quote: “Under capitalism, you have to let business make money.” I think you had a lot of intrepid entrepreneurs in World War II, and you also had a lot of government spending. It’s neither a pure form of free enterprise nor some kind of top-down government socialism, I think it’s somewhere in the middle.

George C. Marshall (left) in discussion with Secretary of War Henry Stimson (right).

I think in the ‘50s, a couple of things work together for the U.S. economic growth. One of them is that all of our competitors had pretty much been laid low. If there was ever a rivalry with the British Empire, that rivalry died in early ‘41 when Britain ran out of money to buy our products and went to Lend Lease. But Lend Lease did not come into place until Great Britain ran out of money. Likewise, Western Europe had been devastated, the Soviet Union had its own problems, there was no real major peer competitor on an international market.

If you add one more thing in there, stable and incredibly cheap cost of energy between 1950 and 1973, I think you’re going pretty far forward in explaining America’s incredible level of economic boom and incredible level of prosperity. I was born in 1958, and one thing I remembered most of my lifetime up to my teen years was that gas cost 30 cents a gallon. One year you’re making $5,000 a year and the next year you’re making $20,000 a year, but gasoline still costs 30 cents a gallon. It did until the oil shock of 1973 the Arab-Israeli War, the oil embargo declared by OPEC. I think often we may be look for ‘Why are we no longer as successful as we used to be? Is there a spiritual malaise in the country?’ Well, I’m not sure anything is wrong with it. Oil prices fluctuate wildly and that leads to a great deal of economic uncertainty. Energy is the lifeblood of the modern economy. I think cheap energy was really fuelling the prosperity of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

What commonalities were there between the British war economy and the American war economy?

There were commonalities, in that Britain was wedded to a capitalist system, free enterprise, banks that were regulated but hardly directed by the state. I think you had all of these things in abundance in the United States as well. But rather than emphasize commonalities, let’s look at some key differences.

Britain was in that war a long time before we came into it. Two years plus. Early in 1941 Lend Lease began, but it did not go into place until Britain was pretty much tapped out, and Britain would remain tapped out for the rest of the war. And what that meant was that Great Britain always had to fight with one eye on how much reserve manpower it had remaining.

By the time British forces landed in Normandy, we always say of Montgomery that he was so slow and never seemed to move as rapidly as he ought. By that time, he was down to Britain’s last field army, and if they lost that one, there probably wasn’t going to be another one set up on the front. So it resulted in a great deal of caution. So Britain mobilized and they came up with great designs and mass-produced them as far as Britain was capable. But of course the British economy was nowhere near the size of the American economy. By 1943, U.S. military production was twice that of Germany and Japan combined. Victory in 1945 was inconceivable without Britain, and we have to emphasize that Britain fought World War II and helped lay Hitler low at the cost of surrendering its world empire and in many ways surrendering its global status.

Britain’s manpower crisis during Operation Goodwood made Montgomery more cautious than his American counterparts would have liked.

In the Soviet Union, you have economies of scale, gigantic industrial facilities, and mass production. However, I think there are a couple qualifiers: the Soviet Union lost so much of its productive farmland and so much of its industrial territory and raw materials in the initial Barbarossa offensive. Imagine if in World War II an enemy had overrun the American Eastern Seaboard all the way up to Pittsburgh and how America might have retooled and how America might have gone back to mass production after that. It would have been very difficult.

The Soviets compensated by tossing manpower and womanpower as much as possible at industrial problems. There were virtually no safety regulations in Soviet plants at all: high catwalks over molten metal without any guardrails on either side. They mass-produced weapons that were rough and ready, easy to mass-produce, maintain, and replace once they had been destroyed. Why spend a lot of time on it? The Soviets realized that when a tank went into combat it probably had the average lifespan of two or three days against the Germans. So how many bells and whistles do you really want to load onto that thing? And by and large there were no bells and whistles. They were designs that they liked and that they knew were good and they rolled them into victory, especially the T-34 tank, the best tank in the world in 1941. In its various upgrades it managed to remain competitive until the very end of the war. I think that’s the Soviet story.

Workers make final adjustments to the turret and chassis of a new T-34 medium tank. Many of these stalwart fighting vehicles were driven straight from the factory into combat.

Fascist powers were wedded to a kind of smash-and-grab economics. They would conquer a territory, enslave much of its inhabitants, take all of the raw materials, ship them back to Germany or use them on site. Both [the Japanese and German] economies worked on slave labor. If World War II had any beneficial impacts at all, it’s that it proved to the world that you cannot run a modern economy on slave labor. You have to have workers who are, if not eager, at least accepting of being at their post. Even the simplest machine requires some skill to use. The worker has to have some education, has to be fairly well fed, fairly well treated, perhaps the possibility of a promotion. I worked drill presses for three summers earlier in my life, and I did enough factory work to know that it is really tough stuff. Ill-fed slave labor chained to their drill presses aren’t going to get it done. I think that’s the story of the Fascist powers.

On the German side, they had wonderful designs. The Germans were magnificent engineers and they had always had that precision engineer reputation. In World War II I think they would have been better off sticking to a few basic designs and then mass-producing them as much as they could. They were always after the next prototype. In the course of the war, the Germans started with the Panzer I and II. The Panzer I had a couple of machine guns on it, not even a main gun. They built the Panzer III, the Panzer IV, the Panzer V (a good tank, the Panther), and then the Panzer VI (the famous behemoth, the Tiger). Six major designs. Throw in some other designs, the captured Czech tank that they got early before the war when they seized Czechoslovakia, the Panzer 38(t). And there are various others. By and large, the American Army fought the war with the Sherman. So while the Germans were going through those five or six major designs, the U.S. Army relied pretty much on the same tank, the M4 Sherman. It was lighter than the German tanks by the end of the war, but it could be mass-produced, it could be shipped to Europe (heavier tanks probably couldn’t have been in great quantities), and it had its own technology (the geo-synchronized turret that allowed the gun to be trained on the target even if the tank was moving). So when you throw all that stuff together, I think each of the powers had its own challenges.

The Czech-designed Panzer 38(t) saw extended service with the German Army during WWII. It was just one of many tank designs the Germans would mass produce.

My sense is that even if the Germans ran their war better, ran their economy better, didn’t try to enslave all the people they conquered, they would still have a hard time winning World War II. They were fighting a global war against powers with vastly superior resources, especially after 1941, with the Soviets in the east and where Hitler has declared war on the United States. At that point I think anything short of inventing a ray gun of some sort, or inventing nuclear weapons on their own, it’s pretty hard for me to imagine a German victory in World War II.

What do you think about Albert Speer’s so-called ‘armament miracle’?

Speer did a lot of things that any smart organizational head would do. He rationalized (in the economic sense in which smaller firms are absorbed by larger firms), he stopped the constant production of prototypes, and he gave favored contracts to larger firms. Those are all interesting and those are all worthy. At the same time we have to be honest: something Speer also did was greatly increase the use of slave labor. That was one of the reasons why he was put on the docket at Nuremberg. It wasn’t because he was just generally not a nice guy, but the economy was wedded to slave labor as virtually all of German manpower was becoming increasingly older and increasingly younger and increasingly being sent to the Front. Those factories are not going to run without slave labor in gigantic underground facilities. So if you want a picture of the German economy and the armament miracle of ‘43-’44, think of a subterranean factory at Mittelbau, the Dora factory: tens of thousands of slave laborers, like emaciated skeletons, practically chained to their drill presses banging out parts for one obsolete Me. 109 after the other. That’s the picture at the end of the war. I have nothing good to say about Albert Speer. There was rationalization and he did do a lot of sensible things economically, but once you are wedded to a regime that immoral it’s really hard to stay clean.

The only image of Albert Speer (fourth from right) visiting a concentration camp (Mauthausen). Speer claimed not to know about the existence of Hitler’s “Final Solution.”

What were the lasting impacts of the U.S. war economy on the U.S. economy?

I think by and large the rationalization of the U.S. economy in 1940 led to the postwar economy of fewer and fewer small firms, fewer and fewer mom and pop stores, fewer and fewer family farms. It didn’t look obvious in the 1950s, but it looks pretty obvious today. We rationalized and realized there were extremely efficient ways to grow our food, make our clothing, and market goods and services. The end result is still a standard of living that is the envy of the world. Having rationalized family farms, more and more people seem to be doing what they wish to do in America, and when they have the chance to leave the farms and do other things with their lives, leave small towns and head to the cities, they do so. I think in some sense the rationalization of the economy gave birth to massive levels of urbanization and internal migration. Once people had begun working for themselves, women and African-Americans who were able to get some decent jobs in World War II, they were hardly willing to go back to sharecropping (in the case of African-Americans) if they could help it. Many of them didn’t, and so you had a vast internal migration that in many ways the creation of Modern America.

You can find these collaborative videos by This Is Capitalism below:

Visit This is Capitalism for more videos on American capitalism.

Check out the National WWII Museum in New Orleans site to find resources on World War II history or to plan a visit.


Arcturus (AKA-1) Class: Photographs

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Off the Boston Navy Yard on 18 June 1941, three days after commissioning. Note the lack of armament. The kingpost pair right forward was soon removed from all units of this class.

Photo No. 19-N-24202
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

Photographed circa 1942 displaying her original hull number.

Photo No. 80-G-31906
Source: U.S. National Archives (RG-80-G)

Photographed circa early 1942. Note her camouflage scheme.

Photo No. 80-G-48207
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

Off the Norfolk Navy Yard on 15 May 1943 with most of her boats on board. This class did not carry landing craft in davits outboard of the bridge.

Photo No. 19-N-47655
Source: U.S. National Archives (RG-19-LCM)

Off the Norfolk Navy Yard on 9 May 1943 with landing craft embarked.

Photo No. 19-N-47662
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

Off the Mare Island Navy Yard on 4 August 1943. Note the imposing bridge front in this class and the semi-enclosed bridge wings.

Photo No. 19-N-49818
Source: U.S. National Archives (RG-19-LCM)

Off the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 9 February 1944.

Photo No. 19-N-60533
Source: U.S. National Archives (RG-19-LCM)

Probably at San Francisco in late 1945 or early 1946 in the final configuration of the class.


Alchiba-AK-23 - History

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

USS Pasadena (CL-65)


Figure 1: USS Pasadena (CL-65) underway off Boston, Massachusetts, 21 July 1944. Photographed from a Squadron ZP-11 blimp, position is 42 45'N, 70 50'W. Pasadena is painted in Camouflage Measure 32, Design 24d. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 2: USS Pasadena (CL-65) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 2 May 1946. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 3: USS Pasadena (CL-65) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 2 May 1946. Among the attack transports alongside the seawall at left are USS Shelburne (APA-205) and USS Sarasota (APA-204). Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 4: USS Pasadena (CL-65) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 2 May 1946. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 5: USS Pasadena (CL-65) entering Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, during a NROTC midshipmen's cruise in the summer of 1948. The photograph was released for publication on 9 August 1948. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 6: View in the Combat Information Center (CIC) of USS Pasadena (CL-65), 21 November 1944. Note aircraft status board in the center background. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 7: Forward view taken of USS Pasadena (CL-65) at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 8 May 1946. Note crewmen working on the ship, and the many visible details of her structure, among them the two forward 6-inch triple gun turrets and two of her six 5-inch twin gun mounts. White outlines mark recent alterations to the ship. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 8: View amidships of USS Pasadena (CL-65) taken at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 8 May 1946. Note details of her structure, among them two 5-inch twin gun mounts, twin and quadruple 40-mm gun mounts, whaleboat and davits, and life rafts.The truck on shore is an international type, with Navy serial number 45742. White outlines mark recent alterations to the ship. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 9: View aft of USS Pasadena (CL-65) taken at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 8 May 1946. Note details of her structure, among them 6-inch triple gun turrets, 5-inch twin gun mounts, and Curtiss SC floatplanes on the catapults. White outlines mark recent alterations to the ship. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 10: Port bow view of USS Pasadena (CL-65) at anchor while assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet in Bremerton, Washington, 1972. Photograph courtesy of Richard Leonhardt. Click on photograph for larger image.

Named after a city in California, the 10,000-ton Cleveland class light cruiser USS Pasadena (CL-65) was built by the Bethlehem Steel Company at Quincy, Massachusetts, and was commissioned on 8 June 1944. The ship was approximately 610 feet long and 66 feet wide, had a top speed of 32 knots, and had a crew of 1,319 officers and men. Pasadena was armed with 12 6-inch guns, 12 5-inch guns, 28 40-mm guns, and 10 20-mm guns, and carried four aircraft.

Pasadena completed her shakedown cruise in the summer of 1944 and on 25 September began her journey to the Pacific theater of operations during World War II. She joined Task Force 38 at Ulithi atoll in the middle of November and for the rest of the year participated in operations against Luzon and Formosa in support of the Philippine campaign. In mid-January 1945, as the battle for Luzon continued, Task Force 38 steamed into the South China Sea and attacked Japanese installations and shipping along the coasts of Indo-China and Formosa. In February, Pasadena’s task force (now called TF 58) attacked the Japanese home islands, and then moved southeast to provide cover for the amphibious assault on Iwo Jima. Pasadena joined other major warships in bombarding Japanese targets on the island. During this time, Pasadena was assigned patrol duties as well.

After returning to Ulithi for ammunition and provisions, Pasadena’s task force began the process of “softening up” the Japanese home islands and the Ryukyu Islands for the major assault that was about to take place on the principal target of Okinawa. Pasadena remained at sea for 80 days as flagship of Cruiser Division 17 and participated in the night bombardments of Minami Daito (28 March and 10 May) and in the continuous bombardment against Japanese positions on Okinawa and Kyushu (1 April to 30 May 1945).

After again returning to Ulithi for more provisions in June 1945, Pasadena’s task force made its last attacks against the Japanese home islands in July and August, pounding coastal targets in northern Honshu and Hokkaido in anticipation of heavy resistance for what appeared inevitable, the amphibious assault on Japan. The US Navy expected tough resistance to the American landings on the Japanese home islands and, considering the terrible US casualties sustained during the assault on Okinawa (approximately 50,000 Americans killed or wounded), their expectations were probably right. But after America dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945.

After hostilities ended in the Pacific, Pasadena began occupation duties. On 23 August 1945, she became the flagship of Task Group 35.1 and on 27 August dropped anchor in Sagami Wan, Honshu, Japan. But on 2 September, Pasadena was at Tokyo Bay to witness Japan’s formal surrender to the Allies on board the battleship USS Missouri. From then until mid January 1946, Pasadena remained in Tokyo Bay supporting American occupation forces. On 19 January, the ship returned to the United States and eventually arrived at San Pedro, California, for a badly needed overhaul.

By September 1946, Pasadena was ready to return to duty and once again headed west. From November 1946 to February 1947, Pasadena participated in naval exercises in Micronesia and then fleet maneuvers in Hawaiian waters. After that, she returned to California. During the summer of 1948, the ship conducted an NROTC training cruise and then on 1 October she got underway for the Far East. Pasadena arrived at Tsingtao, China, at the end of October and continued patrolling off the coast of that troubled nation until May 1949, as Communist forces successfully completed their long fight to win control of China.

On 1 June 1949, Pasadena returned to the United States and began inactivation preparations in September 1949. She was decommissioned at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Washington, in January 1950 and remained in the Pacific Reserve Fleet for twenty years. USS Pasadena was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in December 1970 and was sold for scrapping in July 1972. Pasadena received five battle stars for her service during World War II.


The Alchiba Travail

Three sets of official records neither agreeing with the others and much left unmentioned. (The first record called it a New Zealand cargo ship.) The same dates describe different events. The second account has a single torpedo hit on the port bow then a few days later another on the same side. The third account has two torpedoes striking this same port side, same date. A few days following, a conning tower was spotted and two torpedoes were fired, one passing under the stern and the other striking the port side (again) near the engine room and the first mention of casualties – three dead and six wounded.

I did get a piece of the Alchiba action and if this sees the light of day it will be for the first time. I actually thought it was sort of singular – how many Marines ever stood within arm’s length of a Jap sub and watched it torpedo an American ship. The Alchiba was already on the beach from a torpedo in the port side bow.

`There were about half a dozen of us and we had been on the Alchiba that morning cleaning up the mess from the fire and firefighters’ efforts and were now tossing off barrels of aviation gas from a flat barge which stood 3 feet above the surface. Close enough to jump on the sub which suddenly rose some two feet above the surface and some one-and-a-half feet out from the barge.

My memory goes back to this eventful morning on Guadalcanal. I had been assigned to a working party and was on my way from Kukum to Lunga Roads. After a short walk, our attention was directed to a massive torpedo which we were told was first heard whizzing in the sand by the beach defence during the hours of darkness. After a good look at the thing we continued on down to Lunga.

(A US Navy publication at the time stated that this torpedo was one of a pair fired at the Alchiba – a NZ cargo ship. The other torpedo hit near the bow on the port side. Possibly the first error of the story.)

As we approached Lunga, we passed through a similar sized group – some of whom packed 10-pound cans of Armour hams which they said came from the Alchiba which we could see pushed up in the sand. We were told it had been struck with a torpedo the night before. This being the case, the ship had not survived “five days of raging fire” and would have only received one torpedo hit at this point in time.

There was not even a wisp of smoke as my group climbed aboard about mid-morning to finish the work started by the just departed cleanup team. We were dismissed about noon and were assigned to complete the unloading of a flat barge – towed through the Jap Navy – with red painted barrels of aviation gas now reduced to a dozen or so stacked two-high on the ocean end and on the corner facing the port side of the Alchiba and not a single sailor was visible. No activity visible aboard or on boats.

The work in progress was to ease the top tier barrels down to the deck level then tumble them into the water for the natives to float to the beach then load on trucks. If we raised our eyes from the barge deck we would have most likely been looking in the direction of the Alchiba. At one such glance, we noticed a single sailor with a white undershirt lean on the handrail near the stern which was directly over the impact point of the torpedo. Other ships were in the area. One even had the guts to drop anchor (which he was soon trying to spin away from).

The consensus on the scene was the sub in focus had lain in the same spot since it had torpedoed the Alchiba the night before and the gas barge had been shoved in over it. The sub surfaced noiselessly – the water flowing gently over the edge of the forward deck. The bow was pointed straight at the Alchiba. The port side was no more than one-and-a-half feet out from the barge. We noticed a puff of vapour and water mist about 12 or 14 feet from the sub bow on the side next to the ocean.


Contents

The Type C submarines were derived from the earlier KD6 sub-class of the Kaidai class with a heavier torpedo armament for long-range attacks. They displaced 2,595 tonnes (2,554 long tons) surfaced and 3,618 tonnes (3,561 long tons) submerged. The submarines were 109.3 meters (358 ft 7 in) long, had a beam of 9.1 meters (29 ft 10 in) and a draft of 5.3 meters (17 ft 5 in). They had a diving depth of 100 meters (330 ft). [1]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 6,200-brake-horsepower (4,623 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 1,000-horsepower (746 kW) electric motor. They could reach 23.6 knots (43.7 km/h 27.2 mph) on the surface and 8 knots (15 km/h 9.2 mph) underwater. [2] On the surface, the C1s had a range of 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km 16,000 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h 18 mph) submerged, they had a range of 60 nmi (110 km 69 mi) at 3 knots (5.6 km/h 3.5 mph). [3]

The boats were armed with eight internal bow 53.3 cm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes and carried a total of 20 torpedoes. They were also armed with a single 140 mm (5.5 in)/40 deck gun and two single or twin mounts for 25 mm (1 in) Type 96 anti-aircraft guns. They were equipped to carry one Type A midget submarine aft of the conning tower. [3]

Ordered under the 3rd Naval Armaments Supplement Programme and built by the Sasebo Naval Arsenal at Sasebo, Japan, I-24 was laid down on 5 December 1938 with the name Submarine No. 48. [4] While she was on the building ways, she was renamed I-24 on 30 September 1939, [4] the second submarine of that number, the first I-24 having been renumbered I-124 on 1 June 1938 to make the number I-24 available for her. [5] She was launched on 12 November 1939 [4] and was completed and commissioned on 31 October 1941. [4]

Pre-World War II Edit

Upon commissioning, I-24 was attached to the Yokosuka Naval District. [6] She soon underwent conversion into a mother ship for a Type A midget submarine the conversion work was completed on 10 November 1941. [4] The submarines I-16, I-18, I-20, and I-22 also underwent the conversion. [6] By 15 November 1941, I-24 was a part of Submarine Division 3 in Submarine Squadron 1 in the 6th Fleet. [4]

At the Kure Navy Club in Kure, Japan, on 17 November 1941, the commander of Submarine Division 3 briefed the commanding officers of the five converted submarines on the upcoming attack on Pearl Harbor and on the role of their submarines in it. [4] He had been designated the commander of the Special Attack Unit, made up of all five submarines, each of which was to launch a Type A midget submarine off Pearl Harbor so that the midget submarines could participate in the attack. [4] [6] I-22 was to serve as flagship of the Special Attack unit. [4]

On 18 November 1941, the five submarines moved from Kure to the Kamegakubi Naval Proving Ground, where each embarked a Type A midget submarine. [4] At 02:15 on 19 November 1941, the five submarines got underway from Kamegakubi bound for the Hawaiian Islands, [4] taking a direct route that took them south of Midway Atoll. [4] While at sea, they received the message "Climb Mount Niitaka 1208" (Japanese: Niitakayama nobore 1208 ) from the Combined Fleet on 2 December 1941, indicating that war with the Allies would commence on 8 December 1941 Japan time, which was on 7 December 1941 on the other side of the International Date Line in Hawaii. [4]

World War II Edit

Pearl Harbor Edit

At 03:33 on 7 December 1941, I-24 launched her midget submarine, No. 19, 10.5 nautical miles (19.4 km 12.1 mi) west-southwest of the entrance to Pearl Harbor. [4] No. 19 began to broach after I-24 launched her, but her two-man crew got her back under control. [4]

No. 19 reached the entrance of the harbor at 07:00, but was unable to enter before the air strike began. [4] No. 19 surfaced at around 08:00 and ran aground on a reef, where the United States Navy destroyer USS Helm (DD-388) sighted her. [4] Helm opened fire, her shells missing but blowing No. 19 free of the reef. [4] The concussion disabled No. 19′s torpedo firing mechanism and knocked her commander, Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki, unconscious. [4] After Sakamaki regained consciousness, No. 19 again ran aground. [4] Her two-man crew shifted her ballast and refloated her, but after that No. 19 would not answer the helm. [4] While drifting, No 19 survived several depth charge attacks. [4] Her crew tried to beach her, but she ran aground again on a reef. [4] Sakamaki lit the fuses of No. 19′s self-destruct charges, which did not explode, and both men abandoned ship. [4] Knocked unconscious in the surf, Sakamaki washed ashore at Waimanalo Beach on the east coast of Oahu on 8 December 1941 and was captured, becoming the first Japanese prisoner-of-war of World War II. [4] His crewman drowned, but No. 19 was captured and in 1991 went on display in the United States at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. [4]

I-24 and the other four "mother" submarines proceeded to the planned recovery area for their midget submarines west of Lanai, where they spent the night of 7–8 December 1941. [4] None of the midget submarines returned. Early on 9 December 1941, I-18, I-20, and I-24 received orders to leave the recovery area. [4] The remainder of I-24′s patrol was uneventful, and she concluded it with her arrival at Kwajalein. [4]

First war patrol Edit

On 4 January 1942, I-18, I-22, and I-24 departed Kwajalein to begin their first war patrols, assigned patrol areas off the Hawaiian Islands. [4] On 18 January 1942, they departed their patrol areas, and I-18 and I-24 received orders to bombard Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. [4] On 25 January 1942, the two submarines surfaced in darkness off Midway and I-24 opened fire with her 140-millimeter (5.5 in) deck gun. [4] United States Marine Corps coastal artillery promptly returned fire, forcing I-24 to submerge after firing only six rounds. [4] I-18 also submerged without ever having opened fire on the atoll. [4]

After the bombardment attempt, I-24 as well as I-18 and I-22 set course for Japan. Unknown to them, the U.S. submarine USS Gudgeon (SS-211) had received Ultra intelligence information alerting her to their activities and routes. [4] She did not sight any of them, but while searching for them she encountered and sank the submarine I-73, which was following the same route, 240 nautical miles (440 km 280 mi) west of Midway on 27 January 1942. [4] I-24 arrived at Yokosuka along with I-18, I-22, and the submarines I-4, I-5, I-6, and I-7 on 2 February 1942. [4]

February–April 1942 Edit

While I-24 was in Japan, she and the other 10 submarines of Submarine Squadron 8 conducted extensive exercises in the Seto Inland Sea, which they completed on 11 April 1942. [4] By that date, I-24 was assigned to Submarine Division 3 with I-21 and I-22, which together with Submarine Division 14 — consisting of I-27, I-28, and I-29 — made up the Eastern Advanced Detachment, which was under the overall command of Submarine Division 3′s commander. [4] [6]

On 15 April 1942, I-24 got underway from Kure bound for Truk along with the other submarines of the detachment. [4] [6] During their voyage, 16 United States Army Air Forces B-25 Mitchell bombers launched by the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) struck targets on Honshu in the Doolittle Raid on 18 April 1942. [6] The detachment received orders that day to divert from its voyage and head east-northeast at flank speed to intercept the U.S. Navy task force that had launched the strike, but the orders were canceled on 19 April and the submarines resumed their voyage to Truk, which they reached on 24 April 1942. [6]

Second war patrol Edit

On 30 April 1942, I-22, I-24, I-28, and I-29 got underway from Truk to form a patrol line southwest of Guadalcanal in support of Operation MO, a planned Japanese invasion of Tulagi in the Solomon Islands and Port Moresby on New Guinea. [4] [6] While they were en route, aircraft from the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) — both SBD Dauntless dive bombers of Scouting Squadron 5 (VS-5) and TBD Devastator torpedo bombers of Torpedo Squadron 5 (VT-5) — attacked I-24 on 2 May 1942, [4] but she avoided damage.

The Battle of the Coral Sea began on 4 May 1942 as Allied forces moved to block the Japanese offensive. [4] As the battle continued, the four Japanese submarines arrived in their assigned areas and formed their patrol line on 5 May 1942. [4] While the Japanese seized Tulagi and were turned back from Port Moresby, I-24′s patrol passed quietly. [6] The four submarines received orders on 11 May 1942 to return to Truk. [4] While they were en route, the submarine USS Tautog (SS-199) sighted two Japanese submarines — probably I-22 and I-24 — proceeding separately on the surface and unsuccessfully attacked one of them early on the morning of 17 May 1942, but a few hours later sank I-28, which was trailing I-22 and I-24 on the same course. [4] I-22 arrived safely at Truk later that day. [4]

Attack on Sydney Harbour and third war patrol Edit

On the day she arrived at Truk, I-24 embarked a Type A midget submarine delivered by the seaplane tender Chiyoda. [4] Assigned to a Special Attack Unit along with her fellow midget-submarine mother ships I-22 and I-27 and the seaplane-carrying submarines I-21 and I-29 — each of them with an embarked Yokosuka E14Y1 (Allied reporting name "Glen") floatplane — she got underway in company with I-24 and I-27 on 18 May 1942 bound for Sydney, Australia, to launch a midget submarine attack against ships in Sydney Harbour. [4] On 19 May 1942, when she surfaced to charge her batteries and conduct maintenance work on her midget submarine, the midget′s two-man crew smelled a strong scent of chlorine when they entered their craft, and when its enlisted crewman turned on a light, a large explosion occurred which blew him overboard and severely burned the midget′s commander. [4] The enlisted man′s body was never found despite an extensive search. [4] I-24 returned to Truk on 20 May 1942, unloaded the damaged midget submarine and its injured commander, and embarked another midget submarine — M17 — and crew originally intended for the sunken I-28. [4] She quickly got back underway for Truk.

During the voyage to Sydney, I-22, I-24, and I-27 received reconnaissance reports from I-29, which launched her floatplane to reconnoiter Sydney Harbour on 23 May 1942, and I-21, whose floatplane conducted a reconnaissance flight early on the morning of 29 May 1942 and sighted the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29) at Sydney, mistakenly reporting her as a battleship. [4] That day, the commander of the Eastern Advanced Detachment ordered the three submarines to launch the midget submarine attack. [4]

On 30 May 1942, I-22, I-24, and I-27 arrived off Sydney. [4] [6] Late on the afternoon of 31 May, they launched their midget submarines to begin what became known as the Attack on Sydney Harbour [4] I-24 launched M17 7.5 nautical miles (13.9 km 8.6 mi) off Sydney at 17:40. At 22:07 on 31 May, all ships in the harbor were alerted to the presence of Japanese submarines, and Chicago opened fire on M17 with her antiaircraft guns. [4] At 00:29 on 1 June 1942, M17 fired a torpedo at Chicago [4] which missed her but exploded against a breakwater. The explosion sank HMAS Kuttabul, an old ferry in use as a Royal Australian Navy barracks ship, killing 21 sailors sleeping on board, and damaged the Royal Netherlands Navy submarine HNLMS K IX. [4] Her second and last torpedo went aground on Garden Island. [4] M17 subsequently disappeared, and her crew later was listed as missing in action. [4]

I-22, I-24, and I-27 loitered off Sydney until 3 June 1942 in the hope of recovering their midget submarines — none of which returned — then gave up hope and departed the area, splitting up to begin anti-shipping patrols. [4] At dusk on 3 June, I-24 was on the surface recharging her batteries east of Sydney, 35 nautical miles (65 km 40 mi) southeast of Norah Head, when she sighted the Australian 4,734-gross register ton coastal steamer Age. [4] She fired a torpedo and four 140-millimeter (5.5 in) rounds from her deck gun at Age but did not damage her. [4] Age reported the attack and broke contact with I-24, although I-24′s crew believed Age had sunk. [4] About 90 minutes later while 27 nautical miles (50 km 31 mi) east of Sydney, I-24 fired two torpedoes at the Australian 4,812-ton merchant ship Iron Chieftain, which was on a voyage from Newcastle, New South Wales, to Whyalla, South Australia, with a cargo of coke and shipyard materials. [4] One of the torpedoes hit her port side amidships, and she sank about five minutes later. [4] On 5 June 1942, I-24 sighted the Australian 3,362-ton merchant ship Echunga — bound from Whyalla to Port Kembla, New South Wales — 17 nautical miles (31 km 20 mi) off Wollongong, New South Wales, and gave chase, but did not inflict any damage on her. [4]

On 8 June 1942, I-24 surfaced after midnight 4 nautical miles (7.4 km 4.6 mi) off Sydney and opened fire on the Sydney Harbour Bridge with her 140-millimeter (5.5 in) deck gun. [4] She fired ten rounds, none of which hit the bridge and nine of which were duds. [4] The only shell that exploded leveled part of a house in Sydney′s eastern suburbs, and duds caused some minor additional damage. [4] No one was injured, although panicked residents of the Sydney area fled out of fear that a Japanese invasion had begun. [4] When the Australians turned on searchlights to find I-24, she ceased fire and submerged before coastal artillery batteries could open fire on her. [4] A United States Army Air Forces P-39 Airacobra fighter of the 35th Pursuit Group′s 41st Pursuit Squadron that took off from Bankstown Aerodrome to find and attack I-24 crashed just after takeoff. [4]

Just before dawn on 9 June 1942, I-24 sighted the British 7,748-ton merchant ship Orestes southeast of Jervis Bay. [4] She fired two torpedoes, both of which detonated prematurely, then opened fire on Orestes with her deck gun. [4] She scored only one hit and, seeing no sign of a fire breaking out about Orestes, I-24′s commanding officer decided to abandon the pursuit. [4] Orestes survived, and I-24 concluded her patrol with her arrival at Kwajalein on 25 June in company with I-21, I-22, I-27, and I-29. [4] She then proceeded to Yokosuka, which she reached on 12 July 1942. [4]

Guadalcanal campaign Edit

During I-24′s stay at Yokosuka, the Guadalcanal campaign began on 7 August 1942 with U.S. amphibious landings on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Florida Island, Gavutu, and Tanambogo in the southeastern Solomon Islands. [4] On 30 August 1942, she departed Yokosuka bound for the Solomon Islands to conduct her fifth war patrol. [4] On the morning of 13 September 1942, a Kawanishi H8K (Allied reporting name "Emily") flying boat reported a U.S. task force consisting of one aircraft carrier, two battleships, and two destroyers steaming north 343 nautical miles (635 km 395 mi) east-southeast of Guadalcanal, and I-24 received orders to form a patrol line with the submarines I-9, I-15, I-17, I-21, I-26, I-31, and I-33 in attempt to intercept the U.S. ships, but they did not succeed. [4]

During the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, which lasted from 25 to 27 October 1942, I-24 patrolled west of the Indispensable Strait as part of the "B" Group with I-9, I-15, I-21, and the submarines I-174 and I-175. [4] On 27 October she attacked a U.S. task force in the Solomon Sea at 15°05′S 159°45′W  /  15.083°S 159.750°W  / -15.083 -159.750 , firing a spread of torpedoes at a battleship. [4] She scored no hits, but heard the explosion of depth charges. [4]

I-24 arrived at the Japanese anchorage off Shortland Island in the Shortland Islands on 2 November 1942 and was assigned to an attack group which also included I-16 and I-20. [4] On 3 November she embarked the midget submarine No. 12 — which Chiyoda had delivered to the anchorage— and its two-man crew, and on 4 November she departed in company with I-16 bound for the Indispensable Strait off Guadalcanal. [4] She was patrolling there by 7 November, but her midget submarine malfunctioned, so she proceeded to Truk, which she reached on 13 November 1942. [4] No. 12 underwent repairs, then I-24 reembarked the midget submarine and got underway from Truk on 15 November. [4] On 22 November 1942, I-24 launched No. 12 14 nautical miles (26 km 16 mi) northwest of Cape Esperance on the northwest coast of Guadalcanal, after which No. 12 was never heard from again. [4]

At Shortland Island, I-24 embarked the midget submarine No. 38 on 1 December 1942 and launched No. 38 off Lungga Point on the northern coast of Gudalcanal at 01:42 on 7 December 1942. [4] No. 38 targeted the badly damaged cargo ship USS Alchiba (AK-23) , which had been beached off Lungga Point since No. 10, a midget submarine launched by I-16, had torpedoed her on 28 November 1942 while Alchiba was on a voyage from Nouméa, New Caledonia, to Guadalcanal with a cargo of aviation gasoline, bombs, and ammunition. [4] No. 38 torpedoed Alchiba at 06:59 on 7 December on her port side near her engine room. [4] Allied forces counterattacked No. 38 with depth charges, and she was never heard from again. [4] I-24 later proceeded to Truk.

New Guinea campaign Edit

On 3 January 1943, I-24 departed Truk bound for Rabaul, where she took up duties running supplies from Rabaul to New Guinea, where Japanese forces were fighting in the New Guinea campaign. [4] On her first run, she delivered 25 tons of food and ammunition and evacuated 79 Imperial Japanese Army soldiers at Buna on 11 January 1943. [4] She next called at Buna on 18 January, dropping off 20 tons of cargo and evacuating 58 soldiers and the battle flag of the 144th (Kochi) Infantry Division. [4] Her third visit to Buna was on 26 January 1943, when she discharged 16 tons of cargo and embarked 64 soldiers for transportation to Rabaul, which she reached on 28 January 1943. [4] She called at Buna for the last time on 10 February 1943, unloading 16 tons of cargo and bringing aboard 71 soldiers. [4]

I-24′s next supply run was to Lae, where she discharged 32 tons of cargo and picked up 72 soldiers on 10 February 1943. [4] On her last New Guinea supply run, she visited Lae on 17 February 1943, delivered 38.5 tons of cargo and evacuated 64 soldiers. [4] She then proceeded to Japan, where she arrived at Yokosuka on 6 March 1943 for an overhaul. [4] With her overhaul complete, she put to sea from Yokosuka on 7 May 1943. [4]

Aleutian Islands campaign Edit

Japanese forces had occupied Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands in June 1942, beginning the Aleutian Islands campaign, and by the spring of 1943 the Japanese garrisons in the two islands were becoming increasingly isolated. On 11 May 1943 U.S. forces landed on Attu, beginning the Battle of Attu. I-24 arrived at Kure on 20 May, and on 21 May, as the situation on Attu deteriorated, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters decided to abandon the garrison on Attu and evacuate the isolated garrison on Kiska [4] by submarine, with the evacuation to begin on 26 May 1943. [7]

On 21 May, I-24 was assigned to the Northern District Force in the 5th Fleet for service in Aleutian waters, and that day she departed Kure bound for the Kuril Islands, where she called at Paramushiro. [4] She got back underway on 30 May 1943 for Attu, where she hoped to bring aboard survivors of the Japanese garrison at Chichagof Harbor. [4] U.S. forces had completed the conquest of Attu on 30 May 1943 and annihilated the Japanese garrison, however, and after three unsuccessful attempts to contact any surviving Japanese ashore, she gave up. [4] She departed the Attu area on 5 June 1943 to move to a patrol area off Kiska. [4] On 7 June 1943, she transmitted a message reporting many Allied ships in the vicinity of Kiska. [4] The Japanese never heard from her again. [4]

Loss Edit

The Japanese declared I-24 to be presumed lost with all hands on 11 June 1943. [4] She was stricken from the Navy list on 1 August 1943. [4]


Alchiba-AK-23 - History

USS Alchiba , a 14,125 ton cargo ship, was built at Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1938-40 as the civilian freighter Mormacdove . She was acquired by the Navy in June 1941 and soon placed in commission. During the rest of the year, she operated in the western and north Atlantic, reaching as far east as Iceland. In early 1942, Alchiba went to the Pacific to take cargo to the Society Islands, then returned to the U.S. east coast by way of Chile and the Panama Canal. She was back in the Pacific in mid-June and arrived in New Zealand the next month to become part of the Amphibious Force. In early August she took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal and continued to provide logistics support for the Guadalcanal campaign during the next four months.

On 28 November 1942, while anchored off Guadalcanal's Lunga Point, Alchiba was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-16 , setting fire to her forward holds. She was run aground to prevent sinking, and the blazes were extinguished after five days of hard work. However, on 7 December the ship was again torpedoed, probably by a Japanese midget submarine, opening up her after hull and starting more fires. Again, Alchiba 's crew controlled the flooding and flames. Her wounds were patched up sufficiently for her to return to the United States for permanent repairs, which lasted until August 1943. Meanwhile, in February 1943, she had been reclassified as an attack cargo ship, with the new hull number AKA-6.

During the rest of 1943 and into March 1944, Alchiba performed logistics duties in the South Pacific, also taking part in the invasion of Bougainville in November 1943. Following an overhaul in mid-1944, the ship was plagued by recurrent engine troubles, was in and out of shipyards for the next year, and completed only one voyage to the south Pacific during this time. In July and August 1945, Alchiba crossed the ocean to deliver cargo to bases in the central and western Pacific. She stayed in the former combat zone until late October and then returned to the U.S., reaching the east coast by way of the Panama Canal in mid-December. USS Alchiba was decommissioned in January 1946. Transferred to the Maritime Commission in July of that year, she was sold to commercial interests in 1948.

This page features all our views of USS Alchiba (AK-23, later AKA-6).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 18 June 1941.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 79KB 740 x 595 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 18 June 1941.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 80KB 740 x 560 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 18 June 1941.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 90KB 740 x 590 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Photographed circa early 1942.
Note her camouflage scheme.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 83KB 740 x 550 pixels

Courtesy of James Russell.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 72KB 740 x 575 pixels

Guadalcanal-Tulagi Landings, 7-9 August 1942

A U.S. Marine Corps M2A4 "Stuart" light tank is hoisted from USS Alchiba (AK-23) into a LCM(2) landing craft, off the Guadalcanal invasion beaches on the first day of landings there, 7 August 1942.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 130KB 530 x 765 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Fighting fires in her forward holds, with the assistance of a tug (probably USS Bobolink , AT-131), while she was aground off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, circa late November 1942.
Torpedoed on 28 November by the Japanese submarine I-16 and torpedoed again on 7 December, she was salvaged and repaired.
Note smoke venting from the top of her kingposts.

U.S. Marine Corps Photograph.

Online Image: 80KB 740 x 530 pixels

Afire off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, circa late November 1942, after she had been torpedoed in the forward holds.
Alchiba was torpedoed on 28 November by the Japanese submarine I-16 . Her crew ran her aground and delivered her cargo while fighting fires, which burned until 2 December. She was torpedoed again on 7 December, but was salvaged and reentered service.
Photographed by Sgt. Robert Brenner.

U.S. Marine Corps Photograph.

Online Image: 76KB 740 x 605 pixels

Aground and afire off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, circa late November 1942. She had been torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-16 on 28 November.
Men are handling cargo on the beach, possibly assisting in unloading Alchiba while she was fighting her fires.
Note barbed wire fencing in the foreground.


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