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USS Algorab (AKA-8)

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USSProcyon.jpg Arcturus-class AKA, similar to USS Algorab
Laid down: 10 August 1938
Launched: 15 June 1939
Commissioned: 15 June 1941
Decommissioned: 3 December 1945
Struck: 19 December 1945
Fate: Commercial service from 1947. Scrapped in 1973.
General Characteristics
Hull type: C2
Displacement: 14,225 tons
Length: 459 ft 1 in (140 m)
Beam: 63 ft (19.2 m)
Draft: 26 ft 5 in (8.0 m)
Propulsion: one 2-stroke, 4 cylinder single-acting Doxford diesel, single propeller, 6,000 shp (4.5 MW)
Speed: 16.5 knots (31 km/h)
Complement: 397
Armament: 1 × 5"/38 caliber DP gun,
4 × twin 40 mm AA guns,
18 × 20 mm AA guns
Boats: 8 LCM, 14 LCVP

USS Algorab (AKA-8) was an Arcturus class attack cargo ship named after Algorab, a star in the constellation Corvus. She served as a commissioned ship for 4 years and 5 months, winning four battle stars for her World War II service.


Algorab was laid down as (AK-25) under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 20) on 10 August 1938 by the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pa.; launched on 15 June 1939; sponsored by Miss Mary Aldrich; acquired by the Navy on 6 June 1941; and commissioned at Boston, Mass., on 15 June 1941, CDR Thomas B. Inglis in command.

Following her commissioning, the cargo ship held shakedown along the east coast. On 4 October, she proceeded to Little Placentia Harbor, Newfoundland. There she joined an Iceland-bound convoy, sailed on 12 October, and reached Hvalfjordur on 9 November. After discharging her cargo, the ship returned to New York City, where she underwent repairs and alterations. She got underway again on 6 December and steamed to Norfolk.


On 5 February 1942, Algorab sailed to the Caribbean with general cargo on board. She stopped at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After loading raw sugar in Cuba, the ship carried it to Baltimore. She moved to New York City shortly thereafter and embarked Army troops for transportation to the South Pacific. She transited the Panama Canal; made port calls at San Diego and San Francisco, Calif.; then continued on to Nukualofa, Tongatabu. Algorab reached Nukualofa on 27 June; then retraced her course to San Francisco; and, upon her return, began a period of repairs.

Algorab left San Francisco on 9 August bound via the Panama Canal for Norfolk. While conducting a tactical maneuver in convoy on 11 September, she collided with USS Harris (AP-8) and suffered extensive damage in the forepart of the ship. Twenty-three feet of her bow was sheared off and one of her bulkheads buckled. One of her crewmen was killed. However, the ship was able to continue unassisted and reached Norfolk on 13 September.

Her repairs completed on 7 October, Algorab loaded and proceeded in company with Transport Division (TransDiv) 5 to Mehdia, French Morocco. She was scheduled to take part in the landings in North Africa. These began on 8 November, and Algorab provided landing boats for assault troops. Ten days later, after completing her role in the successful invasion, she left the area on 18 November bound for Norfolk, where she arrived on 30 November.

She underwent a brief period of repairs, then sailed on 17 December for the South Pacific.


The ship reached Noumea, New Caledonia, on 18 January 1943 and discharged her cargo. On 1 February, the ship was reclassified an attack cargo ship and redesignated AKA-8. She spent the period between January and June supporting consolidation operations in the southern Solomon Islands. Algorab made a total of five voyages between New Caledonia, Espiritu Santo, and Guadalcanal or Tulagi.

On 30 June, Algorab took part in the landings on Rendova Island. While retiring to Tulagi that afternoon, her convoy was attacked by Japanese torpedo bombers. Her gunners assisted in the destruction of five enemy planes, and the attack cargo ship proceeded to Tulagi. From 1 July to 17 August, she made more voyages carrying troops and equipment between Guadalcanal; Hollandia, New Guinea; New Caledonia; and Espiritu Santo.

Algorab sailed for Australia, on 22 August, arrived at Sydney on the 25th, and began repairs to her main engine. On 15 September, the attack cargo ship sailed to New Castle, Australia, for amphibious warfare training exercises. After they were completed, she sailed to Moreton Bay, Australia, and remained at anchor there until 22 November. On that date, the ship entered drydock at Brisbane for a major overhaul.


Algorab got underway for the west coast on 5 September 1944, under tow and operating on reduced power. She reached San Francisco on 30 September for major engine repairs and hull alterations at the Moore Drydock Co., Oakland, CA.


She left drydock on 30 January 1945 and, following engine trials, sailed on 5 February en route to Leyte, Philippines. The ship paused at Eniwetok to join a convoy; put in at Leyte on 4 March; and, upon her arrival, began onloading ammunition, vehicles, and provisions earmarked for the Ryukyus campaign.

Algorab sailed with TransDiv 37 on 27 March, arrived off Okinawa on 1 April, and sent off her boats at 0600. Her cargo was completely unloaded by 9 April, and Algorab sailed that day for Hawaii. She made a brief stop in Saipan, reached Pearl Harbor on 24 April, and underwent another period of engine repairs before the vessel sailed on 10 May for San Francisco.

Upon her arrival, on 18 May, Algorab received repairs at the General Engineering & Drydock Co. which continued through October. On 14 October, preparations were begun for deactivation. Algorab was decommissioned on 3 December, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 19 December. She was returned to the Maritime Commission on 30 June 1946.


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