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Susan B. Anthony
( AP-72: t. 8,193; 1. 605'2; b. 63'6; dr. 25'; B. 18
Susan B. Anthony-a passenger steamer built at Camden, N.J., for the Grace Steamship Company—was launched in March 1930 by the New York Shipbuilding Company as the SS Santa Clara. She was acquired by the Navy on 7 August 1942; renamed Susan B. Anthony; converted at Bethlehem Steel's New York yard; and commissioned on 7 September 1942, Capt. Henry Hartley assumed command on the 29th.
After almost a month of drills and exercises in the lower Chesapeake Bay, the transport, carrying troops and equipment, steamed out of the bay on 23 October for the coast of North Africa. At the completion of a 15-day passage, she arrived in the transport area off Mehdia, French Morocco. Early the next morning, on 8 November, the Northern Attack Group opened the assault upon Mehdia and Port Lyautey. Despite the general difficulties encountered in handling landing craft, AP-72 disembarked her troops and unloaded their equipment in relatively good order. She remained in the area a week before sailing on the 15th for Safi to unload the rest of her cargo. She departed that port on 18 November bound for Norfolk, Va., and anchored at Hampton Roads on the last day of the month.
For the next seven months, Susan B. Anthony shuttled troops and supplies across the Atlantic to North Africa, making three voyages; the first to Casablanca and the other two to Oran, Algeria. After a brief excursion to the Gulf of Arzeu ferrying men and equipment, she returned to Oran on 25 June 1943 to prepare for the campaign against Sicily. She embarked men and loaded materiel on 30 June and 1 July, fueled on the 2d, and stood out from 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 following day landing troops and equipment. By 0435, the ships of the assault force were under attack by enemy aircraft. Bombs rained close to Anthony, but she emerged with only minor damage from bomb fragments. Just before 0600, she started toward the inshore anchorage, but withdrew after coming under fire from shore batteries. About four hours later, she was able to enter the anchorage and dispatch her salvage crew to aid broached and disabled landing craft.
Throughout that day and the next, air attacks kept her crew scurrying to battle stations. Just after 2200 on the 11th, a twin-engine plane singled out Anthony and commenced its run on her. By the time it had closed to within 1500 yards of the ship, Anthony's antiaircraft batteries had reduced it to a falling ball of fire. Less than 10 minutes later, another enemy bomber met a similar fate.
Late in the afternoon of 12 July, Susan B. Anthony weighted anchor for Oran. There, she loaded prisoners; sailed for the United States; and reached New York on 3 August 1943. For the next 10 months, Anthony moved back and forth across the Atlantic transporting soldiers and cargo between various points in the United States, England, Iceland, Ireland, and Scotland in preparation for Operation "Overlord," the cross-channel invasion of Europe at Normandy. During these voyages, she visited such places as Belfast Ireland; Holy Loch, Gourock, and Glasgow in Scotland; HvalfJordur and Reykjavik, Iceland; Mumbles and Milford Haven, Wales; and Newport England.
Early in the morning of 7 June 1944, while cruising through a swept channel off Normandy, she struck a mine which exploded under her number 4 hold. Immediately, she lost all power, and her rudder went hard left and stuck. By 0805, holds numbers 4 and 5 were shipping water badly, and the ship took on an eight degree list to starboard. In an effort to save his ship, the commanding officer, Comdr. T. L. 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, Pinto (AT-90) came alongside, prepared to tow the paralyzed Anthony to shallow water. However, soon thereafter, fires erupted in the engine and fire rooms' and the transport began to settle more rapidly. At this point, the captain concluded that the ship was lost and ordered her abandoned. With Pinto and two destroyers alongside, the troops were evacuated expedition sly and without resorting to fireboats and rafts. Anthony's crew followed closely behind the soldiers. By 0905, 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 with Comdr. Gray soon following. At 1010, Susan B. Anthony was gone. No one was killed, and few of the 45 wounded were seriously hurt. She was struck from the Navy list on 29 July 1944.
Susan B. Anthony was awarded three battle stars for World War II service.
Susan B Anthony AP-72 - History
USS Susan B. Anthony (AP-72) on 14 September 1942
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.
Class: SUSAN B. ANTHONY (AP-72)
Design: Pass. & Cargo, 1929
Displacement (tons): 9,055 light
Dimensions (feet): 505.2' oa, 482.75' wl x 63.5' molded
Original Armament: 1-5"/51 4-3"/50 8-20mm
Later armaments: 4-3"/50 2-40mmT 20-20mm (1943)
Complement: 450 (1944)
Speed (kts.): 18
Machinery: Turbo-electric drive, 2 screws
|72||SUSAN B. ANTHONY||7 Aug 42||New York SB||4 Feb 29||14 Nov 29||7 Sep 42|
|72||SUSAN B. ANTHONY||--||29 Jul 44||7 Jun 44||Lost||--|
FY 1942. SANTA CLARA was a larger version of the British-built SANTA MARIA (later McCAWLEY, APA-4) and SANTA BARBARA (later BARNETT, APA-5), 20 feet longer, two knots faster, and about the same tonnage. Her propulsion was different, consisting of two turboelectric units with a combined output of 12,000 hp. All three ships had two smokestacks, but the forward one was a dummy which on each ship the Navy cut down to a stump during conversion.
On 9 Jun 41 the Philadelphia Navy Yard delivered to the Bureau of Construction and Repair plans for the conversion of SANTA CLARA to a combat-loading troop transport (XAP). The drawings provided for a total of 26 36-foot landing craft and an armament including 5" and 3"/50 guns and 8-.50 cal. AA machine guns (on foundations for 20mm guns). BuShips told the yard on 24 Jul 41 that in general it found the plans to be satisfactory subject to a few changes that it listed. On 30 Jun 41 Philadelphia had noted that it had no record of the "Id. number" for this ship, and that with the present system of numbering conversion drawings it was necessary to incorporate the Id. number in the title block. BuShips replied that the Id. number was 5043, the highest number known to have been assigned. The ship remained in commercial hands until she was taken over by the War Shipping Administration to support Army troop movements and converted by Robins DD (Todd), Brooklyn, N.Y. in late February 1942. She made two voyages to the southwest Pacific before transiting the Panama Canal in July enroute to New York, where the Navy took her over in August. Her merchant ship armament of 1-5"/51 (reassigned from the just burned USS LAFAYETTE, AP-53) and 1-3"/50 was installed at Robins in February 1942.
On 1 Aug 42 CominCh directed that arrangements be made immediately for the partial conversion and the manning by Navy crews of ten vessels, which he specified by name and which became AP 42-43 and 66-73, for use in connection with "prospective movements overseas of U. S. troops." (the North Africa landings). On 3 Aug 42 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended acquisition of these ships, three from the Army and seven including SANTA CLARA from WSA. The ships were to be Navy manned and converted to modified combat loaded transports. The "must" items for these conversions were that the vessels be able to run, shoot, hoist and lower landing boats and tank lighters, mess and berth their complements, and have bulk gas and Diesel stowage for fueling the landing craft, plus such other items of a combat loaded transport as might be possible during the limited availability. Specifically, the Board recommended that provision be made for carrying the maximum number of landing boats and tank lighters, including adequate fuel stowage for them, along with the accomplishment of such other conversion features as might be applicable on a not-to-delay basis. The Board noted that the program was an urgent one--the conversions were to be completed within 30 days of the arrival of the ships at the conversion yards or as soon thereafter as possible.
The Navy conversion instructions for SUSAN B. ANTHONY (ex SANTA CLARA) called for 6 Welin davits and stowage for 25 landing boats and 2 tank lighters, and she appears to have carried this loadout during the North Africa invasion. The surviving boats were put ashore in December, and in February 1943 the ship received eight merchant-type lifeboats. When landing craft were re-embarked in May 1943 the ship was noted to have tender stability. Calculations by BuShips revealed that the ship was "very critical" and in July the Bureau recommended she be used as a convoy-loaded transport (AP) and not as an APA. She participated in the Sicily operation with 21 LCVP, lost ten of them during the operation, and transferred the rest to USS THOMAS JEFFERSON (APA-30) afterwards. Her Welin davits were removed at the New York Navy Yard in August, when other topside weights were also removed and the 20mm gun armament was moved to lower positions.
Wreck of USS Susan B. Anthony (AP-72)
Laid down in 1929 as the commercial passenger/cargo steamship SS Santa Clara for Grace Lines and plying the commercial trades between South America and the US East Coast for twelve years after her 1930 delivery, the Santa Clara was acquired by the US Navy in August 1942 and underwent conversion into a troopship. With the conversion work completed in little over a month, the former Santa Clara was commissioned into US Navy service in September 1942 as the USS Susan B. Anthony (AP-72).
Following intensive training in the Chesapeake Bay aimed at familiarizing her crew with the complexities of launching, operating and recovering landing craft, the Susan B. Anthony loaded American Troops and cargo in Norfolk and stood out for North Africa on October 23rd. Arriving off French Morocco twelve days later, the Anthony and her crew began their part in the Second World War by offloading their cargo of men and material during 'Operation Torch'. With the Allied landings a success, the Anthony returned stateside and began making regular trips between the US and North Africa delivering fresh troops and supplies for the next seven months.
The Susan B. Anthony was again called upon to participate in an invasion in July 1943, this time at Sicily. After again loading troops and equipment stateside, she and her crew called at Oran to muster with the rest of the Invasion Force. Arriving off the coast of Scoglitti on July 9th, the Anthony again put her human cargo ashore, coming under concentrated air and shore battery attack several times during the process. Remaining on station for three days emptying her holds, the Anthony sailed for the US once again and resumed her duty shuttling men and material from the US to Europe through the North Atlantic for ten more months.
Receiving orders to report to Portsmouth to load US Troops and stores in mid-1944, the Susan B. Anthony and her crew were briefed on their next assignment, codenamed "Operation Overlord', the Allied Invasion of France. Standing out of Portsmouth in convoy with fellow troopships, the Anthony crossed the English Channel on June 5th and arrived off the Normandy Coast at dawn on June 6th, 1944. Sending her landing craft ashore at H-Hour (0630hrs), the crew aboard ship kept a wary eye out for German U-Boats, E-Boats or Luftwaffe aircraft as the Invasion Forces battled onshore. By nightfall, the Susan B. Anthony still had over 2000 soldiers still aboard which were scheduled to be put ashore at first light on June 7th, but just before dawn changing winds prompted the ship to shift Southward to facilitate the launching of her remaining troops.
Moving through a mine-swept channel towards her new discharge location, the Susan B. Anthony struck a free-floating mine under her #4 cargo hold, causing the ships rudder to lock hard to Port and allowing enormous amounts of seawater to enter the ship. Within minutes all power had been lost onboard and the ship had taken an 8-degree list to Starboard, prompting her Captain to order all the men onboard to the Port side, which brought her back to an even keel. Damage control teams reported that in addition to the #4 hold rapidly flooding the #5 hold was also beginning to ship massive amounts of water through damaged bulkheads, bringing the ship down by the bow. Assisted by the Fleet Tug USS Pinto (AT-90), an effort was made to tow the wounded troopship to shallower waters, but when reports of fire in the engine room reached the Captain, the decision was made to abandon the ship at 0830hrs. In what still stands as the largest maritime rescue of people without loss of life, all 2,689 soldiers and crew aboard the ship were removed without incident onto waiting Tugs, Destroyers, Minesweepers and landing craft, a process which took over half an hour. Her Captain stepped off his foundering vessel at exactly 1000hrs and by 1010hrs the Susan B. Anthony had sunk bow-first at this location on June 7th, 1944.
For her actions during the Second World War, the USS Susan B. Anthony received four Battle Stars.
USS Susan B. Anthony (AP-72) - 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 which exploded under her number 4 hold. Immediately, she lost all power, and her rudder went hard left and stuck. By 08:05, 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 T. L. Gray, USNR, ordered the embarked soldiers to move to the port side. This human ballast soon brought Anthony back to an even keel.
At 08:22, fleet tug Pinto came alongside, prepared to tow the paralyzed Anthony to shallow water. However, soon thereafter, fires erupted in the engine and fire rooms, and the transport began to settle more rapidly. At this point, the captain 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 fireboats and rafts. Anthony's crew followed closely behind the soldiers. By 09:05, 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 10:00, with Commander Gray soon following. At 10:10, Susan B. Anthony was gone. No one was killed, and few of the 45 wounded were seriously hurt. The Guinness Book of World Records 2000 has the sinking of the Susan B. Anthony listed as the largest rescue of people without loss of life all 2,689 people aboard were saved. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 29 July 1944.
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Invasion of Sicily, 1943 [ edit | edit source ]
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 1,500 yd (1,400 m), 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.
Interpretation of Anthony’s Choice
The problem with Anthony’s career was not that she continued advocating for women. I think in modern society, most feminists would not be able to imagine ceasing activist work for women in order to advocate exclusively for another group of people. The problem is also not that she advocated exclusively for women – throughout her career, Anthony fought for a universal suffrage that would benefit every citizen of the United States regardless of race or sex. The problem was that, in an effort to gather power to her cause, she joined with racists, she accommodated racism, and she used racist rhetoric as a means to reach her goal.
Her focus became narrow, and her choices did a great deal of harm to her former friends and colleagues (like Douglass, whose pain is described above). She also almost completely ignored the arguments for focusing on Black men (many People of Color, men and women, believed that if Black men could vote, that would protect them against violence in the former slave states). Frances Watkins Harper is an example of a suffragist who Anthony could have engaged more fully. As a Black woman, Harper held great hope that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments could really change the country and make it safe for people with her ethnic background. So although she fully supported women’s suffrage, she joined a women’s association that “accepted black male suffrage first and then turned to working for woman suffrage next.”
The deprioritization of women’s suffrage by many abolitionists does present a problem. Frederick Douglass was the reason that women’s suffrage was even an issue at all. He alone supported Stanton’s resolution at the Seneca Falls Women’s Convention (which included no black women). Douglass declared in his persuasive speech at that convention that he could not accept the right to vote if women didn’t also have the right. And because of his support, the resolution passed. But when he had his opportunity to fight for his right to vote alone – he did.
Black men and women of both colors were essentially told that they had to choose – Black men OR women. By focusing on the idea of a racial, sexual social hierarchy, Republicans and Democrats alike “depicted the enfranchisement of black men and of white women as oppositional.” Universal suffragists could have rejected that false binary and continued to fight together for truly universal suffrage. It might have been slower, but I think that strengthened solidarity would have made both causes much stronger and much more effective. As it was, Black men’s right to vote did not protect them from horrific violence at the hands of White supremacists throughout the country and women did not succeed in winning suffrage through the Fifteenth Amendment.
Anthony’s choice to fight sexism, particularly as suffered by White women, rather than to resist both racism against Black people and sexism against all women, was repeated by many White feminists throughout the Suffragist Movement. White suffragists did things like making Black women march in the back of a parade. They also ignored the causes taken up by Black women activists. Ida B. Wells had to go to England to find a White Quaker woman, Catherine Impey, who would listen to and support her protest against the prolific lynching, primarily of Black men, that was happening in the Southern United States.
By the 1890s, Black suffragists like Wells and Harper were forming their own organizations after being pushed out of their positions in the original, integrated organizations. White women continued to make accommodations for racist members, at the expense of their Black members, so in the last 20 years before the enactment of the Nineteenth amendment, there was very little interracial cooperation among suffragists.
That division had tragic consequences. Black women got the vote with White women – but – they were not protected from racist laws meant to suppress the votes of Black people. After the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, most White women suffragists did not continue fighting to actually enable Black women to use their right to vote. Black women, fighting mostly alone, only won the necessary protections from racist laws that excluded them from their rightful franchise with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For 45 years, the Black community continued to suffer horrific injustice as year after year, they were prevented from exercising their right to vote to make political changes. And the entire country suffered as we deprived ourselves of the full volume of Black voices and political contributions.
It is the shame of White suffragists that they chose to garner political power by abandoning Black suffragists, thus rendering themselves unable to hear the needs of the Black community – unable to fight for an amendment that would have been actually usable by Black women.
The racism of Susan B. Anthony is that she chose women over Black people – sexism over racism – a choice made possible only because she believed in a false dichotomy that resulted in the exclusion of those who suffered at the axis of both forms of oppression (namely Black women). She chose to do whatever she had to do to develop solidarity with people in power – instead of remaining in solidarity with oppressed people. She oppressed people in order to (try to) get what she wanted.
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