Coast Guard Manned Frigates in WWII

Here is a little article (unfortunately this link is now broken) about an ordinary Coastie’s experience in WWII that, in addition to having a cute dog story, includes reference to a little remembered program that resulted in the Coast Guard manning 75 Tacoma Class Patrol frigates (PFs), beginning in October 1943. These ships were adaptations of the British “River” Class, a design similar in purpose to Destroyer Escorts, but built to merchant standards by the Maritime Commission.

The ships were 2238 tons full load, 304 feet in length, with a 36’6′ beam and 12’8″ draft. They were steam powered and used triple expansion reciprocating engines for 5,500 HP and a speed of 20 knots. They had a range of 9500 nmi at 12 knots. The ships were typically armed with three 3″/50s, two twin 40mms, nine 20mms, a “hedgehog” multiple ASW mortar, depth charges, and eight depth charge projectors (K-Guns).

Twenty-three of the class were converted to serve as weather ships with the aft 3″/50 replaced by a balloon shelter and the crew reduced from 190 to 176. They replaced Coast Guard manned merchant ships that had been providing the service previously.

The battle, with subsequent rescue, referred to in the article, was the Battle off Samar, an inspiring story, worth a look if you are not familiar with it.