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Park Victory Table I

S/S Park Victory
16.5.1945 – 24.12.1947


Ship Building in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s

In the middle of the years 1930 there was a severe concern within the US Navy about the transport capacity on the oceans in times of crisis.

Consequently a law concerning the renewing of the merchant fleet was made up in 1936: The Merchant Marine Act. In 1938 it was decided that the US Maritime Commission should realize the law. Counter Admiral Emory Scott Land of the US Navy was appointed head of the commission.

Decision was made about:

  1. A long term program for the years 1937-1952, covering almost 6000 ships.
  2. A program for emergency situations during the war and after that:

Liberty – ships 2700 pcs

Victory- ships 534 pcs

The newbuildings were planned and constructed for the needs of the US Navy and for the naval forces. Ships were mass produced by the help of ready made components. A Victory-ship was for instance built of 30 000 components, manufactured all through the United States. The parts were transported by train to the shipyards, the number of which in 1943 was more than 80 along the United States coasts.

The construction of the ships was simplified. Riveting together was abandoned, instead the parts were assembled by welding. All functions of a Victory-ship were concentrated to the mid part, including the engine room.

The ships were also constructed in a way that allowed easy modifications. If necessary they could be rebuilt from a ship that transported war supplies to a ship that transported soldiers, from soldier transport ships to cattle transport ships, and further to dry cargo ships. The modifications could be carried out in just a couple of months.

Liberty-ships: (figure 1)

– named after persons – speed 11 knop

The Liberty-ship that was built in the shortest time was finished in 4 days, 15 hours and

29 minutes.

Victory-ships: (figure 2)

– named after federal states, or cities in the United States, or after colleges or universities in the United States

First of the Victory-ships was S/S United Victory (laid down 12 January 1944, launched

28 February 1944, completed for service 28 March 1944. (figure 3)

Henry J. Kaiser (1882-1967)

Behind this immense work was the American industrialist Mr. Henry J. Kaiser.

(figure 4)

He organized a system that made possible the mass construction of ships. (figure 5)

The building of ships in the shipyards implied the continuous availability of materials needed for the ship construction. If one single part was missing or delayed, this affected the schedule of the complete newbuilding. The shipyards needed the access of the components in a special order to assure that a newbuilding would be finished on schedule. Any production of ”second-rate products”? Partly yes! It was known that the Liberty-ships might ”break in half”. Their weak construction was not made for rough sea. This point was amended by adding lengthwise reinforcements.

Female labour

USA entered the second world war after Pearl Harbor. The majority of men were in war across the oceans. The industry, especially the war industry, needed labour. In order to get workers there was a huge operation to recruit female labour both to the shipyards and to other war equipment industry. (figure 6)

Text, material and editing Jouko Moisala / layout Maarit Nissilä