Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Defending the East Coast: adapting and converting commercial ships for military operations
by Sassorossi, William Scott, M.A., East Carolina University, 2015, 216; 1590156
Abstract (Summary)

The United States was not fully prepared for war in the Atlantic Ocean directly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Closely following the attack, Germany declared war on the United States and Hitler's deadly U-boats would soon arrive along the East Coast to wreak havoc on merchant shipping. Plans and operations needed to be put in place to counter the U-boats' ability to strike unprotected ships and to do so, unconventional means were used. By acquiring ships of all types from both public and commercial sectors and adapting some for military use, the United States Navy quickly enabled a serviceable military response to the U-boat menace.

This study will focus on converted fishing trawlers used for military action, specifically those wrecked off the coast of North Carolina. The vessels HMS Senateur Duhamel and HMT Bedfordshire were loaned to the United States by the British Royal Navy to assist in anti-submarine duties in February, 1942. Soon thereafter, YP-389, an American built vessel, was put into service as well. All of these vessels were used commercially prior to the outbreak of the war and then converted for military operations. The purpose of this study is to better understand each ship's use as a military vessel, including how each was adapted for military use and why they were chosen for certain operational duties. It is also the purpose of this study to reassess Keith Muckelroy's claim that archaeologists do not need to study modern ships built according to plan, by testing if records pertaining to the modifications made to each vessel match the archaeological evidence. Combining historical and archaeological references this study hopes to process the information and determine the success of each vessel, validate whether or not modifications were made according to plan, as well as to understand broader military modification of commercially adapted vessels.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Richards, Nathan
Commitee: Dudley, Wade, Hoyt, Joseph, Rodgers, Bradley
School: East Carolina University
Department: Maritime Studies
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: MAI 54/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Military history
Keywords: Adaptation, Conversion, Modeling, North carolina, Trawlers, World war two
Publication Number: 1590156
ISBN: 978-1-321-78909-6
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