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SS Benjamin Ide Wheeler
File:SS John W Brown.jpg
SS John W Brown, a ship of the same class as the Benjamin Ide Wheeler
Career (United States)
Name: Benjamin Ide Wheeler
Namesake: Benjamin Ide Wheeler
Owner: United States Maritime Commission (USMC)
Builder:
  • California Shipbuilding Corp.
  • Los Angeles, California
Laid down: 28 October 1942
Launched: 27 Novovmber 1942
Completed: 17 Decmebr 1942
Fate: Scrpped 1948 as sinking and refloated
General characteristics
Class & type:
  • Liberty ship
  • type EC2-S-C1, standard
Tonnage: 7,000 LT DWT
Length: 441 ft 6 in (135 m)
Beam: 56 ft 10.75 in (17.3419 m)
Draft: 27 ft 9.25 in (8.4646 m)
Propulsion:
  • 2 × oil-fired boilers
  • 1 × triple-expansion steam engine, 2,500 horsepower (1,900 kW)
  • 1 × screw propeller
Speed: 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h)
Capacity: 10,800 long tons deadweight (DWT)
Complement: 41
Armament:
  • Stern-mounted 4"/50 caliber (102 mm) gun for use against surfaced submarines
  • variety of anti-aircraft guns

SS Benjamin Ide Wheeler was a Liberty ship, a cargo ship during World War II. Built by California Shipbuilding Corporation (Calship) of Los Angeles for the United States Maritime Commission (USMC). Benjamin Ide Wheeler was Calship's 100th ship built. She was sponsored and christened by Mrs. Robert Gordon Sproul, wife of Robert Gordon Sproul President of the University of California system.[1] She was named after Benjamin Ide Wheeler President of the University of California from 1899 to 1919.[2] Her Hull # was 675, she was type EC2-S-C1 ship, built in 50 days as part of the Emergency Shipbuilding Program. Her keel was laid down on 28 October 1942, launched on 27 November 1942 and delivered on 17 December 1942. She was assigned to American-Hawaiian Steamship Company of San Francisco for merchant operation by the War Shipping Administration (WSA).[3]

World war 2[]

Benjamin Ide Wheeler departed San Francisco on 27 January 1944 with war dogs for India. Wheeler arrived at Calcutta on 6 April 1944. Some of the dogs were sent to Burma. The dogs were used by the United States Marine Corps and US Army. The US Army's Veterinary Service cared for the dogs on the ship and at arrival.[4]

Benjamin Ide Wheeler continued from India with her other cargo and passengers: 267 Army Engineers with all their gear, including high explosives and gasoline.

Benjamin Ide Wheeler continued from India to the Philippines, to be part of the supply ships that supported the Battle of Leyte from 7 October to 26 December 1944 in the Pacific war campaign. Before she could drop anchor at Leyte Gulf, Empire of Japan planes started attacking her. SS Benjamin Ide Wheeler's United States Navy Armed Guards had to man the ship's deck guns 353 times in 76 days. But on 27 October 1944 a Kamikaze Zero plane dive-bomber already hit and smoking crashed down into one of her cargo holds. The plane and its aerial bomb exploded and sank the ship in 36 feet of water, the United States Navy Armed Guard were able to continue to defend, as the deck guns were above the waterline. It is reported that they shot down four planes that day. One Seaman and Armed Guard were killed in the explosion. Earle Woodring received a Bronze Star Medal for his actions.[5]

She was refloated and use as a stationary depot ship at Leyte. She was not repaired and was scrapped after the war in 1948. [6][7][8][9][10][11]

See also[]

External links[]

References[]

  1. The Log, Volume 37, page 27, Dec. 1944
  2. Benjamin Ide Wheeler. Columbia Encyclopedia. 
  3. shipbuildinghistory.com, merchant ships, liberty ships
  4. The Medical Department of the United States Army in World War II., By United States. Army Medical Service, page 633
  5. All Hands, Dec. 1946 Page 65
  6. Patriots and Heroes, Volume 1, Page 186, by Gerald Reminick
  7. Pacific Marine Review - Volume 42 - Page 59
  8. The Ship That Never Was, By B.J. BRYAN, page 168
  9. Splinter Fleet: The Wooden Subchasers of World War II, By Theodore Treadwell
  10. Kamikaze Attacks of World War II: A Complete History of Japanese Suicide, By Robin L. Rielly, page 339
  11. Unsung Sailors: The Naval Armed Guard in World War II - Page 314, by Justin F. Gleichauf

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