AVGAS, MOGAS & JET FUEL: The Untold Story of the Navy's Patapsco-class Gasoline Tankers By Paul Gryniewicz 286 Pgs, Illustrated, 6-in x 9-in, Paperback. ISBN:l-59975-257-3 $18.95. Fair Seas Publishing. 1990 N. Alma School Rd., Chandler, AZ; www.fairseas.net
A year ago or so, Sea Classics had the privilege of publishing several articles on one of the US Navy's leastknown wartime workhorses - the 26 ships of the Pafapsco-class gasoline tankers. The author of these articles knew his topic well for he had spent four years of his life as a gunner's mate aboard USS Noxubee (AOG-56) 'during the Vietnam War. A hundred interviews of former AOG crewmen later, Paul has finished his comprehensive unofficial history by publishing a long-overdue book-length tribute to these unheralded warships. And a proud history it is, told with authority, detail and great affection.
The AOGs long boasted the sobriquet "Always On the Go!" Medium-sized, 1850-ton, 310-ft long vessels they were officially known in Naval parlance as Tl-MT-Ml tankers. Built in 1942/1943, they carried 680,000-gal of liquids in ten tanks and had provision for 16,000cubic feet of dry cargo space. Powered by four GM 16-cylinder 1000 hp diesels driving four GE main propulsion motors they could make 14-kts on their twin screws. Wellarmed for their size, they boasted four 3-in/50 DP guns, plus twelve 20mm AA guns and two .50-cal machine guns. Early units were fitted with K guns and depth charges for limited anti-submarine warfare capability.
Entering service not a moment too soon, the 24 AOGs quickly proved their worth in both the Atlantic and Pacific where their voluminous tanks soon fed a veritable parade of Allied aircraft and vehicles in every war zone. In combat, these nimble auxiliaries proved they could take it as well as dish out trouble to all enemies. From island to island, the AOGs saw their share of action as kamikazes especially singled them out for destruction. Though sustaining considerable damage during the long and bloody road to Tokyo, not one of these stout tankers was lost to the enemy. Many of their class were retained for postwar Naval service well into the late 1970s.
Paul treats his readers to a wealth of factual accounts regarding the exploits of these vessels in war and peace. He blends his fast moving narrative with just the right amount of technical detail as the men who manned these very memorable vessels relate harrowing stories of extraordinary courage, and devotion to duty. Providing a capsule history of each ship, this remarkably comprehensive salute to a little-known class of warships is made all the more telling by the fact that several of these vessels are still in active service with third-world Navies today. A good read about a fascinating member of the fleet train.
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Source: Sea Classics