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USS SCANIA (AKA-40) Howard's hand-written comments: USS SCANIA. A light cargo vessal for island hopping supplies.

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Editor's note: When I posted the initial pictures of this vessal I was somewhat unsure as to its true identity due to lack of legible handwriting on the part of my great-uncle. I received the following note, via my father-in-law, from a reader of the name Al Phillips:

Yes, I have a very good idea of what it was: It was U.S.S. SCANIA, AKA 40, and a sister ship to my training ship at California Maritime Academy! There were 60 ships built on the same hull's but slightly different rigging. 30 were built as APA's which means they hauled mostly troops and a little cargo while their AKA sisters hauled mostly cargo with a smaller troop contingent. The AKA's had a massive "quad-pod" heavy lift mast aft to handle heavy stuff like "mike" boats & tanks, etc.

They were a bit smaller than a C-2 freighter and had twin screw turbo-electric drive in two engine rooms whose floor plans were almost mirror images of each other and had an auxiliary machinery space between them. This made them an excellent training ship because we had 2 complete engine rooms manned at sea and lotsa guys getting hands-on experience. It also made them totally impractical ships to operate commercially because of both the excessive manning required and that so much hull was taken up by machinery.

They were pretty shallow-draft ships, and they were built with the invasion of Japan in mind. They would have been assigned to any force sent to the inland sea.

After WW II most were laid up quickly. Several became training ships, of which only CMA's stayed on any length of time, being finally retired in 1966. Two became survey ships at which they excelled because of their maneuverability and shallow draft; two became cable layers, and two were sold to Chile in their original role as AKA's. To my knowlege, all are long gone now.

They could pitch quite violently in rough weather! The head was all the way forward, & the toilets in a row against the forward bulkhead, which coincidentally was the after bulkhead of the anchor chain lockers. You haven't lived till you've been sitting on the can in the head, delivering a large "sea monster" at about 0300 in rough weather. What an experience to have a half-delivered "Sea Monster" emerging when the can drops out from under you and you are in the air with said "Sea Monster" protruding like a tail! Of course the poor sea monster cushions the landing when you catch up with the toilet seat, and 30 + tons of anchor chain crash to the floor of the chain lockers right behind you. Well, as long as I'm wide awake now, I'll clean up the mess & take another shower! Believe me, an unforgettable experience!

No more for now, time to hit the sack!


USS Scania (AKA-40) was an Artemis class attack cargo ship named after the minor planet 460 Scania, which in turn was named for the southernmost historical province of Sweden. She served as a commissioned ship for 2 years and 4 months.

Scania (AKA-40) was laid down on 6 January 1945 under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1901) by Walsh-Kaiser Co., Inc., Providence, R.I.; launched on 17 March 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas Maguire; and commissioned on 16 April 1945, Lt. Comdr. Ben C. Gerwick, Jr., in command.

After shakedown, Scania departed Norfolk on 31 May 1945 with cargo and passengers for Pearl Harbor, but a turbine casualty required repairs at San Francisco from 16 June to 1 July and delayed her arrival at Pearl until 9 July. On 15 July, she departed Pearl carrying cargo for Tarawa, Majuro, and Kwajalein. After her return to Pearl Harbor on 8 August, she made local cargo voyages in the Hawaiian Islands until sailing on 7 September for Canton Island, Espiritu Santo, Eniwetok, and Wake Island. On arrival at Wake on 11 October, she reported for "Magic Carpet" duties. The ship made two voyages carrying troops home, one from Eniwetok and one from Tacloban, P.I., before being released from "Magic Carpet" duty at Los Angeles at the end of December.

On 17 January 1946, Scania sailed from San Pedro, Calif., and began a year of duty carrying cargo in the western Pacific. She made four voyages from Guam during this period, calling at Manus, the Philippines, Okinawa, Japan, and China. The ship returned to Seattle on 12 December but soon departed on 21 January 1947 to provide local cargo service in the Aleutians. She returned to Seattle on 2 June and arrived at San Francisco on 14 June for inactivation.

Scania was decommissioned on 2 September 1947 and simultaneously delivered to the Maritime Commission Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif. She was struck from the Navy list on 16 September 1947. The ship was sold by the Maritime Commission on 13 July 1965 to Zidell Explorations, Inc., Portland, Oreg., for scrapping.