C4 Class, U.S. Cargo Ships

Photograph of C4 converted to hospital ship

C4 converted to hospital ship.

Naval Historical Center #98754


Tonnage 9216 gross register tons
13,418 deadweight tons
Dimensions 520' by 71'6" by 29"
158.5m by 21.8m by 8.8m
Maximum speed       20 knots
1-shaft General Electric geared turbine (9000 shp)
2 Babcock & Wilcox boilers
2000 tons
12,000 nautical miles
22,000 km
736,723 cubic feet (20,862 m3)

The C4 class or Mariner ships were standard Maritime Commission cargo vessels deliberately designed for rapid conversion to transports. Because the Maritime Commission anticipated that the Army would man the ships with civilian crews, the Navy was left out of the design process. This irritated the Navy, which injected itself into the design process anyway, demanding numerous design changes. In addition, the yards building the ships suffered from shortages of skilled workers and the ships were not completed until 1944 or later. The figures tabulated above are for the C4-S-1A variant prior to conversion.

Units in the Pacific:

A total of 65 C4 ships were completed at Richmond and Chester, Pennsylvania. Of these, 35 were completed as transports (of the General G.O. Squier class) at Richmond; 10 were completed as transports at Vancouver; 14 were completed as transports on the East Coast, five were completed as cargo ships on the East Coast; and one was completed as a tank carrier on the East Coast. Six of the transports build on the East Coast were converted to hospital ships. All these ships would have been shifted freely back and forth between theaters as needed.


Friedman (2002)

Lane (1951) (accessed 2009-6-23)

United States Merchant Marine (accessed 2008-3-8)

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