The Donald Duck Navy
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor many American men joined
the U. S. Navy and Coast Guard U.S. Reserve. The Navy sent them
to boot camp and other training stations then assigned some of them
to newly constructed submarine chasers, patrol craft, mine sweepers,
gun boats, cutters, barges, tug boats, net tenders, converted yachts,
and other small craft.
During World War II most of those ships never had names, only numbers.
The crew members of this force of more than one thousand small craft
dubbed this fleet the Donald Duck Navy.
Book containing World War II pictures
and details of the Donald Duck Navy.
These ships guarded the coastlines of the Americas. They escorted
merchant convoys across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In Europe
and among the Pacific Islands they did similar duties but also swept
mines and did picket duty, air-sea rescues, and many other functions.
Some of them became beach control vessels leading landing craft
to invasion beaches. After invasions they acted as picket ships
to warn of and protect the fleet from submarine and air attacks.
The young men who served on small ocean going ships of the Navy
and the Coast Guard of the United States during World War II were
mostly reservists with no or little previous sea duty. Despite their
lack of experience they learned fast and performed all the missions
the Navy assigned to them.
Compared to battleships, carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and destroyer
escorts they were bantam craft. Because of their small size, life
aboard them was crowded and cramped and allowed no privacy. Specifications
for those Navy ships classified as ocean going small craft are given
below. These descriptions and specifications are typical for a type
or a class of ship.
For more specifications and some general information on small ships
the reader should see the website of the Patrol
Craft Sailors Association, a book about SC subchasers, and a
book about the PC Patrol Craft.