Alco’s and a WWII Survivor

In the days leading up to WWII, the US was beginning to build up the fleets across the board, from Submarines, right down to Tugboats and various auxiliary craft. The Navy came up with a tug design (largely based off of the TAMS Inc. designed tug Thomas E. Moran) for the new fleet of “YT” or “Yard Tug”, which would be used mainly for assisting various warships into dock in ports across the world. Known as the Woban class, the first few tugs would be built at various Naval shipyards on both the East and West coasts. The second batch of tugs was built by Consolidated Shipbuilding, located on the Harlem River in New York City. These Diesel-Electric tugs, built in the Spring of 1940, were powered by twin Alco (McIntosh & Seymour) 539 engines – however I do not know if these were indeed 539’s, or the later model 540 that was introduced during WWII, which used a welded crankcase designed specifically for the Navy. The tugs used Westinghouse electrical gear, and were a rather spartan design.

YT-145 Montezuma , the class leader would become a poster boy for Alco, used in several advertisement’s. The second tug, YT-146 Hoga, would become well recognized for her service in Pearl Harbor in the December 7th attack, spending the day as a fireboat as well as pushing burning ships aground.

This design of tug would be built in astounding numbers during the war, being powered by either the above mentioned Alco’s, Cleveland 278/278A engines, or Direct Reversing Enterprise or Fairbanks-Morse engines.

After the war, the Hoga would go on to become the fireboat for the City of Oakland, where she served until the early 1990s. The tug went into the Susian Bay reserve fleet, and was held for preservation for a number of years. In 2005, the tug was donated to the City of North Little Rock Arkansas, and was finally moved their by barge in 2015. While it is great to see her finally preserved, one must question why she would be preserved so far from where she spent her entire career.

Jay Boggess was able to get the photos above of the Hoga at the museum, unfortunately the Hoga is not yet open to the public, at least the interior. Hopefully at some point some good engine room photos of her will surface.

In doing some editing of this, I came across a quick engine room tour of the Hoga from the museums facebook, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/AIMMuseum/videos/214860566483056

Also, here is a gallery of her while still in the reserve fleet, including some in the engine room: http://www.navsource.org/archives/14/08146a.htm

Some links to check out:

General Plans of these tugs – https://maritime.org/doc/plans/ytb142.pdf
Navsource: YT-145 Montezuma – http://www.navsource.org/archives/14/08145.htm
Navsource: YT-146 Hoga – http://www.navsource.org/archives/14/08146.htm
Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum – http://aimmuseum.org/

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