Victory at Dock
One of the first acts of the United States War Shipping Administration upon its formation in February 1942 was to commission the design of what came to be known as the Victory class. Initially designated EC2-S-AP1, where EC2 = Emergency Cargo, type 2 (Load Waterline Length between 400 and 450 feet), S = steam propulsion with one propeller (EC2-S-C1 had been the designation of the Liberty ship design), it was changed to VC2-S-AP1 before the name "Victory Ship" was officially adopted on 28 April 1943.
The design was an enhancement of the Liberty ship, which had been successfully produced in extraordinary numbers. Victory ships were slightly larger than Liberty ships, 14 feet longer at 455 feet (139 m), 6 wider at 62 feet (19 m), and drawing one foot more at 28 feet (7.6 m) loaded. Displacement was up just under 1,000 tons, to 15,200. With a fine raked bow and a cruiser stern, to help achieve the higher speed, they had a quite different appearance from Liberty ships.
To make them less vulnerable to U-boat attacks, Victory ships made 15 to 17 knots (28 to 31 km/h), 4 to 6 knots faster than the Libertys, and had longer range. The extra speed was achieved through improved engines. Rather than the Libertys' 2,500 horsepower triple expansion steam engines, Victory ships were designed to use either Lentz type reciprocating steam engines, steam turbines or Diesel engines, variously putting out between 6000 and 8500 horsepower (4.5 and 6 MW). Most used steam turbines, which had been in short supply earlier in the war and reserved for warships. All were oil fired, but for a handful of Canadian vessels completed with both coal bunkers and oil tanks. Another improvement was electrically powered auxiliary equipment, rather than steam-driven machinery.