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Esso Springfield
SS Esso Springfield
On March 27, 1944, the turbo-eleciric tanker Esso Springfield was delivered to the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey under purchase agreement with the U. S. Maritime Commission. Captain Carl Svenson was in command and Chief Engineer Laughton D. Angel was in charge of the engineroom when the tanker left Chester, Pcnna., on April 1 for her maiden voyage. Six months before this voyage, the decision had been made at Quebec to launch (he greatest amphibious assault in history across the English Channel in the spring of 1944 - the operation which was given the code name "OVERLORD".
On April 7, the Esso Springfield arrived at Point-a-Pierre, Trinidad, where she loaded 127.623 barrels of gasoline. She arrived at Liverpool on May 6 to discharge her oil and unload 12 Army Lightning fighter planes stowed on her spar deck at New York. All-out blasting of German transportation, which General Dwight D. Eisenhowcr had decided would more effectively pave the way for operation "OVERLORD" than concentration on German oil refineries, was then in full swing; 24,000 tons of bombs were dropped by the Allied air forces in April. D-Day and H-Hour were ten-tatively set, but weather was the unknown factor.
When the Esso Springfield returned to Liverpool on June 10 with more gasoline and more planes, the time of de-cision had come and gone, the toehold on the beaches of Normandy had become considerably more than a foot-hold, and the Russian offensive in support of the Anglo-American invasion had been launched. To help meet the tremendous need for planes, the Esso Springfield again brought twelve planes but this lime they were Lightnings, Thunderbolts, Mustangs, and Black Widows.

Third Assistant Engineer Charles W. Hardy was on the Esso Springfield during the two voyages to Liverpool. In an interview for this history, he said that "On one of these trips, while I was on watch, a destroyer escort was torpedoed. Seven men were lost."
For her third voyage, the Esso Springfield loaded 126,059 barrels of gasoline at New York and proceeded, via Nor-folk. Va., to Naples. She arrived on July 15. Earlier that month, General Eisenhower, with the full support of the U. S. Chiefs of Staff, had urged approval of the proposed invasion of southern France to obtain, among other advantages, an additional large port of entry into which to pour troops and supplies. The convoys transporting the invasion forces were to sail from Italian ports. On July 4 General Eisenhower received the formal green light from the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The supply problem was again solved by Allied merchant tonnage.

Smoke Screen
In describing the arrival of the Esso Springfield at Naples, Fireman-Watertender Eugene E. Sapp said:
"As we came into the bay, we received a message that enemy planes were nearing the port. All ships put up a white smoke screen and the Esso Springfield added a column of black smoke."
After returning from Europe on August 3,1944 the Esso Springfield made two coastwise voyages and then loaded special Navy fuel oil at Curacao for the first of five trips to the Pacific fighting front. She discharged 84,400 barrels into Navy barges at Sccadler Harbor between October 8 and 17 and arrived at Milne Bay, New Guinea, on the 20th for orders. On that day the X and XXIV Corps of General Douglas MacArthur's forces went ashore at Leyte. Acting on orders received at Milne Bay, the Esso Springfield proceeded to Pago Pago, Samoa, where she loaded another cargo of fuel oil from Navy storage for discharge into Royal Australian Navy tanks at Melbourne.

Voyaged in Lead-Lease Service
Between November 15, 1944 and April 12. 1945, the Esso Springfield completed three voyages in British Land-Lease service, loading her cargoes at Abadan. She carried a total of nearly 300,000 barrels of furnace and Diesel oils to Australian ports and considerable dry cargo on the return legs to Abadan.
On the last trip from Abadan, the Esso Springfield stopped at Sydney, Australia, for supplies and water and pro-ceeded to Hollandia, New Guinea, via Tanahmerah Bay. At Hollandia, all cargo was discharged inio lighters, and the tanker's cross lines were used for transferring bunkers to several merchant vessels. .
Following this Pacific service, the Essn Springfirld was scheduled for routine repairs at a U. S. east coast port. She reached Balboa on May 22, 1945 and picked up 109.293 barrels of Colombian crude oil for delivery at New York, where she arrived on the 31st. Upon completion of repairs, the Esso Springfield left Newport News on June 20 and re-entered Navy service with 97,849 barrels of fuel oil loaded at Aruba for Ulithi. From Ulithi the tanker proceeded to the Admiralties, where she was ordered to Abadan. The Esso Springfield was en route to Manns Island with cargo from Abadan when the war ended on September 2.

The petroleum carrying record for the short period of the Esso Springfield's war service was in summary as follows:

Voyages (Cargoes)

The SS Esso Springfield was built in 1944 by the Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company at Chester, Penna. She is a sistership of the Esso Camden, Esso Memphis, Esso New Haven, Esso Portland, Esso Roanoke, Esso Scranton, and Esso Utica.
A single-screw vessel of 16,623 deadweight tons capacity on international summer draft of 30 feet, 2 inches, the Esso Springfield has an overall length of 523 feel, 6 inches, a length between perpendiculars of 503 feet, a moulded breadth of 68 feet, and a depth moulded of 39 feel, 3 inches. With a cargo carrying capacity of 138,335 barrels, she has an assigned pumping rate of 7.000 barrels an hour.
Her turbo-electric engine, supplied with steam by two water-tube boilers, develops 7,240 shaft horsepower and giv-es her a classification certified speed of 14.6 knots.
The wartime masters of the Esso Springfield were Captains Carl Svenson, Maurice W. Carter, and John L. Johnson.
During the same period her engine department was in charge of Chief Engineers Laughton D. Angel, Aubrey G. Allen, George A. Proctor, and Harold O. Laffitte.