SS Luxembourg Victory

SS Luxembourg Victory was a Victory ship built for the United States during World War II. She was launched by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation on February 28, 1944, and was completed on April 5, 1944. The ship's US Maritime Commission designation was VC2-S-AP3, hull number 90 (V-90). She was built in 101 days under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. The Maritime Commission turned her over to a civilian contractor, the Lykes Brothers SS Company, for operation until the end of World War II hostilities. She was operated under the US Merchant Marine Act for the War Shipping Administration.

United States
Name: SS Luxembourg Victory
Namesake: Luxembourg
Owner: War Shipping Administration
Operator: Lykes Bros SS Company
Builder: Oregon Shipbuilding Company Portland
Laid down: December 26, 1943
Launched: February 28, 1944
Completed: April 5, 1944
Honors and
Battle Stars
Fate: Sold to private company in 1951
United States
Name: SS Pennsylvania
Owner: States Steamship Company of Tacoma, Washington
Fate: Sank January 9, 1952 in the North Pacific, crew lost.
General characteristics
Class and type: VC2-S-AP3 Victory ship
Displacement: 15,200 tons
Length: 455 ft (139 m)
Beam: 62 ft (19 m)
Draft: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Installed power: 8,500 shp (6,300 kW)
Propulsion: HP & LP turbines geared to a single 20.5-foot (6.2 m) propeller
Speed: 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
4 lifeboats
Complement: 62 Merchant Marine and 28 US Naval Armed Guards
Notes: [1]

Victory ships were designed to replace the earlier Liberty ships. Liberty ships were designed to be used solely for World War II, while Victory ships were designed to last longer and serve the US Navy after the war. The Victory ship differed from a Liberty ship in that they were faster, longer, wider, and taller, had a thinner stack set farther toward the superstructure and had a long raised forecastle.

SS Luxembourg Victory serviced in the Pacific Theater of Operations during the last months of World War II in the Pacific War.[2] Luxembourg Victory took supplies to support the Battle of the Philippines as part of Task Group 30.8.

World War II

SS Luxembourg Victory survived a typhoon in June 1944 on her maiden trip. Along with SS Mayfield Victory, she serviced the tank landing ships USS LST-865 and USS LST-868 in July 1944 at Buckner Bay.[3] She supplied cargo for the Battle of Guam from July 21 to August 10, 1944.[4] Luxembourg Victory survived her second typhoon in December 1944. At the Battle of Leyte, Luxembourg Victory used her deck guns to fire at enemy planes on November 12 and 24, 1944 to defend both herself and other ships. She was at Leyte for 33 days and had 156 air alerts.[5][6] Luxembourg Victory took supplies to support the troops at the Battle of Okinawa from April 1 to June 22, 1945. She had repair work at sea after the Battle of Okinawa on July 1, 1945.[7][8] After ending her World War II service, Luxembourg Victory steamed from Apra Harbor, Guam to Portland, Oregon, arriving on August 27, 1947.

In 1949, she was laid up in Suisun Bay in California as part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet.

Korean War

In 1950, she was put back in service for the Korean War as a Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) charter for the US Navy. She helped move the 140th Medium Tank Battalion. SS Luxembourg Victory transported goods, mail, food and other supplies, completing trips between 1950 and 1951.[9][10][11][12] SS Luxembourg Victory carried 80 medium tanks to Korea for Eighth United States Army on July 28, 1950, for the Battle of Pusan Perimeter logistics operation.[13] She participated in the Iwon-Hungnam landings in November 1950 during the United Nations Offense campaign.[14]


Luxemburg Victory earned Battle Stars for her combat action, from November 5 to November 29, 1944, in supporting of the Leyte landings.

Private use

In 1951 she was sold to the States Steamship Company of Tacoma, Washington and renamed SS Pennsylvania.[15] On January 9, 1952, Pennsylvania departed Puget Sound loaded with $1.445 million worth of wheat for Japan. While she was entering the North Pacific off Cape Flattery, off of the northern tip of Vancouver Island, Canada, she battled gale winds up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) and very rough seas. At about 450 miles (390 nmi; 720 km) west of Cape Flattery, her hull started to crack. She suffered a 14-foot-long (4.3 m) hull crack on her port side. Her engine room was flooding and she had a heavy angle of list. The 45-foot (14 m) seas pounded her into the night. Captain George P. Plover send out a SOS distress message and gave the abandon ship order at 51.09N 141.13W on January 9, 1952.[15].

The 45-man crew lowered and boarded the four 26-foot (7.9 m) lifeboats in 40-foot (12 m) waves, while the abandoned ship sank. About 75 miles (65 nmi; 121 km) southwest of their position, the Japanese ship SS Kimikawa Maru had received the SOS distress message and arrived at about 10 am on January 10, 1952. She found only overturned lifeboats and debris from the ship. Planes from McChord Air Force Base, the US Coast Guard, the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and ships from the Royal Canadian Navy arrived to search for survivors. The vast search was run by the 13th Coast Guard District Headquarters in Seattle and covered 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) of sea. The search was eventually ended with no survivors found.

Pennsylvania hull crack was similar to the structural failures, which had been a problem with other World War II welded steel ships. However, the problem was more noted in older Liberty ships, not Victory ships.

Court cases and new laws over Pennsylvania sinking continued for 22 years after the disaster.[16][17][18][19][20]


  1. Babcock & Wilcox (April 1944). "Victory Ships". Marine Engineering and Shipping Review.
  2. Battle Pacific
  3. Chapter XXX Okinawa After 1 July 1945, Operations Under Service Squadron Twelve--The Move to Buckner Bay and Service Activities There the Remaining Days of the War
  4. "Command summary of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN : Nimitz "Graybook" : 7 December 1941-31 August 1945: Volume 6 (1 January 1945 to 1 July 1945): pages 2486 – 3249"
  5., Battle of the Philippines
  6. War Diary, 6/1-30/45, Page 3
  7. On the War path in the Pacific: Admiral Jocko Clark and the Fast Carriers, By Clark Reynolds
  8. Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil - The Story of Fleet Logistics Afloat, By Rear Adm. Worrall Reed Carter
  9. Korean War Educator, Merchant Marine, Accounts of the Korean War
  10. Small United States and United Nations Warships in the Korean War, page 191, By Paul M. Edwards
  11. Mariners, The Website Of The Mariners Mailing List., Victory Ships
  12. Merchant ships Victory ships
  13. Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of U.S. Armored Forces, edited by George F. Hofmann, Donn A. Starry, page 228
  14. Over the Beach: US Army Amphibious Operations in the Korean War, By Donald W. Boose, page 230
  15. Mariners, The Website Of The Mariners Mailing List., Victory Ships
  16., Sinking of the Pennsylvania, all lives lost
  17. Magellan - The Ships Navigator, Sinking of the Pennsylvania
  18., States Steamship Company, a Corporation, Appellant, v. United States of America, Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, Pacific National Fire Insurance Company and the Dominion of Canada, Appellees.atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, Appellant, v. States Steamship Company, a Corporation, United States of America and the Dominion of Canada, Appellees.pacific National Fire Insurance Company, Appellant, v. States Steamship Company, a Corporation, United States of America and the Dominion of Canada, Appellees.united States of America, Appellant, v. States Steamship Company, Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, Pacific National Fire Insurance Company and the Dominion of Canada, Appellees.the Dominion of Canada, Appellant, v. States Steamship Company, Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, Pacific National Fire Insurance Company and the United States of America, Appellees, 259 F.2d 458 (9th Cir. 1958)


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