The Blue-Collar American Tug Fleet of WWII


  • Louis Arthur Norton Univerity of Connecticut, Professor emeritus


The World War II American Tug Fleet (ATF) performed important, but little publicized, operations. As time went on, these large ocean-going tugboats became legendary for aiding ships on the high seas during combat or in post-combat areas. They were the first responders to provide tows to damaged or disabled US Navy ships at sea. In addition, they did other special duties like pulling landing craft off beaches, providing floating fuel service stations and tugging vital supply barges, including ammunition for the fleet. This article examines a sample of six vessels, three deployed in the Atlantic and three seeing combat in the Pacific as a profile of their activities and subsequent post-war use.