Haze Gray Photo Feature

USS Hubbard (DE 211/APD 53) During WWII

A Destroyer Escort at War

(Click on the images for larger versions)

 [THUMBNAIL] Hubbard in her final configuration, after conversion to an APD. She shows the distinctive lines of a destroyer escort, but with additions for her transport role, including a 5" gun forward, expanded deckhouse midships, and large davits for landing craft.

 [THUMBNAIL] Hubbard's construction - she is shown moored with Hayter (DE 212) while fitting out at Charleston; the two ships were launched the same day. Hubbard was sponsored by Mrs. Helen L. Hubbard, widow of Commander Hubbard. The original captions on this page are puzzling - the photo captioned "Commissioning March 6, 1944" was clearly taken well before her completion and commissioning. Also, most references list both DE 211 and DE 212 as being laid down 11 August 1943 and launched 11 November 1943, not in June 1943 as indicated in the original caption.

 [THUMBNAIL] Hubbard's commissioning, 6 March 1944. The ship's first Commanding Officer was Lieutenant Commander L.C. Mabley. After commissioning, Hubbard carried out shakedown training from Bermuda, then escorted a tanker along the east coast. She then returned to Norfolk, where her original torpedo tubes were replaced by 40mm antiaircraft guns (her 1.1" AA guns were also replaced by 40mm, probably at the same time the torpedo tubes were removed).

 [THUMBNAIL] The ship's Commanding Officer at the time the booklet was published, Lieutenant Commander F.B. Korsmey. He was Hubbard's second and final CO.

 [THUMBNAIL] Hubbard's previous CO and XOs - Lieutenant Commander L.C. Mabley (first CO), Lieutenant Commander Frederick Favor (first XO), and Lieutenant Commander Robert A. Poisson (second XO).

 [THUMBNAIL] The ship's XO in 1945 - Lieutenant Lanier W. Pratt, and some of the ship's Division Officers.

 [THUMBNAIL]  [THUMBNAIL] More Division Officers, and officers who had left the ship prior to the booklet's publication.

 [THUMBNAIL]  [THUMBNAIL] The men of Hubbard's divisions - the engine room and fire room gangs, ordnance division, and deck division.

 [THUMBNAIL]  [THUMBNAIL] More of Hubbard's men - the supply, hospital, communications, and boat divisions, and the construction and repair gang.

 [THUMBNAIL]  [THUMBNAIL] While on North Atlantic hunter-killer duty, searching for German U-boats on weather reporting missions, Hubbard and her sisters made a "kill". On 16 January 1945 they encountered U-248, and sank the German with depth charges.

 [THUMBNAIL] Hubbard's final combat action came as part of Operation Teardrop, while hunting down the last of the German U-boats. A hunter-killer group centered around two escort carriers (CVEs) and numerous DEs, including Hubbard, encountered U-546 on 25 April 1945. Frederick C. Davis (DE 136) was torpedoed and sunk, but the US ships quickly avenged her loss. A series of depth charge attacks forced the submarine to the surface, where it was engaged by gunfire and sunk.

 [THUMBNAIL] Prior to her assignment to the North Atlantic, Hubbard made three trans-Atlantic trips escorting convoys. The first of these convoys went to Bizerte, Tunisia, where Hubbard and five sisters were photographed. Escort Division 62, under Commander Jack F. Bowling, was composed of Otter (DE 210), Hubbard (DE 211), Hayter (DE 212), Varian (DE 798), Scroggins (DE 799), and Jack W. Wilke (DE 800).

 [THUMBNAIL]  [THUMBNAIL] During her convoy escort missions Hubbard visited many ports, including the Azores and Palermo, Italy.

 [THUMBNAIL]  [THUMBNAIL] Other ports of call included Oran; Argentia, Newfoundland; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 [THUMBNAIL]  [THUMBNAIL] In 1945 Hubbard entered a Brooklyn shipyard for conversion to a fast transport, designated APD 53. These photo illustrate many of the changes made during the conversion: a 5"/38cal gun with enclosed gunhouse was fitted forward in place of the original 3" guns, the bridge was modified, and nearly everything aft of the bridge was rebuilt. A full-width deckhouse provided additional space for troops and their equipment, large davits and landing craft were added, and a new mast and cargo boom were installed. In this configuration she was well-suited for landing small raiding parties and their equipment, or for supporting larger amphibious assaults. However, the atomic bombs rendered Hubbard's services unnecessary, as Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945, the day after Hubbard's conversion was completed.

 [THUMBNAIL]  [THUMBNAIL] A series of photos showing Hubbard's crew at work, and various events from her career. Most of these photos are from her time in Atlantic escort and anti-submarine operations.

 [THUMBNAIL] Additional views of shipboard activities and evolutions.

 [THUMBNAIL] A ship's dance held on August 7, 1945. Those in attendance probably had no idea that the war would be over only eight days later.

 [THUMBNAIL] Hubbard arrived at Green Cove Springs, Florida on 12 November 1945, three months after her conversion had been completed. Here she was inactivated and preserved ("mothballed"), and on 15 March 1945 she was placed out of commission and moored in the St. John's River reserve fleet. She remained in reserve until 1 May 1966, when she was stricken from the Naval Vessels Register. She was later sold and broken up for scrap.

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