USS Captor (PYc-40)

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USS Captor (PYc-40), briefly the sixth ship to bear the name USS Eagle (AM-132), was a Q-ship of the United States Navy.

Built as Harvard, a steel-hulled trawler, in 1938 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Quincy, Massachusetts, and handed over to General Sea Foods Corporation, Boston, and put into service as Wave.


Service history


The fishing trawler was acquired by the Navy as part of the Auxiliary Vessels Act on 1 January 1942. Reporting to the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, the trawler began conversion to war service as a minesweeper on 8 January. With the work complete on 28 February, she was named Eagle, given the hull classification symbol AM-132, and placed in commission on 5 March 1942, Lieutenant Commander Leroy E. Rogers, USNR, in command.


Along with Asterion (AK-100) and Atik (AK-101), Eagle was selected early to participate in a secret "Q-ship" program. The intention was to disguise the ship as a defenseless civilian vessel and, after luring an enemy submarine into close quarters on the surface, open fire with hidden guns and sink the unsuspecting U-boat. For this reason, Eagle remained at Portsmouth, where she underwent further conversion into a Q-ship and received weapons and sonar gear. During this second conversion, the minesweeper was renamed Captor and redesignated PYc-40 on 18 April. With alterations complete on 19 May, the vessel reported for duty with the 1st Naval District at Boston.

Unlike the other four ships eventually in the Q-ship program, Captor did not sail in convoys or along coastal shipping routes. Instead, she operated in the waters near Boston - in Massachusetts Bay, north to Casco Bay, east to the Georges Bank, and south to Nantucket Sound and Rhode Island Sound. While at sea, the disguised Q-ship also helped cover the coastal convoy routes coming north from New York. As growing air and sea patrols had driven most U-boats away from the New England coast in May 1942, Captor had little chance to spot an enemy submarine and ended her wartime career without a single sighting.

With the decline in the U-boat threat to the east coast of the United States late in the war, Captor was decommissioned at Boston on 4 October 1944. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 14 October 1944, the trawler was transferred to the War Shipping Administration and sold on 21 February 1945. The ultimate fate of the ship is unknown.

As of 2005, no other ship in the United States Navy has been named Captor.

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