Based on the British River
- class frigates, the American Tacoma
- class was designed to be built quickly and cheaply in order to fulfill an urgent requirement for convoy escorts. The construction would be contracted out to a number of smaller, commercial shipyards that would employ prefabrication techniques to expedite the building process.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of expertise on behalf of the commercial shipyards that were awarded contracts to build the frigates, the construction program was plagued by difficulties which caused it to fall far behind schedule. Delays became so lengthy that shipyards began to deliver the ships in such an incomplete state that shakedown and post-shakedown periods of repair and alteration took months for some of them. They suffered from numerous problems, including bilge keels that cracked in rough seas or cold weather, failures in the welds holding the deckhouse to the deck, engine trouble, as well as ventilation problems.
As a result of the aforementioned construction problems, no Tacoma
- class frigates were commissioned until late in 1943, and none were ready for service until 1944. By that time, the US Navy no longer had a requirement for a cheap convoy escort due to a decline in the threat from German U-boats. Several of the Tacoma
- class frigates that were judged to be in the best condition were deployed to the Pacific theatre, manned by US Coast Guard crews, but most of the frigates were ultimately relegated to local training and escort responsibilities.
By the time the construction program ended in 1945, 96 Tacoma
- class frigates had been built. Of those, 21 were transferred to the Royal Navy as the Colony
- class. A number of frigates were also transferred to the Soviet Union as part of Project "Hula", in anticipation of the Soviet Union joining the war on Japan. The US Navy quickly decommissioned the majority of its Tacoma
- class ships after the end of World War II, although some of them were recommissioned for US Navy service in the Korean War. In the post-World War II era, Tacoma
- class patrol frigates were transferred to the navies of several countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, and Thailand.
This is USS Albuquerque
(PF-7) as she appeared at Mare Island in March 1944. She spent most of 1944 and 1945 shepherding convoys between various Alaskan ports and conducting patrols around the Aleutian Islands and in the Bering Sea. Albuquerque
was decommissioned on 16 August 1945, at Cold Bay, Alaska, and transferred to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease, having been renamed EK-14
in Soviet service. She was returned to the US Navy on 15 November 1949, at Yokosuka, Japan. Albuquerque
was recommissioned to serve as a convoy escort and patrol ship during the Korean War. On 30 November 1953, the United States transferred the ship to Japan, and she was commissioned in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force as JDS Tochi
(PF-16). She was decommissioned on 31 March 1969 and returned to US custody in July 1971 for disposal.
This is USS Eugene
(PF-40) as she appeared off of San Francisco in May 1944, in the Measure 32/16D camouflage scheme. In mid-1944 she engaged in anti-submarine patrol off New Guinea and the Philippines, transported personnel, and bombarded the shore at Supiori Island, but principally escorted convoys among the islands of the area. In December 1944, she returned to the United States for overhaul. She returned briefly to convoy duty until 25 May 1945, when she was converted to a weather ship, and performed this duty until being decommissioned on 12 June 1946. Eugene
was transferred to Cuba in 1947 and renamed José Martí
(F 301). She was scrapped in 1976.