A new Net Navy using odd looking ships with horns on their bows was about ready to emerge prior to World War II.

Japan's accelerating industrial capacity was hampered due to a shortage of raw materials, mainly oil. To meet these needs Japan conquered Manchuria in 1931 and by the late 30's controlled much of Western China. Western allies feared the oilfields of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) would be the next target.

Historically committed to China's independence and concern for Japan's threat of further aggression the U.S. responded with appropriations for a larger navy.

In July 1940 the U.S. Congress passed the Two Ocean Naval Expansion Act which promised to enlarge the U.S. Navy three hundred percent by 1944. Soon ship building programs began; over a year before the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7 1941.

In May 1940 President Roosevelt ordered the U.S. Pacific Fleet moved from California to Pearl Harbor as a warning to Japan against further expansion in Asia.

Six ship builders were given contracts to build the first 32 steel Net Tenders in the ALOE class. Most of the keels were laid in October 1940. They were all launched before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

War appeared inevitable when Japan invaded French Indochina in July 1941. The U.S. Government froze Japanese assets in the U.S. and cut off all trade, including petroleum.

Japan then decided that they must seize the tin, rubber, and oil of Southeast Asia through a series of carefully coordinated surprise attacks. Initially their first plan of attack was to immobilize the U.S. Navy Pacific fleet for 6 months to a year. This led to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, while the U.S. was still in its ship building program.

Two Net Tenders were at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. They were USS ASH AN-7 (Ex YN-2) and USS CINCHONA AN-12 (Ex-YN-7), also Net Gate Vessel (YNg-17). (See Chapter on Enemy action for more details)

After Pearl Harbor more Net Tenders were built. The next 30 ships, in the AILANTHUS class, were wooden and somewhat larger. The first keel was laid down in Oct. 1942, the keels of the last 15 steel ships, in the CAHOES class, were laid down in 1944 and 1945.

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