The Arcturus-class attack cargo ships were converted from other ship types by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. in Chester, Pennsylvania, Tampa Shipbuilding Co. in Tampa, Florida, and Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. in Kearny, New Jersey during World War II.
Like all AKA's, they were designed to carry combat loaded military cargo and landing craft, and to use the latter to land weapons, supplies, and troops on enemy shores during amphibious operations.
All these ships were built on the same standard hull design, but there were some differences from ship to ship:
The armament varied, as did that of the other ships of the day. During 1944-1945, the 5"/38 was recognized as the best gun for the dual role of antiaircraft and naval gunfire support, and the 40 mm was seen as the best antiaircraft gun. The older 20 mm and .50 caliber guns had been recognized to be of limited value, and were being phased out, though they appeared on some of these ships. The 20 mm's were later removed from all of them, but it is not clear just when this happened.
The complement varied as well, but the DANFS figures sometimes seem to confuse ship's company with embarked troops in determining a ship's complement.