The liberty ships were mass-produced sea vessels created for the purposes of World War II (WWII). These were designed to carry cargo across the sea from the United States to Britain. The British came up with the idea for the liberty ships, and they were manufactured in the US. Certain design features allowed liberty ships to be built very rapidly, which made them an important strategic asset during WWII.
A common tactic in war is to disrupt the enemy’s ability to resupply, and this strategy has been used effectively since before the time of the Roman Empire. If soldiers run out of weaponry or food, they are generally unable to fight effectively. During WWII, the Germans were using their navy to carry out this strategy. They were sinking merchant ships constantly, and this was making life difficult for the Allies. The liberty ships were made with this problem in mind.
The key to the liberty ships was that they were very easy to make quickly. Engineers decided to try welding the parts together instead of using rivets, which was the accepted practice at the time. At first, there were a lot of failures, causing many of the ships to sink. Eventually, the ship makers found ways to deal with the aspects that weren’t working, and the ships became very practical. Many of the ship design methods used on the liberty ships became common in all naval building practices after the war.
The ability to pump out so many ships so quickly was generally considered a significant advantage to the Allies during the war. No matter how many ships the German Navy managed to sink, they were never able to make a substantial dent in the Allied resupply effort. This meant that much of the German effort and resources spent trying to sink ships was essentially wasted since it failed to accomplish the task at hand.
Even though the British were primarily behind the concept for the ships, the US also built many for its own use. The ships were made so that they could carry tons or tonnes of supplies being brought over from the US, and this was beneficial to all countries involved. Liberty ships were operated by soldiers, and the ships had actual naval guns, which they used to defend themselves if attacked. There was even a case where liberty ship was able to sink a German ship during a sea battle.