Shipbuilding was way short of its goal. To turn out 8,000,000 tons by the end of the year, yards should long since have been turning out two ships a day, should very soon be delivering three a day—close to a million tons a month. The Maritime Commission announced last week that the number of cargo vessels delivered during April was 36—less than half the required million tons.

A year ago that now-piddling total would have seemed fantastic to U.S. shipbuilders. But this was 1942, year of need. Some yards broke records. Some...

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