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Photo # NH 68750:  USS De Kalb underway, circa 1918

U.S. NAVY TEMPORARY AUXILIARY SHIPS, 1917-1919

WORLD WAR I ERA TRANSPORTS --
with Two Smokestacks and Two Masts

Fifteen of the U.S. Navy's "plumb" bow WWI era transports had two smokestacks and two masts. Seven were ex-German passenger liners that entered commissioned service in 1917. After carrying American troops under charter, a former Austrian liner and an older U.S. flag passenger ship were transferred to the Navy in 1918. A sister of the latter was also taken over by the Navy, but suffered a serious accident and did not enter service. In the first months of 1918, two relatively new U.S. flag passenger liners were also commissioned, along with two older U.S. liners converted to hospital ships, but which also performed trans-Atlantic transport duty in late 1918 and early 1919. Another three German liners were acquired in 1919 to bring service personnel home from Europe.

These ships varied notably in size, ranging from over 17,000 to somewhat over 6000 gross tons. The four largest were quite different in appearance. The middle group (six in number) included one ship with widely-spaced smokestacks, three with stacks relatively close together and two more with intermediate stack spacing. The six smallest ships included two pairs of nearly identical ships and two that were different from all the others.

This page features a table (with links to individual ships) of World War I era U.S. Navy transports with two smokestacks and two masts, plus one photograph of each ship in this group.


Click the small photographs to prompt a larger view of the same image with a descriptive header.


Ships in this group:

FIFTEEN SHIPS with TWO SMOKESTACKS and TWO MASTS, subdivided as follows:

Four relatively large ships, of differing appearance:

  • Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm, USN 1919-1919 (ex-German S.S. Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm, 1908).
  • 17,082 Gross Tons, Length 589.9', Beam 68.3', Comm. 30 Mar 19, Decom. 25 Nov 19, ID # 4063
  • Cap Finisterre, USN 1919-1919 (ex-German S.S. Cap Finisterre, 1911).
  • 14,503 Gross Tons, Length 560.0', Beam 65.3', Comm. 11 Apr 19, Decom. 25 Nov 19, ID # 4051
  • Zeppelin, USN 1919-1919 (ex-German S.S. Zeppelin, 1914).
  • 14,167 Gross Tons, Length 550.3', Beam 67.3', Comm. 5 Mar 19, Decom. 25 Nov 19, ID # 4042
  • Aeolus, USN 1917-1919 (ex-German S.S. Grosser Kurfürst, 1899).
  • 13,102 Gross Tons, Length 560.6', Beam 62.3', Comm. 4 Aug 17, Decom. 22 Sep 19, ID # 3005

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     USS Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm, 1919:

     USS Aeolus, 1918:



    .

    .

     USS Cap Finisterre, 1919:

     USS Zeppelin, 1919:

    .


    Two medium-size ships, with smokestacks relatively far apart:

  • Mercury, USN 1917-1919 (ex-German S.S. Barbarossa, 1896).
  • 10,984 Gross Tons, Length 526.4', Beam 60.0', Comm. 3 Aug 17, Decom. 27 Sep 19, ID # 3012
  • Huron, USN 1917-1919 (ex-German S.S. Friedrich der Grosse, 1896).
  • 10,771 Gross Tons, Length 523.0', Beam 60.1', Comm. 25 Jul 17, Decom. 2 Sep 19, ID # 1408

    .

     USS Mercury, 1918:

     USS Huron, 1918:


    .


    Three medium-size ships, with smokestacks relatively close together:

  • Pocahontas, USN 1917-1919 (ex-German S.S. Prinzess Irene, 1900).
  • 10,881 Gross Tons, Length 523.5', Beam 60.2', Comm. 25 Jul 17, Decom. 7 Nov 19, ID # 3044
  • Powhatan, USN 1917-1919 (ex-German S.S. Hamburg, 1899).
  • 10,531 Gross Tons, Length 499.3', Beam 60.2', Comm. 16 Aug 17, Decom. 3 Sep 19, ID # 3013
  • Princess Matoika, USN 1917-1919 (ex-German S.S. Princess Alice, 1900).
  • 10,492 Gross Tons, Length 523.5', Beam 60.1', Comm. 27 Apr 18, Decom. 16 Sep 19, ID # 2290

     USS Pocahontas, 1919:

     USS Powhatan, Nov. 1917:

     USS Princess Matoika, 1919:


    Two medium-size ships, with smokestacks quite far apart and a relatively low superstructure:

  • Louisville, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. St. Louis, 1896).
  • 10,230 Gross Tons, Length 535.5', Beam 63.0', Comm. 27 Apr 18, Decom. 11 Sep 19, ID # 1644
  • St. Paul, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. St. Louis, 1896).
  • 10,230 Gross Tons, Length 535.5', Beam 63.0', Acq. 17 Oct 18, Disp. 24 Mar 19, ID # 1643

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     USS Louisville, 1919:

     USS St. Paul, 1898:

    .


    Two relatively small ships, of differing appearance:

  • De Kalb, USN 1917-1919 (ex-German S.S. Prinz Eitel Friedrich, 1904).
  • 8797 Gross Tons, Length 488.3', Beam 55.7', Comm. 12 May 17, Decom. 23 Sep 19, ID # 3010
  • Martha Washington, USN 1918-1919 (ex-Austrian S.S. Martha Washington, 1908).
  • 8312 Gross Tons, Length 460.0', Beam 56.0', Comm. 2 Jan 18, Decom. 18 Nov 19, ID # 3019

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     USS De Kalb, circa 1917-19:





     USS Martha Washington, 1919:

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    Two relatively small ships, similar in appearance:

  • Great Northern, USN 1917-1919 (ex-American S.S. Great Northern, 1915).
  • 8255 Gross Tons, Length 509.5', Beam 63.1', Comm. 11 Nov 17, Decom. 15 Aug 19, ID # 4569
  • Northern Pacific, USN 1917-1919 (ex-American S.S. Northern Pacific, 1914).
  • 8255 Gross Tons, Length 509.5', Beam 63.1', Comm. 1 Nov 17, Decom. 20 Aug 19, No ID #

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     USS Great Northern, 1919:

     USS Northern Pacific, 1918:

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