Quick Links Menu.
USS Bridgeport circa 1919.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.
Class: BRIDGEPORT (AD-10)
Design Pass. & Cargo, 1901
Displacement (tons): 7,175 light, 11,750 full
Dimensions (feet): 447.4' oa, 429.3' pp x 54.3' wl x 24.6'
Original Armament: 8-5"/40 (11.1918)
Later armaments: 8-5"/40 1-3"/50 (1919);
8-5"/51 2-3"/50 (1920); * 8-5"/51 (1921)
Complement: 476 (1929)
Speed (kts.): 12.5
Propulsion (HP): 3,445
Machinery: Vert. 4-exp., 2 screws.
||22 May 17
||14 Aug 01
||25 Aug 17
||3 Nov 24
||2 Oct 41
||2 Feb 42
||13 Feb 48
Launched in 1901 at Vegesack, Germany, S.S. BRESLAU was one of seven "awning deck" steamers of the KOLN class built by the Norddeutscher Lloyd line between 1899 and 1902 for its Bremen to Baltimore and Galveston route. They were specially fitted for steerage traffic, carrying many immigrants (1,660 in BRESLAU) westbound and large cargoes of wheat and cotton back to Germany. The ships also had limited but comfortable cabin accommodations (BRESLAU carried 66 cabin-class passengers). In May 1914 BRESLAU was shifted to a Bremen to Boston and New Orleans run, and on her first and only voyage on this route she interned herself at New Orleans after Germany declared war in August 1914. She was seized by U.S. customs officials there on 6 Apr 17. Of her six near-sisters, KOLN became the U.S. Navy transport AMPHION (ID-1888) in 1917, HANNOVER remained in German hands after World War I, FRANKFURT, BRANDENBURG and CHEMNITZ passed to the British, and CASSEL passed to the French.
When taken over in 1917 BRESLAU was in bad condition because of over two and a half years of neglected maintenance and because of extensive sabotage to her machinery by her German crew. On 21 Apr 17 CNO's office notified the Naval Station, New Orleans, that arrangements had been made to repair ANDROMEDA at the Naval Station and directed the Navy authorities to make necessary arrangements to take the ship over from Treasury Department representatives and begin the work. She was one of eight ships ordered transferred by Presidential Executive Order 2625 of 22 May 17 from the Treasury Department to the Navy Department for use as collier and cargo carrier. She was the largest of the 13 seized German cargo ships that received Navy names from the Secretary of the Navy on 9 Jun 17, the others being the ships later designated AS-6, AS-8, and AK 1-10. On 3 Aug 17 SecNav assigned BRIDGEPORT, then at New Orleans, to duty as a "destroyer repair ship and tender." The repaired ship was commissioned at New Orleans on 25 Aug 17 and transited from New Orleans to Boston between 4 and 13 Sep 17 with an interim armament of 4-3" guns. On 26 Nov 17 CNO assigned her to temporary duty as a tender and repair ship for the mine force, noting that ultimately she would be used as a destroyer tender. On 27 Feb 18 Admiral Sims in England reported that the Admiralty said that their Scottish yards could make any necessary repairs to U.S. mine carriers and mine planters on the North Sea barrage and that BRIDGEPORT consequently would not be needed on that duty. She was, however, needed at Brest, France, to allow PANTHER to move to the Gironde River where the need for a repair ship was great. On 2 Mar 18 CNO cancelled BRIDGEPORT's temporary assignment to the Mine Force and directed that as soon as she was fitted out she would be assigned to duty with the Destroyer Force. Her conversion was completed on 1 Mar 18 and she departed the yard 10 Mar 18.
BRIDGEPORT sailed for Bermuda 6 Apr 18, escorted a convoy of 30 subchasers and 6 seagoing tugs from there to the Azores, and then returned to the U.S. on 29 May. She departed again on 28 June with a convoy of 18 subchasers and 6 seagoing tugs and arrived at Brest 5 Aug 18. There she was designated "parent ship" for 32 destroyers while, with PROMETHEUS (later AR-3), she also acted as a base repair and supply ship for patrol craft and visiting troop transports and cargo ships. She finally departed Brest on 15 Oct 19 and arrived at the New York Navy Yard on 11 Nov 19. Attached to Destroyer Squadron 3, Flotilla 2, Destroyer Force Atlantic on 1 Jan 20, she made a winter cruise to Guantanamo Bay and then received a refit at the Boston Navy Yard between 1 Jun 20 and 20 Aug 20 that included the upgrading of her armament. Still apparently considered a repair and supply ship, she was designated a repair ship (AR-2) when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20, but her continued assignment to the destroyer force caused her to be reclassified as a destroyer tender (AD-10) in July 1921. In September 1924 the newly completed tender WHITNEY (AD-4) replaced BRIDGEPORT as tender to one of the Scouting Fleet's two destroyer squadrons, Desron 9, in the Atlantic. BRIDGEPORT's crew was transferred to WHITNEY and BRIDGEPORT was placed out of commission on 3 Nov 24 at the Boston Navy Yard.
At Boston the inactive BRIDGEPORT served as barracks ship for the crew of the battleship UTAH during that ship's reconstruction in 1926-1927. In August 1930 she was towed to the Philadelphia reserve fleet by the tug WANDANK (AT-26). In June 1931 she was towed to Norfolk by the tug KALMIA (AT-23) for use as a barracks ship for the crews of the battleships MISSISSIPPI and IDAHO during their reconstruction, a duty she shared with the decommissioned DENEBOLA (AD-12). BRIDGEPORT returned to the Philadelphia reserve fleet under tow on 1 Aug 33. An armament of 8-5"/51 and 4-3"/50 was reserved for her, the 5" guns being on board and the 3" guns being in storage ashore. The report of an Insurv inspection held on 25 Mar 36 concluded that she was unfit for further service, primarily because her boilers were in doubtful condition, her electrical plant was in very bad shape, a nearly complete renewal of the wiring and piping systems would be required, the large amount of wood on board was a severe fire hazard, and she was a coal burner and of low speed. Nonetheless on 2 Oct 36 OPNAV at the urging of its War Plans Division advised the Philadelphia Navy Yard that BRIDGEPORT was to be retained in present status. In October 1939 the Bureau of Construction and Repair and Bureau of Engineering used the 1936 report to squash a directive from the acting SecNav to raise the material condition of the ship in preparation for recommissioning. In 1940 machine tools and other equipment were removed from BRIDGEPORT for installation on DENEBOLA, which was being recommissioned, and in November 1940 the Philadelphia Navy Yard proposed converting BRIDGEPORT to a barracks ship.
By early 1941 the main naval auxiliaries still in reserve were PROMETHEUS and AROOSTOOK (CM-3) at the Puget Sound Navy Yard and BRIDGEPORT (AD-10) and MAUMEE (AO-2) at Philadelphia. On 30 Apr 41 CNO's War Plans Division recommended that, because the growing demand for ocean tonnage was making it difficult to procure proper ships for conversion to naval auxiliaries, the brand new Auxiliary Vessels Board determine the best use that could be made of the two ships at Puget Sound. On 16 May the Board extended the discussion to the other two ships and noted that BRIDGEPORT was a slow, coal burning vessel that had been out of commission since 1924, and in view of her great age (40 years) and generally deteriorated condition the Board concluded that even in the present emergency she was not worth refitting for service in any capacity. The Board recommended that she be stripped, stricken from the Navy List, and either disposed of by sale or by transfer to the Maritime Commission if that agency was interested in her acquisition. On 24 May 41 SecNav, citing the 1936 inspection, placed her on the list of naval vessels to be disposed of by sale. SecNav struck her from the list of ships in the Navy Register on 2 Oct 41, and the Navy sold her by public auction on 2 Feb 42 to the Bridgeport Steamship Co. (formerly Blidberg Rothchild Co.) for $70,000.
The buyers quickly gave up hope of reactivating the ship themselves and delivered her to the Maritime Commission on 22 Jun 42. The War Shipping Administration (WSA) took her over under Requisition Title (purchase) on 29 Jun 42 and began an extensive overhaul of the ship. On 20 Nov 42 the Auxiliary Vessels Board reported that WSA had suggested that, after the conversion then being accomplished by WSA, she be manned by a Navy crew for use as a station ship in a Caribbean port, primarily to repair merchant ships but also to augment Navy repair facilities. The Board recommended that the Navy acquire the ship for this purpose, but on 6 Jan 43 WSA informed the Navy that it would not convert BRIDGEPORT to a repair ship because of the long period of time required and the excessive cost of the conversion. On 19 Jan 43 the Board cancelled its recommendation that the Navy acquire the ship. Instead WSA converted her back into a cargo vessel and transferred her back to Blidberg Rothchild Co. on 20 Apr 43 for operation under a General Agency Agreement.
Once again Blidberg Rothchild proved unable to use the ship and on 11 Sep 43 the MC transferred her to the War Department for use as a hospital ship. She was converted by the Merrill-Stevens Drydock and Repair Co., Jacksonville, Fla., from September 1943 to August 1944 and was renamed USAHS LARKSPUR on 14 Feb 44. LARKSPUR operated in the European Theater and in the Mediterranean until January 1946, when the Army selected her to carry military dependents (war brides and their children). Reconfigured at the Todd yard in Hoboken, N.J., she reverted to the name USAT BRIDGEPORT. The Army delivered her to the Maritime Commission Reserve Fleet (NDRF) at Brunswick, Ga., on 16 Apr 47 following which the MC sold her for scrapping. The successive names of this ship were thus SS BRESLAU, USS BRIDGEPORT, SS BRIDGEPORT, USAT BRIDGEPORT, USAHS LARKSPUR, and USAT BRIDGEPORT.
||Ex German BRESLAU (ID-3009, completed Nov 01). Designated AR-2 on 17 Jul 20 and AD-10 on 1 Jul 21. Sold to Bridgeport SS Co. (formerly Blidberg Rothchild Co.). Later Army transport BRIDGEPORT and hospital ship LARKSPUR. To buyer's agent 1 Mar 48 and to buyer 15 Mar 48, scrapped by 11 Nov 48.
Compiled: 30 Apr 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012