USS Susquehanna (ID-3016)

USS Susquehanna (ID-3016)

USS "Susquehanna" (ID-3016) was a transport for the United States Navy during World War I. She was the second U.S. Navy ship to be named for the Susquehanna River. Before the war she operated at SS "Rhein", an ocean liner for North German Lloyd. She was the lead ship of her class of three ocean liners. After the end of World War I, the ship operated briefly in passenger service as SS "Susquehanna". Laid up in 1922, "Susquehanna" was sold to Japanese ship breakers in 1928 and scrapped.

History

SS "Rhein" was launched on 20 September 1899 by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg, Germany, for North German Lloyd. The ship was convert|152.70|m|ftin long between perpendiculars (convert|158.50|m|ftin overall) was convert|58|ft|1|in|m abeam, and had a draft of convert|8.5|m|ft|0. The ship's two quadruple-expansion steam engines turned her twin screw propellors that drove her at speeds of convert|13|to|14|knots|km/h.

"Rhein" sailed from Bremen to New York on 9 December 1899 for her maiden voyage, and began regular Bremen–Baltimore service in May 1900. Later that same year, "Rhein" served as a transport carrying German Empire troops as part of the Eight-Nation Alliance intended to put down the Boxer Rebellion in China. From September to November 1901, "Rhein" sailed on a Bremen – Suez CanalAustralia route.

Returning to North Atlantic sailings at the end of 1901, "Rhein" sailed from Bremen variously to New York, Baltimore, or Philadelphia through 1914. She began what would become her last voyage for North German Lloyd on 16 July 1914 when she left Bremen bound for Baltimore, and was in that port when Germany declared war in early August. As a neutral in the war at that time, the United States interned the liner and her sister ship SS|Neckar|1901|2, which was also in Baltimore. [Bonsor, p. 535.] The two sisters would remain idle in Baltimore for almost three years.

After the United States declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917, "Rhein", along with all other German ships interned in American ports, was seized by U.S. authorities. Initially handed over to the United States Shipping Board (USSB), she was later transferred to the U.S. Navy to effect repairs caused by neglect and sabotage by her German crew. The ship was overhauled, reconditioned, fitted out as a transport, and commissioned as USS "Susquehanna" at Norfolk, Virginia, on 5 September 1917.

"Susquehanna" was attached to the Cruiser and Transport Force and made eight round trips to Europe before the Armistice, transporting 18,348 troops. After the Armistice, she made seven more voyages to France and returned 15,537 passengers to the United States. "Susquehanna" was placed out of commission on 27 August 1919 and turned over to the USSB.

The ship was chartered to the United States Mail Steamship Company (U.S. Mail Line) and began passenger service from New York to Bremen in August 1920. When the U.S. Mail Line ran into financial difficulties, SS "Susquehanna", along with the other six former German vessels the company had chartered, was seized in April 1921 by the USSB, and later placed with the newly formed United States Lines. Beginning in April 1922, "Susquehanna" sailed on a New York – PlymouthCherbourg – Bremen route. Laid up in September 1922 after completing five roundtrips for United States Lines, the ship was sold in November 1928 to Japanese interests for scrapping.

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