SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie
|Kronprinzessin Cecilie at Bar Harbor, Maine with black funnel tops|
Kronprinzessin Cecilie at Bar Harbor, Maine with black funnel tops at the start of World War I, in an effort to disguise the ship as the Olympic.
|Name:||SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie|
|Namesake:||Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the Crown Princess of Prussia|
|Owner:||North German Lloyd|
|Port of registry:||Bremen|
|Route:||Bremen – New York|
|Launched:||1 December 1906|
|Maiden voyage:||14 July 1907, Bremen – New York|
|Fate:||Interned, 1914; Seized by U.S., 1917|
|Career (United States)||100x35px|
|Name:||USS Mount Vernon|
|Namesake:||Mount Vernon, home of George Washington|
|Acquired:||3 February 1917|
|Commissioned:||28 July 1917|
|Decommissioned:||29 September 1919|
|Tonnage:||19,400 GT (gross tonnage)|
|Length:||208.89 m (685 ft 4 in) LBP|
|Beam:||22.00 m (72 ft 2 in)|
|Draft:||31 ft 1 in (9.47 m)|
four quadruple-expansion steam engines|
four screw propellors
|Speed:||23–24 knots (43–44 km/h)|
Passengers (as built):
|Complement:||1,030 (as USS Mount Vernon)|
|Crew:||602–686 (as Kronprinzessin Cecilie)|
4 × 5-inch (130 mm) guns|
2 × 1-pounder guns
2 × machine guns
|Notes:||four steamship funnels, three masts|
SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie was an ocean liner built in Germany in 1906 for North German Lloyd. She was engaged in transatlantic service between her homeport of Bremen and New York until the outbreak of World War I. At sea after departing New York, she turned around and put into Bar Harbor, Maine on August 4, 1914, where she later was interned by the neutral United States. After that country entered the war in April 1917, the ship was seized and turned over to the United States Navy, and renamed USS Mount Vernon (ID-4508). While serving as a troop transport, Mount Vernon was torpedoed in September 1918. Though damaged, she was able to make port for repairs and returned to service. In 1919, after the end of the war, she was laid up until 1940 when she was scrapped at Baltimore.
Kronprinzessin Cecilie, built at Stettin, Germany, in 1906 by AG Vulcan Stettin, was the last of a set four liners built for North German Lloyd, and the last German liner to carry four smokestacks. The liner was 19,400 GT (gross tonnage) and was 208.89 metres (685 ft 4 in) long by 22.00 metres (72 ft 2 in) abeam. She had four reciprocating, quadruple-expansion steam engines the powered four screw propellers. The Kronprinzessin sailed at a comfortable 23 knots (43 km/h).
The liner operated on North German Lloyd's Bremen – New York route, with occasional calls at other ports, including Boston, and New Orleans. While steaming toward Germany from America carrying some $10,000,000 in gold and $3,400,000 in silver, she received word of the outbreak of war, headed back to the United States to avoid capture by the British Navy, and was interned at Bar Harbor, Maine. While at sea, her captain had ordered her funnels repainted as a form of disguise, so as to resemble the Olympic.
Commandeered by the United States 3 February 1917, the ship was transferred from the United States Shipping Board (USSB) to the U.S. Navy when America entered the war. She was renamed USS Mount Vernon, after George Washington's Virginia home. She was fitted out at Boston to carry troops and war materiel to Europe, and commissioned on 28 July 1917.
Mount Vernon departed New York for Brest on 31 October 1917 for her first U.S. Navy crossing, and during the war made nine successful voyages carrying American troops to fight in Europe. However, early on the morning of 5 September 1918, as the transport steamed homeward in convoy some 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the French coast, her No. 1 gun crew spotted a periscope some 500 yards (460 m) off her starboard bow. Mount Vernon immediately fired one round at German U-boat U‑82. The U‑boat simultaneously submerged, but managed to launch a torpedo at the transport. Mount Vernon's officer of the deck promptly ordered right full rudder, but the ship could not turn in time to avoid the missile, which struck her amidships, knocking out half of her boilers, flooding the midsection, killing 36 sailors, and wounding 13. Mount Vernon's guns kept firing ahead of the U‑boat’s wake and her crew launched a pattern of depth charges. Damage control teams worked to save the ship, and their efforts paid off when the transport was able to return to Brest under her own power. Repaired temporarily at Brest, she proceeded to Boston for complete repairs.
Mount Vernon rejoined the Cruiser and Transport Service in February 1919 and sailed on George Washington’s birthday for France to begin returning veterans to the United States. Some of her notable passengers during her naval service were: Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations; General Tasker H. Bliss, Chief of Staff of the United States Army; Col. Edward M. House, Special Adviser to President Wilson; and Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War.
|50x40px||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (August 2008)|
- Bonsor, N. R. P. (1978) . North Atlantic Seaway, Volume 2 (Enlarged and completely revised edition ed.). Saint Brélade, Jersey: Brookside Publications. p. 592. ISBN 0905824016. OCLC 29930159.
- Drechsel, Edwin (1994). Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen, 1857–1970: History, Fleet, Ship Mails, Volume 1. Vancouver, British Columbia: Cordillera Pub. Co. p. 191. ISBN 9781895590081. OCLC 30357825.
- Putnam, William Lowell (2001). The Kaiser's Merchant Ships in World War I. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 9780786409235. OCLC 46732396.
- This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- The Great Ocean Liners: Kronprinzessin Cecilie
- Great Ships: Kronprinzessin Cecilie
- Photo gallery of Mount Vernon at NavSource Naval History