USS Hugh L. Scott (AP-43)
|Name:||USS Hugh L. Scott|
|Ordered:||as SS Hawkeye State|
31 July 1941 |
by the United States Army
USS Hugh L. Scott (AP-43), |
7 September 1942
|Struck:||7 December 1942|
|Fate:||Torpedoed, 12 November 1942|
|Displacement:||12,579 long tons (12,781 t)|
|Length:||532 ft (162 m)|
|Beam:||72 ft (22 m)|
|Draft:||30 ft 6 in (9.30 m)|
|Speed:||16 kn (18 mph; 30 km/h)|
USS Hugh L. Scott (AP-43) was a Hugh L. Scott-class transport. She was acquired by the United States Navy for use in World War II, and was assigned the task of transporting troops to and from battle areas. Operating in dangerous waters on 12 November 1942, she was sunk after being struck by a German submarine’s torpedo at Fedala Bay, Morocco.
Hugh L. Scott was built in 1921, as SS Hawkeye State, under a USSB contract, at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co., Sparrows Point, Maryland, then operated as SS President Pierce by Dollar Steamship Co., and later for the American President Lines. She was named in honor of General Hugh L. Scott, who was Army Chief of Staff from 1914-1917.
The ship was taken over by the U.S. Navy on 14 August 1942, and converted to an attack transport at Tietjen and Lang (later Todd Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.), Hoboken, New Jersey. She commissioned on 7 September 1942, Captain Harold J. Wright commanding.
The transport was slated for participation in the North Africa landings, the giant amphibious assault mounted across the entire width of the Atlantic Ocean. Hugh L. Scott joined Transport Division 3 (TransDiv 3) for this, our first offensive move in the European-African theater, and sailed on 24 October after intensive amphibious training. She approached the beaches at Fedhala, French Morocco, early on the morning of 8 November and — after bombardment by surface ships — landed her troops. Hugh L. Scott then cleared the immediate invasion area, and did not return until 11 November, when she entered the refueling area and then anchored in the exposed Fedhala roadstead to unload her supplies.
Torpedoed by a German submarine
The Naval Battle of Casablanca delayed off-loading cargo and postponed departure from the Moroccan coast. On the evening of 11 November, German submarine U-173 slipped inside the protective screen to torpedo transport Joseph Hewes, tanker Winooski, and destroyer Hambleton. Hugh L. Scott and the other transports went to battle stations the entire night, and resumed unloading the next day. That afternoon, 12 November, another submarine, U-130 commanded by Ernst Kals, stalked the transports and torpedoed Hugh L. Scott, Edward Rutledge, and Tasker H. Bliss.
Hugh L. Scott, hit on the starboard side, burst into flames and foundered, but owing to the availability of landing craft for rescue, casualties were held to a minimum of eight officers and 51 men. U-173 was later sunk by destroyers, but U-130 escaped.