USS Susquehanna (ID-3016)

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USS Susquehanna (ID-3016)
Career (Germany)
Name: SS Rhein
Namesake: the Rhine river (German: Rhein)
Owner: North German Lloyd
Port of registry: Bremen
  • 1900: Bremen–Baltimore
  • 1901: Bremen – New York
  • 1901: Bremen – Suez Canal – Australia
  • 1902–1911: From Bremen variously to New York, Baltimore, or Philadelphia
Builder: Blohm & Voss
Hamburg, Germany
Launched: 20 September 1899
Maiden voyage: Bremen – New York, 9 December 1899
Fate: Interned in Baltimore, 1914; seized by United States, 6 April 1917
Career (U.S. Navy) 100x35px
Name: USS Susquehanna (ID-3016)
Namesake: Susquehanna River
Acquired: 6 April 1917
Commissioned: 5 September 1917
Decommissioned: 27 August 1919
Fate: turned over to United States Shipping Board
Career (United States) 100x35px
Name: SS Susquehanna
Owner: United States Shipping Board
  • 1921: New York – Bremen – Danzig
  • 1922: New York – Plymouth – Cherbourg – Bremen
Fate: laid up, August 1922; sold for scrapping in Japan, November 1928
General characteristics
Class and type: Rhein-class ocean liner
Tonnage: 10,058 GT (gross tonnage)
Length: 152.70 m (501 ft 0 in) lbp
158.50 m (520 ft 0 in) o/a
Beam: 17.83 m (58 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 quadruple-expansion steam engines
twin screw propellors
Speed: 13–14 knots (24–26 km/h)
Crew: 140–174
Notes: 1 funnel, 4 masts
General characteristics as USS Susquehanna
Displacement: 17,857 t
Length: 520 ft (160 m)
Beam: 58 ft 1 in (17.70 m)
Draft: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 514
Armament: 4 × 6-inch (150 mm) guns
2 × 1-pounder guns
2 x machine guns

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.


SS Rhein was launched on 20 September 1899 by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg, Germany, for North German Lloyd. The ship was 152.70 metres (501 ft 0 in) long between perpendiculars (158.50 metres (520 ft 0 in) overall) was 58 feet 1 inch (17.70 m) abeam, and had a draft of 8.5 metres (28 ft). The ship's two quadruple-expansion steam engines turned her twin screw propellors that drove her at speeds of 13 to 14 knots (24 to 26 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 Neckar, which was also in Baltimore.[1] 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.


  1. Bonsor, p. 535.


External links

De:Rhein (1899)