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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

Leviathan (ID 1326)
ex-Vaterland


Transport:

  • Built in 1912 by Blohm und Voss, Hamburg, Germany
  • Launched 3 April 1913
  • Completed 29 April 1914
  • Acquired by the Navy in June 1917
  • Commissioned USS Vaterland (ID 1326), 25 July 1917
  • Renamed Leviathan 6 September 1917
  • Movie star Humphrey Bogart served in Leviathan as a Coxswain 27 November 1918 - February 1919
  • Decommissioned 29 October 1919 and transferred to the United States Shipping Board
  • Sold for scrap 10 December 1937 to a British firm
  • Broken up at Rosyth, Scotland, 6 June 1938.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 58,000 t.
  • Length 950'
  • Beam 100' 4"
  • Draft 37' 9"
  • Speed 26 kts.
  • Complement 1,165
  • Armament: Eight 6" mounts, two 1-pounders and two machine guns
  • Propulsion: Four Parsons steam turbines, four shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Vaterland
    Leviathan 75k . Tommy Trampp
    Leviathan 84k
    Leviathan 144k
    Leviathan 54k
    Leviathan 52k
    Leviathan 98k
    Leviathan 52k
    Leviathan 88k
    Leviathan 61k
    Leviathan 58k
    Leviathan 51k
    Leviathan 159k Undated post cards
    Leviathan 61k
    Leviathan 113k
    Leviathan 52k Advertising Color Magic Lantern Glass Slide
    Made by Harold Ivers Company, Metropolitan Life Building, New York
    Leviathan 343k Photo from "Passenger Liners of the World Since 1893" (1979) by Nicholas T. Cairis
    Leviathan 61k 26 May 1914
    Leviathan 91k 11 December 1914
    Hoboken, NJ
    Leviathan 93k c. 1915
    Leviathan 83k Arriving at New York City on 29 July 1914, three days before Germany's declaration of war on Russia began World War I.
    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, D.C. Collection of Captain Cyrus R. Miller, USN.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 103156
    Naval Historical Center
    Leviathan 121k Interned at their piers at Hoboken, New Jersey, on 4 April 1917, two days before the United States declared war on Germany. In the foreground is the stern of a U.S. Navy destroyer, which is keeping watch on the ships. The piers are those of the Hamburg-America Line (left center) and the North German Lloyd Line (right center). The large ship at left is S.S. Vaterland. The four-funneled liner in right center is probably S.S. Kaiser Wilhelm II (later USS Agamemnon [ID-3004]).
    U.S. Navy photo NH 54700
    Leviathan 118k Vaterland tied up at her New York pier, on 8 April 1917, the day after her seizure by the U.S. government
    National Archives photo from "Great Liners at War" by Stephen Harding
    Robert Hurst
    USS Leviathan (ID 1326)
    Leviathan 90k . Joe Radigan
    Leviathan 79k Troops taking the air Tommy Trampp
    Leviathan 76k At anchor with two unknown tugs alongside. She is painted in a dazzle color scheme prepared by Norman Wilkinson's Admiralty team.
    National Archives photo 13431 from "Naval Camouflage 1914-1945: A Complete Visual Reference" by David Williams
    Robert Hurst
    Leviathan 155k Doughboys and bluejackets shelter from the wind on Leviathan's foc'sle during a winter crossing
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo from "Great Liners at War" by Stephen Harding
    Leviathan 101k The crew of one of Leviathan's 6" guns as they take a break near their weapon, surrounded by fellow bluejackets. The ship was armed with eight of these weapons: four forward, two aft and two amidships. Only the forward and aft mounts had splinter shields, though all eight guns had ready-ammunition lockers fitted to the deck close at hand
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo from "Great Liners at War" by Stephen Harding
    Leviathan 116k Members of her crew standing opposite one of the many mounds of lifejackets discarded by disembarking troops. Even after the Armistice embarked personnel were sometimes ordered into lifejackets as the ship approached port, primarily as a precaution in case the troopship collided with another vessel or hit a rogue mine
    National Archives photo from "Great Liners at War" by Stephen Harding
    Leviathan 117k Undated post card showing her Flying Bridge Tommy Trampp
    Leviathan 81k Steaming out of New York in wartime camouflage, probably 1917.
    U.S. Navy Photo
    Joe Radigan
    Leviathan 137k Departing New York for France, on 15 December 1917, cheered on by troops and nurses packed aboard a smaller vessel
    National Archives photo from "Great Liners at War" by Stephen Harding
    Robert Hurst
    Leviathan 87k Oil painting by Burnell Poole, depicting USS Allen (Destroyer No. 66) escorting Leviathan in the War Zone, 1918. The original painting measures 60" x 33".
    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, D.C.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 42690-KN
    Naval Historical Center
    Leviathan 115k Halftone reproduction of a photograph showing the ship moored to a buoy in 1918. She is painted in "dazzle" camouflage.
    The original photograph was taken by Enrique Muller, New York.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 51396
    Leviathan 129k Underway at sea, 1918. The ship in the right distance is USS Northern Pacific.
    Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 66289
    Leviathan 104k In harbor, while painted in "dazzle" camouflage, 1918. The original photograph was captioned "The Queen of Them All", a reference to Leviathan's status as the then largest ship in the World.
    Collection of James J. Clerkin Sr.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103165
    Robert Hurst
    Leviathan 84k At sea in 1918.
    Courtesy of Jack Howland, 1987.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 101625
    Leviathan 105k In port, while painted in "dazzle" camouflage in 1918, probably at Brest, France.
    Photographed by Zimmer.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 51391
    Leviathan 70k Photographed from USS Warrington (Destroyer No. 30), 1918.
    Courtesy of Gustavus C. Robbins, 1973.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 77161.
    Leviathan 80k Photographed in 1918. The destroyer in the right foreground may be USS Downes (Destroyer No. 45), which had a similar (though not identical) camouflage scheme.
    Courtesy of Jack Howland, 1981.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 92952.
    Leviathan 137k At Pier Number 4, Hoboken, New Jersey, 19 April 1918. She is painted in "dazzle" camouflage. The covered lighter alongside the ship is marked (faintly) "U.S. Navy Provisions & Clothing Depot".
    Photographed by the New York Navy Yard.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 51395.
    Leviathan 108k In harbour, with tugs in attendance at her starboard bow, 1918.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 71
    Leviathan 104k Passing a light ship while at sea in 1918. A destroyer is in the left background.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 43284
    Leviathan 102k In a busy harbour, while wearing "dazzle" camouflage, 1918. A small vessel towing a "kite" balloon is just to right of Leviathan's bow, and the many camouflaged ships present. Location may be
    Brest, France.
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2007
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105107
    Leviathan 105k In New York Harbour, 1918, with a tug steaming by on the right and a battleship in the left background.
    Photographed by E. Muller Jr., 198 Broadway, New York City
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2007
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105389
    Leviathan 127k In New York Harbour, 1918, while painted in "dazzle" camouflage.
    Photographed by E. Muller Jr., 198 Broadway, New York City
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2008
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105517
    Leviathan 127k Drydocked at Liverpool, England, in the spring of 1918. She is partially repainted in the "dazzle" camouflage scheme she carried for the rest of World War I.
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2008
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105518
    Leviathan 99k Henderson (Transport No. 1), at left, and Leviathan, center, photographed circa May 1918, probably at Brest, France. They were members of a convoy escorted by USS Wakiva (SP-160), from which this photograph was presumably taken. Wakiva was lost in a collision on 22 May 1918. Both ships are wearing "dazzle" camouflage
    Courtesy of James A. Turner, Jr., from the collection of Samuel A. Turner, Jr., who served in Wakiva during World War I
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 105585
    Leviathan 143k Docked at Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 July 1918, while painted in "dazzle" camouflage.
    Photographed by the New York Navy Yard
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 51393
    Leviathan 108k In New York Harbor, attended by several tugs on 8 July 1918.
    Photographed by the New York Navy Yard.
    Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 51392
    Naval Historical Center
    Leviathan 69k Leaving New York City carrying nearly 14,500 persons, including troops and ship's personnel, circa July 1918. In the foreground is the cruiser USS New Orleans, which was at anchor at
    Thompkinsville, N.Y.
    Courtesy of Captain Edgar B. Larimer, USN, 1931. He was New Orleans' Commanding Officer at the time this photograph was taken.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 1096
    Robert Hurst
    Leviathan 193k c. 1918
    Arriving at Brest, France
    U.S. Army Signal Corps photo
    Tommy Trampp
    Leviathan 131k Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken from USS Northern Pacific as both ships were steaming through heavy seas en route to France during September 1918. This image was published in 1919 by the National Specialties Company of New York City, as one of ten photographs in a "Souvenir Folder" of views concerning USS Leviathan.
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 103198
    Naval Historical Center
    Leviathan 144k Steaming up the North River, New York City, on her way to her pier with 8,000 troops on board who are returning home from France, 16 December 1918. Tugs alongside indicate that the ship is moving into her berth
    Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime Museum, San Francisco, California, 1969
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 69056
    Robert Hurst
    Leviathan 123k Being assisted by tugs towards her New York pier on 16 December 1918, loaded with some 9,000 returning servicemen. The dazzle camouflage scheme has been removed from her hull, but she still carries her full complement of 6" guns
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo from "Great Liners at War" by Stephen Harding
    Leviathan 150k A close-up of some of the 4,000 sailors returning from duty in France crowd around one of the starboard forward 6" mounts for a better view of the docking, on 16 December 1918. Note that several of the life rafts suspended from the ship's forward superstructure had been painted as part of the overall dazzle scheme. Though the majority of the ship's hull was by now overall grey, parts of her upper works retained traces of the dazzle scheme
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo from "Great Liners at War" by Stephen Harding
    Leviathan 86k Arriving at New York after a voyage across the Atlantic from France, 1919
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 41868
    Leviathan 111k In New York Harbor, with tugs assisting her into her berth, circa late 1918 or 1919.
    Photo printed on a stereograph card, copyrighted by Underwood & Underwood and published by the Keystone View Company.
    Donation of Louis Smaus, 1985
    U.S. Navy photo NH 100305
    Naval Historical Center
    Leviathan 121k Photographed from the top of the Woolworth Building, New York City, while departing for a trans-Atlantic voyage in 1918-1919
    Courtesy of Mrs. Mabel Croft Graham, 1968
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 65572
    Robert Hurst
    Leviathan 107k Photographed circa late 1918 or in 1919
    Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1977
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 85459
    Leviathan 165k At Brest, France, with harbor craft alongside, circa early 1919
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 51390
    Leviathan 133k Photographed in 1919. She is probably arriving in New York Harbor from France, bringing service personnel home from the former World War I combat zone
    Photographed by the Navy's Bureau of Navigation
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 51397
    Leviathan 140k At anchor, circa mid- or late-1919, while wearing "dazzle" camouflage.
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2008
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105764
    Leviathan 108k In New York Harbour, with the Manhattan skyline in the background, 1919.
    Photographed by E. Muller Jr., 198 Broadway, New York City
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2007
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105176
    Leviathan 150k In New York Harbour (probably Hoboken, New Jersey), 1919.
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein, Jr., 2008
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105774
    Leviathan 130k Entering New York Harbor in March 1919, with 8,000 troops of the 27th Division on board.
    Photographed by Enrique Muller, Jr., New York.
    Courtesy of Harold B. Feile, 1970.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 70166
    Naval Historical Center
    Leviathan 135k In New York Harbour, March 1919, crowded with troops returning from France. She is accompanied by several tugs, an ambulance boat, and (alongside her bow) what appears to be USS SC-412.
    Photographed by E. Muller Jr., New York
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105192
    Robert Hurst
    Leviathan 104k Arriving in New York Harbour while bringing troops home from France, probably in March 1919. She has an honour escort of local harbour steamers. The Statue of Liberty is in the distance.
    Photographed by N. Moser, New York City
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105390
    Leviathan 143k Entering New York Harbor, accompanied by many smaller vessels, 1919. The general appearance of celebration indicates the ship is arriving from France, with service personnel on board, possibly in March 1919
    Photographed from Hudson Terminal
    Courtesy of Harold B. Feile, 1970
    Naval History and Heritage Command photos NH 71159 and NH 71160
    Leviathan 151k
    Leviathan 154k c. September 1919
    General Pershing departing France and returning to the United States
    U.S. Army Signal Corps photo
    Tommy Trampp
    Imperator 111k USS Imperator (ID 4080), at left, and Leviathan at Hoboken, New Jersey, probably after Imperator's first trans-Atlantic voyage as a U.S. Navy ship, circa late May 1919. At that time, these were the World's largest ships, hence the photo's title: "The 'Giants' of the Sea".
    Panoramic photograph by Picot, 15 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
    Donation of Georgia Adams Grann and Caryl L. Adams, 2005. The original print came from the collection of their father, George W. Adams, who enlisted in the Navy in 1908.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 103126.
    Naval Historical Center
    Leviathan 321k Poster from the "What the Navy is Doing" series, published by the Navy Recruiting Bureau, New York, 1919. It depicts U.S. Navy ships transporting Army personnel home from the European war zone after the end of World War I, with text emphasizing the advantages to former Soldiers of enlisting in the Navy. Leviathan is featured in the center of the poster
    National Archives photo 80-WP-992
    Robert Hurst
    SS Leviathan
    Leviathan 215k Undated post card
    © Ed. Levick, NY
    Tommy Trampp
    Leviathan 91k Undated post cards
    Leviathan 88k
    Leviathan 115k Photographed in April 1922, while en route to Newport News, Virginia, to be reconditioned for commercial service
    Courtesy of the Naval Medical Command Archives, 1983
    Naval History and Heritage Command photos NH 94331, NH 94332 and NH 94333
    Robert Hurst
    Leviathan 100k
    Leviathan 115k
    Leviathan 179k Original photo: At Newport News, Virginia, shipyard workers pour from the vessel in response to the noon whistle. During her year-long, $8 million refurbishment Leviathan was converted to oil fuel and returned to her full pre-war splendor
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo from "Great Liners at War" by Stephen Harding
    Replacement photo: Workmen leaving the ship for lunch on 15 June 1922, while she was being refitted for commercial service at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company shipyard, Newport News, Virginia
    Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, San Francisco, California, 1969
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 69162
    Leviathan 165k Aerial photograph of Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company shipyard's, pier area, February 1923. USS West Virginia (BB-48) is fitting out in the left center. In right center is Leviathan, refitting for commercial service
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 93533
    Leviathan 117k Entering Dry Dock Number 3, Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, during the 1920s
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 51335
    Leviathan 109k In drydock at Boston, Massachusetts, in 1923. She is undergoing preparations for her maiden voyage under the United States Lines flag, which commenced on 4 July of that year
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 43035
    Leviathan 111k Steaming out of New York Harbor, circa the mid-1920s. The Manhattan skyline is in the background.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 43553
    Naval Historical Center
    Leviathan 143k Photographed from an aircraft, while underway at sea during the 1920s or 1930s.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 41867
    Leviathan 74k Underway during the 1920s or 1930s, probably in French waters.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 103130
    Leviathan 256k 7 April 1930
    Boston, MA
    Edward Russo
    Leviathan 271k
    Leviathan 116k Leaving New York Harbor, 21 July 1934.
    Donation of Franklin Moran, 1967.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 65023 and NH 65024
    Naval Historical Center
    Leviathan 113k
    Leviathan 147k Halftone reproduction from a contemporary newspaper, showing the ship steaming down the Hudson River, off Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1938, bound for Scotland to be scrapped. Its title, "They'll Tear Her Tattered Ensign Down" is a reference to Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem opposing the proposed scrapping of USS Constitution in 1830.
    International News Photo
    Courtesy of CWO2 John A. Steel, USN.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 51399

    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT Joseph W. Oman, USN - USNA Class of 1886
    Awarded the Navy Cross (1918) - Appointed Military Governor of the United States Virgin Islands (1919 - 1921)
    Retired as Rear Admiral
    23 July 1917
    02CAPT Henry F. Bryan, USN - USNA Class of 1887
    Awarded the Navy Cross (1918) - Appointed Governor of American Samoa (17 March 1925 - 9 September 1927)
    Retired as Rear Admiral
    3 March 1918
    03CAPT William W. Phelps, USN - USNA Class of 1889
    Awarded the Navy Cross (1918) - Retired as Rear Admiral
    21 September 1918
    04CAPT Edward H. Durell, USN - USNA Class of 18874 April 1919 - 29 October 1919
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: Leviathan (ID 1326). Former SS Vaterland, built as Germany's largest passenger liner by Blohm und Voss, Hamburg, was launched 13 April 1913; seized at Hoboken, N.J., by the U.S. Shipping Board when the United States entered World War 1, 6 April 1917; turned over to the custody of the U.S. Navy in June 1917; and commissioned 25 July 1917. Renamed Leviathan by President Woodrow Wilson on 6 September 1917. Decommissioned 29 October 1919, she was returned the same day to the U.S. Shipping Board. Her reconditioning completed in June 1923, the Board turned her over to the United States Lines to operate on their behalf. United States Lines employed her in transatlantic passenger service until 10 December 1937 when she was sold for scrapping to a British firm. She was broken up at Rosyth, Scotland, 6 June 1938.

    ***************************************************************************************************************

    Addendum: S.S. Vaterland, a 54,282 gross ton passenger liner, was built at Hamburg, Germany, as the second of a trio of very large ships for the Hamburg-America Line's trans-Atlantic route. When completed in the spring of 1914 she surpassed her slightly older near-sister, S.S. Imperator (Later USS Imperator [ID 4018]), as the World's largest ship. Vaterland held this honor until 1922, when the last of the three big German liners, the 56,551 gross ton Bismarck, was delivered after a long delay and almost immediately became the British liner Majestic. The three ships' design emphasized luxury and comfort over speed, though their 23-knot service speed was fast enough for the North Atlantic trade. Vaterland had made only a few trips when, in late July 1914, she arrived at New York just as World War I broke out. With a safe return to Germany rendered virtually impossible by British dominance of the seas, she was laid up at her Hoboken, New Jersey, terminal, and remained immobile for the nearly three years.

    In April 1917, when the United States entered the war, Vaterland was seized and turned over to the U.S. Navy, which placed her in service later in the year as USS Leviathan. In October 1919, she was transferred to the U.S. Shipping Board and again laid up at Hoboken until plans for her future employment could be determined. These finally materialized and, in April 1922 the ship steamed to Newport News, Virginia, where she was completely renovated to suit American tastes and post-World War I standards. As S.S. Leviathan, she was the "queen" of the United States' merchant fleet, and operated in the trans-Atlantic trade into the early 1930s. She was not profitable, however, and, with the exemption of several months of additional service in 1934, Leviathan was inactive until early 1938, when she made a final Atlantic crossing to Scotland, where she was broken up. No U.S. flag commercial ship approached her size until 1952, when the S.S. United States was completed.


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