German Liner Interned

Ship seized by US government–converted into a troop carrier

(although it happened in 1917)


 Kron Prinz Wilhelm, German ship, interned in U.S. in tow on September 1916.

The former passenger liner, pressed into service as a commerce raider by the Imperial German Navy at the start of World War I, being towed from the Norfolk yards to Philadelphia. During its eight months on the high seas — after leaving New York Harbor with 2,000 tons of coal — the converted 15,000-ton cruiser sank more than a dozen Allied ships and took hundreds of prisoners.

Running low on supplies, its crew and prisoners beset by a variety of illnesses, the battered vessel sought refuge in April 1915 at Newport News, where its sailors were interned for over a year. After the United States entered the war, the ship was seized by the government, rechristened the USS Von Steuben and converted into a troop carrier. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. |

photo and caption courtesy of