USS Hugh L. Scott (AP-43)
Hawkeye State in the 1920s,
which became USS Hugh L. Scott in 1941
|Namesake:||Hugh L. Scott (1941–42)|
|Operator:||United States Navy (1942)|
|Builder:||Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation|
|Launched:||17 April 1920|
|Acquired:||for the US Army, 31 July 1941|
|Commissioned:||into the US Navy, 7 September 1942|
|Out of service:||12 November 1942|
|Struck:||7 December 1942|
|Fate:||torpedoed 12 November 1942|
|Beam:||72.2 ft (22.0 m)|
|Draft:||30 ft 6 in (9.30 m)|
|Depth:||27.8 ft (8.5 m)|
|Propulsion:||4 steam turbines, twin screws|
|Speed:||18 kn (21 mph; 33 km/h)|
USS Hugh L. Scott (AP-43) was a Hugh L. Scott-class transport ship. She was built in 1921 and spent 20 years in merchant service as a passenger and cargo liner. She was acquired for the United States Navy shortly before the USA entered the Second World War, served as a troopship in Operation Torch in November 1942, and was sunk by a U-boat four days later. 59 crewmen and soldiers died during the sinking.
The vessel was designed to be a troopship, ordered by the USSB from Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Sparrows Point, Maryland, and laid down in 1920. Her intended name was to be Berrien, but when she was launched on 17 April 1921, it was as Hawkeye State.
Hawkeye State was a turbine steamship, with four steam turbines driving twin propeller shafts by single reduction gearing. These gave her a speed of up to 18 knots (33 km/h) – as fast as many ocean liners of her era.
In 1921, Matson Line ran Hawkeye State between Baltimore and Honolulu via the Panama Canal and California. In 1922, she passed to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, which was taken over by Robert Dollar in 1925. She was then transferred to Dollar Steamship Company, which renamed her President Pierce. In 1938, Dollar was reorganised as American President Lines.
Routes with Dollar Lines
Dollar Line put President Pierce on trans-Pacific services between San Francisco and the Far East until 1931, when she was switched to a round-the-world service. Her first circumnavigation began at New York on 19 November 1931, going via the Panama Canal, California, Japan, China, Malaya, Ceylon, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean and thence back to New York. She completed a total of five such trips, beginning her final one from New York on 2 June 1933.
SS President Hoover
Early on the morning of 11 December 1937, a much larger Dollar Lines ship, the ocean liner President Hoover, ran aground in a typhoon on Kasho-to, east of Formosa. Hoover's 330 crew got their 503 passengers and themselves safely ashore without loss, but the 853 people now needed to be taken off the remote island. The task was shared between President Pierce and American Mail Line's SS President McKinley. McKinley, assisted by the Japanese cruiser Ashigara, collected about 630 people from Kasho-to on 14 December. Pierce collected the remaining 200 people on 15 December.
On 31 July 1941, President Pierce was taken over for the US Army, which renamed her USAT Hugh L. Scott after General Hugh L. Scott, who was Army Chief of Staff 1914–17. She made four voyages to the Far East before sailing to the US East Coast in July 1942.
On 14 August 1942, she was transferred to the US Navy and converted into an attack transport by Tietjen and Long of Hoboken, New Jersey. On 7 September 1942, she was commissioned as USS Hugh L. Scott, under the command of Captain Harold J. Wright.
Hugh L. Scott took part in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa. As part of Transport Division 3 (TransDiv 3), she 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[clarification needed] – landed her troops. She 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.
Sunk by U-boat
The Naval Battle of Casablanca delayed the off-loading of Hugh L. Scott's cargo and her departure from the Moroccan coast. On the evening of 11 November, U-173 slipped inside the protective screen and torpedoed transport Joseph Hewes, tanker Winooski and destroyer Hambleton. Hugh L. Scott and the other transports were at battle stations all night and resumed unloading the next day. That afternoon, 12 November, another submarine, U-130, commanded by Ernst Kals, 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 limited to eight officers and 51 men. U-173 was later sunk by destroyers, but U-130 escaped.
- Swiggum, S; Kohli, M (28 February 2010). "Ship Descriptions – P–Q". The Ships List. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- Lloyd's Register, Steamships and Motor Ships. London: Lloyd's Register. 1934. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- Tully, Anthony; Hackett, Bob; Kingsepp, Sander (2012). "Stranding of S.S. PRESIDENT HOOVER - December 1937". Rising Storm – The Imperial Japanese Navy and China 1931–1941. Imperial Japanese Navy Page. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Priolo, Gary P. "USS Hugh L. Scott (AP-43)". Service Ship Photo Archive. Paul R. Yarnall & NavSource Naval History.