USS Tasker H. Bliss (AP-42)

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USS Tasker H. Bliss (AP-42).jpg
USS Tasker H. Bliss
Career (US)
Name: USS Tasker H. Bliss
Namesake: Tasker H. Bliss
Ordered: as SS President Cleveland
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock
Laid down: 1921
Launched: 1921
Acquired: 19 August 1942
Commissioned: USS Tasker H. Bliss (AP-42),
15 September 1942
Struck: 7 December 1942
Honors and
awards:
1 Battle Star
Fate: Torpedoed, 12 November 1942
General characteristics
Displacement: 12,568 long tons (12,770 t)
Length: 535 ft (163 m)
Beam: 72 ft 2 in (22.00 m)
Draft: 27 ft 8 in (8.43 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbine(s)
Speed: 16.5 kn (19.0 mph; 30.6 km/h)
Complement: 235
Armament: Unknown

USS Tasker H. Bliss (AP-42) was a Tasker H. Bliss-class transport. She was acquired from the United States Army 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.

Acquisition history[edit]

Tasker H. Bliss (AP-42) was built in 1921 as the SS President Cleveland in Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and was owned and operated as a passenger liner by the American President Lines.[1] The steamship was chartered by the U.S. Army in July 1941 and renamed USAT Tasker H. Bliss. She was converted for troop use and made five Pacific Ocean voyages for the Army before being routed on to Baltimore, Maryland, where she arrived on 15 August 1942. She was named after General Tasker H. Bliss, who was Army Chief of Staff in 1917 to 1918.

Acquisition by the U.S. Navy[edit]

There, the ship was transferred to the U.S. Navy on 19 August 1942; was converted for use as a Navy transport by the Maryland Drydock Co., Baltimore, Maryland; and, was commissioned on 15 September 1942, Commander Gerald L. Schetky in command.

North Africa operations[edit]

Tasker H. Bliss arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, on 22 September and joined Task Force 34 (TF 34). After loading troops and equipment to participate in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa, the ships of the task force sailed on 24–25 October for the coast of Morocco.

Tasker H. Bliss was assigned to Task Group 34.9 (TG 34.9), Center Attack Group, and arrived off Fedhala, Morocco on 8 November.

Struck and sunk by a German torpedo[edit]

The Naval Battle of Casablanca delayed off-loading cargo, and postponed departure from the Moroccan coast. On the evening of 12 November, 1942 she was riding at anchor in Fedhala Roads when the German submarine U-130 commanded by Ernst Kals slipped in among the ships and fired five torpedoes at three transports. All torpedoes hit their targets, and they burst into flames. The victims were transports Edward Rutledge, Hugh L. Scott, and Tasker H. Bliss. All were abandoned and the first two sank shortly, but Tasker H. Bliss burned until 02:30 the next morning and then sank. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 7 December.

Awards[edit]

Tasker H. Bliss received one battle star for World War II service.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°40′N 7°35′W / 33.667°N 7.583°W / 33.667; -7.583