USS Zeppelin (1914)

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The USS "Zeppelin" while underway
Flag of the German Empire.svgGerman Empire
Name: SS Zeppelin[1]
Namesake: Ferdinand von Zeppelin
Port of registry: Bremen
Builder: Bremer Vulkan AG[1]
Launched: 9 June 1914[2]
Completed: 21 January 1915[2]
Fate: Surrendered to United Kingdom 28 March 1919[2]
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: SS Zeppelin
Operator: White Star Line[2]
Acquired: 1919[2]
Fate: Transferred to US Navy
United States
Name: USS Zeppelin
Namesake: Ferdinand von Zeppelin
Route: Europe - New York
Commissioned: 28 March 1919
Decommissioned: 25 November 1919
Reclassified: Troop ship
Homeport: New York
Fate: Returned to British control, 27 December 1919
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: RMS Ormuz[1]
Operator: Orient Steam Navigation Company[2]
Route: Great Britain - Australia[2]
Acquired: from UK Government, 1920[2]
Commissioned: 12 November 1921[2]
Reclassified: Passenger liner[2]
Refit: 1920-21
Fate: Sold 1927[2]
Weimar Republic
Name: SS Dresden[1]
Operator: Norddeutscher Lloyd[1]
Port of registry: Bremen
Route: Bremen - New York[2]
Acquired: 1927[2]
Refit: 1927[2]
  • Code Letters QMDS
  • ICS Quebec.svgICS Mike.svgICS Delta.svgICS Sierra.svg[1]
Fate: beached 21 June 1934 & broken up[2]
General characteristics
Type: Passenger liner, Troop transport
Tonnage: 14,690 gt[1]
Displacement: 21,753 long tons (22,102 t)
Length: 550.3 ft (167.7 m)[1]
Beam: 67.3 ft (20.5 m)[1]
Draught: 35.1 ft (10.7 m)[1]
Installed power: 1850 NHP[1]
Propulsion: 2 quadruple-expansion steam engines; 2 screws[1]
Speed: 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph)
  • (1920-21 refit) 293 1st class, 882 3rd class[2]
  • (1927 refit) 399 1st class, 288 tourist class, 284 3rd class[2]

USS Zeppelin was a passenger liner launched in 1914 as SS Zeppelin by Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack,[1] Germany, for Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL). Due to the First World War she never entered NDL service, she had a career after the war first under White Star Line control, then briefly as the troop ship USS Zeppelin, next as the Orient SN Co liner SS Ormuz[1] and finally back with NDL as SS Dresden.[1]

Troop ship[edit]

SS Zeppelin was launched on 9 June 1914, and on completion she was handed over to NDL on 21 January 1915.[2] By then the First Battle of the Atlantic of the First World War was under way so NDL laid her up at Bremen until the end of hostilities.[2]

On 28 March 1919 she was surrendered as war reparations to the UK Government, who placed her under the management of the White Star Line,[2] she was then handed over to the United States Navy, who commissioned her as USS Zeppelin and assigned to the New York Division of the Transport Force with Commander William W. Galbraith as her master.

USS Zeppelin made two round-trip voyages between the United States and Europe, returning 15,800 American soldiers back home, she then returned to Europe, was decommissioned on 25 November 1919 and returned to United Kingdom control on 27 December 1919.

Civilian liner[edit]

The UK Government sold her to the Orient Steam Navigation Company in 1920, who renamed her SS Ormuz and had her refitted as a passenger liner.[2] Orient line placed her in service on the route between Great Britain and Australia, on which she began her first sailing from Britain on 12 November 1921.[2]

In 1927 NDL bought Ormuz back and had her refitted to upgrade much of the third class accommodation to first class or tourist class. NDL renamed her SS Dresden and placed her in service on the Bremen - New York route for which she had originally been built.

KdF cruise and loss[edit]

SS Dresden sunk in Boknafjord, 1934.

In 1934 the Nazi Kraft durch Freude organization started operating tourist cruises.[2] KdF chartered Dresden and she sailed on her first KdF cruise on 11 June 1934.[2] On 20 June she struck a rock off "Aregrunden" on the Norwegian island of Bokn,[2] she was refloated but as a precaution was beached near Blikshavn on the island of Karmøy.[2] In the early hours of 21 June she listed to port and the Norwegian "hurtigrute" ship, DSD (Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskap) 874 ton Kong Haakon,[3] was one of those which took off her passengers.[2] One life was lost in an accident during the transfer to the passenger ship. 4 people lost their life total.[2] Other ships involved in the rescue of the 323 crew and 975 passengers were the French inspection vessel Ardente and the Norwegian ships Kong Harald, Kronprinsesse Martha, Kvitsøy and Stavanger.[4][5]

A firm of shipbreakers from Stavanger broke up the ship where she lay.[2] Remnants of the wreck remain near the shore, between 4 m (13 ft) and 50 m (160 ft) depth.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Details of the Ship Name: Dresden". Plimsoll ShipData. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "Zeppelin". Titanic Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Details of the Ship Name: Kong Haakon". Plimsoll ShipData. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Liner ashore off Norway". The Times (46786). London. 21 June 1934. col F, p. 14.
  5. ^ "S/S DRESDEN". Retrieved 9 June 2012.

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Naval History and Heritage Command. This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°12′07″N 05°19′08″E / 59.20194°N 5.31889°E / 59.20194; 5.31889