Moving the U.S. Troops Home After WWI

USS Canonicus

A number of existing troopships, as well as ships seized from Germany, were used to return troops from Europe to the United States after the Armistice. In addition, there were several foreign-flagged ships used only for troop returns.

Up until November 11, 1918, all efforts were made to send troops to Europe. Once hostilities ceased, the United States faced a huge logistical problem of returning the troops home again.

I have a copy of a book entitled A History of the Transport Service by Vice Admiral Albert Gleaves, U.S.N. It was published in 1921 and describes the incredible effort needed to transport millions of American troops both over to France and back home again. Several tables and illustrations from the book are available from my Flickr account, by following the links on this page. This information may help if you are looking for a particular ship or wish to see the statistics behind this major war effort.

Note that this book's contents are available online: Online copy of A History of the Transport Service by Vice Admiral Albert Gleaves, U.S.N. You can download your own copy and learn more about this fascinating history, and the ships and men that were part of it.

Foreign Troopships Used for Returning Troops

The following ships of foreign origin were used to return United States troops after the Armistice. Each line is formatted thus: NAME of SHIP (Nationality).

Kursk (British)

Czar (British)

Czaritza (British)

Dwinsk (British)

Vauban (British)

Caserta (Italian)

Dante Alighieri (Italian)

Duca D'Aosta (Italian)

Duca Degli Abruzzi (Italian)

Re D'Italia (Italian)

America (Italian)

Patria (French)

France (French)

Lutetia (French)

Sobral (Brazilian)

Page Image: List of foreign ships used by the US as troopships during the First World War. [Flickr]

Miscellaneous Ships Used for Troop Return Only

The book provides a list of various ships used to return troops. These include ex-German ships, as well as American military transports and civilian cargo ships. Each line is formatted thus: NAME of SHIP [tonnage], Ship Origin, Date this ship started to carry troops (Month, Day-Year as '18' or '19' for 1918 or 1919).

Alaskan [8000] U.S., Dec. 12-18

Amphion [15530] Ex-German, Apr. 12-19

Ancon [20000] U.S., Mar. 28-19

Arcadia [7900] Ex-German, Jan. 20-19

Arizonian [18500] U.S., Aug. 14-18

Artemis [12540] Ex-German, Apr. 8-19

Black Arrow [12200] Ex-German, Jan. 27-19

Buford [10000] U.S. Army Transport, Jan. 15-19

Callao [13164] Ex-German, Apr. 26-19

Canandaigua [7610] U.S., Mar. 2-19

Cananocius [7500] U.S., Mar. 8-19

Cape May [10350] U.S., Jan. 29-19

Comfort [10000] U.S. Naval Hospital Ship, Mar. 18-18

Dakotan [14375] U.S., Jan. 29-19

Eddelyn [12500] U.S., Jul. 18-19

El Sol [10000] U.S., Aug. 5-18

El Oriente [11000] U.S., Apr. 11-19

Etten [6900] Ex-German, May 1-19

Eurana [15250] U.S., Sept. 13-18

Floridian [9800] U.S., Jan. 28-19

Freedom [11175] Ex-German, Jan. 24-19

Gen. Goethals [7700] Ex-German, Mar. 10-19

Gen. Gorgas [5300] Ex-German, Mar. 8-19

Housatonic [7522] U.S., Feb. 27-19

Iowan [13912] U.S., Dec. 23-17

Kentuckian [14405] U.S., Jan. 29-19

Lancaster [11500] U.S., Jun. 19-19

Liberator [12000] U.S., Jul. 28-18

E. F. Luckenbach [20000] U.S., Jun. 11-18

Edward Luckenbach [5600] U.S., Dec. 30-19

F. J. Luckenbach [12000] U.S., Feb. 22-19

Julia Luckenbach [18390] U.S., Jan. 17-19

Katrina Luckenbach [15000] U.S., May 18-18

K. I. Luckenbach [16000] U.S., Aug. 9-18

W. A. Luckenbach [17170] U.S., Dec. 14-18

Marica [17700] U.S., Jun. 9-19

Mercy [10100] U.S. Naval Hospital Ship, Jan. 24-18

Mexican [18200] U.S., Dec. 13-18

Minnesotan [14375] U.S., Jan. 8-19

Montpelier [16430] Ex-German, Mar. 12-19

Nansemond [27000] Ex-German, Jan. 20-19

Ohioan [13345] U.S., Aug. 7-18

Otsego [8750] Ex-German, Feb. 8-19

Panaman [14495] U.S., Aug. 12-18

Paysandu [5750] Ex-German, Jan. 29-19

Peerless [4214] U.S., Mar. 28-19

Philippines [18650] Ex-German, May 1-19

Radnor [14000] U.S., Mar. 6-19

Roanoke [6500] U.S., Mar. 19-19

Santa Ana [9000] U.S., Feb. 11-19

Santa Barbara [9400] U.S., Feb. 21-19

Santa Cecilia [11000] U.S., May 20-18

Santa Elena [13000] Ex-German, Apr. 26-19

Santa Elisa [9345] U.S., Jun. 15-19

Santa Leonora [9345] U.S., July 7-19

Santa Malta [13340] U.S., Feb. 19-19

Santa Olivia [9400] U.S., Dec. 20-18

Santa Paula [13500] U.S., Jan. 29-19

Santa Rosa [10000] U.S., Mar. 10-19

Santa Teresa [6900] U.S., Nov. 8-18

Scranton [14000] U.S., Feb. 5-19

Shoshone [8749] Ex-German, Feb. 19-19

Sol Navis [11075] U.S., Jun. 25-19

South Bend [17716] U.S., May 5-19

Suwanee [6000] Ex-German, Apr. 11-19

Texan [19000] U.S., Jan. 18-19

Tiger [10000] U.S., Mar. 7-19

Troy [37336] U.S., Feb. 27-19

Virginian [12600] U.S., Feb. 1-19

Yale [10000] U.S., Jun. 15-19

Page Images:

Part 1 of listing of miscellaneous ships used for return only of U. S. Troops after the First World War. [Flickr]

Part 2 of listing of miscellaneous ships used for return only of U. S. Troops after the First World War. [Flickr]

Part 3 of listing of miscellaneous ships used for return only of U. S. Troops after the First World War. [Flickr]

Part 4 of listing of miscellaneous ships used for return only of U. S. Troops after the First World War. [Flickr]



Ex-German Ships Used for Troop Return Only

The longer the American soldiers languished in Europe, the greater was the pressure to "bring the boys home". German ships surrendered to the U. S. as part of war reparations joined a large number of other (often just cargo) ships in the effort to move the troops home. Many of the cargo ships used were also ex-German. I've expanded any abbreviated ship names for easier identification. Each line is formatted thus: NAME of SHIP [tonnage], Date this ship started to carry troops (Month, Day-Year as '18' or '19' for 1918 or 1919).

Cap Finsterre [23000] Apr. 11-19

Graf Waldersee [13193] Mar. 28-19

Imperator [60000] May 5-19

K. A. Victoria [Kaiserin Auguste Victoria] [30400] Apr. 27-19

Mobile [27000] Mar. 26-19

Patricia [12500] Apr. 25-19

Pretoria [14100] Aug. 24-19

P. F. Wilhelm [Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm] [26050] Mar. 30-19

Zeppelin [12450] Mar. 29-19


Page Image:

List of German liners used for return only of U. S. troops after the First World War. [Flickr]


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Updated May 26, 2015