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MS Kungsholm (1928)
MS Kungsholm 1928.jpg
MS Kungsholm around 1930.
  • Kungsholm (1928-1942)
  • John Ericsson (1942-1947)
  • Italia (1948-1964)
  • Imperial Bahama (1964-1965)
  • Swedish American Line (1928-1942),
  • US Government (1942-1947)
  • Home Lines (1947-1964)
  • Freeport Bahama Enterprises (1964-1965)
Builder: Blohm + Voss, Hamburg
Launched: 1928
Maiden voyage: 1928
Identification: IMO number: 5516547[1]
Fate: Scrapped, 1965
General characteristics [2]
Type: Passenger liner
Tonnage: 21,250 GRT
9,490 DWT
Length: 181.32 m (594 ft 11 in)
Beam: 22.0 m (72 ft 2 in)
Draught: 11.52 m (37 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: 2 × 8-cylinder Burmeister & Wain diesel engines, 2 shafts
Speed: 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph)
Capacity: 1,428 passengers:
209 first class
395 second class
940 third class

MS Kungsholm was a passenger liner owned and operated by the Swedish American Line from 1928 to 1941 on transatlantic services from Gothenburg to New York as well as cruising out of New York. It was built at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany.

Trans Atlantic passenger service[edit | edit source]

Kungsholm operated on the trans Atlantic service with some cruise operations just prior to World War II. In June 1938, as flagship of the Swedish American Line, she visited Wilmington, Delaware with the Crown Prince Gustav and Crown Princess Louise of Sweden. members of the Royal Swedish Commission, the Commission of the Republic of Finland and tourists aboard.[3] The visit was in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Swedish landing with the Crown Prince's son having to do the honors ashore as the prince was suffering from a kidney attack.[3][4] For a brief time in early 1941, as Kungsholm was cruising the Caribbean after war broke out in Europe, the author J. D. Salinger was employed aboard as entertainment director.[5][6]

Wartime service[edit | edit source]

The ship was requisitioned effective 31 December 1941, placed under control of the United States Government's War Shipping Administration (WSA), renamed John Ericsson and delivered for contract operation by United States Lines as a troop transport largely to meet Army requirements.[7][8]

John Ericsson was one of seven transports hurriedly assembled in New York and sailing late on 22 January 1941 (23 January GMT) in what was then the largest troop movement attempted, movement of POPPY FORCE, also designated Task Force 6814, under General Alexander Patch to secure New Caledonia (codename POPPY) on the vital South Pacific link to Australia.[9] At the time this force was being assembled the ship was allocated to the State Department and with its addition and cutting troops in convoys across the Atlantic the seven ships assembled had a troop capacity of almost 22,000.[10] Task Force 6814 was later organized in New Caledonia as the Americal Division.[11]

John Ericsson was among the group of large, fast troop transports, capable of running without escorts, that moved freely among wartime theaters as required and included the large British liners, several allied liners, Navy and Army operated vessels and her WSA agent operated sisters SS Argentina, SS Brazil, SS Lurline, SS Mariposa, SS Monterey, and SS Uruguay.[12]


Postwar service[edit | edit source]

Following the end of World War Two the John Ericsson was placed in the Hudson reserve fleet 28 April 1947 with fire damages estimated at between $500,000 and $1,500,000 to repair and offered for sale by bids 5 May on an "as is, where is" basis.[8] The ship was sold back to the Swedish American Line with title passed on 18 July and the ship delivered to Swedish American Line 23 July 1947.[8] Instead of returning to service with Swedish American Line the vessel was sold to Home Lines in 1948 and renamed MS Italia. With Homes Lines the ship served on a variety of routes, including Genoa—South America, Genoa—New York, Hamburg—New York, Hamburg—Quebec, Bremen- Quebec, New York—Nassau as well as cruises from New York to the Caribbean. In 1964 the ship was sold to Freeport Bahama Enterprises for use as a floating hotel under the name MS Imperial Bahama. In 1965 the Imperial Bahama was scrapped at Bilbao.[7]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "ITALIA". shipspotting.com. 2012. http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=1015147. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  2. "Göteborg berättar igen", Bengt A Öhnander, Tre Böcker förlag, Gothenburg 1994 ISBN91-7029-149-7
  3. 3.0 3.1 Delaware Tercentenary (1938). "Delaware Tercentenary—Official Program of the Celebration June 27, 1938, Wilmington, Delaware". http://archives.delaware.gov/eBooks/DE_Terc_Program.pdf. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  4. Anne Reilly (July 15, 2013). "Commemorating New Sweden…again". http://sites.udel.edu/amciv-blog/tag/new-sweden/. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  5. Slawenski, Kenneth (2010). J. D. Salinger : A Life. New York: Random House. pp. 36–37. ISBN 9781400069514. LCCN 2010008926. http://books.google.com/books?id=WLxFJ3If0CUC&lpg=PA36&ots=y677rlr4Fz&dq=Kungsholm%20Salinger&pg=PA36#v=onepage&q=Kungsholm%20Salinger&f=false. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  6. "Salinger, Jerome David (J.D.)". The Pennsylvania State University. 2004. http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Salinger__Jerome_David.html. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ljungstrom, Henrik. "Kungsholm (II)/Italia". The Great Ocean Liners. http://www.thegreatoceanliners.com/kungsholm2.html. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Maritime Administration. "John Ericsson". Ship History Database Vessel Status Card. U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration. http://www.marad.dot.gov/sh/ShipHistory/Detail/2558. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  9. Leighton, Richard M; Coakley, Robert W (1995). The War Department — Global Logistics And Strategy 1940–1943. United States Army In World War II. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History, United States Army. p. 157. LCCN 55060001. 
  10. Matloff, Maurice; Snell, Edwin M. (1999). The War Department: Strategic Planning For Coalition Warfare 1941-1942. United States Army In World War II. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History, United States Army. p. 117. LCCN 53061477. 
  11. Thompson, George Raynor; Harris, Dixie R. (1966). The Technical Services—The Signal Corps: The Outcome (Mid-1943 Through 1945). United States Army In World War II. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History, United States Army. p. 206, Note 7. LCCN 64060001. 
  12. Wardlow, Chester (1999). The Technical Services—The Transportation Corps: Responsibilities, Organization, And Operations. United States Army In World War II. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History, United States Army. p. 222. LCCN 99490905. 

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Whiting, Charles, The March on London, Leo Cooper, London (1992, 1996)
  • Charles, Roland W., Troopships of World War II, Washington, DC: The Army Transportation Association, 1947
  • Jordan, Roger, The World's Merchant Fleets 1939: The Particulars and Wartime Fates of 6,000 Ships, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1999
  • United States Maritime Commission, Press Releases 926, 940, 945, 951, 952, 959, 963, 969, 977, 983, 984, 988, 998, 1011, 1030, dated June 6, 1941 to September 29, 1941
  • Rohwer, Jurgen, Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two. (Revised and expanded) Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1999

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