The 5870 gross ton cargo ship Taifuku Maru No.1, lead ship of a class of 75 Japanese-built freighters, was completed in December 1916 at Kobe, Japan, by the Kawasaki Dockyards. She was purchased, transferred to U.S. registry, and renamed Argonne by the Argonne Steamship Co., of New York to transport nickel ore from New Caledonia to Britain and France. While undergoing voyage repairs by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., in January 1918, Argonne received an armed guard. She continued to carry cargo for Allied forces in Europe until 19 October 1918 when she was taken over at Norfolk, Va., by the Navy on a bare-ship basis for the Army account of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS). She was then manned by the Navy and commissioned the same day.
On 18 November, a week after the armistice stilled the guns on the Western Front, Argonne sailed for France carrying commissary stores, mules and horses, to Bordeaux, and returned to Norfolk from her only NOTS voyage on 17 December 1918. On 30 January 1919, Argonne was decommissioned and turned over to the United States Shipping Board, which subsequently returned her to her original owner. Her name was simultaneously stricken from the Navy list.
Argonne became the French Calonne in 1922 and the Italian Wally in 1934. She was scrapped at La Spezia, Italy, in May 1935.
This page features all available views of the cargo ship Argonne, which served as USS Argonne in 1918-19.
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
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S.S. Argonne (U.S. cargo ship, 1916)
Shown running trials in Japan as S.S. Taifuku Maru No.1. This ship was acquired by the Navy and commissioned on 19 October 1918 as USS Argonne (no ID #). She was returned to the U.S. Shipping Board on 30 January 1919.
Page made 16 August 2015