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UNITED STATES NAVY
TEMPORARY AUXILIARY SHIPS
WORLD WAR I

Photo #  NH 97667-KN:  Pre-World War I colored postcard image of the liner Kronprinz Wilhelm


Online Library of Selected Images:
-- CIVILIAN SHIPS --

Kronprinz Wilhelm (German Passenger Liner, 1901-1923).
Later German Auxiliary Cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm and USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017)

Kronprinz Wilhelm, a 23,500-ton passenger liner, was built at Stettin, Germany. Completed in 1901, she spent more than a dozen years in trans-Atlantic commercial operations under the flag of the North German Lloyd firm. The outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 found Kronprinz Wilhelm on the western side of the ocean. Meeting the cruiser Karlsruhe at sea, she was given a light gun armament and placed in commission as a German Navy auxiliary cruiser.

During the next eight months, the large and coal-hungry former liner conducted a commerce-raiding cruise in the central and south Atlantic. She captured some fifteen merchant ships, using one to repatriate captive crewmen and sinking the rest. With her military value exhausted by fuel shortages and illness among her crew, Kronprinz Wilhelm steamed to the United States, where she was interned in April 1915. The ship was laid up at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and her crew lived in a camp nearby.

When the United States entered the War in April 1917, Kronprinz Wilhelm was seized. Later turned over to the Navy, she was placed in commission in June 1917 as USS Von Steuben. After extensive service as a troopship during and after the conflict, the ship returned to civilian employment under the names Baron Von Steuben and Von Steuben. She was scrapped in 1923.

This page features, and provides links to, all the views that are available concerning the German passenger liner and auxiliary cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm, which was USS Von Steuben during 1917-19.

For pictures of this ship during her U.S. Navy service, see:

  • USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017), 1917-1919.


    Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

    Photo #: NH 97667-KN (Color)

    SS Kronprinz Wilhelm
    (German Passenger Liner, 1901)

    Colored postcard, featuring a photograph of the liner taken prior to 1914. She served as USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017) in 1917-19.
    The postcard was published by Alb. Rosenthal, Bremen, Germany.

    Collection of Paul F. Wangerin, 1975.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 98KB; 740 x 405 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 105387

    SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm
    (German Auxiliary Cruiser, formerly Passenger Liner, 1901)

    In a U.S. port, circa April 1915. Note that the ship still carries her guns and flies the German naval ensign. She was interned for the next two years, and served in 1917-1919 as USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017),
    Photographed by Fisher and printed on postcard ("AZO") stock.

    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2007.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image size: 61KB; 740 x 445 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 105901

    SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm
    (German Auxiliary Cruiser, formerly Passenger Liner, 1901)

    Interned at Norfolk, Virginia, circa April 1915. She still flies the German naval ensign and carries her guns.
    This ship served in 1917-1919 as USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017).
    The original photograph is printed on post card ("AZO") stock, and was mailed from USS Wyoming (Battleship # 32) on 30 May (1915 ?). See Photo # NH 105901-A-KN for a view of the card's reverse side.

    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2008.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 66KB; 740 x 445 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 94986

    German Passenger Liners Prinz Eitel Friedrich and
    Kronprinz Wilhelm (left)

    Interned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, prior to the U.S. entry into World War I. They are still flying German flags.
    During 1917-19, these ships respectively served as USS De Kalb (ID # 3010) and USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017).
    Note U.S. Navy target raft at right.

    Courtesy of Paul H. Silverstone, 1983.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 95KB; 740 x 470 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 42420

    German Passenger Liner Kronprinz Wilhelm

    Interned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, on 26 March 1917, shortly before she was seized by the United States. Visible on her opposite side are the masts and funnels of the interned liner Prinz Eitel Friedrich.
    During 1917-19, these ships respectively served as USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017) and USS De Kalb (ID # 3010).
    Photographed by Replogle.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 86KB; 740 x 605 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 42417

    German Passenger Liners Prinz Eitel Friedrich and
    Kronprinz Wilhelm (left)

    Interned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, on 26 March 1917, shortly before they were seized by the United States. Photographed from on board USS Salem.
    During 1917-19, these ships respectively served as USS De Kalb (ID # 3010) and USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017).

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 100KB; 740 x 615 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 42416

    German Passenger Liners Kronprinz Wilhelm and
    Prinz Eitel Friedrich (left)

    Interned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, on 26 March 1917, shortly before they were seized by the United States. They are still flying the German flag, and German guns are visible on Prinz Eitel Friedrich's stern.
    During 1917-19, these ships respectively served as USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017) and USS De Kalb (ID # 3010).

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 104KB; 740 x 620 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 54659

    Prinz Eitel Friedrich
    (German Passenger Liner, 1904)

    Interned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, on 28 March 1917. Behind her is the liner Kronprinz Wilhelm.
    These ships were seized when the United States entered World War I and subsequently served as USS DeKalb (ID # 3010) and Von Steuben (ID # 3017).

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 117KB; 740 x 610 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 42252

    Explosive "Torpedoes"


    Found under the interned German ships Prinz Eitel Friedrich and Kronprinz Wilhelm after they were seized by the United States in April 1917. Photographed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, 12 April 1919.
    These devices, shown here disassembled with components labeled, were placed by the ships' German crewmembers in anticipation of the seizure, in hopes of disabling the ships and thus rendering them useless to the U.S.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 155KB; 740 x 610 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 105901-A-KN (color)

    SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm (German Auxiliary Cruiser, formerly Passenger Liner, 1901)

    Reverse side of a post card, featuring a message postmarked on USS Wyoming (Battleship # 32), 30 May (1915 ?).
    See Photo # NH 105901 for a view of the card's front side, featuring a photograph of Kronprinz Wilhelm interned at Norfolk, Virginia, circa April 1915.

    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2008.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 465 pixels

     

    For pictures of this ship during her U.S. Navy service, see:

  • USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017), 1917-1919.


    NOTES:

  • To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

  • Some images linked from this page bear obsolete credit lines citing the organization name: "Naval Historical Center". Effective 1 December 2008 the name should be cited as: "Naval History and Heritage Command".


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    Page made 28 September 2001
    New images added 11 January 2009