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NAME

SS. COLUMBUS III

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

AUGUST 12th 1922

BUILT

SCHICHAU SHIPBUILDERS / DANZIG / GERMANY

WEIGHT

32,354 TONS

LENGTH

775 FEET

WIDTH

83 FEET

SPEED

18 KNOTS - PISTON ENGINES - TWO PROPELLERS


This liner was one of two sister ships ordered by the North German Lloyd Line to be delivered in 1915. The outbreak of World War One in 1914 forced work on both ships to be postponed for the duration of the war. After the war came to an end in 1918, the nearly completed Columbus II was awarded to the White Star Line to be operated under the name Homeric. The Allies took no interest in second ship with the intended name ‘Hindenburg’ as it was still at the early stage of building. Due to a shortage of materials in the following years, it took until 1922 for the second ship to be launched. The North German Lloyd Line had by then decided to use the name Columbus for their new ship. After setting out on her maiden voyage from Bremen - New York April 22nd 1924, this third ship to use the name Columbus became the largest ship in service for a German company as the Allies had confiscated all their larger ships after the war.

Columbus

The instant success of Columbus led to the North German Lloyd Line placing orders for two 51,000-ton ships, Bremen and Europa. Due to propulsion problems beginning in 1927, Columbus had to be returned to her builders in 1929 to undergo an extensive refit. She had geared steam turbines fitted at that time and new shorter funnels to make her look more modern. At the outbreak of World War Two, Columbus was returning to New York form a cruise in the Caribbean when her captain received orders to put into Havana. Further orders were received while at Havana to unload the 745 passengers and make a run for Germany. After a British man-o-war tracked Columbus down on route to Germany, her crew took the decision to scuttle their ship rather than have it fall into the hands of the enemy. On September 20th 1939, Columbus went down on fire 400 miles off the American coast. The American cruiser Tuscaloosa picked up her crew of 579.

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