SS Europa (1930)
Overview
 
The SS Europa (later SS Liberté) was a German built ocean liner constructed for the Norddeutsche Lloyd line (NDL) to work the transatlantic sea route. She and her sister ship, the , were the two most advanced, high speed steam turbine ocean vessels in their day, and were a part of the international competition for the Blue Riband
Blue Riband
The Blue Riband is an unofficial accolade given to the passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest speed. The term was borrowed from horse racing and was not widely used until after 1910. Under the unwritten rules, the record is based on average speed...

.
Europa was built in 1929 with her sister ship Bremen
SS Bremen (1929)
The SS Bremen was a German-built ocean liner constructed for the Norddeutscher Lloyd line to work the transatlantic sea route. The Bremen was notable for her bulbous bow construction, high-speed engines, and low, streamlined profile. At the time of her construction, she and her sister ship were...

to be the second 50,000 gross ton North German Lloyd liner.
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Encyclopedia
The SS Europa (later SS Liberté) was a German built ocean liner constructed for the Norddeutsche Lloyd line (NDL) to work the transatlantic sea route. She and her sister ship, the , were the two most advanced, high speed steam turbine ocean vessels in their day, and were a part of the international competition for the Blue Riband
Blue Riband
The Blue Riband is an unofficial accolade given to the passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest speed. The term was borrowed from horse racing and was not widely used until after 1910. Under the unwritten rules, the record is based on average speed...

.

Construction

Europa was built in 1929 with her sister ship Bremen
SS Bremen (1929)
The SS Bremen was a German-built ocean liner constructed for the Norddeutscher Lloyd line to work the transatlantic sea route. The Bremen was notable for her bulbous bow construction, high-speed engines, and low, streamlined profile. At the time of her construction, she and her sister ship were...

to be the second 50,000 gross ton North German Lloyd liner. They both were powered with advanced high speed steam turbine engines and were built with a bulbous bow
Bulbous bow
A bulbous bow is a protruding bulb at the bow of a ship just below the waterline. The bulb modifies the way the water flows around the hull, reducing drag and thus increasing speed, range, fuel efficiency, and stability...

 entry and a low streamlined profile.

Europa and her slightly larger sister ship were designed to have a cruising speed of 27.5 knots, allowing an Atlantic crossing time of 5 days. This enabled Norddeutsche Lloyd to run regular weekly crossings with two ships, a feat that normally required three.

The launching of Europa took place at Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 on Wednesday, August 15, 1928. Europa was intended to be completed in spring 1929. However, on the morning of 26 March 1929, a fire broke out while still at the equipment dock. The fire raged all day long and it was not until the evening when the fire was under control. The ship's turbines were damaged heavily and also the remainder of the ship had been significantly damaged. After long discussions between builder and shipping company, it was decided to repair the ship. Within eleven months the ship was finished and completed on February 22,1930. The cause of the fire has never been clearly identified.

Blue Riband

Europa made her maiden voyage to New York on 19 March 1930 taking the westbound Blue Riband
Blue Riband
The Blue Riband is an unofficial accolade given to the passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest speed. The term was borrowed from horse racing and was not widely used until after 1910. Under the unwritten rules, the record is based on average speed...

 from the SS Bremen
SS Bremen (1929)
The SS Bremen was a German-built ocean liner constructed for the Norddeutscher Lloyd line to work the transatlantic sea route. The Bremen was notable for her bulbous bow construction, high-speed engines, and low, streamlined profile. At the time of her construction, she and her sister ship were...

with the average speed of 27.91 knots and a crossing time of 4 days, 17 hours and 6 minutes. During the voyage many of her passengers were disturbed from the soot coming out of Europa's low funnels. The problem was corrected by raising the funnels by 15 feet, though decreasing her low profile. After they were raised, there were no more complaints. She held it till the Bremen recaptured it in June of 1933.

Aircraft

Like the Bremen, Europa had a small seaplane launched from a catapult on her upper deck between the funnels. The airplane flew from the ship to a landing at the seaplane port in Blexen. The pilots and technicians gained experience later applied to equipping German warships with on-board aircraft.

The catapult was removed from both Bremen and Europa after a few years of service, because it was too expensive and complex.

World War II

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, she was largely inactive. There were plans to use her as a transport in Operation Sea Lion, the intended invasion of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, and later conversion to an aircraft carrier
German aircraft carrier I (1942)
The German aircraft carrier I was a planned conversion of the transport ship Europa during World War II. The loss of the battleship Bismarck and near torpedoing of her sistership Tirpitz in May 1941 and March 1942, respectively, spurred the Kriegsmarine to acquire aircraft carriers...

. None of these plans came to pass, and in 1945, she was captured by the allies
Allies
In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

 and used as a troopship, sailing as the USS Europa (AP-177). She was taken as a war prize on 8 May 1945; acquired by the Navy and commissioned on 25 August 1945 with Captain B. F. Perry in command. Europa cleared Bremerhaven
Bremerhaven
Bremerhaven is a city at the seaport of the free city-state of Bremen, a state of the Federal Republic of Germany. It forms an enclave in the state of Lower Saxony and is located at the mouth of the River Weser on its eastern bank, opposite the town of Nordenham...

 on 11 September 1945 for Southhampton, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, where she loaded 4,500 homeward-bound American troops, with whom she arrived in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 on 24 September. After alteration to increase her troop-carrying capacity, she made two voyages to Southampton to bring servicemen home. She sailed from New York once more on 15 March 1946 bound for Kirkwall
Kirkwall
Kirkwall is the biggest town and capital of Orkney, off the coast of northern mainland Scotland. The town is first mentioned in Orkneyinga saga in the year 1046 when it is recorded as the residence of Rögnvald Brusason the Earl of Orkney, who was killed by his uncle Thorfinn the Mighty...

 in the Orkney Islands
Orkney Islands
Orkney also known as the Orkney Islands , is an archipelago in northern Scotland, situated north of the coast of Caithness...

, and Bremerhaven, where she moored on 24 March. However, the Europa suffered from small fires caused by the removal of the ship's original high-quality fittings and installation of inferior replacements to compensate for material shortages in the war effort. In addition, several serious hull cracks were discovered.

Europa was decommissioned on 2 May 1946, and delivered to the State Department on 8 June 1946. She was later transferred to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in partial payment of war reparations
War reparations
War reparations are payments intended to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.- History :...

.

French Line

After the war she was used as a troop transport to ferry US servicemen back to the states, and then was turned over to the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 as war reparations. The French line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
The Compagnie Générale Transatlantique , typically known overseas as the French Line, was a shipping company established during 1861 as an attempt to revive the French merchant marine, the poor state of which was indicated during the Crimean War of 1856...

 took over ownership and brought her to Le Havre for refitting into their service as a replacement for the Normandie
Normandie
Normandie may refer to:* The region of Normandy in north-west France and the Channel Islands* Normandie , iron-clad battleship of the 1860s.* Normandie class battleships from World War I...

. The most obvious change was the repainting of her funnels from NDL yellow to the red funnels and black tops of the CGT. On December 8, 1946 a storm caused her to break free from her moorings and she collided with the wreck of the , causing significant damage to her hull. She was raised in April of 1947 and towed to the Chantiers de l' Alantique Shipyard in St. Nazaire to complete her refitting. She suffered some further damage when the ship caught fire once again in October of 1949, resulting in damage to some of her passenger interiors. Finally, on August 2, 1950, after five years and two near disasters, she made her maiden voyage to New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 under her new name, Liberté.

Following the launching of the 66,000 ton SS France
SS France (1961)
SS France was a Compagnie Générale Transatlantique ocean liner, constructed by the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard at Saint-Nazaire, France, and put into service in February 1962...

 in 1960, the SS Liberté was laid up in 1961 and scrapped in 1962. She had served eleven years as the premier transatlantic liner of the French Line fleet.

SS Liberté was featured prominently in the Jane Russell
Jane Russell
Jane Russell was an American film actress and was one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s....

 film The French Line
The French Line
The French Line is a 1954 musical film starring Jane Russell made by RKO Pictures, directed by Lloyd Bacon and produced by Edmund Grainger, with Howard Hughes as executive producer. The screenplay was by Mary Loos and Richard Sale, based on a story by Matty Kemp and Isabel Dawn...

. The Liberté also made an appearance in the 1954 classic film Sabrina
Sabrina (1954 film)
Sabrina is a 1954 comedy-romance film directed by Billy Wilder, adapted for the screen by Wilder, Samuel A. Taylor, and Ernest Lehman from Taylor's play Sabrina Fair...

, starring Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and humanitarian. Although modest about her acting ability, Hepburn remains one of the world's most famous actresses of all time, remembered as a film and fashion icon of the twentieth century...

 and Humphrey Bogart
Humphrey Bogart
Humphrey DeForest Bogart was an American actor. He is widely regarded as a cultural icon.The American Film Institute ranked Bogart as the greatest male star in the history of American cinema....

, in the final scenes of the film.

Further reading

  • J. Russell Willoughby: Bremen & Europa - German Speed Queens of the Atlantic Maritime Publishing Concepts 2010 ISBN 978-0-9531035-5-3
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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