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From "Splinter Fleet" to Easy Street: One Vessel's Journey as a World War I Subchaser and Pleasure Craft

Author(s): Patrick Gensler ; Melanie Damour

Year: 2016

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Though maintaining a neutral stance in the early part of World War I, German U-boat attacks in American waters in 1916 spurred the U.S. Navy to develop a specialized fleet of anti-submarine watercraft. Dubbed "subchasers," these small but remarkably long-range ships played an important role as a deterrent to the U-boat incursion. Purpose-built subchasers were primarily wooden-hulled; however, steel-hulled vessels were donated to the war effort due to wartime shortages. One such vessel, SC-144, was a steam-propelled pleasure yacht likely donated to the U.S. Navy for conversion. After the war ended, the vessel was decommissioned and re-purposed once again as a pleasure craft named Dispatch. After sinking in 1928 near the St. Marks Lighthouse in Florida, the wreck was salvaged for scrap during World War II. Vessels such as SC-144/Dispatch demonstrate how wartime innovations are made in response to new threats and the efforts to repurpose these valuable ships post-war.  

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Cite this Record

From "Splinter Fleet" to Easy Street: One Vessel's Journey as a World War I Subchaser and Pleasure Craft. Patrick Gensler, Melanie Damour. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 435061)


Temporal Keywords
20th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 730

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America