SS Stephen Hopkins

Coordinates: 28°12′53″S 11°55′6″W / 28.21472°S 11.91833°W / -28.21472; -11.91833
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Picture of Stephen Hopkins at her launch.
NameStephen Hopkins
NamesakeStephen Hopkins
Permanente Metals Corporation
LaunchedMay 1942
FateSunk in battle September 27, 1942
General characteristics
Class and typeLiberty ship
Tonnage7,181 GRT
Length441.5 ft (135 m)
Beam57 ft (17 m)
Draught27.75 ft (8 m)
Propulsiontriple expansion, 2,500 ihp (1,900 kW)
Speed11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Armament1 × 4 in (102 mm)/50 caliber gun (Mark 9)[1] 2 × 37 mm cannon; 6 machine guns

SS Stephen Hopkins was a United States Merchant Marine Liberty ship that served in World War II. She was the only US merchant vessel to sink a German surface combatant during the war.

She was built at the

Maritime Commission and War Shipping Administration

Action of 27 September 1942

She completed her first cargo run, but never made it home. On September 27, 1942, en route from

Tannenfels. Because of fog, the ships were only 2 miles (3.2 km) apart when they sighted each other.[2]

Ordered to stop, Stephen Hopkins refused to surrender, and Stier opened fire. Although greatly outgunned, the crew of Stephen Hopkins fought back, replacing the Armed Guard crew of the ship's lone 4-inch (102 mm) gun with volunteers as they fell. The fight was fierce and short, and by its end both ships were wrecks.[2]

Action of 27 September 1942
Part of World War II
DateSeptember 27, 1942
Result Mutually destructive engagement
 United States  Nazi Germany
Commanders and leaders
Paul Buck   Nazi Germany Horst Gerlach
1 liberty ship 1
auxiliary cruiser
, 1 supply ship
Casualties and losses
42 killed
1 liberty ship sunk
2 killed
1 auxiliary cruiser scuttled, 1 supply ship lightly damaged

Stephen Hopkins sank at 10:00. Stier, too heavily damaged to continue her voyage, was scuttled by its crew less than two hours later. Most of the crew of Stephen Hopkins died, including Captain Paul Buck. The 15 survivors drifted on a lifeboat for a month before reaching shore in Brazil.[2]

Captain Buck was posthumously awarded the

Navy Cross.[5]


USS Kenneth M. Willett were named in honor of crew members of Stephen Hopkins, and SS Stephen Hopkins II in honor of the ship itself.[citation needed


See also


  • Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. .

External links

28°12′53″S 11°55′6″W / 28.21472°S 11.91833°W / -28.21472; -11.91833