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Soldiers climb down netting on the sides of the attack transport USS McCawley on 14 June 1943, rehearsing for landings on New Georgia

A troopship (also troop ship or troop transport or trooper) is a


Landing ships
beach themselves and bring their troops directly ashore.


Ships to transport troops were used in antiquity. Ancient Rome used the navis lusoria, a small vessel powered by rowers and sail, to move soldiers on the Rhine and Danube.[2]

Nicknamed the "Grey Ghost", RMS Queen Mary holds the all-time record for most troops on one passage, 15,740 on a late July 1943 run from the U.S. to Europe.[3]

The modern troopship has as long a history as

HMT Olympic even rammed and sank a U-boat during one of its wartime crossings. Individual liners capable of exceptionally high speed transited without escorts; smaller or older liners with poorer performance were protected by operating in convoys

Most major naval powers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries provided their domestic shipping lines with subsidies to build fast ocean liners capable of conversions to auxiliary cruisers during wartime. The British government, for example, aided both Cunard and the White Star Line in constructing the liners RMS Mauretania, RMS Aquitania, RMS Olympic and RMS Britannic. However, when the vulnerability of these ships to return fire was realized during World War I most were used instead as troopships or hospital ships.

RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth were two of the most famous converted liners of World War II. When they were fully converted, each could carry well over 10,000 troops per trip. Queen Mary holds the all-time record, with 15,740 troops on a single passage in late July 1943,[3] transporting a staggering 765,429 military personnel during the war.[3]

World War II

Aiken Victory, a Victory ship troop ship conversion, arriving in Boston with 1,958 troops from Europe, 26 July 1945[4]

Large numbers of troopships were employed during World War II, including 220 "Limited Capacity"

attack transports
, of which some 400 alone were built.


The designation HMT (Her/His Majesty's Transport) would normally replace RMS (Royal Mail Ship), MV (Motor Vessel) or SS (Steamship) for ships converted to troopship duty with the United Kingdom's Royal Navy. The United States used two designations: WSA for troopships operated by the

Merchant Marine
crews, and USS (United States Ship) for vessels accepted into and operated by the United States Navy. Initially, troopships adapted as attack transports were designated AP; starting in 1942 keel-up attack transports received the designation APA.

"HMT" was also used, for a while, to designate "Hired Military Transport."[16][17]

Post-World War II

In the era of the Cold War, the United States designed the United States ship so that she could easily be converted from a liner to a troopship, in case of war. More recently, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Canberra were requisitioned by the Royal Navy to carry British soldiers to the Falklands War.[18] By the end of the twentieth century, nearly all long-distance personnel transfer was done by airlift in military transport aircraft.

Some notable troopships

See also


  1. ^ "Amphibious Attack Transport (APA)".
  2. ^ Pferdehirt B. "The Museum of Ancient Shipping". Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Queen Mary – Ship History and Specifications".
  5. ^ a b Live, 2013 edition, p. 6.
  6. ^ a b c "S.S. John W. Brown Walk-around".
  7. ^ Live, 2013 edition, p. 4.
  8. ^ Cooper, p. 5.
  9. ^ Project Liberty Ship: Armament Aboard SS JOHN W. BROWN Archived 2013-10-15 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "HAER for Private Frederick C. Murphy" (PDF). United States Maritime Administration. Retrieved 6 August 2013. "In the summer of 1945, eighty-four VC2-S-AP2 Victory ships, including the Maritime Victory, were converted into troopships by MARITIME VICTORY the U.S. Maritime Commission in preparation for an assault on the Japanese home islands. The ship made several crossings of the Atlantic Ocean and was used to repatriate American troops from Europe after World War II. pp. 1–2
  11. ^ crossings in 1945
  12. ^ "Troop Ship of World War II, April 1947, Page 356-357" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-10-30. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
  13. ^ 69th infantry division, newsletter, 1986
  14. ^ Binghamton NY Press Grayscale 1945 – Fulton History, Oct. 15, 1945
  15. ^ Isthmian Lines ship S.S. Steel Scientist [2] Troop capacity: 2156
  16. ^ "1941 Dunera Boys Hay Internment Camp Collection". NSW Migration Heritage Centre. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Troopship". The designation HMT (Hired Military Transport) ...
  18. ^ Rebecca Fowler (26 June 1996). "Last voyage for Canberra, the Great White Whale of the Falklands".


External links

Media related to Troop ships
at Wikimedia Commons