History of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service in World War I


and Naval History Division


With an Introduction by
Rear Admiral Ernest McNeill Eller, USN (Retired)
Director of Naval History


Naval History Division
Washington: 1969

A convoy with aerial escort nears Brest in 1918
A convoy with aerial escort nears Brest in 1918. NOTS transported six million tons of supplies overseas. [NR&L(M) 10075]






"The vessels in the sea trade of a country are safe from attack if it's possible enemmies believe that its Navy is capable of inflicting intolerable damage upoin the interests of the attacker. . . ."




Introduction v
Preface vii
List of Abbreviations xii
List of Illustrations xiii
List of Charts xvi
Brief Synopsis of the Organization and Accomplishments of the Naval Overseasx Transportation Service xvii
Chapter I Organization of the Service 1
  NOTS Personnel 12
  At Headquarters, Navy Department 12
  Supervisors of Districts 13
Chapter II Armed Guard Ships and Training 15
Chapter III Operation of NOTS
Chapter IV Training of Naval Auxiliary Reserve Officers 57
Chapter V Training of Naval Auxiliary Reserve Enlisted Men 96
Chapter VI Reports of NOTS from Naval Districts 103
Chapter VII Convoys 134
Chapter VIII Routing
Chapter IX Stories of Naval Pluck and Encounters With the Enemy 167
Chapter X Demobilization 179
Chapter XI Summary 209
I. List of NOTS Vessels 213
II. List of Dutch, German, and Austrain Vessels Operated by NOTS 249
III. NOTS Vessels in Contact With the Enemy--Lost, Damaged and Incidents 251
IV. NOTS Vessels in Collisions and Other Accidents 254
V. Ports of Call for NOTS Vessels 258
VI. Supplis Carried by NOTS Vessels 260
VII. Paying the Bills 264

"The United States Navy has met changing conditions of warfare with changing weapons and tactics. But despite those elements of change, one fundamental fact remains unaltered: the sea is still at our gates--east, west, south, and north as well.




Officers' ranks are contemporaneous with the event unless otherwise noted. All rank abbreviations are those commonly used and are not entered in the following list:

B   Seagoing barge.
C   Cargo vessel.
F   Collier.
H   Horse transport and cargo.
M   Mine carrier and cargo.
R   Refrigerator.
T   Tanker.
A   Army account.
N   Navy account.
SB   Shipping Board account.
CTF   Cruiser and Transport Force
AEF   American Expeditionary Force
NOTS   Naval Overseas Transportation Service

Compiled July 1920 by the Historical Section, ONI, from best available records.


"Supply and transport stand or fall together; history depends on both."









"The nation's honor is dearer than the nation's comfort; yes, than the nation's life itself."





"Combat and Logistics are the two sides of the same Military coin."

Vice Admiral George Dyer


Brief Synopsis of the Organization and Accomplishments of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service

SS Manchuria was the first armed merchantman of the U.S. to sail for the War Zone
On 16 March 1916 SS Manchuria was the first armed merchantman of the U.S. to sail for the War Zone.
She mounted 2 4" forward, 1 6" aft, 21 pd. rapid fire guns, and 2 Lewis Machineguns.
Photo taken in 1912. [NR&L(M) 18229]


Number of Vessels Assigned NOTS.

Chart: Number of Vessels Assigned NOTS
[NR&L(M) 40313]



USS F. J. Luckenbach
USS F. J. Luckenbach transported 26,232 tons of cargo overseas while serving with NOTS. After the Armistice she was transferred to Cruiser and Transport Force to assist in returning the troops home. [NR&L(M) 4385]

USS Glacier
USS Glacier, constructed in 1891, had 1,000 cubic ft. of refrigerated space. She served in the Navy from 1898 to 1922. [NR&L(M) 4003]



Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation