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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Samoa (Gunboat)

(Str.: dp. 550; l. 131'; b. 25'5"; dph. 11'; cpl. 22; a. 2 3-pdrs.)

A group of volcanic islands in the southwest central Pacific.


The first Samoa, built in 1913 as the wooden steamer Staatssekretar Solf by Stocks & Kolbe, Kiel, Germany, for the Deutsche Handels & Plantagen Ges. der Sii-dseeinseln, was interned in American Samoa at the beginning of World War I; taken over by the United States Navy on 7 April 1917, the day after the United States entered the war; and commissioned as Solf on 9 June 1917, Lit. William T. Mallison in command.

Initially designated to carry passengers, mail, and cargo on interisland runs, Solf completed an extended trip to New Britain and Bougainville to repatriate Solomon Islanders in early September. Voyage repairs, however, disclosed that her already poor condition had further deteriorated. She was renamed Samoa on 17 September, and was retained at Tutuila, with only an occasional run to Apia and the Manua group, until after the end of the war. She was decommissioned on 30 June 1920; ordered sold on 12 July; and was sold on 23 November. She was delivered to the purchaser, the Samoan Shipping and Trading Co., Tutuila, on 7 December 1920.


The name Samoa was selected for CB-6, an Alaska-class large cruiser ordered on 9 September 1940 from New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J. Although Samoa was scheduled for completion by 1 December 1946, all available material and slipways were allocated to higher priority ships: aircraft carriers, destroyers, and submarines. This postponed her keel laying until large cruisers were no longer required.

Samoa's construction, never begun, was finally cancelled on 24 June 1943.

Published: Mon Feb 29 17:36:06 EST 2016