USS Corsair (SP-159) (1917)

Would you like to see USS Corsair (SP-159) (1917) Implemented into the US Coastal Tree?
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How should USS Corsair (SP-159) (1917) be implemented?
  • Tech Tree Ship
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  • I said no in the first question
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What BR should USS Corsair (SP-159) (1917) be placed at?
  • 1.0
  • 1.3
  • 1.7
  • 2.0
  • 2.3
  • Other (Please Explain)
  • I said no in the first question
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(Photo Caption: The Steam yacht Corsair III at anchor. Photo taken before the start of the First World War)

This is a suggestion for the USS Corsair (SP-159), a patrol ship that partook in both the First and Second World Wars but was initially built as the Yacht Corsair III for the American industrialist J. P. Morgan. This suggestion will only cover the ship in her 1917 configuration when she was first requisitioned into USN service. This ship, I feel, would be an interesting little ship to have in the Coastal Tree owing to her decently impressive armament and equally impressive service history. As a bonus, she would most likely be one of the sleekest ships in-game.



Corsair III was the third of four yachts built for the industrialist J. P. Morgan. She followed Corsair I which was previously sold off for merchant service and Corsair II, which also served in the U.S. Navy during the Spanish American War and WWI as the Gunboat USS Gloucester. Corsair III was in service to the Morgan Family from 1898 to 1917 and from 1920 to 1930 when she was donated to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (Now known as the U.S. National Geodetic Survey) for use as a Survey ship. She served as a survey ship until 1942 when she was transferred to the U.S. Navy for service in the Second World War. Initially, she was converted into a Patrol Gunboat as USS Natchez (PG-58); however, due to her age and relatively poor condition, she was, after several months of service, re-designated USS Oceanographer (AGS-3). She would serve the role of an Auxiliary Gun Boat until 1944, when due to her deteriorating condition, she was decommissioned and, by the original donation agreement, sold for scrap.



The ship that would become Corsair III was laid down in 1898 at T. S. Marvel Shipbuilding in Newburgh, New York. She was designed for John Pierpont Morgan by the famed Naval architect John Beavor-Webb who had previously designed Corsair II for Mr. Morgan as well as several other yachts, including two that would go on the challenge the America Cup. He would also design the yacht Partridge which is still in service today and is classified as the oldest operational sailing yacht. Corsair III was launched in December of the same year and was formally christened by Miss. Louisa Morgan, the daughter of J.P Morgan himself. She would spend the next 18 years serving as a Yacht for the Morgan Family and was a regular ship to see cruising along the coasts and partaking in various Yachting events alongside other similar yachts such as the Steam Yacht Celt (later Sachem) Following J.P Morgan’s death in 1913 the ship was transferred to his son J.P Morgan Jr. The latter would continue to operate her as a yacht until 1917 when she was formally requisitioned by the U.S. Navy for service as a Patrol Yacht during the First World War.

(Photo Caption: The crew of USS Corsair spelling out C O R S A I R in semaphore code after her commissioning in May of 1917)

Upon the U.S.'s entry into the First World War, the U.S. Navy began to requisition civilian ships for military service to supplement other areas for which the USN did not have dedicated vessels. As part of this, many yachts, including Corsair III, were converted into patrol ships to combat the growing threat of U-Boats and to patrol the coastal areas of the United States. The U.S. Navy gave these ships the designation S.P. for “Sector Patrol.” Corsair III herself was requisitioned into the U.S. Navy on 15 May 1917 and commissioned into the U.S. Navy as USS Corsair (SP-159). She was immediately assigned to Squadron Two, Patrol Force, and would spend the next month undergoing trials. Upon the completion of those trials, Corsair would be sent to the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York, for fitting out. As part of this conversion, she was given four 3"/50 Caliber Single Purpose guns and 2 Colt Machine guns. She was also given Depth Charge rails and a Y-Gun Depth Charge projector for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) use.

(Photo Caption: USS Corsair (SP-159) being fitted out for service as a patrol ship)

During the First World War, Corsair was used as a Convoy Escort and a Coastal patrol ship that operated along with another Yacht named Aphrodite as Group D Patrol Squadron. As part of these duties, she was often called to assist in rescuing survivors from torpedoed merchant ships and, in some cases, even towed some of these ships back to port. In these roles, she achieved considerable fame and encountered some dangers in the form of German U-Boats, which she even engaged several times with some success in driving them off. She most notably assisted in rescuing survivors from the torpedoed U.S. Army Transport Antilles, and later she would also rescue survivors of the mined U.S. Navy cargo ship USS Californian. Between the 12 and 14th of September 1918, she towed the disabled Norwegian steamer Dagfin into Verdon, adding to her already quite impressive rescue record. Following this, she would be assigned to operations in Brest, where she would spend the rest of the war as the flagship of the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters. In May of 1919, she was ordered into Plymouth and embarked Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and his staff for transportation to Brest on 8 May 1919. This voyage only took her a few hours. Corsair’s wartime service would finally end on 9 May 1919, when she was ordered to return to New York, where upon arrival, she was disarmed and later decommissioned on 9 June 1919 and promptly returned to J.P. Morgan Jr for continued use as a Yacht.

(Photo Caption: The officers of USS Corsair (SP-159), note the 3"/50s)

Specifications: USS Corsair (SP-159) as commissioned in 1917


General Specifications:
Tonnage 1,136 Gross tons
Length 304 ft (93 m) Overall
Beam 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m)
Draft 16 ft (4.9 m)

Propulsion: Two triple expansion Steam Engines, two double-ended Scotch boilers, two screws
Speed 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)

8 Officers, and 115 men


Primary Armament:
4 x 1 3"/50 Guns

Secondary/Anti-Aircraft Armament
2 x 1 Colt-Machine Guns

ASW Weaponry
1 x Y Gun Depth Charge Projector
1 x Depth Charge Rail

Aditional Photos


(Photo caption: Officers and Crew of USS Corsair (SP-159) soon after commissioning in May 1917)

(Photo Caption: The Stern of USS Corsair (SP-159) showing her Y-gun depth charge launcher and her depth charge rails)

(Photo Caption: A 3"/50 Pedastal mount onboard USS Corsair)

(Photo caption: The Sinking transport ship, USS Californian seen from the deck of USS Corsair)

(Photo Caption: The Norwegian Freighter Dagfin photographed from USS Corsair prior to the towing operation)

(Photo Caption: USS Corsair (SP-159) at a French drydock in 1918)

(Photo caption: US Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels (center) with Mrs. Daniels, also seen is Lt. Cmdr. William B. Porter, USNRF, the commanding officer of USS Corsair (SP-159). The photo was taken before the ship was ordered to return to New York for decommissioning)

Text Sources


Corsair I (S. P. 159) (
MaritimeQuest - Corsair (1899) Ship’s Data
USA 3"/50 (7.62 cm) Marks 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 - NavWeaps
USN Ships–USS Corsair (SP-159), later USS Oceanographer (AGS-3) (
USS Oceanographer (AGS-3) (
USS Oceanographer (AGS-3) - Wikipedia

Image Sources


MaritimeQuest - Corsair (1899) Page 1
USS Corsair (SP-159), later USS Oceanographer (AGS-3) (
Survey Ship Photo Index (AGS) (