Saturday, December 17, 2011

Design 1100 - USS Bittern, Mine Hunter (MHC 43)

This coastal mine hunter was constructed of pre-fabricated red oak frames by the Consolidated Shipbuilding Company of City Island, New York. Her keel was laid in August of 1955 and she was launched in March of 1957. She was the last vessel of over 100' to be built on City Island as well as the last vessel to be built by Consolidated Shipbuilding before they shut down the following year. This is not to be confused with Consolidated Yachts which remains open and active today.

Propulsion was by twin General Motors diesels generating 600 hp each for a speed of 14 knots. She was manned by a crew of 44. Her armament consisted of a 40mm and two 20mm guns as well as two depth charge projectors.

Here's her outboard profile plan.

Here are some construction images.

Laminating Frames

She was decommissioned in 1965 and struck from the Navy list in 1972. The USS Bittern was used by Southern Maine Technical College as a training vessel for professional mariners, re-named “AQUALAB” and served from 1973 until 1996 when she was towed south for scrapping. Here is the last known photograph of her.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 144'-5"
LWL 138'-0"
Beam 28'-0"
Draft 8'-0"
Displacement 358 t

1 comment:

  1. An interesting feature of many minesweepers is the canvas awning over the flybridge, visible in the top photo of MHC 43. I understand that when sweeping the ships were generally conned from the flybridge. A mine exploding near the ship could cause crew to strike the deckhead ("ceiling"), so a steel deckhead over the bridge crew was less than desireable.