USS Bittern (AM-36)

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United States
NameUSS Bittern
BuilderAlabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., Mobile, Alabama
Cost$761,587 (hull and machinery)[1]
Launched15 February 1919
Commissioned28 May 1919, as Minesweeper No.36
ReclassifiedAM-36, 17 July 1920
FateScuttled in Manila Bay, 10 December 1941
General characteristics
Class and typeLapwing-class minesweeper
Displacement840 long tons (853 t)
Length187 ft 10 in (57.25 m)
Beam35 ft 6 in (10.82 m)
Draft9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
Speed14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
USS Bittern with UB-88

USS Bittern (AM-36) was a Lapwing-class minesweeper in the United States Navy. She was named after the bittern, a bird of the heron family. The vessel was constructed by Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., in Mobile, Alabama, and launched on 15 February 1919 and commissioned on 28 May later that year. Initially operating in U.S. coastal waters, the vessel was reassigned to western Pacific operations in 1920, based in the Philippine Islands. Shortly after the U.S. entry into World War II, Bittern was scuttled to avoid capture after being severely damaged during a Japanese air raid on Cavite Navy Yard in December 1941.

Construction and career[edit]

Bittern was launched 15 February 1919 by Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., Mobile, Alabama; sponsored by Mrs. C. R. Doll; and commissioned 28 May 1919. Bittern's first duty was as tender to the captured German submarine SM UB-88 while she made an exhibition tour of the U.S. Gulf Coast and U.S. West Coast ports.

In January 1920 Bittern sailed for the Far East where she remained for the rest of her active service. Throughout most of the next 21 years she wintered at Cavite, Philippine Islands, and summered at Chefoo, China. But the routine was broken occasionally by assignment to scientific expeditions and in September 1923 by relief work following the Yokohama, Japan, earthquake.


The Japanese air raid on Cavite Navy Yard on 10 December 1941 found Bittern undergoing repairs. Although not hit, Bittern suffered extensive damage from fire, near misses, and flying debris from USS Sealion moored alongside. Too badly damaged for repair, the minesweeper was scuttled in Manila Bay after her crew had transferred to USS Quail.


  1. ^ "Table 21 - Ships on Navy List June 30, 1919". Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office: 762. 1921.

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