USS Bittern (AM-36)

For other ships with the same name, see USS Bittern.
Name: USS Bittern
Builder: Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., Mobile, Alabama
Cost: $761,587 (hull and machinery)[1]
Launched: 15 February 1919
Commissioned: 28 May 1919, as Minesweeper No.36
Reclassified: AM-36, 17 July 1920
Fate: Scuttled in Manila Bay, 10 December 1941
General characteristics
Class and type: Lapwing-class minesweeper
Displacement: 840 long tons (853 t)
Length: 187 ft 10 in (57.25 m)
Beam: 35 ft 6 in (10.82 m)
Draft: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Complement: 72
  • 2 × 3 in (76 mm) guns
  • 2 × machine guns

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.

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, Lieutenant William P. Bachman in command. She was scuttled after damage from enemy action in the early days of World War II.

Initial operations

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.

Assigned to the Far East

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.

Scuttled after attack by Japanese planes

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 Sealion (SS-195) moored alongside. Too badly damaged for repair, the minesweeper was scuttled in Manila Bay after her crew had transferred to Quail (AM-15).


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

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