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USS Sandpiper (AM-51) on 29 March 1926
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        LAPWING (AVP-1)
Design:        Navy AM-1
Displacement (tons):        888 light, 1,350 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        187.8' oa, 174.0' wl x 35.4' e x 13.1 lim.
Original Armament:        2-3"/50 (by 1941: all)
Later armaments:        2-3"/50 2-20mm (1942: AVP 3-6, 7, 9); 2-3"/50 4-20mm (1942-5: AVP 1-3, 6-7, 9);
1-3"/50 4-20mm (1943-45: AVP 4, 5, 9)
Complement:        --
Speed (kts.):        13.5
Propulsion (HP):        1,400
Machinery:        Vertical triple expansion, 2 screws

Construction:
AVP Name Reclas. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
1 LAPWING 22 Jan 36 Todd SYs, Brooklyn 25 Oct 17 14 Mar 18 12 Jun 18
2 HERON 22 Jan 36 Standard SB, Shooters Is. 26 Aug 17 18 May 18 30 Oct 18
3 THRUSH 22 Jan 36 Pusey & Jones, Wilmington 27 May 18 15 Sep 18 25 Apr 19
4 AVOCET 22 Jan 36 Baltimore DD & SB 13 Sep 17 9 Mar 18 17 Sep 18
5 TEAL 22 Jan 36 Sun SB & DD 8 Oct 17 25 May 18 20 Aug 18
6 PELICAN 22 Jan 36 Gas Engine & Power 10 Nov 17 15 Jun 18 10 Oct 18
7 SWAN 22 Jan 36 Alabama DD & SB 10 Dec 17 4 Jul 18 31 Jan 19
8 GANNET 22 Jan 36 Todd SYs, Brooklyn 1 Oct 18 19 Mar 19 10 Jul 19
9 SANDPIPER 22 Jan 36 NYd Philadelphia 15 Nov 18 28 Apr 19 9 Oct 19

Disposition:
AVP Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
1 LAPWING 29 Nov 45 19 Dec 45 19 Aug 46 MC/D 19 Aug 46
2 HERON 12 Feb 46 1 May 46 15 May 46 Trf. --
3 THRUSH 13 Dec 45 8 Jan 46 14 Aug 46 MC/D 14 Aug 46
4 AVOCET 10 Dec 45 3 Jan 46 12 Dec 46 Sold --
5 TEAL 23 Nov 45 5 Dec 45 19 Jan 48 MC/D 19 Jan 48
6 PELICAN 30 Nov 45 19 Dec 45 22 Nov 46 MC/D 22 Nov 46
7 SWAN 13 Dec 45 8 Jan 46 12 Oct 46 MC/D 12 Oct 46
8 GANNET -- 24 Jun 42 7 Jun 42 Lost --
9 SANDPIPER 10 Dec 45 17 Apr 46 12 Oct 46 MC/D 12 Oct 46

Class Notes:
FY 1918. The U.S. Navy built a total of 49 minesweepers of the LAPWING (AM-1, "Bird") class during World War I (5 more were cancelled). After the war the requirement for minesweepers practically disappeared (only four "Birds" were still in the mine warfare force during the 1930s), but the ships were found useful for other purposes, particularly ocean towing and tending seaplanes and submarines (see the ASR-1 class). At the end of 1919, three of the "Birds" were assigned to duty supporting aircraft. Two of these pioneers, SANDPIPER (AM-51) and TEAL (AM-23), plus the much larger tender WRIGHT (AZ-1) took a notable role in Fleet Problem I in February 1923 by providing basing for 18 patrol planes of Scouting Plane Squadron 1 that participated in the defense of the Canal Zone against an aggressor force. The three converted "Birds," including GANNET (AM-41), remained active when many of the other units of their class were decommissioned in 1921-22. Seven others were later assigned to duty supporting aircraft: CURLEW and PELICAN in 1923, HERON and AVOCET in the Asiatic Fleet in 1924-5, SWAN in 1926, LAPWING in 1932, and THRUSH (AM-18) in 1935. On 22 Jan 36 the nine survivors (less CURLEW, which had been wrecked on 15 Dec 25) were reclassified with the new designator for small seaplane tenders, AVP 1-9. One other "Bird," OWL (AM-2) was assigned to aviation support duty at Norfolk from 1936 to 1941 and possibly earlier, but she was not reclassified AVP.

The aviation facilities of PELICAN were described thus circa 1942: She could tend six VPB (patrol bomber) type seaplanes for extended periods and twelve for short periods, was unable to carry a VPB type plane or a disassembled VPB plane on board, and could carry only minor spares for VPBs. One small single float seaplane could be carried and operated from the ship (as was done by GANNET in several interwar Aleutian expeditions). Hoisting facilities consisted of the after boom with a maximum capacity of 10,000 pounds. (TEAL'S boom, however, was reported in the same source as tested to 21,325 pounds, said to be barely enough to allow her to pick up a PBY type patrol plane and carry it on the main deck aft.) The ships carried aviation gasoline and lubricating oil and could refuel one plane from the ship and two from boat bowsers simultaneously. Extra accommodations were available for 14 squadron officers and 7 enlisted men.

When these ships were subordinated to aviation commands in the 1920s, their minesweeper hull numbers were painted out and they wore instead an aviation star on their bows. Hull numbers later reappeared alongside the stars, both before and after the ships were reclassified AVPs. The authorized armament of these ships of 2-3"/50 guns (both forward) was removed soon after World War I and stored ashore. The guns were re-installed at various times: HERON and AVOCET embarked theirs in 1928, SANDPIPER hers in 1932, TEAL and PELICAN in 1933, and THRUSH in 1935.

Ship Notes:
AVP Name Notes
1 LAPWING Ex AM-1. Designated "mine sweeper for duty with aircraft" 22 Sep 31, recommissioned 1 Sep 32. Reclassified AVP-1 22 Jan 36.
2 HERON Ex AM-10. Recommissioned 18 Dec 24 as an aircraft tender for the Asiatic Fleet. Designated "mine sweeper for duty with aircraft" 30 Apr 31. Reclassified AVP-2 22 Jan 36. Transferred through the Foreign Liquidation Commission to the Republic of China (purchased by Kiangnan Dockyard 25 Jul 47, departed Subic Bay 2 Sep 47).
3 THRUSH Ex AM-18. Recommissioned 31 Oct 35 for duty with aircraft, reclassified AVP-3 22 Jan 36. Delivered to buyer 21 Aug 46. Merchant SEMPER PARATUS after sold.
4 AVOCET Ex AM-19. Recommissioned 8 Sep 25 as an aircraft tender for the Asiatic Fleet, designated "mine Sweeper for duty with aircraft" 30 Apr 31, reclassified AVP-4 22 Jan 36. To MA but returned by them to the USN as scrap 14 Jun 46. Sold by the Navy for scrap, remained in ABS merchant ship listings to 1950.
5 TEAL Ex AM-23. Modified for service as an aircraft tender after returning from Europe in November 1919, designated "mine sweeper for duty with aircraft" 30 Apr 31, reclassified AVP-5 22 Jan 36.
6 PELICAN Ex AM-27. Assigned as tender at NAS Pearl Harbor 30 Apr 23, recommissioned 17 Aug 23. Designated "mine Sweeper for duty with aircraft" 30 Apr 31. Reclassified AVP-6 22 Jan 36. Disguised as a tuna clipper under the name NORMANDIE II and operated as a Q-ship from 26 May 42 to 16 Apr 43.
7 SWAN Ex AM-34. Recommissioned 23 Jun 23 and assigned to the Washington Navy Yard but based at Quantico, Va., where she may have supported seaplane operations at Brown Field. By the spring of 1926 she was based at Coco Solo, Canal Zone, where she may have replaced the lost CURLEW as aircraft tender. Designated "mine sweeper for duty with aircraft" 30 Apr 31, reclassified AVP-7 22 Jan 36. Mercantile UMATILLA after sold.
8 GANNET Ex AM-41. Assigned to duty with aircraft soon after arriving at San Diego in November 1919, designated "mine sweeper for duty with aircraft" 30 Apr 31, reclassified AVP-8 22 Jan 36. Torpedoed by U-653 off Bermuda.
9 SANDPIPER Ex AM-51. Assigned to duty with aircraft upon initial commissioning in 1919, designated "mine sweeper for duty with aircraft" 30 Apr 31, reclassified AVP-9 22 Jan 36.

Page Notes:
AVP        1936
Compiled:        26-Feb-2006
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2006