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USS Bering Strait (AVP-34)

USS Bering Strait (AVP-34)

USS Bering Strait (AVP-34) at Kerama Retto, Spring, 1945. Although she looked like bit a destroyer, Bering Strait was actually purpose-built as a seaplane tender. She served as mother-ship to Air-Sea-Rescue Squadron VH-3, which operated Martin PBM-3 flying boats.

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What a surprise! I would have expected a much larger ship to tend to a big airplane like the Mariner...
 

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The Navy commissioned a whole class of these small seaplane tenders. Some of them were in service for a long time after the war as survey vessels, Coast Guard Cutters, patrol vessels and weather ships. The USS Bearing Strait had a particularly long and interesting career:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bering_Strait_(AVP-34)
 

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Fast and quite heavily armed small tenders (AVP and former old four strack destroyers - AVD) were able to be deployed in very forward areas to tend even large seaplanes, espacially in acting as small stationary tankers by refueling them and carry out smaller repairs. The larger tenders (AV) acted as a kind of mothership - as they were able to transport a considerable number of planes and hoist the big planes out of the water for repairs - but also carried a large amount of airplane fuel. They were able to establish a kind of "seaplane airport" at any island or shore-line and even on the free ocean without needing additional facilities. This proved usefull during WWII in the pacific - but also in the atlantinc and carribean areas - where shore and inshore facilities were rare. One great advantage of the AVs and AVPs was that they could quickly move forward with the fleet and establish their facilities at once where needed. As seaplanes with their great flight endurance were inevetable for recon duties in the pre-satelite and pre-jetplane era their skillfull use proved as one of the keys to success to the US Navy in WWII.
 

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She carried a bit more weaponry back then, I'd say. In WWII, my ship, the Matagorda, tended a squadron of PBY Catalinas down in Brazil where they were used for anti-sub patrols.
Thanks for the link.
 

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