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NavSource Online: Escort Carrier Photo Archive

(BAVG-3)  /  HMS BITER (D97)


Contributed by Tommy Trampp



Battle Honours

North Africa 1942 — Atlantic 1943-1944

Archer (similar to US Long Island) Class Escort Carrier
Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Returned to US Stricken
- 28 Dec 1939 18 Dec 1940 6 Apr 1942 9 Apr 1945 24 Jan 1951
Builder: Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pa.

Specifications
(As converted, 1942)
Displacement: 8,200 tons standard; 15,700 tons full load
Dimensions (wl): 465' x 69.5' x 26.33'  /  141.7 x 21.2 x 8 meters
Dimensions (max.): 492' x 102'  /  150 x 31.1 meters
Armor: None
Power plant: 2 Doxford diesels (6-cylinder); 1 shaft; 8,500 bhp
Speed: 16 knots
Endurance: 14,550 nautical miles @ 10 knots
Armament: 3 single 4"/50 gun mounts; 10 single 20-mm/70-cal gun mounts
Aircraft: 15
Aviation facilities: 1 elevator; 1 hydraulic catapult (H 2); 9 arresting wires and 3 barriers
Crew: 555

Click On Image
For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
Conversion
BAVG-2, BAVG-3, BAVG-4
NS030100304
53k Rio Hudson, Rio Parana and Rio de la Plata just prior to conversion. Hazegray & Underway
BAVG-3
NS030100327
147k

"Launching Rio Parana, Chester, Pa., December 18, 1940. This cover was mailed from Chester Pa. to you at the moment the Rio Parana was launched. Moore-McCormack Lines, 5 Broadway, New York, N.Y."

Tommy Trampp
In British Service
HMS Biter
NS030100318
395k

HMS Biter (ex-BAVG 3), June 1942.

Division of Naval Intelligence, Identification and Characteristics Section, June 1943.

Courtesy of Tony Drury, Royal Navy Escort Carriers
BAVG-2 HMS Avenger
NS030100201
57k As seen from HMS Victorious (R38), HMS Biter (D97)—near ship—and HMS Avenger (D14) are underway and battling heavy weather in the North Sea, August 1942. Note that Biter has been configured with an island structure, while Avenger has the configuration as completed.

Source: Imperial War Museums (IWM) Admiralty Official Collection, by Priest, L.C. (Lt), Photo © IWM, No. A 15956.

IWM
via Mike Green
HMS Biter
NS030100326
82k

HMS Biter (D97) and HMS Avenger (D14) in the North Sea in heavy weather in September 1942. Biter, leading, has been fitted with an island. Both ships are pitching and rolling, as evidenced by their pitching flight decks and bow waves.

Source: Imperial War Museums, Admiralty Official Collection by Priest, L.C. (Lt), Photo © IWM (# A 12574).

Mike Green
HMS Biter
NS030100326a
55k

As seen from HMS Illustrious (87), the escort carriers HMS Biter (D97) and HMS Avenger (D14) follow in formation astern, in September 1942.

Source: Imperial War Museums, Admiralty Official Collection by Priest, L.C. (Lt), Photo © IWM (# A 12576).

HMS Biter
NS030100326b
83k

Port bow view of HMS Biter (D97) in the North Sea in heavy weather, in September 1942. Hawker Hurricanes range along the flight deck.

Source: Imperial War Museums, Admiralty Official Collection by Priest, L.C. (Lt), Photo © IWM (# A 12578).

Archer class
NS030100108
292k

Archer-class. From ONI 201, "Warships and Landing Craft of the British Commonwealth," Division of Naval Intelligence, Navy Department, 1 July 1943. Condensed and printed for FM 30-50, NAVAER 00-80V-57.

Photos show HMS Archer, HMS Biter and HMS Dasher.

Gerd Matthes, Germany
Archer class
NS030100108a
278k

Archer-class. From ONI 201, "Warships and Landing Craft of the British Commonwealth," Division of Naval Intelligence, Navy Department, 1 July 1943. Condensed and printed for FM 30-50, NAVAER 00-80V-57.

Charger and Long Island
NS0303014
368k

Charger & Long Island-class . From U.S. Naval Ships & Aircraft (ONI 54-R), condensed and printed for FM 30-50, NAVAER 00-80V-57 (Recognition Pictorial Manual of Naval Vessels). Supplement 4 - 4 August 1943.

Photos show HMS Archer, HMS Biter and USS Charger.

Gerd Matthes, Germany
Charger and Long Island
NS0303014a
341k

As above. Top photos show USS Charger (BAVG-4/AVG/ACV/CVE-30). Bottom photos show USS Long Island (AVG/AVC/CVE-1).

BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100311
79k HMS Biter with one of her Avenger strike aircraft in the foreground whilst on convoy escort duty in the Atlantic, date unknown (Fleet Air Arm Museum). Robert Hurst
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100312
235k

The Royal Navy escort carriers HMS Biter (D97) and HMS Avenger (D14) underway in line astern from the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (R38). Two Supermarine Seafires of No.884 Naval Air Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, can be seen at the far end of the flight deck of Victorious. Note Fairey Albacore on aft lift. Photo taken by Lt. L.C. Priest, Royal Navy official photographer. Photo No. A. 12577 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

Robert Hurst
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100319
115k

Stern view of the escort carrier HMS Biter (D97), showing the stern sponson carrying the after 4" Mark V gun. Note the boot-topping appears to have been applied crudely. Fleet Air Arm Museum photo.

Photo and text from Aircraft Carriers of the World, 1914 to the Present: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, by Roger Chesneau.

Robert Hurst
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100305
31k HMS Biter, date and place unknown. Hazegray & Underway
BAVG-3/HMS Biter
NS030100314
98k

HMS Biter (ex-BAVG 3) underway circa 1943, launching Fairey Swordfish ASW aircraft from 811 Naval Air Squadron for patrol. Note the British 4" Mk.V guns below the flight deck overhang, and one of the carrier's 20mm Oerlikon AA guns in a deck-edge tub.

Robert Hurst
Larger copy submitted by Tony Drury, Royal Navy Escort Carriers
BAVG-3/HMS Biter
NS030100314a
57k Tony Drury,
Royal Navy Escort Carriers
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100323
243k

HMS Biter (D97) underway in March 1943, location unknown. On deck are two Fairey Swordfish strike aircraft. Image taken by Lt. S.J. Beadell, Royal Navy official photographer. Photo from the official Imperial War Museum Collections (# FL 2164). Note the original caption states "on deck are a Grumman Martlet and a Fairey Swordfish."

Robert Hurst
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100303
47k

Starboard view, showing the general layout of the class. Biter was generally similar to Archer, but increased sheer replaced the raised forecastle.

Moored at Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland, May 1943, after a successful operation against German U-Boats (U-203 and U-89 were sunk). Photo taken by Lt S.J. Beadell, Royal Navy official photographer. Photo # A 16879 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

Robert Hurst
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100303a
44k

Moored at Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland, May 1943, after a successful operation against German U-Boats (U-203 and U-89 were sunk). Photo taken by Lt S.J. Beadell, Royal Navy official photographer. Photo # A 16880 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

Robert Hurst
BAVG-3/HMS Biter
NS030100321
106k

HMS Biter (ex-BAVG 3) in dry dock, Rosyth, Scotland, December 1943.

On November 16th a Swordfish armed with an acoustic torpedo (US code name "Fido"—this device appears to have been called "Oscar" by the Admiralty—) struck the round down and the torpedo was torn from its cradle. The weapon fell into the sea. The close proximity of Biter's propeller was too strong an acoustic target to ignore and the warhead exploded causing damage to the ship's rudder. The full extent of the damage was not to become clear until November 25th when Biter proceeded up the Firth of Clyde to her allotted anchorage at Tail o' the Bank. Approaching the troop ship Queen Elizabeth the captain ordered "Starboard 20"—and nothing happened! Biter continued her forward course straight towards the huge liner. It was only through reversing the engines and being nudged by her attendant tugs that a collision was avoided.

Biter set out from the Clyde the next day to battle her way through heavy seas to the Firth of Forth on the east coast of Scotland to enter dry dock for repairs at Rosyth Naval Dockyard; the work took a month to complete.

This incident was described in some circles as "Biter bitten by Fido".

Photo and text courtesy of Tony Drury, Royal Navy Escort Carriers
BAVG-3/HMS Biter
NS030100328
164k

"HMS Biter Shows Her Teeth: Escort Carrier's Five-Day Battle."

The Illustrated London News, 26 June 1943.

Tommy Trampp
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100320
129k

HMS Biter and HMS Tracker were the covering force for convoy OS68/KMS42, bound for Freetown/Gibraltar, 14–24 February 1944.

Courtesy of Tony Drury, Royal Navy Escort Carriers
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100322
121k

A Grumman Wildcat fighter of No.811 Naval Air Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, landing on the escort carrier HMS Biter (D97) after a successful action against a German Junkers Ju290A. The German aircraft had been shadowing the convoy which Biter was protecting, 16 February 1944. Photo taken by Lt. L.C. Priest, Royal Navy official photographer. Photo A22241 from the collections of the Imperial War Museum.

Robert Hurst
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100301
281k

Air view of the escort carrier HMS Biter (D97) from one of her Fairey Swordfish planes just after taking off. Ready on the deck are two Wildcat fighters, and in the distance ships of the convoy, March 1944. Photo taken by unknown Royal Navy official photographer. Photo A22715 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

Photo probably related to NS030100325, below.

Robert Hurst
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100325
92k

View over the tail of a Fairey Swordfish of HMS Biter (D97) and ships of the convoy she was guarding, March 1944. Image taken by an unknown Royal Navy official photographer. Photo from the Imperial War Museums Collections. Photo # A22716.

Photo probably related to NS030100301, above.

Robert Hurst
BAVG-3 HMS Biter
NS030100315
69k

HMS Biter, ex-U.S. mercantile Rio Parana, later French Dixmude, tied-up to a mooring buoy on the River Clyde, 1945, shortly before delivery to the French Navy.

Photo from The French Navy, Volume 1, by Henri Le Masson.

Robert Hurst
In French Service
Dixmude
NS030100308
47k

The French escort carrier Dixmude (ex-HMS Biter, ex-US Mercantile Rio Parana). Date and place unknown.

Robert Hurst
Dixmude
NS030100309
45k

The French escort carrier Dixmude (ex-HMS Biter, ex-US Mercantile Rio Parana). Date and place unknown.

Robert Hurst
Dixmude
NS030100313
48k

The French escort carrier Dixmude (ex-HMS Biter, ex-US Mercantile Rio Parana) underway. Date and place unknown.

Robert Hurst
Dixmude
NS030100316
105k

French carrier Dixmude (ex-HMS Biter, D97) as she departs a U.S. port for French Indochina with a deck load of F6F-5 Hellcats and SB2C-5 Helldivers. Photo U.S. Navy.

Photo and text from Aircraft Carriers, by Norman Polmar.

Robert Hurst
Dixmude
NS030100317
140k

French Aéronavale SBD-5 Dauntlesses from the escort carrier Dixmude (ex-HMS Biter) over Indochina in 1947. These aircraft operated from both shore bases and from carriers, had a major role in the Indochinese campaigns which followed. French Navy photo.

Photo and text from Aircraft Carriers, by Norman Polmar.

Robert Hurst
Dixmude
NS030100306
87k As French Dixmude, place unknown. Circa 1950 (thanks to Robert Hurst). Hazegray & Underway
Dixmude
NS030100310
33k

The French escort carrier Dixmude at anchor, circa 1950. Location unknown.

Robert Hurst
Dixmude
NS030100329
115k

The French escort carrier Dixmude, ex-HMS Biter, ex-US BAVG-3, circa 1950. Location unknown.

Tommy Trampp
Dixmude
NS030100307
98k

The French escort carrier Dixmude (ex-HMS Biter, ex-US Mercantile Rio Parana) at New Orleans in June 1953 with SB2C Helldivers aboard, her SA radar clearly visible at the masthead.

Robert Hurst

Read BAVG-3  /  HMS Biter (D97)  /  Dixmude (A609) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Not applicable to this ship

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
HMS Biter, Royal Navy Escort Carriers, by Tony Drury.

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Last update: 13 August 2017