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USS Dixmude (A-609)


Aircraft Transport / Escort Carrier


United States | 1940



"The American-built Dixmude served with British forces through World War 2 via Lend-Lease then with French forces before being returned to the US in 1966."



Authored By: JR Potts, AUS 173d AB | Last Edited: 09/26/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The French escort carrier Dixmude A-609 was built in the United States in 1939 first named as the Rio Parana - a river in South America - as a C3 type passenger cargo ship by the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania. She was incomplete and delivered to the US Navy for conversion to an aircraft escort vessel by the Atlantic Basin and Iron Works, Brooklyn, N.Y. By early 1942 she was completed and classified as BAVG 3 for transfer reasons and made ready for her next phase to be turned over to the United Kingdom under the Lend Lease Act. The Royal Navy's representative took delivery at the New York Navy yard and BAVG3 was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Biter - D 97, in May 1942. Biter carried out important convoy escort duties through the end of 1944 in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic but with the addition of newer escort carriers in HMS Navy caused her to be placed in reserve in January 1945.

In April 1945, HMS Biter was retransferred to the French Navy and again renamed as Dixmude A-609, after the French name of the Flemish city of Diksmuide. After the conclusion of WWII she was off to fight another conflict to retake the French colony in Indochina, or Viet Nam. She departed Toulon in January 1947 with an air group composed of World War II vintage Douglas SBD 5 "Dauntless" dive bombers, as well as 20 plus French Air Force planes. Reaching Saigon in March, her planes supported two landing operations.

Dixmude was the first French aircraft carrier to carry out combat sorties. The old Dauntless assigned to the French Flotilla 4F made its first bombing attacks in April, when the SBD's bombed the Viet Minh stronghold at Tuyen Quang. Later that spring she returned to France required repairs before heading back to Indochina. This was a dual mission first as an aircraft ferry with her deck cargo being 12 Junkers Ju.52 tri-motored transports and 12 "Spitfire" fighters. Her assigned air groups consisting of the aging Dauntless of Flotilla 4F were below deck for the cruse. She reached Saigon in October 1947 and unloaded the deck cargo then returning to sea to fly her planes off to land bases at Hanoi and Haiphong for Operations inland. These actions, conducted over 200 sorties, dropping over 65 tons of bombs.

Her last combat mission took her to the coast of Cochin China where she operated untill the spring of 1948. While she was deployed her planes bombed rebel positions on the Camau Peninsula. Reclassified as a transport she spent the rest of her active career under the French flag as a ferry for aircraft, in the summer of 1948, she took two fighter groups equipped with the American Bell P 63A King cobra to Indochina. On her second run, in the summer and fall of 1950, she carried Grumman F6F 5 "Hellcat" fighters and Curtiss SB2C 5 "Helldiver" dive bombers. Dixmude was returned to the United States in January 1951 and again was renamed as the US designation, BAVG 3. However as a grant she was re-retransferred back to France on the same day in January 1951. Dixmude continued operations in the French Navy into the 1950's. She continued to perform as a ferry delivering 35 Dassault M.D. and 450 Ouragan jet fighters to the Indian Air Force in Bombay, India in 1953. She carried 32 more to India in 1954. The French government returned the ship to the United States at Toulon, France, in June 1966 for the last time. She made her last voyage as BAVG 3 to serve as a target for the 6th Fleet and was sunk, a brave ship having many classifications and names for three nations.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for USS Dixmude (A-609).
6-cylinder Doxford diesel engines developing 8,500hp to a single shaft.
Propulsion
16.0 kts
18.4 mph
Surface Speed
4,002 nm
4,605 miles | 7,411 km
Range
Structure
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of USS Dixmude (A-609).
555
Personnel
Complement
492.0 ft
149.96 meters
O/A Length
78.0 ft
23.77 meters
Beam
25.0 ft
7.62 meters
Draught
15,120
tons
Displacement
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of USS Dixmude (A-609).
3 x 4" Mk V anti-aircraft guns
Air Arm
Available supported fixed-wing / rotary-wing aircraft featured in the design of USS Dixmude (A-609).
24 x Aircraft
Ships-in-Class (1)
Notable series variants as part of the USS Dixmude (A-609) family line as relating to the Dixmude group.
Dixmude (A-609)
Operators
Global operator(s) of the USS Dixmude (A-609). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.
National flag of France National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States

[ United Kingdom, France and the United States of America. ]
1 / 1
Image of the USS Dixmude (A-609)

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to seaborne requirements.
BLUE WATER SERVICE
FLAG / CAPITAL SHIP
SHIP-TO-SHORE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
USS Dixmude (A-609) Aircraft Transport / Escort Carrier appears in the following collections:
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