LSV-3 / MCS-3 Osage
The Landing Ship, Vehicle (LSV) had a stern gate that allowed amphibious vehicles to load and be discharged into the water to go ashore under their own power. In constrast, LST's, LSM's and other craft put vehicles ashore by running up on the beach and discharging them through a bow gate. And LSDs did not run onto the beach, and instead were designed to flood the well deck and float small craft and amphibious vehicles which would reach the beach under their own power. To learn more about this unique class of ships, read What's an LSV ? by George Hasten, EMCS, USNP, Retired Plank owner, USS Osage LSV-3.
The ships that eventually became the six LSV's started out as two other separate classes. The first two LSVs started out as fast minelayers, and were based on the Terror CM-5 design. The four units of the Osage class started out as fast netlayers. Some slight variations between the two classes are visible to the eye. The two units of the LSV-1 Catskill class have two stacks, while the LSV-3 class has one. There are also diferences in the number of guns and difference in the sterns.
The four units of the LSV-3 Osage class were initially laid down as net layers (AN). The netlayer carries and lays antisubmarine nets, which would fire a flare when disturbed by a submarine. Over time these nets became lighter, and these large ships were no longer needed. The hulls becoming surplus, and were redesignated as a troop transports, first AN-1 through AN-4, and then AP-108, AP-109, AP-160 and AP-161. When they became LSVs, the long net decks became the vehicle decks after suitable modification.
The second Osage (AN-3, AP-108, LSV-3, MCS-3) was laid down 1 June 1942, by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pasacagoula, Miss. Redesignated AP-108, 1 May 1943, she was launched 1 December 1943. Redesignated LSV-3, 21 April 1944, she was commissioned 30 December 1944. The # 4 - 5-inch gun was removed, and she went through the war with three 5 inch 38 cal. Single barrel main batteries. By January 1946 she was missing the #2 and #3 - 5-inch guns, which was the configuraiton that went into mothballs at Orange.
The hull classification was changed from LSV to MCS on 07 February 1955, and on 19 June 1963 she was taken up for conversion to Mine Countermeasures Support Ship by Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation. Recommissioned on 24 June 1966, at some point the #2 - 5-inch gun was reinstalled. Starting in 1976 the Ozark had been used as a target ship by the Air Force and finally sinking her in 1980. With the addition of the helicopter platform the aft 5-inch gun would have been removed, and the after mast that carried the large crane had been removed. The elevated helicopter platform with an enclosed area beneath it gave the ship a top heavy appearance rather different from that she had during WW II.
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