KNM Hitra - Sub-chaser "Shetlandsbussen"


TYPE: Subchaser
BUILDING SITE: Fisher Boat Works, Detroit, MI, USA
CLASS: Shetlandsbussen
LAUNCHED: 31 March 1943

1x 40mm Bofors cannon
1x 37mm Pom-Pom Cannon
2x 20mm Oerlicon cannons
2x1 12.7mm Colt machineguns
2x .303mm machineguns
Radar: 291 Adm. pat.

Displacement armed: 125 Metric Tons
Lenght: 36.8 Meter
Width: 5.3 Meter
Depth: 2.1 Meter

MACHINERY (Original)
2- 16 cyl. diesel radial engine with vertical crankshaft type GM Detroit
Power: 1.250 BHK
Speed: 20 Knots (37.04 km/h)
Bunkers: 3,818 tonnes of solar oil.

MACHINERY (After restoration)
2- MTU 8V183TE72a
Power: 550 HP
Bunkers: 3,818 tonnes of solar oil.

Estimated crew: 22-24 Men

Hull material: Wooden hull, Canadian pitch pine on oak frames

1943: Launched the 31st of March
1943: Hoist Norwegian command the 26th of October
1943: Originally built as a submarine chaser
1943: Transferred to the Royal Norwegian Navy on 26 October with the new name Hitra
1943: Navy Department Scalloway, Shetland
1944: 28 trips Shetland west coast of Norway
1945: 15 trips Shetland west coast of Norway
1945: Sailed to Norway and arrived in Bergen on 15 May
1046: Renamed to KNM Hitra with pennant number P05
1950: Pennant number P392
1954: Command canceled on 8 December
1959: Sold to Croftholmen Vocational School, Stathelle
1981: Found as a wreck in Karlskrona, Sweden
1983: Restored by Oma Båtbyggeri, Stord
1987: Hoist command 8 May with new name KNM Hitra. Sails as a floating museum in the North Sea and along the Norwegian coast in the summer, based at Haakonsvern in Bergen



Shetlandsbussene - war history
The history of the American submarines - worth knowing. Already during the First World War. urged by the then Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Americans developed the concept of submarine destroyers. They had relatively long and slender hulls, built of American pine on oak frames. with good seagoing properties. The speed was limited, and a 3" gun was the main weapon against German submarines in a surface position. An important point was that they could be built in large numbers by small shipyards, which were not busy with the construction of larger warships. Of this first class, SC- 1, 440 vessels were built during the First World War, and a large number served in Europe.

During the Second World War, the concept was brought forward again, and already before Pearl Harbor 84 vessels had been completed or begun. When the German submarines wreaked their worst in 1942, production was increased, and a total of 1,438 vessels were produced. Compared to the SC-1, the new class, which received the designation SC-497, was somewhat wider. It also received a slightly different propulsion system and an upgraded armament, including 14 deep-water bombs and, not least, sonar. Their task was now primarily to keep the submarines submerged so that they could not use the periscope. For a period the “subchasers” were the main American anti-submarine weapon, but as the construction of destroyers and frigates picked up, these took over this main role. The “Subchasers” nevertheless remained important as coastal escort vessels and harbor control vessels. There is plenty of information about the vessels, including also about model building.

Shetlandsbusse is the war story Most people are familiar with, the story of how a significant number of Norwegian small vessels. mostly fishing skates, already in the first year of the war took over to Great Britain. An illegal traffic between Shetland and Norway, such as the so-called “Shetland buses”, was introduced there. First on a voluntary basis under British intelligence, based in Lerwick and Lunna Voe, and then from 1942 based in Scalloway, where there were better workshop facilities . Here they were organized as a paramilitary group, and from 1943 they entered as part of the Norwegian naval force as the special unit NNSU (Norwegian Naval Special Unit). The task was all the time to transport saboteurs and equipment for covert operations to Norway and possibly take refugees back with them. The majority of the crews that landed in Norway belonged to Kompani Linge, and their main task was to train Milorg groups, carry out sabotage or work as telegraph operators. Unprotected as they were, the crew and passengers on the skates naturally ran a great risk, but because the Germans in the first period were little aware of this traffic, they were often taken for ordinary fishing vessels. Gradually, however, the Germans became more wary of the illegal Shetland traffic, and they intensified surveillance both by plane and vessel. At the same time, we experienced cruel reprisals after actions, such as at Telavág in April 1942. As a result of the German countermeasures, Norwegian losses increased, and after five vessels and 42 crew members were lost in the winter of 1942-43, it was decided to suspend traffic with the Shetland buses. The skates had then carried out a total of nearly 100 trips with 165 tonnes of weapons and equipment in addition to agents and refugees.

In the spring and summer of 1943, they tried to obtain vessels with greater speed and the ability to protect themselves, so that the traffic could continue. The commander of the US naval forces in Europe, Admiral Stark, got to hear
this, and he was fully aware of the value Shetland traffic represented, also as a source of information about German fleet movements along the Norwegian coast. After an inquiry to President Roosevelt, who the previous year had asked the world to “look to Norway”, and who also had a special relationship with the submarine chasers, it was agreed that Norway would take over three such vessels under the so-called “lend and lease” agreement. The three vessels were transported to Scotland in August 1943, where they were slightly modified and readied for their new service. Among other things, they had all anti-submarine weaponry removed.

On 26 October 1943 they took command, and were given the names Hessa, Hitra and Vigra, after which they sailed to Scalloway to continue their training. Hitra, under its captain Ingvald Eidsheim, was the first to come into operational service, when it sailed to Skopresundet on Sundmøre on 17 November with agents and military equipment. It returned the next day with several resistance fighters who had been chased by the Germans. Hessa was ready for action on 13 December, and on 17 January 1944 Vigra was ready, with the legendary Shetlands-Larsen as captain.

in use, the service became considerably more efficient. Of a total of 115 trips to Norway, Hitra carried out 45, Vigra 41 and Hessa 29. Of these, 98 trips were successful, and over 114 agents and 220 tons of equipment were transported and refugees were brought back. The main rule was to avoid combat, and operations were therefore avoided in the bright summer months. With their fast-firing cannons, they were also a good predictor of battles with German aircraft. Amazingly, no lives were lost and the material damage was minimal. Their efforts were then also noticed far beyond our own ranks, and their style far beyond our own ranks, and their history is documented both through books and the film about the Shetland Gang

After the war and the restoration of KNM Hitra
After the war, the three Shetland buses were naturally permanently transferred to Norway, and on their return they received a magnificent reception. For a few years they were then used in coastal surveillance based in Kristiansand, before they went into circulation in 1953 and around 1960 they were sold to non-profit organizations for a symbolic sum of NOK 100 each. They had problems with operation and maintenance of the vessels, but because no clause had been included that refused resale, these eventually came into private hands. We know that the Vigra sank in the Drammen river in 1964, and that the Hessa supposedly sank on the Swedish coast. From a sea boys’ school in Brevik, via Swedish owners, Hitra finally ended up at Karlskrona, where it sank in shallow water because someone had opened the bottom valves. Here the wreck was then rediscovered in 1981, the year when the Soviet submarine ran aground in this area, because it appeared on some TV pictures and in an article in the magazine Farmand. The then head of the Marine Museum, Stein Moen, brought Ingvald Eidsheim to Karlskrona, and they confirmed that it was indeed Hitra. It was the start of a rescue operation, with broad support from the Navy’s management, but primarily because a separate association of friends, led by retired admiral Bård Helle, collected funds for the restoration. With an additional grant from the State, the restoration work began at Oma Båtbyggeri on Stord i in 1983. Not only was there extensive restoration work, there was also a meticulous search for original parts. The special vertically oriented c diesel engines, which had long since been discontinued, Oma himself obtained from a wreck he bought in the USA. On the 8th of May
In 1987, the fully restored vessel was handed over to the friends of Shetlandsbussen, who passed it on to the Norwegian Navy. Through the state’s final funding, the Storting had assumed that the Marine Museum would formally be the owner of the vessel, while the Norwegian Navy would be responsible for the operation of the vessel as a sailing museum vessel, after which she got “KNM” attached to her name.




The emblem we see on the wheelhouse



KNM Hitra — ImgBB



90 år under rent norsk orlogsflagg -
Norske marinefartøy - samtlige norske marinefartøy 1814-2008 og marinens flygevåpen 1912-1944 | ARK Bokhandel


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