USS Mirth (AM-265)

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"Mirth" redirects here. For other uses, see Mirth (disambiguation).
Career (United States)
Name: USS Mirth (AM-265)
Builder: American Shipbuilding Company, Lorain, Ohio
Laid down: 31 July 1943
Launched: 24 December 1943
Sponsored by: Mrs. B. E. Gathercoal
Commissioned: 12 August 1944
Decommissioned: 21 May 1945[1]
Fate: Transferred to Soviet Union, 21 May 1945
Reclassified: MSF-265, 7 February 1955
Struck: 1 January 1983[citation needed]
Career (Soviet Union)
Name: T-277[2]
Acquired: 21 May 1945
Commissioned: 21 May 1945[1]
Refit: Converted to naval trawler, 1948[citation needed]
Renamed: Musson, 1948[citation needed]
Fate: Scrapped 1960[3]
General characteristics
Class & type: Admirable-class minesweeper
Displacement: 650 tons
Length: 184 ft 6 in (56.24 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draft: 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
Propulsion: 2 × ALCO 539 diesel engines, 1,710 shp (1.3 MW)
Farrel-Birmingham single reduction gear
2 shafts
Speed: 14.8 knots (27.4 km/h)
Complement: 104
Armament: 1 × 3"/50 caliber gun DP
2 × twin Bofors 40 mm guns
1 × Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar
2 × Depth charge tracks
Service record
Part of: United States Atlantic Fleet (1944-1945)
Soviet Pacific Ocean Fleet (1945-1960)

USS Mirth (AM-265) was an Admirable-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy during World War II and in commission from 1944 to 1945. In 1945, she was transferred to the Soviet Union and served in the Soviet Navy after that as T-277. The Soviets converted her into a naval trawler in 1948[citation needed] and renamed her Musson.[citation needed]

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Mirth was laid down on 31 July 1943 at Lorain, Ohio, by the American Shipbuilding Company, launched on 24 December 1943, sponsored by Mrs. B. E. Gathercoal, and commissioned on 12 August 1944 with Lieutenant M. A. Rusteen, USNR, in command.

Service history[edit]

U.S. Navy, World War II, 1944-1945[edit]

After shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay, Mirth, a unit of Mine Division 37, got underway on 29 November 1944 for brief duty with Naval Operating Base Bermuda. During December 1944 she operated from St. George's Bay, Bermuda, sweeping the channels and conducting antisubmarine patrols to ensure safe passage into the western terminus of the southern transatlantic convoy routes and escorting single vessels to mid-ocean join-ups with convoys en route.

Mirth arrived in Virginia at the end of December 1944 and then continued on to New York City on 3 January 1945. She remained in the New York City area throughout January 1945. She departed on 8 February 1945 for the Panama Canal and duty in the Pacific.

Selected for transfer to the Soviet Navy in Project Hula – a secret program for the transfer of U.S. Navy ships to the Soviet Navy at Cold Bay, Territory of Alaska, in anticipation of the Soviet Union joining the war against JapanMirth proceeded to Cold Bay, where she arrived on 3 April 1945 to begin familiarization training of her new Soviet crew.[3]

Soviet Navy, 1945-1960[edit]

Following the completion of training for her Soviet crew, Mirth was decommissioned on 21 May 1945[1] at Cold Bay and transferred to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease immediately. Also commissioned into the Soviet Navy immediately,[1] she was designated as a tralshik ("minesweeper") and renamed T-277[2] in Soviet service. She soon departed Cold Bay bound for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Soviet Union, where she served in the Soviet Far East.[3]

In February 1946, the United States began negotiations for the return of ships loaned to the Soviet Union for use during World War II, and on 8 May 1947, United States Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal informed the United States Department of State that the United States Department of the Navy wanted 480 of the 585 combatant ships it had transferred to the Soviet Union for World War II use returned. Deteriorating relations between the two countries as the Cold War broke out led to protracted negotiations over the ships, and by the mid-1950s the U.S. Navy found it too expensive to bring home ships that had become worthless to it anyway. Many ex-American ships were merely administratively "returned" to the United States and instead sold for scrap in the Soviet Union, while the U.S. Navy did not seriously pursue the return of others because it viewed them as no longer worth the cost of recovery.[4] The Soviet Union never returned Mirth to the United States, instead converting her into a naval trawler in 1948[citation needed] and renaming her Musson.[citation needed] Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy reclassified her as a "fleet minesweeper" (MSF) and redesignated her MSF-265 on 7 February 1955.

Disposal[edit]

The ship was scrapped in 1960.[3] Unaware of her fate, the U.S. Navy kept Mirth on its Naval Vessel Register until finally striking her on 1 January 1983.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive Mirth (MSF 265) ex-AM-265 says that Mirth was decommissioned on 20 May 1945 and transferred on 21 May 1945, but the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Mirth article states that the U.S. Navy decommissioned Mirth on 21 May 1945 and transferred her to the Soviet Navy the same day, and hazegray.org Mirth repeats this. More recent research in Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, p. 39, which includes access to Soviet-era records unavailable during the Cold War, confirms that the transfer date was 21 May 1945. According to Russell, Project Hula ships were decommissioned by the U.S. Navy simultaneously with their transfer to and commissioning by the Soviet Navy – see photo captions on p. 24 regarding the transfers of various large infantry landing craft (LCI(L)s) and information on p. 27 about the transfer of USS Coronado (PF-38), which Russell says typified the transfer process – indicating that Mirth '​s U.S. Navy decommissioning, transfer, and Soviet Navy commissioning all occurred simultaneously in a single ceremony on 21 May 1945. As sources, Russell cites Department of the Navy, Ships Data: U.S. Naval Vessels Volume II, 1 January 1949, (NAVSHIPS 250-012), Washington, DC: Bureau of Ships, 1949; and Berezhnoi, S. S., Flot SSSR: Korabli i suda lendliza: Spravochnik ("The Soviet Navy: Lend-Lease Ships and Vessels: A Reference"), St. Petersburg, Russia: Belen, 1994.
  2. ^ a b NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive Mirth (MSF 265) ex-AM-265 and hazegray.org Mirth state that Mirth was named T-275 in Soviet service, but more recent research in Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, pp. 39-40, which includes access to Soviet-era records unavailable during the Cold War, finds that the ship's Soviet name was T-277, while the former USS Measure (AM-263), also transferred on 21 May 1945, had the Soviet name T-275. As sources, Russell cites Department of the Navy, Ships Data: U.S. Naval Vessels Volume II, 1 January 1949, (NAVSHIPS 250-012), Washington, DC: Bureau of Ships, 1949; and Berezhnoi, S. S., Flot SSSR: Korabli i suda lendliza: Spravochnik ("The Soviet Navy: Lend-Lease Ships and Vessels: A Reference"), St. Petersburg, Russia: Belen, 1994.
  3. ^ a b c d Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, p. 39.
  4. ^ Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, pp. 37-38, 39.