USS Bath (PF-55)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Bath.
Career (United States)
Name: USS Bath (PG-163)
Namesake: Bath, Maine
Reclassified: PF-55, 15 April 1943
Builder: Froemming Brothers, Inc., Milwaukee, and Pendleton Shipyards, New Orleans
Laid down: 23 August 1943
Launched: 14 November 1943
Sponsored by: Mrs. Fred R. E. Dean
Commissioned: 9 September 1944
Decommissioned: 4 September 1945[1]
Fate: Transferred to Soviet Navy 4 September 1945[1]
Acquired: Returned by Soviet Navy, 15 November 1949
Fate: Transferred to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 13 December[2] or 23 December 1953[3]
Struck: 1 December 1961
Career (Soviet Union)
Name: EK-29[4]
Acquired: 4 September 1945[1]
Commissioned: 4 September 1945[5]
Fate: Returned to United States, 15 November 1949
Career (Japan)
Name:

JDS Maki (PF-298)[3][6][7]

or JDS Matsu (PF-6)[2][8]
Acquired: By loan, 13[2] or 23 December 1953[3]
By permanent transfer, 28 August 1962
Decommissioned: 31 March 1966
Renamed: YTE-9, 31 March 1966
In service: 31 March 1966, as non-self-propelled pier-side training ship
Fate: sold for scrapping, 13 December 1971
General characteristics
Class & type: Tacoma-class frigate
Displacement: 1,430 long tons (1,453 t) light
2,415 long tons (2,454 t) full
Length: 303 ft 11 in (92.63 m)
Beam: 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m)
Draft: 13 ft 8 in (4.17 m)
Propulsion: 2 × 5,500 shp (4,101 kW) turbines
3 boilers
2 shafts
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 190
Armament: • 3 × 3"/50 caliber guns (3×1)
• 4 × 40 mm guns (2×2)
• 9 × 20 mm guns (9×1)
• 1 × Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar
• 8 × Y-gun depth charge projectors
• 2 × depth charge tracks

The second USS Bath (PF-55) was a United States Navy Tacoma-class frigate in commission from 1944 to 1945 which later served in the Soviet Navy as EK-29 and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, with her Japanese name reported by various sources (see below) as JDS Maki (PF-298) and JDS Matsu (PF-6), and later as YTE-9.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Bath originally was authorized as a patrol gunboat with the hull number PG-163, but she was redesignated as a patrol frigate with the hull number PF-55 on 15 April 1943. She was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract as Maritime Commission Type T.S2-S2-AQ1 Hull 1480 on 23 August 1943 by Froemming Brothers, Inc., at Milwaukee. She was launched on 14 November 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Fred R. E. Dean, then moved in an incomplete state to New Orleans, where she was completed by Pendleton Shipyards. She was commissioned on 9 September 1944 with a United States Coast Guard crew and Commander John R. Stewart, USCG, in command.

Service history[edit]

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

Bath departed New Orleans on 25 September 1944 and conducted her shakedown training out of Bermuda before proceeding to the Philadelphia Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she arrived on 1 November 1944 for post-shakedown repairs and alterations. Sea trials off Rockland, Maine, and further repairs at Philadelphia followed before she departed the Delaware Capes on 30 December 1944 and proceeded to New York City to report for duty with Task Group 20.9 under the Commander, Eastern Sea Frontier.

Based at the Eastern Sea Frontier base at Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York, and attached to Escort Division 38, Bath departed on 6 January 1945 in the escort of a convoy bound for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and returned to New York on 25 January 1945. She then operated out of Tompkinsville on antisubmarine barrier patrol through mid-May 1945, often in company with other patrol craft. She also kept approaching vessels from interfering with the convoy lanes into and out of New York.

Detached from this duty on 17 May 1945, Bath arrived at Ocean Weather Station 10 in the North Atlantic Ocean (at 36°00′00″N 070°00′00″W / 36.00000°N 70.00000°W / 36.00000; -70.00000) on 18 May 1945 to relieve the destroyer escort USS Jack W. Wilke (DE-800) there, but was herself relieved the same day.

Returning to New York City, Bath underwent repairs and alterations at the Mariners' Harbor shipyard of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation on Staten Island, and received orders to the Pacific Ocean on 11 June 1945. On 13 July 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed that she would be transferred to the Soviet Navy in Project Hula, a secret program for the transfer of U.S. Navy ships to the Soviet Navy under Lend-Lease at Cold Bay in the Territory of Alaska in anticipation of the Soviet Union joining the war against Japan. Accordingly, Bath set out for Cold Bay on 14 July 1945. She transited the Panama Canal on 22 July 1945 and reached San Pedro, California, on 30 July 1945. Proceeding on to Seattle, Washington, Bath departed for Cold Bay on 28 August 1945. Training of her new Soviet crew soon began.[9]

Soviet Navy, 1945–1949[edit]

Following the completion of training for her Soviet crew, Bath was decommissioned on 4 September 1945[1] at Cold Bay and transferred to the Soviet Union immediately[1] along with her sister ships USS Gloucester (PF-22), USS Newport (PF-27), and USS Evansville (PF-70), the last of 28 patrol frigates transferred to the Soviet Navy in Project Hula. Commissioned into the Soviet Navy immediately,[5] Bath was designated as a storozhevoi korabl ("escort ship") and renamed EK-29[4] in Soviet service.[10]

On 5 September 1945, all ship transfers to the Soviet Union were ordered stopped, although training for ships already transferred was allowed to continue. Accordingly, EK-29 remained at Cold Bay along with EK-26 (ex-Gloucester), EK-28 (ex-Newport), and EK-30 (ex-Evanvsille) for additional shakedown and training until 17 September 1945, when all four ships departed in company bound for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Soviet Union, the last four of the 149 Project Hula ships to do so. Too late for World War II service with the Soviet Navy, EK-29 served as a patrol vessel in the Soviet Far East.[11]

In February 1946, the United States began negotiations for the return of ships loaned to the Soviet Union for use during World War II. 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, EK-29 among them. Negotiations for the return of the ships were protracted, but on 15 November 1949 the Soviet Union finally returned EK-29 to the U.S. Navy at Yokosuka, Japan.[12]

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 1953–1971[edit]

Reverting to her former name and placed out of commission in reserve at Yokosuka, Bath remained inactive there until loaned to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) on either 13[2] or 23 December 1953.[3] Sources disagree the JMSDF's name for the ship, variously reporting it as JDS Matsu (PF-6),[2] and JDS Maki (PF-298).[3][6][7][8]

On 1 December 1961, the U.S. Navy struck Bath's name from the U.S. Naval Vessel Register, and the United States transferred the ship to Japan permanently on 28 August 1962. On 31 March 1966, the JMSDF decommissioned the ship, simultaneously renamed her YTE-9, and placed in service as a non-commissioned pier-side training ship. She was sold to the Chin Ho Fa Steel and Iron Company, Ltd., of Taiwan on 13 December 1971 for scrapping.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Bath II article states that Bath was "turned over to the Russians at Petropavlovsk" on 9 September 1945, and NavSource Online: Frigate Photo Archive Bath (PF 55) ex-PG-163 and hazegray.org Bath both state that she was transferred to the Soviet Union on 13 July 1945 (apparently confusing the date of agreement to the transfer with the date of actual transfer), 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. 34-35, which includes access to Soviet-era records unavailable during the Cold War, reports that the transfer date was 4 September 1945 at Cold Bay and that Bath did not even depart Cold Bay for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky until 17 September 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. It should also be noted that the table showing all Project Hula transfers in Russell, p. 39, also gives a transfer date of 9 September 1945, although text in Russell, pp. 34-35, makes clear that Bath and three other patrol frigates were transferred on 4 September 1945 and were the last ships transferred in Project Hula, and that all Project Hula transfers were ordered halted on 5 September 1945. According to Russell, Project Hula ships were decommissioned by the U.S. Navy simultaneously with their transfer to 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 Bath's U.S. Navy decommissioning, transfer, and Soviet Navy commissioning all occurred simultaneously on 4 September 1945.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: Bath II
  3. ^ a b c d e NavSource Online: Frigate Photo Archive: Bath (PF 55) ex-PG-163
  4. ^ a b The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Bath II article states that Bath was named EK-11 in Soviet service and NavSource Online: Frigate Photo Archive Bath (PF 55) ex-PG-163 repeats this claim, but 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, reports that the ship's Soviet name was EK-29. 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.
  5. ^ a b According to 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, which includes access to Soviet-era records unavailable during the Cold War, Project Hula ships were commissioned into the Soviet Navy simultaneously with their transfer from the U.S. 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. 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.
  6. ^ a b "Bath (6117560)". Miramar Ship Index. http://www.miramarshipindex.org.nz. Retrieved 10 December 2009. (subscription required)
  7. ^ a b Bauer, Karl J.; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the US Navy: 1775–1990: Major Combatants. New York: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9. OCLC 231352909. 
  8. ^ a b The same four sources, however, all agree that the name of sister ship USS Charlottesville (PF-25) in Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force was Matsu.
  9. ^ 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. 35.
  10. ^ 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. 35, 39.
  11. ^ 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. 34, 35, 39.
  12. ^ 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.

References[edit]