USS Captivate (AM-156)

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Career (United States)
Name: USS Captivate (AMc-133)
Builder: Willamette Iron and Steel Works, Portland, Oregon
Reclassified: AM-156, 21 February 1942
Laid down: 12 May 1942
Launched: 1 December 1942
Commissioned: 30 December 1943
Decommissioned: 17 August 1945 [1]
Fate: Transferred to Soviet Navy, 17 August 1945[1]
Reclassified: MSF-156, 7 February 1955
Struck: 1 January 1983
Career (Soviet Union)
Name: T-338[2]
Acquired: 17 August 1945[1]
Commissioned: 17 August 1945[1]
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: US Pacific Fleet (1943-1945)
Soviet Pacific Ocean Fleet (1945-1960)

USS Captivate (AM-156) was an Admirable-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy during World War II and in commission from 1943 to 1945. In 1945, she was transferred to the Soviet Union and then served in the Soviet Navy as T-338.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Originally classified as a "coastal minesweeper," AMc-133, Captivate was reclassified as a "minesweeper," AM-156, on 21 February 1942. She was launched on 1 December 1942 at Portland, Oregon, by Willamette Iron and Steel Works and commissioned on 30 December 1943 with Lieutenant B. J. Kocel USNR, in command.

Service history[edit]

U.S. Navy, World War II, 1943-1945[edit]

Reporting to the United States Pacific Fleet for assignment, Captivate stood out of San Francisco, California, on 11 March 1944 bound for Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, and Majuro in the Marshall Islands. Arriving at Majuro on 10 April 1944, she operated as harbor entrance patrol and pilot vessel, occasionally escorting convoys to the other islands of the Marshalls group. Leaving Majuro on 22 September 1944, she moved to the Mariana Islands, where she escorted convoys and patrolled off Tinian until 14 October 1944. Arriving in the newly captured Palau Islands on 23 October 1944, Captivate performed patrol and escort duties there until 3 February 1945, when she moved to Eniwetok to perform similar duties through the remainder of February 1945.

Arriving at Portland, Oregon, on 27 March 1945, Captivate moved to Seattle, Washington, where she aided in training programs until 6 July 1945. 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 JapanCaptivate proceeded to Cold Bay to begin familiarization training of her new Soviet crew.[4]

Soviet Navy, 1945-1960[edit]

Following the completion of training for her Soviet crew, Captivate was decommissioned on 17 August 1945[1] at Cold Bay and transferred to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease immediately.[1] Also commissioned into the Soviet Navy immediately,[1] she was designated as a tralshik ("minesweeper") and renamed T-338[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.[4]

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.[5] The Soviet Union never returned Captivate to the United States, although the U.S. Navy reclassified her as a "fleet minesweeper" (MSF) and redesignated her MSF-156 on 7 February 1955.

Disposal[edit]

T-338 was scrapped in 1960.[3] Unaware of her fate, the U.S. Navy kept Captivate on its Naval Vessel Register until finally striking her on 1 January 1983.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Captivate article states that the U.S. Navy decommissioned Captivate on 16 August 1945 and transferred her to the Soviet Navy, and NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive Captivate (MSF 156) ex-AM-156 ex-AMc-133 and hazegray.org Captivate repeat this. However, 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, reports that the transfer date was 17 August 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. 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 Captivate '​s U.S. Navy decommissioning, transfer, and Soviet Navy commissioning all occurred simultaneously in a single ceremony on 17 August 1945.
  2. ^ a b NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive Captivate (MSF 156) ex-AM-156 ex-AMc-133 and hazegray.org Captivate state that Captivate was named T-596 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-338, while an auxiliary motor minesweeper, the former USS YMS-216, also transferred in 1945, had the Soviet name T-596. 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 NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive Captivate (MSF 156) ex-AM-156 ex-AMc-133 and hazegray.org Captivate state that the ship, which they identify as T-596, probably was scrapped in 1956, 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, p. 39, reports that the ship's Soviet name was T-338 and states that T-338 was scrapped in 1960. 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. Russell, p. 40., also states that T-596 – a Soviet name previously attributed to Captivate but now identified as belonging to the former USS YMS-216 – was stricken in 1955, and this confusion over the identity of the two ships may have led to the confusion over their fates, although it does not explain the assertion that T-596 probably was scrapped in 1956.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ 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.