USS Nucleus (AM-268)

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Career (United States)
Name: USS Nucleus (AM-268)
Builder: Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation, Chickasaw, Alabama
Laid down: 7 September 1942
Launched: 12 June 1943
Sponsored by: Mrs. V. Ludwig
Commissioned: 12 December 1943
Decommissioned: 21 May 1945[1]
Fate: Transferred to Soviet Navy, 21 May 1945[1]
Reclassified: MSF-268, 7 February 1955
Struck: 1 January 1983[citation needed]
Career (Soviet Union)
Name: T-278[2]
Acquired: 21 May 1945[1]
Commissioned: 21 May 1945[1]
Refit: Converted to naval trawler, 1948[citation needed]
Renamed: Uragan, 1948[citation needed]
Honors and
awards:
Guards rank and ensign, 26 August 1945[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 (1943–1945)
Soviet Pacific Ocean Fleet (1945-1960)

USS Nucleus (AM-268) 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 after that served in the Soviet Navy as T-278. The Soviets converted her into a naval trawler in 1948[citation needed] and renamed her Uragan.[citation needed]

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Nucleus was laid down at Chickasaw, Alabama, by the Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation on 7 September 1942, launched on 26 June 1943, sponsored by Mrs. V. Ludwig, and commissioned on 11 February 1944 with Lieutenant D. H. Elliot in command.

Service history[edit]

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

Following shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay, Nucleus served briefly as an escort vessel to the Caribbean, then on 20 April 1944 proceeded to Boston. From Boston, she escorted a convoy to Naval Station Argentia in the Dominion of Newfoundland, arriving there on 6 May 1944. After another escort run between Boston and Argentia, she took up meteorological information collection duties in the North Atlantic Ocean. Between 10 and 24 June 1944 a platform deck for launching radiosonde gear and weather balloons was added to her silhouette to make her more effective as a weather ship. Relieved of weather duties by her sister ship USS Penetrate on 7 October 1944, Nucleus returned to Boston, then steamed to Norfolk, Virginia, arriving there on 25 November 1944.

During December 1944 Nucleus swept mines and conducted antisubmarine warfare patrols off the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. In January 1945 she conducted another Caribbean escort run, and on 2 February 1945 she departed Norfolk, escorting the gasoline (petrol) tanker USS Tetonkaha to Navassa Island. Detached on 8 February 1945, she continued on to the Panama Canal Zone and transited the Panama Canal for 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 JapanNucleus arrived at Cold Bay 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, Method was decommissioned on 21 May 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-278[2] in Soviet service. She soon departed Cold Bay bound for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Soviet Union,[3] where she entered service with the Soviet Pacific Ocean Fleet on 17 June 1945. After the Soviet Union entered the war against Japan on 8 August 1945, T-278 took part in the Soviet amphibious landings at Chongjin, Korea, on 18 August 1945 and at Maoka in the Japanese province of Karafuto on southern Sakhalin Island on 20 August 1945.

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 Nucleus to the United States, instead converting her into a naval trawler in 1948[citation needed] and renaming her Uragan.[citation needed] Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy reclassified her as a "fleet minesweeper" (MSF) and redesignated her MSF-268 on 7 February 1955.

Disposal[edit]

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

Awards[edit]

The Soviet Union awarded T-278 the Guards rank and ensign on 26 August 1945 for her service during the August 1945 Soviet offensive against the Japanese.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Nucleus article states that the U.S. Navy decommissioned Nucleus on 20 May 1945 and transferred her to the Soviet Navy the same day, and hazegray.org Nucleus repeats this, while NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive Nucleus (MSF 268) ex-AM-268 says that she was decommissioned on 20 May 1945 and transferred on 21 May 1945. 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 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, which Russell says typified the transfer process – indicating that Nucleus'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 Nucleus (MSF 268) ex-AM-268 and hazegray.org Nucleus state that Nucleus was named T-276 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-278, while the former USS Method, also transferred on 21 May 1945, had the Soviet name T-276. 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.