USS Astute (AM-148)

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Career (United States)
Name: USS Astute (AMc-125)
Builder: Tampa Shipbuilding Company
Reclassified: AM-148, 21 February 1942
Laid down: 7 December 1942
Launched: 23 February 1943
Sponsored by: Mrs. M. L. Haney
Commissioned: 17 January 1944
Decommissioned: 19 July 1945[1]
Fate: Transferred to Soviet Navy, 19 July 1945
Reclassified: MSF-148, 7 February 1955
Struck: 1 January 1983
Career (Soviet Union)
Name: T-333[2]
Acquired: 19 July 1945[1]
Commissioned: 19 July 1945[1]
Fate: Scrapped 1960[3]
General characteristics
Class and 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: U.S. Pacific Fleet (1944-1945)
Soviet Pacific Ocean Fleet (1945-1960)

USS Astute (AM-148) 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 Navy, in which she served as T-333.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Originally classified as a "coastal minesweeper," AMc-125, Astute reclassified as a minesweeper, AM-148, on 21 February 1942. She was laid down on 7 December 1942 at Tampa, Florida, by the Tampa Shipbuilding Company, launched on 23 February 1943, sponsored by Mrs. M. L. Haney, and commissioned on 17 January 1944.

Service history[edit]

U.S. Navy, World War I, 1944[edit]

Following shakedown training, Astute transited the Panama Canal and joined the United States Pacific Fleet. She proceeded up the Pacific coast of North America and ultimately arrived in the Territory of Alaska, where she served during the latter part of 1944 and the first half of 1945 conducting patrol and escort duty.

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, Alaska, in anticipation of the Soviet Union joining the war against JapanAstute proceeded Cold Bay in the summer of 1945 and began training her new Soviet crew.[4]

Soviet Navy, 1945-1960[edit]

Following the completion of training for her Soviet crew, Astute was decommissioned on 19 July 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-333[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 Astute to the United States, although the U.S. Navy reclassified her as a "fleet minesweeper" (MSF) and redesignated her MSF-148 on 7 February 1955.

Disposal[edit]

T-333 was scrapped in the Soviet Union in 1960.[3] Unaware of this, the U.S. Navy retained Astute on its Naval Vessel Register until finally striking her name on 1 January 1983.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Astute article states that the U.S. Navy decommissioned Astute on 18 July 1945, and NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive Astute (MSF 148) ex-AM-148 ex-AMc-125 and hazegray.org Astute repeat this. However, 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 19 July 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 Astute '​s U.S. Navy decommissioning, transfer, and Soviet Navy commissioning all occurred simultaneously on 19 July 1945.
  2. ^ a b The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Astute article states that Astute was named T-523 in Soviet service, and NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive Astute (MSF 148) ex-AM-148 ex-AMc-125 and hazegray.org Astute repeat this, 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-333, while an auxiliary motor minesweeper, the former USS YMS-144, also transferred in 1945, had the Soviet name T-523. 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 Admirable (MSF 136) ex-AM-136 ex-AMc-113 states that the ship was scrapped in 1954, while 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-333 and states that T-333 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-523 – a Soviet name previously attributed to Astutee but now identified as belonging to the former USS YMS-144 – was scrapped in 1946, ruling out this misidentification as a reason for confusion over the ship's fate, and it is unclear why NavSource asserts a 1954 scrapping date.
  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.

External links[edit]