USS Method (AM-264)

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History
United States
Name: USS Method (AM-264)
Builder: American Shipbuilding Company, Lorain, Ohio
Laid down: 7 June 1943
Launched: 23 October 1943
Sponsored by: Mrs. K. C. Thorton
Commissioned: 10 July 1944
Decommissioned: 21 May 1945[1]
Fate: Transferred to Soviet Navy, 21 May 1945[1]
Reclassified: MSF-264, 7 February 1955
Struck: 1 January 1983[citation needed]
History
Soviet Union
Name: T-276[2]
Acquired: 21 May 1945[1]
Commissioned: 21 May 1945[1]
Refit: Converted to naval trawler, 1948[citation needed]
Renamed: Purga, 1948[citation needed]
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:
Speed: 14.8 knots (27.4 km/h)
Complement: 104
Armament:
Service record
Part of:

USS Method (AM-264) 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-276. The Soviets converted her into a naval trawler in 1948 and renamed her Purga.[citation needed]

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Method was laid down on 7 June 1943 at Lorain, Ohio, by the American Shipbuilding Company, launched on 23 October 1943, sponsored by Mrs. K. C. Thorton, and commissioned on 10 July 1944 with Lieutenant M. A. Cartwright in command.

Service history[edit]

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

Method departed Lorain, Ohio, on 12 July 1944 and steamed via the St. Lawrence River to Little Creek, Virginia. Arriving there on 19 August 1944, she underwent shakedown training and on 27 September 1944 headed north to Casco Bay, Maine, for abbreviated antisubmarine warfare training. Thence, as a unit of Mine Division 37, she headed south and on 5 October 1944 arrived at Port Royal Bay, Bermuda, the western terminus of the southern transatlantic convoy route . She remained at Port Royal Bay until 8 November 1944, when she got underway for Norfolk, Virginia. There, for a month and a half, she conducted patrols and minesweeping operations and towed targets.

At the end of December 1944, Method reported for duty with Task Force 29, joining Mine Division 31. On 15 January 1945, she cleared Hampton Roads, Virginia, as escort to a gasoline (petrol) tanker bound for Navassa Island. Detached from that duty on 20 January 1945, she continued on to the Panama Canal Zone, transited the Panama Canal on 24 January 1945, and arrived at San Diego, California, on 2 February 1945 to report for duty with the Western Sea Frontier. In mid-February 1945 she steamed north to Washington, where she operated with the Strait of Strait of Juan de Fuca Defense Unit.

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 JapanMethod ceased her activities in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and departed on 26 March 1945 for Cold Bay, where she arrived on 4 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-276[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 Method to the United States, instead converting her into a naval trawler in 1948[citation needed] and renaming her Purga.[citation needed] Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy reclassified her as a "fleet minesweeper" (MSF) and redesignated her MSF-264 on 7 February 1955.

Disposal[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Method article states that the U.S. Navy decommissioned Method on 20 May 1945 and transferred her to the Soviet Navy the same day, and hazegray.org Method repeats this, while NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive Method (MSF 264) ex-AM-264 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 (PF-38), which Russell says typified the transfer process – indicating that Method'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 Method (MSF 264) ex-AM-264 and hazegray.org Method state that Method was named T-274 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-276, while the former USS Marvel (AM-262), also transferred on 21 May 1945, had the Soviet name T-274. 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.