Operation Hula

This was a US programme to transfer ships from the US Navy to Vitse Admiral Ivan S. Yumashev’s Soviet Pacific Fleet at bases along the eastern seaboard of Siberia (10 April/9 September 1945).

Between Between 10 and 14 April five Soviet merchant vessels arrived at Cold Bay, Alaska, with 2,358 men to be trained in the skills they needed to crew the first ships, on 11 April the commander of the Soviet detachment, Kontr Admiral Popov, arrived on the steamer Sevastopol, and on 16 April the training of Soviet crews to man ‘Admirable’ class minesweepers started.

On 5 June the submarine chasers SC-657, SC-660, SC-663, SC-673, SC-713, SC-986, SC-1021 and SC-1060 departed for the eastern USSR with Soviet crews. On 6 June the minesweeper YMS-59 followed, and on 10 June the submarine chasers SC-500, SC-634, SC-675, SC-1295 and SC-1324 departed Some 13 LSI(I) landing craft departed on 10 June and two on 14 June.

Two days earlier, the Soviet vessels Feliks Dzerzhinsky and Tchaikovsky landed 572 and 570 crew members respectively for the patrol frigates that were to be transferred from Cold Bay to the Pacific Fleet. Their training was completed on 8 July, and on 12 July the frigates Charlottesville, Long Beach, Belfast, Glendale, San Pedro, Coronado, Ogden, Allentown, Machias and Sandusky were transferred to the crews of the Pacific Fleet at Cold Bay.

On 19 July the minesweepers Admirable, Adopt, Astute, Augury, Barrier and Bombard followed, as did the motor minesweepers YMS-38, YMS-42, YMS-75, YMS-139, YMS-178, YMS-184, YMS-216, YMS-237, YMS-241, YMS-272, YMS-273 and YMS-295.

The submarine chaser SC-685 was also transferred and, on 29 July, 15 LCI(L) landing vessels. On 2 August the motor minesweeper YMS-260 was transferred to the Soviets. On 16 August Cold Bay next saw the transfer to the Soviets of the frigates Tacoma, Sausalito, Hoquiam, Pasco, Albuquerque and Everett. On the following day the transfers comprised the minesweepers Bond, Candid, Capable, Captivate, Caravan and Caution, the motor minesweepers YMS-33, YMS-85, YMS-100, YMS-266, YMS-288 and YMS-301, and the submarine chasers SC-538, SC-643, SC-752, SC-754, SC-774, SC-997, SC-1007, SC-1011, SC-1031, SC-1364 and SC-1365.

On 26 August the transfers comprised the frigates Bisbee, Gallup, Bickford, Muskogee, Carson City and Burlington, and on the next day the motor minesweepers YMS-88, YMS-180, YMS-135, YMS-332 and YMS-285.

The next batch of transfers, on 2 September, comprised the frigates Bayonne and Poughkeepsie, and the submarine chaser SC-756, and the final transfer, on 9 September, comprised the frigates Gloucester, Newport, Bath and Evansville.