Auxiliary Motor Minesweepers (YMS)
Auxiliary Motor Minesweepers (YMS) were small yard-class minesweepers commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service during World War II. The YMS proved so successful as a type that it eventually became the basis for the AMS class of Navy minesweeper.
Origin of the YMS
It was 4 March 1941 in the Henry B. Nevins Shipyard, Inc. in City Island, New York, when the keel was laid of the first United States "Yard class Minesweeper" designed by this company and listed as YMS-1. Launched on 10 January 1942, it was completed two months later on 25 March 1942. This yard held the distinction of building this ship in 3 months, 18 days.
The “Yard” designation
The first wooden minesweeper of this class was to gain prominence in all theaters during World War II. A total of 561 were built at various U.S. yards. Originally a class of Motor Minesweepers, "Yard " was added to distinguish them from other classes. Referring to a "Naval Yard or Naval Base." This type was not expected to go beyond adjacent waters from their base. Built at 35 yacht yards, rather than larger shipyards; 12 on the East Coast; 19 on the U.S. West Coast, and four in the Great Lakes. It has been established by the U. S. Navy that this is the reason for the "Yard" designation.
Use as minesweepers
Records show that YMS were used in the United States Navy to sweep mines laid by enemy submarines as early as 1942 off the ports of Jacksonville, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina. One of their greatest losses occurred on 9 October 1945, when seven U.S. YMSs were sunk in a typhoon off Okinawa.
The wood-hulled YMS proved to be one of the U.S. Navy's more durable and versatile types through a quarter-century of service, filling a variety of roles for a number of navies.
All 481 ships of this type had the same general characteristics. The only significant variation within the type was one of appearance; YMS-1 through 134 had two stacks, YMS-135 through 445, 480, and 481 had one, while YMS-446 through 479 had none.
A rich heritage of service
Originally rated as service craft, they were used during World War II for inshore sweeping to prepare the way for amphibious assaults. Surviving YMS's were reclassified as AMS in 1947, given names, and re-rated as mine warfare ships; in 1955 they received the new type symbol MSC(O), changed to MSCO in 1967. These ships bore much of the mine warfare burden in Korea, formed a major portion of our minecraft strength through the 1950s, and provided underway training for Naval Reservists in the 1960s.
A number of YMS were transferred to other navies during or after the war. Five of them served in the German Navy in different functions for tests, trials, and training. All of them had a civilian crew and were decommissioned between 1975 and 1988.
YMS-327, the last YMS
USS Ruff (MSCO-54), originally YMS-327, the last of her kind in U.S. service, was struck from the Navy List in November 1969.
- ^ Siegfried Breyer, Gerhard Koop; Die Schiffe und Fahrzeuge der deutschen Bundesmarine 1956 - 1976; München 1978; ISBN 3-7637-5155-6 (German)
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