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Turandot AKA-47 - History

Turandot AKA-47 - History

Turandot

(AKA-47: dp. 4,087, 1. 426', b. 58', dr. 16' (lim.)s. 16.9 k.; epl. 303; a. 1 5", 8 40mm., 10 20mm.,cl. Artemis; S4-SE2-BE-1)

Turandot (AKA-47) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1908) on 29 March 1945 by the Walsh-Kaiser Co., Inc., Providence, R.I. launched on 20 May 1945, sponsored by Mrs. Charles H. MacLeod, and commissioned on 18 June 1946, Lt. Comdr. Francklyn W. C. Zwicker, USNR, in command.

Following fitting out and conversion at the Boston Navy Yard, Turandot made her shakedown cruise in the Chesapeake Bay in July 1945. After undergoing availability at Norfolk, the new attack cargo ship took on passengers and cargo, then departed Hampton Roads on 24 July, bound for the Canal Zone. She transited the Panama Canal on 30 July and, early the next day, rendezvoused with Barbero (SS-317) for exercises en route to the Hawaiian Islands. On 10 August, she parted company with the submarine and made her way independently to Oahu, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 14 August 1945.

After discharging her cargo, she embarked 172 Army troops and departed the Hawaiian Islands on 7 September, setting her course for the New Hebrides. She arrived at Espiritu Santo on the 17th, discharged her passengers, loaded cargo, and embarked elements of the 85th Construction Battalion.

On 22 September, she got underway for the Marshalls. After fueling at Eniwetok, she continued on and arrived at Wake Island on 6 October. The following day, she discharged her cargo and passengers and returned to Eniwetok to begin "Magic-Carpet" duties carrying troops back to the United States. She embarked more than 600 veterans, then got underway on 13 October and steamed via a great circle route to California. On Friday, 26 October, she entered San Pedro Harbor and disembarked her happy passengers. After voyage repairs at Terminal Island, she again got underway on 3 November, steaming for the Marianas. On the 19th, Turandot arrived at Saipan. This time she was to serve as a magic carpet for more than a thousand returning troops. She departed Saipan on the 27th and completed the crossing at San Pedro on 12 December.

Voyage repairs occupied most of the remainder of the month. Turandot opened the new year with a voyage to San Diego, then, on the 24th, continued southward and steamed, via the Panama Canal, to the Atlantic. On 5 February, she arrived at Hampton Roads and was delivered on 25 June 1946 to the Maritime Commission for custody pending disposal. She decommissioned on 21 March 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 17 April 1947.

On 4 November 1954, the former attack cargo ship was reacquired by the Navy, reclassified a cable repair ship, redesignated ARC-3, and renamed Aeolus (q.v.). Her conversion was completed on 15 May 1955 at Baltimore by the Key Highway Plant of the Bethlehem Steel Co. The ship was accepted for limited service and recommissioned later that month.


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Gun History: The Origin Story of the AK-47

The name AK-47 is derived from the Russian words “Avtomat Kalashnikova”, in honor of its automatic firing capabilities and its principal designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov. The 47 denotes the year 1947, when the trials started on the version of the rifle that was finally approved for adoption by the Soviet armed forces soon after.

By any measure, the AK-47 is the most successful assault rifle in human history. In terms of the number of guns produced, duration of service, and worldwide deployment, it has no equal.

The genius of the rifle is not that it was original. It is actually an amalgamation of several preexisting design concepts. The trigger mechanism, safety catch, rotating bolt, and gas-driven action borrowed heavily from other firearms. But these features were combined with a platform that offered legendary durability and low manufacturing costs.

The result was a lightweight rifle with moderate recoil that was easy to wield and that still placed tremendous firepower into the hands of individual soldiers. Accuracy was a secondary consideration. The fact that it gave soldiers the ability to deliver massed fire in an effective fashion was what made it unlike any other rifle before and, some would still argue, ever since.

MEET THE MAN

Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov was born in 1919 to peasants and went on to become a lieutenant-general in the Soviet Army, a Hero of the State, and one of the most famous firearms designers in history.

A self-taught tinkerer, Kalashnikov was conscripted into the Red Army in 1938 and because of his small stature and mechanical aptitude was made a tank mechanic. During World War II, he became a tank commander and was seriously wounded in combat. During his recuperation from late 1941 to 1942, he worked on a design for a new rifle for the Soviet military. That design was never adopted, but his ingenuity caught the eye of his superiors, who then reassigned him to a small-arms design group.

It was there that he, along with other engineers, developed the iconic AK-47. He continued to develop, expand, and improve the AK family of rifles throughout his later career. All told, he helped create about 150 different firearms designs.

He died in 2013 at the age of 94 in a Russian hospital after a prolonged illness.

THE AK-47 TIME LINE

1943: The Soviet Union develops the 7.62x39mm cartridge.

1945: A contest is launched in secret by the USSR to develop a new model assault rifle.

1947: Mikhail Kalashnikov and his team of designers create the AK-47, which is submitted for trials and accepted as the winning entry.

1949: The AK-47 is officially adopted by the Soviet Union.

1956: China creates its own AK-47 clone, known as the Type 56.

1959: The AKM is introduced. Its stamped metal (versus milled) receiver is much less costly to produce and allows for more widespread production.

1974: AK-74 is introduced in the lighter recoiling 5.45x39mm cartridge.


Turandot AKA-47 - History

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AK-47, also called Kalashnikov Model 1947, Soviet assault rifle, possibly the most widely used shoulder weapon in the world. The initials AK represent Avtomat Kalashnikova, Russian for “automatic Kalashnikov,” for its designer, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, who designed the accepted version of the weapon in 1947.

Almost from the moment of its official adoption by the Soviet military in 1949, the AK-47 was recognized as being simple to operate, rugged, reliable under trying conditions, and amenable to mass production. Built around a 7.62-mm round with a muzzle velocity of some 700 metres per second, it had a cyclic firing rate of 600 rounds per minute and was capable of both semiautomatic and automatic fire. A long curved box magazine held 30 rounds, and a separate gas-return tube above the barrel held a piston that was forced back upon firing to activate the mechanisms that ejected the spent cartridge and cocked the hammer for the next round. The AK-47 was manufactured in two basic designs, one with a wooden stock and the other, designated the AKS, with a folding metal stock. Beginning in 1959, the AK-47 was replaced in first-line Soviet service by the AKM, a modernized version fitted with longer-range sights and cheaper mass-produced parts, including a stamped sheet-metal receiver and a plywood buttstock and forward grip.

Despite their obvious advantages, the AK-47 and the AKM were considered by the Soviet military to have problems with accuracy, mainly because of recoil forces generated by the powerful 7.62-mm round and other forces known as blowback that were generated by the weapons’ heavy internal mechanisms. Those problems were partly addressed during the 1970s, when the AKM was replaced by the AK-74, which adapted the basic Kalashnikov design to a smaller 5.45-mm round with a higher muzzle velocity of 900 metres per second. A later version of the AK-74, the AK-74M, was the main infantry weapon of the Russian army into the 21st century.

After the 1970s, research continued into possible successors to the AK-47/74 series, most of them involving some means of reducing the effects of recoil and blowback. One candidate, the AN-94, allowed two rounds to be fired in rapid succession before recoil forces were generated. Other candidates, the AK-107 and AEK-971, introduced mechanical parts whose movements balanced those of the blowback-generating mechanisms. None of these weapons was accepted for standard issue to the Russian army, however. In 2018 the Russian military began introducing a pair of new rifles from the AK family—the AK-12 and the AK-15—as eventual replacements for the AK-74M. The AK-12 retained the 5.45-mm calibre that had been introduced with the AK-74, but the AK-15 reverted to the Soviet-era 7.62-mm round. Both weapons featured a modernized chassis that allowed for the mounting of scopes, forward grips, and other tactical accessories.

Kalashnikov assault rifles remain the basic shoulder weapons of many armies that once had political and military ties to the Soviet Union, and they have long been the favoured weapon for many guerrilla and nationalist movements throughout the world. The symbolic value of the AK-47 to such movements is demonstrated by its presence on the coats of arms of numerous countries as well as on the flag of Mozambique. It has been estimated that some 100 million AKs have been produced—fully half of them outside Russia, and many of those under expired Soviet-era licenses or no license at all. A full range of weapons that can trace their design history back to the AK-47 are produced by the Izhmash armaments company in Izhevsk, Russia.


Turandot AKA-47 - History

Following fitting out and conversion at the Boston Navy Yard, Turandot. made her shakedown cruise in the Chesapeake Bay in July 1945. After undergoing availability at Norfolk, the new attack cargo ship took on passengers and cargo then departed Hampton Roads on 24 July, bound for the Canal Zone. She transited the Panama Canal on 30 July and, early the next day, rendezvoused with Barbero (SS-317) for exercises en route to the Hawaiian Islands. On 10 August, she parted company with the submarine and made her way independently to Oahu, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 14 August 1945.

Repairs occupied most of the remainder of the month, Turandot opened the new year with a voyage to San Diego then, on the 24th, continued southward to the Panama Canal and into the Atlantic. On 5 February, she arrived at Hampton Roads where she was decommissioned on 21 March 1946. Turandot was transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal on 25 June 1946, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 17 April 1947.

On 4 November 1954, Turandot, was reacquired by the Navy for conversion to a cable repair ship. Modified for her new sion at Baltimore, Md., by the Bethlehem Steel Co., she was renamed Aeolus and redesignated ARC-3 on 17 March 1955. Aeolus was placed in commission at Baltimore on 14 May 1955, Comdr. Merrill M. Sanford in command


Turandot

Turandot is Puccini’s final opera (unfinished at his death) and perhaps as a result, it is by far and away his most musically adventurous. As in Madama Butterfly, the score is filled with Asian touches, the percussion section in particular packed with gongs and various tuned instruments (xylophones, glockenspiels and the like). It is still, however, an Italian opera with the outrageously titled Ping, Pang and Pong a spin on classic Commedia dell’arte characters.

It’s an opera that blends epic chorus passages with some brilliantly intimate moments. Indeed the chorus plays a much more significant role than in Puccini’s other operas, acting as an onstage witness to well over half of the action. The opening is a powerful series of five chords, said to musically depict an executioner’s axe falling, and that hair-raising effect is spectacularly well maintained throughout.

Turandot also contains arguably the most famous tenor aria in all of opera, "Nessun Dorma", an instantly recognizable piece of music that has lost its dark meaning by being repeatedly considered out of context.

The conclusion stretches incredulity even by operatic standards, but as Puccini didn’t write it, he can’t be blamed!

Characters

NameVocal TypeDescription
CalafTenorA prince, anonymous to everyone in the opera. Supposedly a great guy but does little to justify this reputation.
LiuSopranoA slave girl. Loves Calaf beyond all measure -- the feeling’s not mutual.
PangTenorThe second Commedia character. The Majordomo.
PingBaritoneThe first of three commedia dell’arte characters, all of whom, despite great music, are potentially offensive, 19th-century stereotypes. The Lord Chancellor.
PongTenorThe third Commedia character. The head chef of the palace.
Princess TurandotSopranoA fierce man-hating spinster who aims to kill anyone wanting to marry her, in the belief that she is avenging a mistreated ancestor.
The EmperorTenorFather of Turandot. His name is Altoum but it is never spoken in the opera.
TimurBassFormerly king of Tartary. Currently old and blind.

Calaf

A prince, anonymous to everyone in the opera. Supposedly a great guy but does little to justify this reputation.

A slave girl. Loves Calaf beyond all measure -- the feeling’s not mutual.

The second Commedia character. The Majordomo.

The first of three commedia dell’arte characters, all of whom, despite great music, are potentially offensive, 19th-century stereotypes. The Lord Chancellor.

The third Commedia character. The head chef of the palace.

Princess Turandot

A fierce man-hating spinster who aims to kill anyone wanting to marry her, in the belief that she is avenging a mistreated ancestor.

The Emperor

Father of Turandot. His name is Altoum but it is never spoken in the opera.

Timur

Formerly king of Tartary. Currently old and blind.

Synopsis

Act I - Running Time: 35 mins

The curtain rises on a surging crowd. A mandarin announces that anyone wishing to marry Princess Turandot must answer three riddles. Failure means death. The Prince of Persia has just failed and will be executed when the moon rises.

The bloodlust of the crowd is dealt with brutally by the palace guards, and Timur, a blind, old man is knocked to the ground. Liu, his slave, cries out for help and Calaf comes to their aid. As luck would have it Calaf is Timur’s son! Timur was king of Tartary, making Calaf a prince, but has long been deposed. Only Liu has remained faithful to him. Calaf warns them not to mention his name as he fears being discovered by the Emperor.

Turandot at the Forbidden City

As the moon rises the Prince of Persia is led to his death. The crowd appeals in his favor but Turandot appears and signals for the execution to continue. Calaf sees Turandot and falls in love. The Prince of Persia is executed.

Blinded by Turandot’s beauty, Calaf is about to rush forward and bang the gong, signaling that he wishes to take the riddles, when Ping, Pang and Pong appear. The jaunty threesome tell him not to risk it, as do Timur and Liu, the latter being not very secretly in love with Calaf. Calaf is touched but never the less runs forward shouting Turandot’s name and bangs the gong three times. Turandot accepts his challenge as the curtain falls on Act I.

Act II - Running Time: 50 mins

Scene 1

Ping, Pang and Pong discuss their place in society, interspersing humor - do we prepare for a wedding or a funeral - and nostalgia - we are living in an era of endless death. A trumpet sounds announcing the entrance of the Emperor.

Scene 2

The Emperor asks Calaf to withdraw his challenge. Turandot emerges and begins to describe why no man may possess her. (This is actually the first music she sings in the opera.) Her ancestor Princess Lo-u-Ling ruled until she was raped and murdered by a foreign prince, and Turandot believes Lo-u-Ling lives in her. Out of revenge, no man will ever have her. She advises Calaf to withdraw but he is having none of it.

She gives the three riddles.

What is born each night and dies each dawn?

What flickers red and warm like a flame, but is not fire?

What is like ice, but burns like fire?

. each of which he correctly answers. Turandot is distraught at having to marry and pleads with her father, but he insists that she go through with it. Calaf, believing love will win out, gives her one possible escape: he is a prince and if she can learn his name before sunrise, then he will die at dawn. Turandot accepts and the curtain falls - the Emperor hoping the Prince will be his son.

Act III - Running Time: 40 mins

Scene 1

Turandot has commanded that no one sleep until the Prince’s name is discovered. Everyone will be killed if they don’t learn the name and she has to marry. Calaf awaits the dawn, and while he’s at it sings a ditty called "Nessun Dorma" (you’ve probably heard it before).

Placido Domingo sings "Nessun Dorma"

Ping, Pang and Pong turn up and try to buy off Calaf with women and riches. He is not interested. They then drag in Timur and Liu but Calaf pretends he knows nothing about them. They get roughed up a bit, and suddenly Liu, to protect Timur, claims that she alone knows the Prince’s name but will not give it up. She is tortured but still refuses. Turandot asks why she would suffer such pain and she answers love. Turandot doesn’t think much of this answer so she has Liu tortured further. Liu tells Turandot that she will soon learn love before promptly taking a dagger off a soldier and stabbing herself.

As Liu falls dead Timur must be informed since he is blind, and he cries out in sadness. The crowd and he leave with the body of Liu. Calaf chastises Turandot for effectively slaughtering the heart and soul of the opera and then pulls her in and kisses her. (At this point Puccini finishes and Alfano takes over).

After the kiss Turandot is horrified but gradually she softens. She reveals that she has always (since Act I at least) both hated and loved the Prince. She tells him to leave, but he bravely reveals his name: “I am Calaf, son of Timur.” His life sits in her hands.

Scene 2

Predictably but rather unbelievably - not to mention mawkishly - the couple approach the emperor and Turandot announces that she knows the Prince’s name and it is love. Everyone is happy and the opera ends to the tune of "Nessun Dorma".

Turandot finale in MET's Zeffirelli production © Marty Sohl/Met Opera

Major Arias

NameSung byExcerpt
In questa reggiaTurandot
Nessun dormaCalaf
Non piangere, LiuCalaf
Signore, ascolta!Liu
Tanto amore segretoLiu
Tu che di gel sei cintaLiu

In questa reggia

Nessun dorma

Non piangere, Liu

Signore, ascolta!

Tanto amore segreto

Tu che di gel sei cinta

Where in the World

Turandot takes place in fictional ancient China. Peking is specified (marked in Red), which is the old name for Beijing, but it might as well be set in Shanghai for all the geographical detail.


Story Origins

The story of Turandot originates in a French collection of fairy tales by François Pétis de la Croix “Les mille et un jours” translated into English as “The thousand and one days”. You might know “One thousand and one nights” or the “Arabian Nights” from which we acquired Aladdin, Sinbad, Ali Baba and host of other famous tales. These collections shouldn’t be confused however, “Nights” is made up of genuine Middle Eastern stories compiled in Arabic over centuries. “Days” has a more dubious provenance. In many cases these stories only exist in de la Croix’s rendering leading some to believe he might have conjured them up himself. If Turandot has a precursor it is a 12th Century work by the Azerbaijani poet and philosopher Nizami Ganjavi “Seven Beauties”.

In any case, Puccini arrived at the text through a Schiller play that was in turn a German version of an Italian commedia dell'arte by Carlo Gozzi who took the story from the de la Croix. Puccini was first introduced to the text in an Italian translation of the Schiller by Andrea Maffei who is perhaps most famous for writing the libretto to Verdi’s I masnadieri. Puccini wasn’t the first composer to get to it either. Antonio Bazzini wrote Turanda in 1867, Ferruccio Busoni Turandot in 1917 only a few years before Puccini began his. Puccini had not heard Busoni’s version but Bazzini had been a teacher of Puccini’s in Milan.

History

Puccini was always a fastidious and deliberate composer, but the writing of Turandot was an especially drawn out process. In the four years before his death, Puccini vacillated over the number of acts, whether or not he should turn his attention to something less serious, and absolutely fixated over the final love duet that he believed was the essential, earth-shattering culmination of the entire evening. Despite these circumstances, he poured himself into the work, writing to a friend in March 1924, “I have placed, in this opera, all my soul.”

Turandot premiered at La Scala in Milan on 25 April 1926, almost a year and a half after Puccini’s death. Puccini’s friend Arturo Toscanini, who had worked on the score with the composer during the last months of Puccini’s life, conducted the premiere. As is widely recorded, when the opera reached the last note written by Puccini, Toscanini ended the performance. What he said at the time has been variously reported, from the poetic “Here death triumphed over art” to the poigniant “For me, the work ends here.” An eyewitness quoted in a recent biography puts it somewhere between the two: “Here ends the opera, because at this point the maestro was dead.” The Alfano version was presented the following night.

Fun Facts

Popular?

The 16th most performed opera in the world from 2007-2012, according to Operabase. This frequency was not always the case. Beginning in 1930, Turandot was not performed for more than three decades at the Met, after Maria Jeritza, who premiered the role there, sang her last of 23 Turandots. It did not return until 1961 when Birgit Nilsson took on the princess, a role she owned in New York until 1970, singing it 52 times. The long break was due at least partly to a dearth of sopranos capable of singing the difficult title role, a criteria which some opera lovers of a certain age feel should be applied today to any role ever sung by Maria Callas.

In China

Until the end of the 20th century, Turandot was banned in the People’s Republic of China because the government felt the opera portrayed China unfavourably. The ban ended in style, with an epic performance in 1998 given in the Forbidden City, the home of actual Chinese emperors until they stopped having them in 1912. The production was originally staged and conducted in Florence, Italy, by Zubin Mehta and Chinese film director Zhang Yimou (who later directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics). A documentary called “The Turandot Project” tells how the production eventually came to China and how it was adapted. There is also a video of the actual concert (you can see a clip in the synopsis), with the snappy title “Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing.”

Vincero

The second syllable of vincerò, “I will win,” is a high B, near the top of most tenors’ ranges and a nice note for them to show off. As the Ricordi vocal score shows, that B is really just a sixteenth note, a grace note. The final syllable, on A, is supposed to be held, although again not nearly as long as it generally is by the large-lunged tenors of today. While Lucciano Pavarotti may be credited with popularizing this basking in high-B land, the trend actually goes much further back. In fact, one of the few (if not the only) tenors to end the aria the way Puccini wrote it is Francesco Merli, heard here from the first complete recording of Turandot, done in 1938. Compare with Pavarotti, live from San Francisco in 1977.

The Ending

How to end Turandot remains an ongoing problem. After Puccini’s death, his friend Arturo Toscanini, who would conduct the premiere, suggested the task of finishing the opera be given to the young composer Franco Alfano. Alfano had piles of Puccini’s sketches from which to work, but much of it was difficult to decipher, including the intriguing note regarding the love duet “Then Tristan. ” referring to Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde, which ends absolutely breathtakingly as the soprano transfigures in a love-death to be with her true love who has already died.

An edited version of Alfano’s ending, which no one really finds satisfactory, pretty much rules opera houses today, although in 2001 the Italian composer Luciano Berio, produced a version that many critics feel should supplant the Alfano version. Among other attempts were Janet Maguire’s rather less successful go in the 1970s and Chinese composer Hao Weiya (see the Mo Li Hua fun fact).

Mo Li Hua

The Jasmine Flower song, or Mo Li Hua, was one of several traditional Chinese tunes that Puccini incorporated into the score of Turandot. He likely heard the piece on a music box belonging to his friend Baron Alberto Fassini. It is still sufficiently popular that it is a track on Disney's Baby Einstein: World Music album. It was also the tune used by Chinese composer Hao Weiya to end the opera in his 2008 attempt at (another) new ending. That latest attempt was, perhaps not surprisingly, adored by the Chinese press but probably will not supplant the Alfano ending any time soon.


Some Technical Specifications

The Kalashnikov is a unique design of steel and wood. It weighs in at 7.7 lb., without a magazine. Magazines are made of steel, plastic, or alloy. They weigh in at 0.73 lb., 0.55 lb., and 0.37 lb., respectively.

The AK-47’s overall length is 35 inches (fixed stock), 34.4 inches (folding stock extended), or 25.4 inches (folded stock). The barrel is 16.3 inches long, and 14.5 inches of the barrel are rifled.

It is a gas-operated, rotating bolt rifle. It has a muzzle velocity of 2,350 feet per second, and is effective up to 380 yards. On semi-automatic mode, it has a rate of fire of 40 rounds per minute. Full automatic mode will give you 100 rounds per minute.

The Original AK-47 magazine had 30 rounds. It was based on this magazine round count that the U.S. demanded a higher volume magazine for their M-16s in Vietnam. Other volumes include 5-, 10-, 20-, and 40-round magazines, as well as 75- and 100-round drum magazines.

Over 100 million units of the AK-47 and its variants have been legally sold and/or used in over 106 countries, since 1949. This got the AK-47 into the Guinness Book of World Records. Even with its popularity, Mikhail Kalashnikov was not a very rich man. He did not make much of a profit, even though his weapon was (and still is) in very high circulation.

Mikhail Kalashnikov was a beloved figure, humble and down to earth. He was revered by his contemporaries, colleges, and fellow Russians. In 1997, President Boris Yeltsin promoted Kalashnikov to the rank of Major General, and awarded him with a decoration for special services for the Motherland.

In some locations in the world, you can buy an AK-47 for as low as $10 – $200. Because of its relatively low price, the AK-47 has become a favorite of street gangs, terrorists, and gangsters. It is a symbol of all manner of ethnic or tribal violence, and is very prevalent in Africa. The Kalashnikov rifle (and its spin-offs) are used to kill approximately 250,000 people every year. They have caused more deaths than any military firearm, airstrike, or rocket attack – combined.

The AK-47 has, without a doubt, changed the world of modern warfare. It changed the way we do battle. Today, its original design continues to serve as the basis for many different weapons. License for production and distribution has been given to over 30 countries, with many more countries using the AK and its variants.

Kalashnikov never forgot his roots. He didn’t consider the many awards and honors he received to be anything special. Even at a later age, he continued to stay up to date with the different improvements and modifications which were being planned and executed. He always stated that he is a simple man, and said he would want to be remembered as one who had worked hard for the Motherland.


Turandot AKA-47 - History

(AKA-47: dp. 4,087 1. 426', b. 58', dr. 16' (lim.), s. 16.9 k.
cpl. 303 a. 1 5", 8 40mm., 10 20mm., cl. Artemis, T. S4-
SE2-BE1)

Turandot (AKA-47) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1908) on 29 March 1945 by the WalshKaiser Co., Inc., Providence, R.I., launched on 20 May 1945 sponsored by Mrs. Charles H. MacLeod, and commissioned on 18 June 1945, Lt. Comdr. Francklyn W. C. Swicker, USNR, in command.

Following fitting out and conversion at the Boston Navy Yard, Turandot made her shakedown cruise in the Chesapeake Bay in July 1945. After undergoing availability at Norfolk, the new attack cargo ship took on passengers and cargo, then departed Hampton Roads on 24 July, bound for the Canal Zone. She transited the Panama Canal on 30 July and, early the next day, rendezvoused with Barbero (SS-317) for exercises en route to the Hawaiian Islands. On 10 August, she parted company with the submarine and made her way independently to Oahu, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 14 August 1945.

After discharging her cargo, she embarked 172 Army troops and departed the Hawaiian Islands on 7 September, setting her course for the New Hebrides. She arrived at Espiritu Santo on the 17th, discharged her passengers, loaded cargo, and embarked elements of the 85th Construction Battalion.

On 22 September, she got underway for the Marshalls. After fueling at Eniwetok, she continued on and arrived at Wake Island on 6 October. The following day, she discharged her cargo and passengers and returned to Eniwetok to begin "MagicCarpet" duties, carrying troops back to the United States. She embarked more than 600 veterans, then got underway on 13 October and steamed via a great circle route to California. On Friday, 26 October, she entered San Pedro Harbor and disembarked her happy passengers. After voyage repairs at Terminal Island, she again got underway on 3 November, steaming for the Marianas. On the 19th, Turandot arrived at Saipan where she took on board more than a thousand returning troops. The attack transport departed Saipan on the 27th and completed the crossing at San Pedro on 12 December.

Repairs occupied most of the remainder of the month. Turarndot opened the new year with a voyage to San Diego, then, on the 24th, continued southward to the Panama Canal and into the Atlantic. On 5 February, she arrived at Hampton Roads where she was decommissioned on 21 March 1946. Turandot was transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal on 25 June 1946, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 17 April 1947.

On 4 November 1954, Turandot was reacquired by the Navy for conversion to a cable repair ship. Modified for her new mission at Baltimore, Md., by the Bethlehem Steel Co., she was
renamed Aeolus and redesignated ARC-3 on 17 March 1955. Aeolus was placed in commission at Baltimore on 14 May 1955 Comdr. Merrill M. Sanford in command.


USS Turandot was decommissioned on 21 March 1946, struck from the Navy list on 17 April 1947, and placed in the reserve fleet.

In 1954, the former attack cargo ship was converted to be a cable repair ship, redesignated ARC-3, and renamed Aeolus. The conversion was performed at the Key Highway yard of the Bethlehem Steel Co. in Baltimore, Maryland. The ship was re-commissioned as ARC-3 on 14 May 1955.

Aeolus worked in the Atlantic and Caribbean during 1955–56 in the Pacific during 1956–59 and returned to the Atlantic and Caribbean during 1959–62. During 1962–73 she worked principally in the Atlantic, with occasional temporary assignments to the Pacific.

In 1973, Aeolus was transferred to the Military Sealift Command (MSC), designated T-ARC-3, and operated thereafter by a mostly civilian crew.

During her career, Aeolus received three Meritorious Unit Commendations (in 1970, 1971, and 1973). Aeolus continued performing cable installations and repairs until 1985, when she was decommissioned and placed in the James River reserve fleet near Ft. Eustis, VA. In 1987 she was transferred to the State of North Carolina, and in 1988 was sunk to form an artificial reef. The ex-Aeolus, located about 22 miles from Beaufort Inlet in 110 feet (30 m) of water, is often visited by divers.


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Following fitting out and conversion at the Boston Navy Yard, Turandot made her shakedown cruise in the Chesapeake Bay in July 1945. After undergoing availability at Norfolk, the new attack cargo ship took on passengers and cargo then departed Hampton Roads on 24 July, bound for the Canal Zone. She transited the Panama Canal on 30 July and, early the next day, rendezvoused with the submarine Barbero for exercises en route to the Hawaiian Islands. On 10 August, she parted company and made her way independently to Oahu, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 14 August 1945.

After discharging her cargo, she embarked 172 Army troops and departed the Hawaiian Islands on 7 September, setting her course for the New Hebrides. She arrived at Espiritu Santo on the 17th, discharged her passengers, loaded cargo, and embarked elements of the 85th Construction Battalion.

On 22 September, she got underway for the Marshalls. After fueling at Eniwetok, she continued on and arrived at Wake Island on 6 October. The following day, she discharged her cargo and passengers and returned to Eniwetok to begin "Magic Carpet" duties, carrying troops back to the United States. She embarked more than 600 veterans, then got underway on 13 October and steamed via a great circle route to California. On Friday, 26 October, she entered San Pedro Harbor and disembarked her happy passengers. After voyage repairs at Terminal Island, she again got underway on 3 November, steaming for the Marianas. On the 19th, Turandot arrived at Saipan. This time, she was to serve as a magic carpet for more than a thousand returning troops. She departed Saipan on the 27th and completed the crossing at San Pedro on 12 December.

Voyage repairs occupied most of the remainder of the month. Turandot opened the new year with a voyage to San Diego then, on the 24th, continued southward and steamed, via the Panama Canal, to the Atlantic. On 5 February, she arrived at Hampton Roads and was delivered on 25 June 1946 to the Maritime Commission for custody pending disposal. She decommissioned on 21 March 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 17 April 1947.


Watch the video: Giacomo Puccini: Turandot - Steinbruch St. Margarethen (December 2021).