Articles

Wickes Class Destroyers

Wickes Class Destroyers



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Wickes Class Destroyers

Orders
Production
First World War Service
Interwar Period
Second World War Service
Stats

The Wickes Class Destroyers were the first of the famous mass produced flush-deckers of the First World War, and the only type to see active service during that war. Along with the Clemson class they provided the bulk of the US destroyer force during the inter-war years, and many survived to play varied roles during the Second World War.

The Caldwell class destroyers introduced the flushdeck layout, which was introduced in an attempt to improve the stability of American destroyers. This required a wider beam, which then required a reduction in draft to avoid adding too much drag. A raised forecastle would have reduced the amount of weight that could be allocated to the ship's main longitudinal structures, and so the flush-deck layout was adopted.

The Wickes class was designed for the FY 17 programme, which included 35knot battlecruisers and the 35kt Omaha class scout cruisers. The Navy decided that it wanted its new destroyers to match that speed, so they could operate with the new fleet. This required a 50% increase in power compared to the Caldwell class. This was achieved by adding 90-100 tons more machinery and reduction gearing to improve the efficiency of the engine. The sloped keel of the Caldwell class was replaced with a level keel, which reduced drag and allowed for more horizontal propeller shafts. The Caldwell class hull was already strong enough to cope with these changes, so no significant changes were needed there. The General Board specifications called for a speed of 35kts on trial at 1,150 tons and endurance of 2,500nm at 20kts, while the actual contracts called for 3,600nm at 15kts.

The first twenty Wickes class destroyers were authorised by Congress in 1916, as part of a larger programme for 50 destroyers. Another 15 were funded on 3 March 1917, just one month before the US entry into the war. Another twenty-six were ordered in May-April 1917. At this point the General Board of the Navy wanted a massive increase in destroyer production, but didn't want to produce more costly high-speed fleet destroyers. The General Board wanted a mix of a slower mass-produced type and high-speed fleet destroyers, while the Board on the

Submarine Menace wanted 200 austere destroyers. While work was carried out on the new anti-submarine designs, 200 destroyers were approved. The first fifty were to be of the Wickes class, in order to speed up production, bring the total number ordered up to 111. The other 150 were eventually built as Clemson Class Destroyers, which ended up as high speed fleet destroyers with extra fuel capacity.

In the end this massive programme wasn't that effective. Less than half of the Wickes class destroyers arrived in time to take part in the First World War, with only one from the fourth batch seeing combat. None of the Clemson class ships were commissioned in time for the First World War. The US Navy did enter the inter-war period with a massive destroyer fleet, but one that was increasingly outdated.

Two basic detailed designs were produced. Bath produced one, which used Parsons turbines (with a few Westinghouse turbines) and Normand, Thornycroft or White-Foster boilers. This design was used by all non-Bethlehem yards.

Bethlehem Steel produced the second design, which was used at their Quincy, Fore River, Massachusetts and San Francisco Yards. This used Curtiss turbines and mainly Yarrow boilers. These tended to deteriorate in service, and in 1929 the remaining 60 Yarrow powered destroyers were decommissioned.

The quality of these ships varied. Range was the biggest problem. USS Wickes had a range of 5,000nm at 15kts and 3,400nm at 20kts, beating the contract requirements. Cramp-built boats averaged 3,990nm at 15kts and 3,148kts and 20kts. In general the Bath design was considered the better of the two, and ships built to it were called 'Long Radius Boats'. Newport News attempted to reach 3,500nm at 15kts using geared cruising turbines, but these only began to appear after August 1918. The Quincy built boats weren't as impressive. USS Bell managed 4,000nm at 15kts on trials, but these were always conducted with unrealistically light loads. In practice her Commanding Officer reported 3,400nm at 13-15kts. USS Stribling only managed 2,300nm and USS Gregory 2,400nm. These lower figures weren't really good enough for anti-submarine warfare in the Atlantic, where all of those ships completed before the Armistice were used. The problem was solved in the Clemson class by adding 35% more fuel, meaning that the worst of the Clemson class had better endurance than the best of the Wickes class.

In September 1918 the C/O of USS Wickes produced a report on his ship. It behaved well at maximum displacement with winds not above force 6 - in these circumstances it performed just as well as the 740 ton 'flivver's and 1,000 ton classes. If the ship was light it rolled excessively in winds between force 4 and force 7. She held a course better than earlier destroyers, but at the same time had a large turning circle and turned badly at light loads - both of these were blamed on the V-shaped stern, which also reduced the available deck space at the stern, now needed for anti-submarine weapons. Head winds had a greater effect on the flush deckers than on the earlier types with raised forecastles. She was very wet in Atlantic winter conditions - indeed he said that in winter weather her 'normal condition … is practically that of a submersible', with no-one able to safely walk around on deck. Compared to the earlier classes the 740 ton vessels did better in the short heavy seas off the Irish coast, but the 1,000 tonners and flushdeckers suffered less damage. Compared to their British allies, the Wickes rode heavy seas better than pre-Flotilla Leader Type British destroyers and had sturdier weather deck fittings but weaker hulls.

In general the Wickes was judged to be a better convoy escort that its British equivalents. This was only true of the Bath-designed ships. The more numerous Bethlehem types only had a designed range of 2,250nm at 20 knots, enough for wartime operations from Irish bases, but not enough to escort a transatlantic convoy. A number of solutions were suggested in October 1918, including replacing the forward magazine or one of the boilers with new fuel tanks. These changes were ruled out during the war as being too disruptive to production, and in the post-war period as being too costly. A post-war plan to complete fifty as long range escorts was also cancelled, but during the 1920s some valuable work was done on fuelling at sea, a key technique during the Pacific War.

Orders

The Wickes class destroyers were ordered in four batches. The 1916 act authorized 50 destroyers (DD-75 to DD-124), of which twenty were to be built at once (DD-75 to DD-94) under the FY 17 budget. The original plan was for sixteen to be built on the Atlantic coast and four on the Pacific coast if at all possible.

The second batch was funded by an act of 3 March 1917, which provided direct funding for fifteen destroyers (DD-95 to DD-109). This act also created a Naval Emergency Fund that could be used for additional destroyers at the President's discretion.

The third batch was ordered in May-April 1917, and took the total above the original fifty. Twenty six were ordered in this batch (DD-110 to DD-135).

The fourth batch of fifty (DD-136 to DD-185 was ordered in the summer of 1917 as part of a larger batch of 200 destroyers, most of which were built as Clemson class destroyers.

A total of 111 Wickes class destroyers were thus ordered in four batches. At first production was split between the Bath Iron Works, the Bethlehem Steel yards at Quincy and San Francisco and the Mare Island Navy Yard, but as the production programme expanded eight different yards were used, with rather variable results.

None of the four batches was entirely completed in time to see wartime service. Fourteen of the twenty ships in the first batch, seven from the second batch, eight from the third batch and only one from the fourth batch saw active service during the First World War (a total of 30), and in most cases that came late in 1918. Another six ships were commissioned before the Armistice but saw no service, for a total of 36 from 111 ships commissioned on or before Armistice Day. The following Clemson class did even worse, with none arriving in time to make any contribution during the First World War.

Batch One

The first batch of 20 was split between Bath (four ships - DD-75 to DD-78), Bethlehem (fifteen ships - DD-79 to DD-92, eight built at Quincy, seven at San Francisco) and the Mare Island Navy Yard (two ships - DD-93 and DD-94).

Most of these ships saw wartime service. All of the Quincy and Mare Island ships were ready in time, as were three Bath ships - the last was commissioned on 11 November 1918. Bethlehem's San Francisco plant didn't do so well - only one of her ships saw wartime service and a second was commissioned before the armistice but saw no service).

Batch Two

All fifteen ships funded in 3 March 1917 batch were built by Bethlehem (DD-95 to DD-109). Quincy built eight, of which seven saw wartime service. Once again San Francisco was slower - two of her seven were commissioned before the armistice but saw no service, the last five appeared after the end of the war.

Batch Three

In April 1917 the Secretary of the Navy asked the six private destroyer builders what capacity they had for ships beyond DD-109, with the aim of ordering another twenty six ships (DD-110 to DD-135).

Bethlehem's Union Iron Works at San Francisco also couldn’t guarantee delivery until 1919, and neither Bethlehem Yard could take more than six orders. One battleship and two scout cruisers were cancelled at their Quincy plant in an attempt to free up space, but at this stage only San Francisco received a fresh order, for three ships (DD-110 to DD-112). All three were commissioned after the end of the war.

Five scout cruisers were cancelled at Cramp, and six destroyers replaced them (DD-113 to DD-118). Five of these ships saw wartime service, and the last was commissioned before the armistice but saw no service, an impressive record.

Three battleships and two battlecruisers were cancelled at Newport News, and were replaced with six destroyers (DD-119 to DD-124). Three arrived in time for wartime service, one was commissioned but saw no service and two were post-war commissions.

Three battleships and one battlecruiser were cancelled at New York Shipbuilders and replaced with six destroyers (DD-125 to DD-130). None of these ships were commissioned in time to see wartime service.

Bath was already building four ships and said they couldn't add any more before 1919. Even so they received an order for four ships (DD-131 to DD-134). They were proved correct, and the first of these ships wasn't ready until January 1919.

Finally the Charleston Navy Yard was asked to build one ship, DD-135. This was probably the slowest to appear of any Wickes class ships - it was laid down on 29 July 1918 and not completed until 20 April 1920.

Only eight of these twenty six ships arrived in time to see wartime service.

Batch Four (DD-136 to DD-185)

In July 1917 a telegram was sent to the shipbuilders announcing that orders were to be placed for the final fifty Wickes class ships, to be completed within 18 months. By this point the US ship building industry was already working at full capacity, and so although places were found for all fifty, only one ship, built at Mare Island Navy Yard, arrived in time to see wartime service. Another of their ships was commissioned before the end of the war, but the other 48 ships in this batch were commissioned after the end of the war (as were all of the Clemson class ships that followed).

Six ships were ordered from the Mare Island Navy Yard (DD-136 to DD-141). Cramp built fifteen (DD-142 to DD-156), New York Shipbuilding four (DD-157 to DD-160), Bethlehem's Quincy plant ten (DD-161 to DD-170), Bethlehem's Union Iron Works at San Francisco ten (DD-171 to DD-180) and Newport News five (DD-181 to DD-185).

Production

The two Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co yards produced the largest number of ships, with Quincy and San Francisco producing 26 ships each, for a total of 52. This wasn't entirely a positive things, as the Yarrow boilers used in Bethlehem ships deteriorated badly over time, and in 1929 the Navy scrapped sixty of its remaining Yarrow boilered destroyers.

Next came the William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Co of Philadelphia, which built 21 ships.

The other yards produced smaller numbers of ships. Newport News produced 11, New York Shipbuilding produced 10, Bath and the Mare Island Navy Yard both produced 8 and the Charleston Navy Yard produced 1, rather slowly.

Private Yards

Bath

Bath built four ships from batch one (DD-75 to DD-78) and four from batch three (DD-131 to DD-134). Three from the first batch were commissioned in time to see active service during the First World War, and the last was commissioned on 11 November 1918. All four ships from batch three were commissioned after the end of the war.

Bethlehem Overview

Bethlehem received orders in all four batches. In batch one they built DD-79 to DD-92. They produced all fifteen ships of batch two (DD-95 to DD-99), only three in batch three (DD-110 to DD-112) and twenty from batch four (DD-161 to DD-180). Production was equally split between their Quincy, Fore River yard and the Union Iron Works, San Francisco. The two yards performed rather differently.

Bethlehem Quincy, Fore River

Quincy produced eight ships from batch one (DD-79 to DD-86), eight from batch two (DD-95 to DD-102) and ten from batch four (DD-161 to DD-170). All eight of the first batch arrived in time to serve in the First World War, as did seven of the eight from batch two, with one (DD-100) being commissioned during the war but not seeing service. All ten ships from batch four were commissioned post-war.

Bethlehem San Francisco/ Union Iron Works

Bethlehem's San Francisco Yard didn't perform as well. They produced ships in all four batches - six from batch one (DD-87 to DD-92), seven from batch two (DD-103 to DD-109), three from batch three (DD-110 to DD-112) and ten from batch four (DD-171 to 180).

Of these twenty six ships only one arrived in time to see service during the First World War (DD-87). One more from batch one and two from batch two were commissioned during the war but didn't see service (partly because of the extra time needed to get from San Francisco to the war zone in the Atlantic). Four ships from batch one, five from batch two and all thirteen from batch three and batch four arrived after the end of the war.

New York Shipbuilding

New York Shipbuilding entered the production programme late, and built six from batch three (DD-125 to DD-130) and four from batch four (DD-157 to DD-160). All ten of these ships were commissioned after the Armistice, and all four from batch four were also launched after the war.

Newport News

Newport News was another late arrival, and built six from batch three (DD-119 to DD-124) and five from batch four (DD-181 to DD-185). In total they built twenty five Wickes and Clemson class ships, and another six Clemson class ships were cancelled (DD-200 to DD-205).

Newport News was one of the more efficient builders. Three from batch three arrived just in time to see wartime service, and a fourth was commissioned but saw no service. The last two from batch three and all four from batch four were commissioned after the end of the war.

The Newport News ships were the only Wickes class ships not to use geared turbines. Instead they were powered by Curtis direct drive turbines.

William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Co, Philadelphia

Cramp was also introduced to the programme with batch three, and also performed well. They built six from batch three (DD-113 to DD-118) and fifteen from batch four (DD-142 to DD-156).

Five of the batch three ships arrived in time for wartime service and the sixth was commissioned before the Armistice. All fifteen from batch four were commissioned after the end of the war.

Navy Yard Production

Mare Island Navy Yard

The Mare Island Navy Yard was present at the start and end of the production programme, building two ships from batch one (DD-93 and DD-94) and six from batch four (DD-136 to DD-141). Both of the ships from batch one saw wartime service. They were also the only yard to complete any ships from the fourth batch in time for wartime service, with USS Boggs (DD-136) seeing some service off the US Coast in the last few weeks of the war. A second ship was commissioned during the war but saw no service, and another four were commissioned in the post war period.

The Mare Island Yard was responsible for the quickest construction of a Wickes class ship. USS Ward (DD-139) was laid down on 15 May 1918, launched on 1 June 1918 and commissioned on 24 July 1918, a total of only seventy days. Ironically after all of that effort she saw no wartime service.

Charleston Navy Yard

The Charleston Navy Yard only produced one member of the class, USS Tillman (DD-135). This was probably the slowest to be completed - she was laid down on 29 July 1918 and launched on 7 July 1919, but wasn't commissioned until 30 April 1920.

First World War Service

Despite all of the effort that went into their construction, the Wickes class ships didn't make that big a contribution to the American war effort during the First World War. Only 36 were commissioned before the Armistice (two more were commissioned on 11 November) and only 26 saw any service. Most of them didn't enter service until the last few months of the war (some of the later ships only managed a single escort mission before the armistice).

The US Navy thus relied on its older destroyers, even using the original Bainbridge class ships. Those ships constructed on the West Coast were less likely to see combat, simply because of the length of the journey from San Francisco to the key bases in the US north east. The last member of the class to see service was USS Breese (DD-122), commissioned on 23 October 1918 and which spent a few days on convoy escort duties just before the Armistice.

Those ships that did arrive in time were thrown into the battle of the Atlantic, mainly operating from Queenstown, Brest or the US East Coast. After all of the arguments over the correct role for the destroyer - offensive torpedo attack, or gun armed fleet defence, none of the Wickes class performed either of those roles during the First World War, instead becoming convoy escorts and anti-submarine ships.

April 1918 (3)
6th: USS Little (DD-79), USS Fairfax (DD-93)
26th: USS Kimberly (DD-80)

May 1918 (2)
15th: USS Sigourney (DD-81)
24th: USS Stevens (DD-86)

June 1918 (4)
1st: USS Gregory (DD-82), USS Taylor (DD-94)
13th: USS Colhoun (DD-85)
24th: USS Rathburne (DD-113)

July 1918 (7)
1st: USS Dyer (DD-84)
2nd: USS Stringham (DD-83)
20th: USS Talbot (DD-114)
24th: USS Ward (DD-139)
26th: USS Montgomery (DD-121)
31st: USS Wickes (DD-75), USS Bell (DD-95)

August 1918 (6)
8th: USS Waters (DD-115)
16th: USS Stribling (DD-96)
21st: USS Murray (DD-97), USS Israel (DD-98)
22nd: USS Lamberton (DD-119)
24th: USS Philip (DD-76)

September 1918 (9)
7th: USS McKee (DD-87)
9th: USS Dent (DD-116)
11th: USS Luce (DD-99)
18th: USS Dorsey (DD-117)
20th: USS Schley (DD-103)
23rd: USS Maury (DD-100), USS Boggs (DD-136)
30th: USS Woolsey (DD-77), USS Radford (DD-120)

October 1918 (5)
2nd: USS Lea (DD-118)
19th: USS Robinson (DD-88)
23rd: USS Breese (DD-122)
24th: USS Mahan (DD-102)
26th: USS Lansdale (DD-101)

November 1918
11th: USS Evans (DD-78), USS Champlin (DD-104)

Interwar Period

Losses/ Scrapped

A number of ships were lost or struck off in the interwar period.

USS Woolsey (DD-77) was lost in a collision on 26 February 1921.
USS DeLong (DD-129) grounded on 1 December 1921, and was struck off on 1922

USS Hazelwood (DD-107) was struck off in 1935

USS Dyer (DD-84), USS Stevens (DD-86), USS McKee (DD-87), USS Harding (DD-91), USS Champlin (DD-104), USS Mugford (DD-105), USS Radford (DD-120), USS Meredith (DD-165), USS Bush (DD-166), USS Renshaw (DD-176), USS O'Bannon (DD-177) were struck off in 1936

USS Kimberly (DD-80), USS Gridley (DD-92), USS Bell (DD-95) were struck off in 1937

USS Taylor (DD-94) and USS Walker (DD-163) were struck off in 1938

Most of the ships struck off in 1935-38 were Bethlehem built ships with Yarrow boilers that decayed in use. The only exceptions were the Taylor (DD-94), a Mare Island ship, and the Radford (DD-120), a Newport News ship.

Converted to Fast Transports - APD

In 1938-39 the Caldwell class destroyer USS Manley (DD-74) was converted into a fast troop transport, with the new classification AG-28 (Auxiliary). As converted she could carry 120 Marines, with landing boats replacing the torpedo tubes. This first conversion was a success, and so a more ambitious refit was ordered. This time she lost her forward boilers and their two funnels, all the torpedo tubes and one waist gun (the other waist gun was moved to the centre line). She could carry a 75mm pack howitzer on the deck and four 36ft assault boats (either LCPL or LCPR), and a Marine rifle company for 48 hours. The Manley became APD-1, the first of a sizable group of conversions.

In May 1940 the Navy put in place a major programme of conversions, which included five more fast transports (APD-2 to APD-6). This time Wickes class ships were used.

Anther twenty six destroyers were converted into APDs after the US entry into the Second World War - twelve Wickes class and fifteen Clemson class ships.

Wartime Conversions
October 1942: APD-7 to APD-12 (three Wickes, three Clemson)
December 1942: APD-13 (one Clemson)
January 1943: APD-14 to APD-18 (four Wickes, one Clemson)
July 1943: APD-19 (one Wickes)
August 1943: APD-21, APD-23, APD-24 (one Wickes, two Clemson)
October 1943: APD-20 (one Wickes)
December 1943: APD-22 (one Wickes)
January 1944: APD-29 (one Clemson)
May 1944: APD-25 (one Wickes)
March-June 1944: APD-31 to APD-36 (six Clemson class AVDs)

Wickes Class conversions
APD-2: Colhoun (DD-85)
APD-3: Gregory (DD-82)
APD-4: Little (DD-79)
APD-5: McKean (DD-90)
APD-6: Stringham (DD-83)
APD-7: Talbot (DD-114)
APD-8: Waters (DD-115)
APD-9: Dent (DD-116)
APD-14: Schley (DD-99)
APD-15: Kilty (DD-137)
APD-16: Ward (DD-139)
APD-17: Crosby (DD-164)
APD-19: Tattnall (DD-125)
APD-20 - USS Roper (DD-147)
APD-21: Dickerson (DD-157)
APD-22: Herbert (DD-160)
APD-25: Rathburne (DD-113)

Converted to Minelayers - DM

In 1920 DD-96 to DD-102, DD 110 to DD-112 and DD-171 to DD-174) were converted into mine layers as DM-1 to DM-14. This involved removing all of the torpedo tubes and adding storage space and dropping equipment for mines. The 4in gun battery was retained.

In 1930 six of the first batch were scrapped (DM-5, DM-7, DM-8, DM-10, DM-11 and DM-14). Four new conversions were approved, and DD-121 to DD-124 became DM-15 to DM-18 (although not in the same numerical order).

In 1936-37 the last eight of the original fourteen were scrapped, and were replaced with four Clemson class conversions.

In 1944 the 'ultimate approved' battery for the mine layers became two or three 3in/ 50 dual purpose guns and twin power operated Bofors guns. By this point there were four Wickes class and four Clemson class conversions in service. The Wickes class conversions were all struck off in 1945-46.

DM-1 - USS Stribling (DD-96), struck off 1936
DM-2 - USS Murray (DD-97), struck off 1936
DM-3 - USS Israel (DD-98), struck off 1937
DM-4 - USS Luce (DD-99), struck off 1936
DM-5 - USS Maury (DD-100), struck off 1930
DM-6 - USS Lansdale (DD-101), struck off 1937
DM-7 - USS Maham (DD-102), struck off 1930
DM-8 - USS Hart (DD-110), struck off 1931
DM-9 - USS Ingraham (DD-111), struck off 1937
DM-10 - USS Ludlow (DD-112), struck off 1930
DM-11 - USS Burns (DD-171), sold 1932
DM-12 - USS Anthony (DD-172), struck off 1936
DM-13 - USS Sproxton (DD-173), struck off 1936
DM-14 - USS Rizal (DD-174), struck off 1931
DM-15 - USS Gamble (DD-123), scuttled 1945
DM-16 - USS Ramsay (DD-124), struck off 1945
DM-17 - USS Montgomery (DD-121), struck off 1945
DM-18 - USS Breese (DD-122), struck off 1946

Converted to Fast Mine Sweepers

As part of the May 1940 programme four Wickes class ships from DesDiv 52 were converted into fast minesweepers as DMS-1 to DMS-4. All of the torpedo tubes were removed and a false squared off stern was added to support mine sweeping davits. Another four ships were recommissioned to serve as DMS-5 to DMS-8. In 1941 another ten ships were converted (DMS-9 to DMS-18). Most of these were Clemson class ships, but DMS-18 was a Wickes class.

At first these ships kept their 4in guns, but in 1942 they were scheduled to get 3in/ 50 dual purpose guns as they were expected to face air attack. By 1944 this was reduced to two or three 3in/ 50 dual purpose guns and twin power operated Bofors guns.

DMS-1: USS Dorsey (DD-117)
DMS-2: USS Lamberton (DD-119)
DMS-3: USS Boggs (DD-136)
DMS-4: USS Elliot (DD-146)
DMS-5: USS Palmer (DD-161)
DMS-6: USS Hogan (DD-178)
DMS-7: USS Howard (DD-179)
DMS-8: USS Stansbury (DD-180)
DMS-18 - USS Hamilton (DD-141)

To Royal Navy

Fifty flushdeck destroyers went to the Royal Navy under the Destroyer for Bases deal of September 1940, where they became the Town Class. The fifty were made up of three Caldwell class ships, twenty-seven Wickes class ships and twenty Clemson class ships.

USS Wickes (DD-75) - HMS Montgomery
USS Philip (DD-76) - HMS Lancaster
USS Evans (DD-78) - HMS Mansfield
USS Sigourney (DD-81) - HMS Newport
USS Robinson (DD-88) - HMS Newmarket
USS Ringgold (DD-89) - HMS Newark
USS Fairfax (DD-93) - HMS Richmond
USS Williams (DD-108) - HMS St. Clair
USS Twiggs (DD-127) - HMS Leamington
USS Buchanan (DD-131) - HMS Campbeltown
USS Aaron Ward (DD-132) - HMS Castleton
USS Hale (DD-133) - HMS Caldwell
USS Crowninshield (DD-134) - HMS Chelsea
USS Tillman (DD-135) - HMS Wells
USS Claxton (DD-140) - HMS Salisbury
USS Yarnall (DD-143) - HMS Lincoln
USS Thatcher (DD-162) - HMCS Niagara
USS Cowell (DD-167) - HMS Brighton
USS Maddox (DD-168) - HMS Georgetown
USS Foote (DD-169) - HMS Roxborough
USS Kalk (DD-170) - HMS Hamilton
USS Mackenzie (DD-175) - HMCS Annapolis
USS Hopewell (DD-181) - HMS Bath
USS Thomas (DD-182) - HMS St. Albans
USS Haraden (DD-183) - HMCS Columbia
USS Abbot (DD-184) - HMS Charlestown
USS Bagley (DD-185) - HMS St. Marys

Second World War Service

The Wickes class ships performed an impressively wide range of tasks during the Second World War. The conversions have been dealt with above, and many of them were heavily involved in the fighting, especially in the Pacific, where the fast transports played a part in many amphibious landings. A significant number of members of the class were still unmodified destroyers. Some operated as rear area patrol vessels, but their main contribution came in the Battle of the Atlantic, where they served as convoy escort vessels and anti-submarine warfare ships, a repeat of their First World War duties.

Stats

Stats (Bath Type)

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)

Top Speed

35kts (design)
35.34kts at 24,610shp at 1,149t on trial (Wickes)

Engine

2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
24,200shp (design)

Range

3,800nm at 15kts on trial (Wickes)
2,850nm at 20kts on trial (Wickes)

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement

114

Stats (Bethlehem Type Kimberly)

Displacement (standard)

Displacement (loaded)

Top Speed

35kts design
34.81kts at 27,350shp at 1,236t on trial (Kimberly)

Engine

2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp design

Range

2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Length

314ft 4.5in

Width

30ft 11.5in

Armaments

Four 4in/ 50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedo tubes in four triple mountings
Two 1-pounder AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement

100

Ship in Class

Fate

USS Wickes (DD-75)

To RN as HMS Montgomery

USS Philip (DD-76)

To RN as HMS Lancaster

USS Woolsey (DD-77)

Lost in collision, 1921

USS Evans (DD-78)

To RN as HMS Mansfield

USS Little (DD-79)

APD-4, sunk by gunfire 5 Sept 1942

USS Kimberly (DD-80)

Struck off 1937

USS Sigourney (DD-81)

To RN as HMS Newport

USS Gregory (DD-82)

APD-3, sunk by gunfire 5 Sept 1942

USS Stringham (DD-83)

APD-6

USS Dyer (DD-84)

Struck off 1936

USS Colhoun (DD-85)

APD-2, sunk by bombs 30 Aug 1942

USS Stevens (DD-86)

Struck off 1936

USS McKee (DD-87)

Struck off 1936

USS Robinson (DD-88)

To RN as HMS Newmarket

USS Ringgold (DD-89)

To RN as HMS Newark

USS McKean (DD-90)

APD-5, sunk by torpedo 17 Nov 1943

USS Harding (DD-91)

Struck off 1936

USS Gridley (DD-92)

Struck off 1937

USS Fairfax (DD-93)

To RN as HMS Richmond

USS Taylor (DD-94)

Struck off 1938

USS Bell (DD-95)

Struck off 1937

USS Stribling (DD-96)

DM-1, struck off 1936

USS Murray (DD-97)

DM-2, struck off 1936

USS Israel (DD-98)

DM-3, struck off 1937

USS Luce (DD-99)

DM-4, struck off 1936

USS Maury (DD-100)

DM-5, struck off 1930

USS Lansdale (DD-101)

DM-6, struck off 1937

USS Mahan (DD-102)

DM-7, struck off 1930

USS Schley (DD-103)

APD-14, struck off 1945

USS Champlin (DD-104)

Struck off 1936

USS Mugford (DD-105)

Struck off 1936

USS Chew (DD-106)

Struck off 1945

USS Hazelwood (DD-107)

Struck off 1935

USS Williams (DD-108)

To RN as HMS St. Clair

USS Crane (DD-109)

Struck off 1945

USS Hart (DD-110)

DM-8, struck off 1931

USS Ingraham (DD-111)

DM-9, struck off 1936

USS Ludlow (DD-112)

DM-10, struck off 1930

USS Rathburne (DD-113)

APD-25, struck off 1945

USS Talbot (DD-114)

APD-7, struck off 1945

USS Waters (DD-115)

APD-8, struck off 1945

USS Dent (DD-116)

APD-9, struck off 1946

USS Dorsey (DD-117)

DMS-1, grounded Oct 1945

USS Lea (DD-118)

Struck off 1945

USS Lamberton (DD-119)

AG-21, DMS-2, struck off 1947

USS Radford (DD-120)

Struck off 1936

USS Montgomery (DD-121)

DM-17, damaged by mine 1944, struck off 1945

USS Breese (DD-122)

DM-18, sold 1946

USS Gamble (DD-123)

DM-15, damaged 1945, scuttled 1945

USS Ramsay (DD-124)

DM-16, AG-98, struck off 1945

USS Tattnall (DD-125)

APD-19, struck off 1946

USS Badger (DD-126)

Struck off 1945

USS Twiggs (DD-127)

To RN as HMS Leamington

USS Babbitt (DD-128)

AG-102, struck off 1946

USS DeLong (DD-129)

Grounded 1921, struck off 1922

USS Jacob Jones (DD-130)

Sunk by torpedo 1942

USS Buchanan (DD-131)

To RN as HMS Campbeltown

USS Aaron Ward (DD-132)

To RN as HMS Castleton

USS Hale (DD-133)

To RN as HMS Caldwell

USS Crowninshield (DD-134)

To RN as HMS Chelsea

USS Tillman (DD-135)

To RN as HMS Wells

USS Boggs (DD-136)

IX-36, AG-19, DMS-3, sold 1945

USS Kilty (DD-137)

IX-37, APD-15, struck off 1945

USS Kennison (DD-138)

AG-83, struck off 1945

USS Ward (DD-139)

APD-16, sunk by kamikaze 7 Dec 1944

USS Claxton (DD-140)

To RN as HMS Salisbury

USS Hamilton (DD-141)

DMS-18, AG-111, struck off 1945

USS Tarbell (DD-142)

Struck off 1945

USS Yarnall (DD-143)

To RN as HMS Lincoln

USS Upshur (DD-144)

AG-103, struck off 1945

USS Greer (DD-145)

Struck off 1945

USS Elliot (DD-146)

DMS-4, AG-104, struck off 1945

USS Roper (DD-147)

APD-20, struck off 1945

USS Breckinridge (DD-148)

AG-112, struck off 1945

USS Barney (DD-149)

AG-113, struck off 1945

USS Blakeley (DD-150)

Struck off 1945

USS Biddle (DD-151)

AG-114, struck off 1945

USS Du Pont (DD-152)

AG-80, struck off 1946

USS Bernadou (DD-153)

Struck off 1945

USS Ellis (DD-154)

AG-15, struck off 1945

USS Cole (DD-155)

AG-116, struck off 1945

USS J. Fred Talbott (DD-156)

AG-91, struck off 1946

USS Dickerson (DD-157)

APD-21, damaged by kamikaze 2 April 1945, scuttled

USS Leary (DD-158)

Sunk by torpedo 24 Dec 1943

USS Schenck (DD-159)

AG-8, struck off 1945

USS Herbert (DD-160)

APD-22, struck off 1945

USS Palmer (DD-161)

DMS-5, sunk by torpedo 1945

USS Thatcher (DD-162)

To RCN as HMCS Niagara

USS Walker (DD-163)

Struck off 1938

USS Crosby (DD-164)

APD-17, struck off 1945

USS Meredith (DD-165)

Struck off 1936

USS Bush (DD-166)

Struck off 1936

USS Cowell (DD-167)

To RN as HMS Brighton

USS Maddox (DD-168)

To RN as HMS Georgetown

USS Foote (DD-169)

To RN as HMS Roxborough

USS Kalk (DD-170)

To RN as HMS Hamilton

USS Burns (DD-171)

DM-11, sold 1932

USS Anthony (DD-172)

DM-12, struck off 1936

USS Sproston (DD-173)

DM-13, struck off 1936

USS Rizal (DD-174)

DM-14, struck off 1931

USS Mackenzie (DD-175)

To RCN as HMCS Annapolis

USS Renshaw (DD-176)

Struck off 1936

USS O'Bannon (DD-177)

Struck off 1936

USS Hogan (DD-178)

DMS-6, AG-105, struck off 1945

USS Howard (DD-179)

DMS-7, AG-106, struck off 1945

USS Stansbury (DD-180)

DMS-8, AG-107, struck off 1946

USS Hopewell (DD-181)

To RN as HMS Bath

USS Thomas (DD-182)

To RN as HMS St. Albans

USS Haraden (DD-183)

To RCN as HMCS Columbia

USS Abbot (DD-184)

To RN as HMS Charleston

USS Bagley (DD-185)

Doran, 1939, to RN as HMS St Mary

AG - Auxiliary, General
APD - Troop Transport, High Speed
DM - Light Minelayer
DMS - High Speed Minesweeper
IX - Unclassified Misc


Wickes class destroyer

The Wickes-class destroyers (DD-75 to DD-185) were a group of 111 destroyers built by the United States Navy in 1917-1919. Along with the 6 preceding Caldwell class and 156 subsequent Clemson-class destroyers, they formed the "flush-deck" or "four-stack" class. Only a few were completed in time to serve in World War I. While some were scrapped in the 1930s, the rest served through World War II. Most of these were converted to other uses. Some were transferred to the British Royal Navy, and a few of these were later transferred to the Soviet navy. All were scrapped within a few years after World War II.


The Wickes and Clemson Class Destroyers: Flush Decks and Four Pipes

I have so much I could write about right now but instead I am going to go back to the well and dredge up an older post about some iconic warships. I guess that you can say that I am kind of taking a bit of a break from the present to remember the past, but be assured, a lot of stuff is percolating in my mind, so be expecting some new material about the COVID-19 pandemic, and some new Navy ship articles soon. However, until Monday, unless something really dramatic happens I will be continuing to re-pubish some older articles about historic Naval warships, or Warship classes that I find fascinating.

USS Pope DD-225

The destroyers of the Wickes and Clemsonclasses defined the destroyer force of the U.S. Navy. In 1916 with the advent of the submarine as an effective weapon of war the Navy realized that its pervious classes of destroyers were insufficient to meet the new threat. Likewise the lack of endurance of earlier destroyers kept them from vital scouting missions since the U.S. Navy unlike the Royal Navy or Imperial German Navy maintained very few cruisers for such missions.

USS Paul Jones DD-230 late war note 3 stacks and radar

The Naval Appropriation Act of 1916included the authorization of 50 Wickes Class destroyers to compliment 10 new battleships, 6 battlecruisers and 10 light cruisers with the goal of building a Navy second to none. The new destroyers were designed for high speed operations and intentionally designed for mass production setting a precedent for the following Clemson class as well as the destroyer classes built during the Second World War.

USS Boggs DMS-3

The Wickes Class had a designed speed of 35 knots in order to be able to operate with the new Omaha Classlight cruisers and Lexington Class Battlecruisersin the role of scouting for the fleet. They were flush-decked which provided additional hull strength and their speed was due to the additional horsepower provided by their Parsons turbines which produced 24,610 hp. They were 314’ long and had a 30 foot beam. Displacing 1247 tons full load they were 100 tons larger than the previous Caldwell class ships. They were armed with four 4 inch 50 caliber guns, one 3” 23 caliber gun and twelve 21” torpedo tubes.

USS Crosby APD 17

Although they were very fast they proved to be very “wet” ships forward and despite carrying an additional 100 tons of fuel they still lacked range. Due to the realization the U-Boat war required more escorts the order for Wickes Class ships was increased and 111 were completed by 1919.

USS Gillis with PT Boats and PBY Catalina

The Wickes Classwas followed by the Clemson Class which was an expansion of the Wickes class being more tailored to anti-submarine warfare. They had a greater displacement due to additional fuel tanks and mounted, the same armament, identical dimensions and were capable of 35 knots. However, these ships were built with a larger rudder in to give them a tighter turning radius. 156 ships of the class were completed.

Honda Point Disaster

In the inter-war years a number of each class were scrapped and 7 of the Clemson Class from DESRON 11were lost in the Honda Point Disaster of September 8th 1923 when the lead ship of their formation turned too soon with the majority of the squadron following it at high speed into the rocks. Other ships served with the US Atlantic, Pacific, and Asiatic Fleets, remaining the mainstay of the Navy’s destroyer and scouting forces until new classes of destroyers were introduced in the 1930s. Likewise many of the ships were laid up in an inactive status and with World War II approaching many were recommissioned, with 50 being provided to the British Royal Navy as part of the Lend Lease program, where they became known as the Town Class. Most of these ships had 2-3 of their 4” guns and some of their torpedo tubes removed in order to increase their depth charge capacity and to mount the Hedgehog ASW mortar system.

HMS Leamington ex- USS Twiggs

Britain in turn loaned 9 of them to the Soviet Union in lieu of Italian destroyers claimed as reparations by the Soviets in 1944. The surviving ships were returned to Britain in 1949-51 and all were scrapped by 1952.

Many of the ships never saw combat in either war as numerous ships were scrapped due to the limitations of the London Naval Treaty. Of the 267 ships of the two classes only 165 were still in service in 1936. As new destroyers were added to the navy in the 1930s a number of ships from each class were converted to other uses. Some became High Speed Transports (APD) and carried 4 LCVP landing craft and a small number of troops, usually about a company sized element. Others were converted to High Speed Minelayers (DM) or High Speed Minesweepers (DMS). The USS Caine in Herman Wouk’s classic novel The Caine Mutiny was a DMS.A few were converted to Light Seaplane Tenders (AVD). These conversations also included the removal of boilers which reduced their speed by 10 knots in order to accommodate the equipment added during their conversions. Since they were no longer Destroyers in the true sense of the word the loss of speed and armament was not considered detrimental.

The ships converted to other uses had their armament reduced with dual purpose 3” 50 caliber guns replacing their 4” main battery, and the removal of their torpedoes. Those which remained received 6 of the 3” guns to replace their original gun armament and lost half of their torpedo tubes. During the war all the ships would have greatly increased their light anti-aircraft armament, radar, sonar, and ASW capabilities.

USS Stewart DD-224 after return from Japanese service

In 1940 19 of the Clemson Class,27 of the Wickes Class, and 3 of the preceding Caldwell class were transferred to the British Royal Navy under the Lend Lease program. Some of these would see later service in the Soviet Navy being transferred by the Royal Navy serving after the war with those ships being scrapped between 1950 and 1952.

USS Edsall being Sunk in the Battle of the Java Sea

The ships of these classes performed admirably during the Second World War despite their age. The first U.S. Navy ship sunk by enemy forces happened before the war began. The USS Ruben James DD-245, a Clemson Class ship was escorting convoy HX-156 when she was sunk by a torpedo fired by U-552 on the night of October 31st 1941 when she inadvertently found herself between the U-Boat and her intended target. 100 of her 144 man crew died in the attack.

The USS Ward DD-139 fired the first shots of the war when it engaged and sank a Japanese midget sub outside of Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. After her conversion to an APD she was sunk after a Kamikaze attack which damaged her so badly that she had to be scuttled by gunfire from USS O’Brien which by coincidence was commanded by her skipper on December 7th 1941, Commander William Outerbridge.

The 13 ships of the Asiatic Fleet’s DESRON 29took part in six engagements against far superior Japanese Navy units while operating in the Philippines and then in the Dutch East Indies as part of the ABDA Command including the Battle of Balikpapan where the USS John D FordDD-228, USS Pope DD-225, USS Paul Jones DD-230 and USS Parrot DD-218 sank 4 Japanese transports. USS Edsall was sunk by two battleships and two heavy cruisers which fired over 1400 shells, as well as 26 Val Dive Bombers from Admiral Nagumo’s Kido Butai on March 1st 1942. The few survivors were executed later in the war. USS Pillsbury was overtaken and sunk with all hands on the night of March 2nd 1942 by the Japanese heavy cruisers Atago and Takeo.

USS Pope February 1942

Pope and HMS Encounter escorted the crippled heavy cruiser HMS Exeter from Surabaya to Australia, and safety. Unfortunately they were tracked down by a surface group of four Japanese Heavy Cruisers and four destroyers and Carrier aircraft. During the action Pope fired 140 salvos from her main guns and all of her torpedoes in a three hour running battle. During it Pope avoided destruction under the cover of a rain squall. However, that was a temporary reprieve. Once out of the squall she was rediscovered by Japanese aircraft, and was quite literally blown out of the water by the heavy cruisers Myoko and Ashigara. Though all her crew successfully abandoned ship, they waited 60 hours in the open sea for rescue, yet even so, 124 of her 151 man crew survived the war and were repatriated to the United States.

During that campaign 4 of these gallant ships were sunk in battle and a 5th the USS Stewart DD-224 was salvaged by the Japanese after being damaged and placed in a floating drydock at Surabaya following the Battle of Badung Strait. She was placed in service as a patrol ship by the Imperial Navy. A ship of her description was reported numerous times to the Navy during the war, but it wasn’t until after the war that she was discovered by U.S. Forces after the surrender and returned to the U.S. Navy. Since there was by now another USS Stewart the ex-Stewart was simply called DD-224. She was sunk as a target on May 23rd 1946 off San Francisco.

USS Gregory and USS Little off Guadalcanal

Other ships of these classes were sunk during the Guadalcanal Campaign. The Wickes Class USS Colhoun APD-2 was sunk by Japanese aircraft off Guadalcanal on August 30th 1942, followed by her sisters USS Gregory APD-3, and USS Little APD-4 which were sunk by Japanese Destroyers on September 5th 1942. USS McKean APD-5 was sunk by a torpedo launched a Mitsubishi GM4 Bettynear Bougainville in November 1943 while on a troop reinforcement mission.

In the Atlantic USS Jacob Jones was sunk by the U-Boat U-578 with the loss of all but 11 of her crew.

In February 1942 the USS Gamble DM-15 was heavily damaged in a bombing attack off Iwo Jima in February 1945. She survived the attack but was determined to be a total loss and was sunk off Arpa Harbor Guam on July 16th 1945. USS Barry was sunk by a Kamikaze off Okinawa on June 21st 1945, while USS Perry DMS-17 was sunk by a Japanese mine off Palau on 13 September 1944.

HMS Cambeltown (ex USS Buchanan DD-131) at St Nazaire

Whether in the Atlantic or the Pacific the ships contributed to the Allied victory. The former USS Buchanan DD-131 which had been transferred to the Royal Navy where she was re-named the HMS Campbeltownand used in the Saint-Nazaire Raid. For the raid she was altered in appearance to look like a German Möwe class destroyer was rammed into the only drydock on the Atlantic capable of holding the Battleship Tirpitz. The mission was successful and the drydock was unusable by the Germans for the rest of the war. Following her return from service in the Soviet Navy, Leamington played the role of Campbeltown in the 1950 Trevor Howard film Gift Horse. She was scrapped in 1951.

The Clemson Class HMS Borie engaged in one of the most notable destroyer versus U-Boat battles of the war when she engaged the U-405 in the early morning hours of November 1st 1943. After being forced to the surface by Borie’s depth charges the battle was conducted at point blank range as Borie first rammed U-405 and then fought a close range small arms battle where her 4” guns were unable to be depressed far enough to hit the sub and Borie’s crew used a 20mm anti-aircraft gun, and small arms to keep the submarine’s crew from manning their significant surface armament. Finally U-405 sank with all hands. However, Borie was heavily damaged, suffered significant flooding, and lost power. With up to five Wolf Packs in the area it was determined to scuttle Borie. Her crew was removed and aircraft for the Escort Carrier USS Card sank her.

During the war these ships served in every major campaign and when no longer fit for front line service were used in escort roles in rear areas as well as in a variety of training and support roles. By the end of the war the surviving ships of both classes were worn out and a number were decommissioned and some scrapped even before the end of hostilities. Of the American ships that survived the war were all decommissioned by 1946 and most scrapped between 1945 and 1948.

During Second World War 9 of the Wickes Class were sunk in battle, and 7 were sunk or destroyed in other ways. 5 were later sunk as targets and the remaining ships were all scrapped. A total of 20 of the Clemson Class were lost either in battle or to other causes, including those lost at Honda Point.

USS Peary Memorial, Darwin, Australia

The brave Sailors that manned these ships in peace and war become fewer in number every day as the Greatest Generation passes.

USS Peary Sinking at Darwin

It is a sad testimony that none of these ships were preserved as a memorial however the Australians have a memorial at Darwin dedicated to the USS PearyDD-226 which was sunk with 80 of her crew during the Japanese raid on that city’s port on 19 February 1942. The memorial has one of her 4” guns pointed in the direction of the wreck of the Peary. A memorial to the USS Ward which showcases her #3 4” gun which sank the Japanese midget sub is located on the Capitol Grounds in St. Paul Minnesota.

The ships of the Wickes and Clemson classes were iconic, and their crews were heroic. Though none are left we should never forget the valiant service of these ships during both World Wars.

When I think of ships like these, designed over 100 years ago which are far more heavily armed and nearly as fast as the Navy’s current Littoral Combat Ships and build in massive numbers at an adjusted cost far lower than the modern ships, one has to wonder what we are getting for our tax dollars. Personally I would rather have Wickes, Clemson, or Fletcher Classdestroyers with upgraded electronics and weapons suites rather than the overpriced, under armed and terribly vulnerable LCS ships.


Wickes Class Destroyers - History

Design History
The Wickes class was the oldest class of the so-called "flushdeckers" to see service in World War II. Its direct predecessor was Destroyer 1916, the Caldwell class, from which no ship survived to participate in the Pacific War. The Wickes class resulted from the peculiar requirements the war made in the U.S. ship-building industry. Early in 1916, Congress had passed an act calling for the enlargement of the fleet to comprise enough warships to be able to deal with all foes, in the words of the time, a "fleet second to none". Part of the orders called for the ten Omaha class light cruisers, another for six Constellation class battlecruisers (later to become the foundation for Lexington and Saratoga ), and the new destroyer class was to operate with these ships, necessitating a maximum speed resmbling theirs - roughly 35 knots.

The Caldwell design set the general outline of the new destroyer. In the older ship, the previously employed forecastle, the drop after the deckhouse, and through horizontal main deck after that, was abandoned in favor of a different solution giving more strength to the ship, with a flush main deck sloping from bow to stern, so as to keep the relative heights of the previous forecastled destroyers, and a sloped keel to retain the necessary submergence of propellors in a very shallow-draft hull. The new design came out, thanks to there being effectively more steel used, somewhat heavier than the 1,000-ton classes before it, but would probably be a better, steadier sea-boat, even if wetter on the bows.

The resultant Caldwell class of six ships served, when the necessity arose of greatly increasing destroyer production, as the basis for the new design. The Wickes class, 50 destroyers of which were authorized in the 1916, 20 of which were also funded under the FY17 appropriations. Also providing for "Naval Emergency Funds", Congress left the President (Woodrow Wilson) to chose to built additional destroyers virtually at his discretion. By May 1916, 61 of the new ships had been laid down.

The new ships carried the same armament as the previous Caldwell class, which carried the same armament as the 1,000 tonners, alas with the higher speed in mind possessed greater power, and slightly greater displacement. Furthermore, the gun arrangement somewhat differed from the previous 1,000 tonners, with one on the stern, one on the bow, and one on each side on the deckhouse between the second and third funnels. Otherwise similar, the new class was sufficiently close to the previously built destroyer that there were few problems with the yards that were to build the ships. Two yards drew up the final designs, Bath Iron Works and Bethlehem Steel, each choosing different boiler and turbine contractors. Bethlehem's choice of Yarrow boilers proved unfortunate, since the Yarrows deteriorated quickly. Furthermore, the differences in propulsion systems (there were ships without geared turbines and ships with them, four different boiler manufacturers and three for turbines) and workmanship resulted in greatly varying endurances in the ships, the Bath ships generally longer-ranged than their Bethlehem cousins.

In the course of World War I, 111 Wickes class ships were constructed, most too late to see service in that war.

Modification History
The U.S. Navy recommissioned the better part of the old vessels for major redesigns in 1941: as anti-submarine escorts with additional depth charges, hedgehogs, and sonars, one boiler less and more bunker oil as fast transports (APDs) as fast minesweepers. All ships remaining in service through World War II received air and surface search radar systems.

Service History
The Wickes class, the first batch of the U.S. flushdeckers, saw extensive service through the between-wars period. In the late 1920s, those Wickes class ships built to the Bethlehem design (a total of 60) were scrapped as their Yarrow-type boilers were used up and re-boilering them was a pointless endeavour. Decommissioning most Wickes class ships in the 1930s, as the new destroyers arrived in sufficient numbers to replace the old, and by-now obsolete, destroyers. However, the outbreak of war in Europe made it quickly clear the there would yet be use for the old ships. 22 Wickes class were transferred to the British under the Destroyers-for-Bases-Deal of 1940, the remaining Wickes class ships receiving above-mentioned modifications. APDs served in the Pacific to raiding troops in advance of invasions, to supply garrisons, and for various other tasks, together with the fast minesweepers. Most ASW variants of the Wickes class served in the Atlantic. Unmodified ships served as fleet destroyers in backwaters (especially the Aleutians) and as patrol and escort ships (witness the U.S.S. Ward of Pearl Harbor fame). Despite their age and obsolete design, the ships performed admirably.


Ships in class:


DD-118 Lea
DD-118 Badger
DD-128 Babbitt
DD-137 Kilty
DD-138 Kennison
DD-139 Ward
DD-142 Tarbell
DD-144 Upshur
DD-145 Greer
DD-147 Roper
DD-148 Breckinridge
DD-149 Barney

DD-150 Blakely
DD-151 Biddle
DD-152 Du Pont
DD-153 Bernadou
DD-154 Ellis
DD-155 Cole
DD-156 J. Fred Talbott
DD-157 Dickerson
DD-158 Leary
DD-159 Schenck
DD-160 Herbert
DD-164 Crosby

Stats Displacements :
Standard : 1,208 tons
Full : 1,597 tons
Length : 95,8m / 314ft 4"
Beam : 9,43m / 30ft 11,5"
Draft (Full Load) : 3,45m / 11ft 4,25"
Crew (Officers/Men) : 6/108
Endurance : 3800nm at 15 knots
Speed : 35 knots
Armor Belt: No belt armor
Deck: No deck armor
Barbettes: No barbette armor
Conning Tower: No conning tower armor
Armament and Equipment (As designed):
Main : 4 x 102mm L/50, in four single mounts: one on the forecastle, one on the quarterdeck, two in the waist abaft no. 2 stack.
Secondary : None
AA : 1 x 76mm L/23
Torpedoes : 12 533mm torpedo tubes in four triple mounts, two on each side.
Depth Charges : 2 x depth charge track

( Ward , December 1941):
Main : 4 x 102mm L/50 as above
Secondary : None
AA : 1 x 76mm L/23, 2 x 12.7mm L/90 in single mounts
Torpedoes : 12 533mm torpedo tubes as above.
Depth Charges : 1 x Y-Gun, 2 x depth charge track


First launched in the eve of World War I, the Wickes-class destroyers role was mainly to protect larger warships from torpedoboats and submarines, as well as reconnaissance. The design focused on speed instead of heavy artillery armament, so the Wickes sported just four single mounted four inch guns and a single three inch gun. Additionally the ships carry a strong torpedo battery with 12 tubes for 21 inch torpedoes. 111 ships of the class have been build, and a lot of them were still in service when WW2 broke out. Being obsolete in the destroyer role, they were mainly used as escorts for merchant shipping. The Royal Navy received 22 and the Royal Canadian Navy received five ships of the class, which served as escorts as well. A number of the Wickes-class ships were also converted to troop transports (APD), minelayers (DM), minesweepers (DMS) and seaplane tenders (AVD). Depending of the role, they got a modernized armament and lost their torpedo launchers in order to get more transport capacity and endurance. 13 Wickes ships were sunk during WW2.

Due to their intended role, the Wickes-class destroyers are no match with the newer destroyers of World War 2 in Battlegroup42, especially in the armaments. Instead, they were used as escorts and submarine hunters armed with three four inch guns, a dual 40mm anti aircraft gun, two torpedo launchers and depth charges.

The Wickes-class can be found in 4209-Wolves at Night, 4210-Wolfpack, and in Conquest mode of 4208-Operation Herkules.


Flush Decks and Four Pipes: The Wickes and Clemson Class Destroyers

USS Pope DD-225

The destroyers of the Wickes and Clemson classes defined the destroyer force of the U.S. Navy. In 1916 with the advent of the submarine as an effective weapon of war the Navy realized that its pervious classes of destroyers were insufficient to meet the new threat. Likewise the lack of endurance of earlier destroyers kept them from vital scouting missions since the U.S. Navy unlike the Royal Navy or Imperial German Navy maintained few cruisers for such missions.

USS Paul Jones DD-230 late war note 3 stacks and radar

The Naval Appropriation Act of 1916 included the authorization of 50 Wickes Class destroyers to compliment 10 new battleships, 6 battlecruisers and 10 light cruisers with the goal of building a Navy second to none. The new destroyers were designed for high speed operations and intentionally designed for mass production setting a precedent for the following Clemson class as well as the destroyer classes built during the Second World War.

USS Boggs DMS-3

The Wickes Class had a designed speed of 35 knots in order to be able to operate with the new Omaha Class light cruisers and Lexington Class Battlecruisers in the role of scouting for the fleet. They were flush-decked which provided additional hull strength and their speed was due to the additional horsepower provided by their Parsons turbines which produced 24,610 hp. They were 314’ long and had a 30 foot beam. Displacing 1247 tons full load they were 100 tons larger than the previous Caldwell class ships. They were armed with four 4 inch 50 caliber guns, one 3” 23 caliber gun and twelve 21” torpedo tubes.

USS Crosby APD 17

Although they were very fast they proved to be very “wet” ships forward and despite carrying an additional 100 tons of fuel they still lacked range. Due to the realization the U-Boat war required more escorts the order for Wickes Class ships was increased and 111 wear completed by 1919.

The Wickes Class was followed by the Clemson Class which was an expansion of the Wickes class being more tailored to anti-submarine warfare. They had a greater displacement due to additional fuel tanks and mounted the same armament had identical dimensions and were capable of 35 knots but had a larger rudder to give them a tighter turning radius. 156 ships of the class were completed.

In the inter-war years a number of each class were scrapped and 7 of the Clemson Class from DESRON 11 were lost in the Honda Point Disaster of September 8 th 1943.

Many of the ships never saw combat in either war as numerous ships were scrapped due to the limitations of the London Naval Treaty. Of the 267 ships of the two classes only 165 were still in service in 1936. As new destroyers were added to the navy in the 1930s a number of ships from each class were converted to other uses. Some became High Speed Transports (APD) and carried 4 LCVP landing craft and a small number of troops, usually about a company sized element. Others were converted to High Speed Minelayers (DM) or High Speed Minesweepers (DMS). A few were converted to Light Seaplane Tenders (AVD). Those converted to other uses had their armament reduced with dual purpose 3” 50 caliber guns replacing the 4” guns and the removal of their torpedoes. Those which remained received 6 of the 3” guns to replace their original gun armament and lost half of their torpedo tubes. During the war all would have light additional anti-aircraft armament and radar installed.

USS Stewart DD-22after return from Japanese service

In 1940 19 of the Clemson Class and 27 of the Wickes Class were transferred to the British Royal Navy under the Lend Lease program. Some of these would see later service in the Soviet Navy being transferred by the Royal Navy serving after the war with those ships being scrapped between 1950 and 1952.

The ships of these classes performed admirably during the Second World War despite their age. The USS Ward DD-139 fired the first shots of the war when it engaged and sank a Japanese midget sub outside of Pearl Harbor. The 13 ships of the Asiatic Fleet’s DESRON 29 took part in six engagements against far superior Japanese Navy units while operating in the Philippines and then in the Dutch East Indies as part of the ABDA Command including the Battle of Balikpapan where the John D FordDD-228, Pope DD-225, Paul Jones DD-230 and Parrot DD-218 sank 4 Japanese transports. During that campaign 4 of these gallant ships were sunk in battle and a 5 th the USS StewartDD-224 was salvaged by the Japanese after being damaged and placed in a floating drydock at Surabaya following the Battle of Badung Strait. She was placed in service as a patrol ship by the Imperial Navy. She was discovered by U.S. Forces after the surrender and returned to the U.S. Navy.

HMS Cambeltown (ex USS Buchanan DD-131) at St Nazaire

Whether in the Atlantic or the Pacific the ships contributed to the Allied victory. The former USS BuchananDD-131 which had been transferred to the Royal Navy where she was re-named the HMS Campbeltown and used in the Saint-Nazaire Raid. For the raid she was altered in appearance to look like a German Möwe class destroyer was rammed into the only drydock on the Atlantic capable of holding the Battleship Tirpitz. The mission was successful and the drydock was unusable by the Germans for the rest of the war.

During the war they served in every major campaign and when no longer fit for front line service were used in escort roles in rear areas as well as in a variety of training and support roles. By the end of the war the surviving ships of both classes were worn out and a number were decommissioned and some scrapped even before the end of hostilities. Those that survived the war were all decommissioned by 1946 and most scrapped between 1945 and 1948.

During Second World War 9 of the Wickes Class were sunk in battle, and 7 were sunk or destroyed in other ways. 5 were later sunk as targets and the remaining ships were all scrapped. A total of 20 of the Clemson Class were lost either in battle or to other causes including those lost and Honda Point.

USS Peary Memorial

The brave Sailors that manned these ships in peace and war become fewer in number every day as the Greatest Generation passes. It is a sad testimony that none of these ships were preserved as a memorial however the Australians have a memorial at Darwin dedicated to the USS Peary DD-226 which was sunk with 80 of her crew during the Japanese raid on that city’s port on 19 February 1942. The memorial has one of her 4” guns pointed in the direction of the wreck of the Peary. A memorial to the USS Ward, her #3 4” gun which sank the Japanese midget sub is located on the Capitol Grounds in St. Paul Minnesota.


Wickes Class, U.S. Destroyers

A number of units were converted before the war to light minelayers by replacing the torpedo banks with storage for 80 mines. These eventually replaced their 4" guns with 3"/50 AA guns and 4 20mm Oerlikon AA guns.

1940-1942: A number were converted to fast minesweepers armed with 4 3"/50 guns, 1x2 40mm Bofors AA guns, and 3 to 5 20mm guns. One boiler was removed. Squared-off false sterns were added to support minesweeping gear. Later two 60kW turbo-generators were installed to support magnetic mine sweeping. Some of these units later removed most of the 3" guns.

1942-1943: A number were converted to fast transports by replacing all torpedo banks with davits for four LCVPs. All fast transports eventually replaced the 4" guns with 6 3"guns, 2x1 40mm guns, and 5 20mm guns and removed their forward boilers, greatly reducing their speed. They could carry a company of Marines.


The Wickes were the first of two major groups of “flush-deck” destroyers ordered by the United States during World War I. Also known as “four-stackers,” they were essentially a mass production version of the Caldwells . (For example, Ward commissioned in just 70 days.) However, they were given more powerful machinery, which was intended to give them the speed to keep up with the Omaha -class scout cruisers and the (never-completed) Constellation -class battle cruisers. Because of the urgency placed on rapidly expanding the destroyer force, the Navy deliberately chose a familiar design with acceptable characteristics rather than a more innovative design resembling the new British "V&W" destroyers. As a result, these ships were already obsolescent when they joined the fleet in 1918-1920.

The ships had a serious reputation for rolling, and the "V" form adopted for the stern, while improving range, also made the ships very unmaneuverable, with a tactical diameter of 860 yards, which was about 40 to 50 percent greater than contemporary British destroyers. It was also discovered that the endurance varied greatly among units of the class. Those built at the Cramp or Bath yards exceeded requirements, while those built at Mare Island had little more than half the endurance of the Cramp and Bath ships in spite of being built to a nominally identical design. A proposal to replace one boiler with a fuel tank was rejected and the units with the poor range were the first to be retired.

The Wickes and succeeding Clemson classes were produced in such huge numbers that the United States had the largest destroyer force in the world by the time of the Washington naval conference. However, this posed a serious block obsolescence problem, which the Navy sought to mitigate through various modernization schemes by laying up many of the ships in reserve and by converting others to auxiliary duty as minecraft or fast transports. Some were turned over to the Coast Guard for use on the "Rum Runner" patrol. The availability of so many destroyers also meant that new destroyer construction came to a halt until 1930, and when it finally resumed, priority was put on flotilla leaders. These became the template for the more powerful mass production fleet destroyers of the Second World War.

Although 32 had been scrapped by 1940, so desperate were the Allies for destroyers in 1941 that the remaining ships constituted a significant part of their destroyer flotillas. Some 22 were transferred to the British as part of the destroyers-for-bases agreement that prefigured Lend-Lease.

The fast transport conversions were considered a success in the South Pacific, and additional units were converted, both from the Wickes and from other destroyer and destroyer escort classes.


USS Dent (DD 116)

Decommissioned at San Diego, California 7 June 1922
Recommissioning 15 May 1930
Reclassified high speed transport APD-9 on 7 March 1943
Decommissioned at Philadelphia 4 December 1945
Stricken 3 January 1946
Sold 13 June 1946 and broken up for scrap.

Commands listed for USS Dent (DD 116)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Merrill Kemple Kirkpatrick, USN22 Jun 193818 Dec 1939
2Paul Henry Tobelman, USN18 Dec 193920 Aug 1942
3Lt.Cdr. Thurlow Weed Davison, USN20 Aug 194219 Jan 1943
4Ralph Arthur Wilhelm, USNR19 Jan 194310 Aug 1944
5Henry Albert Steinbach, USNR10 Aug 194422 Nov 1944
6John Edmund Tuttle, USNR22 Nov 194411 Nov 1945

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Media links


Wickes Class Destroyer 2016-10-05

The Wickes-class destroyers (DD-75 to DD-185) were a class of 111 destroyers built by the United States Navy in 1917–1919. Along with the 6 preceding Caldwell-class and 156 subsequent Clemson-class destroyers, they formed the "flush-deck" or "four-stack" type. Only a few were completed in time to serve in World War I, including USS Wickes, the lead ship of the class.

While some were scrapped in the 1930s, the rest served through World War II. Most of these were converted to other uses nearly all in U.S. service had half their boilers and one or more stacks removed to increase fuel and range or accommodate troops. Others were transferred to the British Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, some of which were later transferred to the Soviet Navy. All were scrapped within a few years after World War II.

The file contains all the sounds and pcx files. Model is not my own creation. Wyrmshadow provided the animation files and Ares de Borg did the sounds. I merely put the pieces together and cleaned up the model for CivIII and added some what if pieces. A big thanks to everyone that helped out!


Wickes Class Destroyer, Torpedo Tubes

The Wickes-class destroyers (DD-75 to DD-185) were a class of 111 destroyers built by the United States Navy in 1917–1919. Along with the 6 preceding Caldwell-class and 156 subsequent Clemson-class destroyers, they formed the "flush-deck" or "four-stack" type. Only a few were completed in time to serve in World War I, including USS Wickes, the lead ship of the class.

While some were scrapped in the 1930s, the rest served through World War II. Most of these were converted to other uses nearly all in U.S. service had half their boilers and one or more stacks removed to increase fuel and range or accommodate troops.[2] Others were transferred to the British Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, some of which were later transferred to the Soviet Navy. All were scrapped within a few years after World War II.

The destroyer type was at this time a relatively new class of fighting ship for the U.S. Navy. The type arose in response to torpedo boats that had been developing from 1865, especially after the development of the self-propelled Whitehead torpedo.[3] During the Spanish–American War, it was realized that a torpedo boat destroyer was urgently needed to screen the larger warships, so much so that a special war plans board headed by Theodore Roosevelt issued an urgent report pleading for this type of ship.[4]

A series of destroyers had been built over the preceding years, designed for high smooth water speed, with indifferent results, especially poor performance in heavy seas and poor fuel economy.[5] The lesson of these early destroyers was the appreciation of the need for true seakeeping and seagoing abilities.[6] There were few cruisers in the Navy, which was a fleet of battleships and destroyers (no cruisers had been launched since 1908) so destroyers performed scouting missions. A report of October 1915 by Captain W. S. Sims noted that the smaller destroyers used fuel far too quickly, and that war games showed the need for fast vessels with a larger radius of action. As a result, the size of U.S. destroyer classes increased steadily, starting at 450 tons and rising to over 1,000 tons between 1905 and 1916.[7] The increase in destroyer size has never stopped, with some US Arleigh Burke-class destroyers now up to 10,800 tons full load. The need for high speed, economical cruising, heavy seas performance, and a high fuel capacity saw larger hulls, the inclusion of oil fuel, reduction geared steam turbines with cruising turbines, and increased fuel capacity.[8]

With World War I then in its second year and tensions between the U.S. and Germany increasing, the U.S. needed to expand its navy. The Naval Appropriation Act of 1916 called for a navy "second to none," capable of protecting both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The Act authorized 10 battleships, 6 Lexington-class battlecruisers, 10 Omaha-class scout cruisers, and 50 Wickes-class destroyers.[9] A subsequent General Board recommendation for further destroyers to combat the submarine threat resulted in a total of 267 Wickes- and Clemson-class destroyers completed. However, the design of the ships remained optimized for operation with the battleship fleet.[10]

The requirements of the new design were high speed and mass production. The development of submarine warfare during World War I created a requirement for destroyers in numbers that had not been contemplated before the war. A top speed of 35 knots (65 km/h) was needed for operation with the Lexington battlecruisers and Omaha cruisers.

The final design had a flush deck and four smokestacks. It was a fairly straightforward evolution of the preceding Caldwell class. General dissatisfaction with the earlier "1,000 ton" designs (Cassin and Tucker classes) led to the fuller hull form of the "flush deck" type. Greater beam and the flush deck provided greater hull strength. In addition, the Wickes class had 26,000 horsepower (19,000 kW) (6,000 more horsepower than the Caldwell class), providing an extra 5 knots (9.3 km/h). The machinery arrangement of some of the Caldwells was used, with geared steam turbines on two shafts.[11][12]

The extra power required an extra 100 tons of engine and reduction gears. The design included an even keel and nearly horizontal propeller shafts to minimize weight.

As construction was undertaken by ten different builders, there was considerable variation in the types of boilers and turbines installed to meet a guaranteed speed requirement. However, there were in essence two basic designs one for the ships built by the Bethlehem Steel yards (including Union Iron Works) and another used by the remaining shipyards, which was prepared by Bath Iron Works.

The Wickes class proved to be short-ranged, and its bridge and gun positions were very wet. The fleet found that the tapered stern, which made for a nice depth charge deployment feature, dug into the water and increased the turning radius, thus hampering anti-submarine work.[13] The Clemson class added 100 tons of fuel tankage to improve operational range, but the issue of range was solved only with the development of underway replenishment in World War II.

The main armament was the same as the Caldwell class: 4 × 4"/50 caliber guns (102 mm) and 12 × 21" torpedo tubes (533 mm). While the gun armament was typical for destroyers of this period, the torpedo armament was larger than usual, in accordance with American practice at the time. A factor in the size of the torpedo armament was the General Board's decision to use broadside rather than centerline torpedo tubes.[14] This was due to the desire to have some torpedoes remaining after firing a broadside, and problems experienced with centerline mounts on previous classes with torpedoes striking the gunwales of the firing ship.[15] The Mark 8 torpedo was initially equipped, and probably remained the standard torpedo for this class, as 600 Mark 8 torpedoes were issued to the British in 1940 as part of the Destroyers for Bases Agreement.[16]

Most ships carried a 3 inch 23 caliber (76 mm) anti-aircraft (AA) gun, typically just aft of the stern 4 inch gun. The original design called for two 1 pounder AA guns, but these were in short supply and the 3 inch gun was more effective.[17] Anti-submarine (ASW) armament was added during World War I. Typically, a single depth charge track was provided aft, along with a Y-gun depth charge projector forward of the aft deckhouse.[18]

8 ships of Wickes class destroyer, New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, 1919.

The United States Congress authorized 50 destroyers in the 1916 Act. However, the realization of the scope of the U-boat campaign resulted in 111 being built. The ships were built at Bath Iron Works, Bethlehem Steel Corporation's Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Union Iron Works, Mare Island Navy Yard, Newport News Shipbuilding, New York Shipbuilding, and William Cramp and Sons. 267 Wickes and Clemson-class destroyers were built. This program was considered a major industrial achievement.[10] Production of these destroyers was considered so important that work on cruisers and battleships was delayed to allow completion of the program.[19] The first Wickes class was launched on 11 November 1917, with four more by the end of the year. Production peaked in July 1918, when 17 were launched - 15 of them on 4 July.[20]

The program continued after the war ended: 21 of the Wickes class (and all but 9 of the Clemson class) were launched after the armistice on 11 November 1918. The last of the Wickes class was launched on 24 July 1919.[20] This program left the U.S. Navy with so many destroyers that no new destroyers were built until 1932.[21]

A few Wickes class were completed in time for service in World War I, some with the battle fleet, some on convoy escort duty none were lost. DeLong (DD-129) ran aground in 1921 Woolsey (DD-77) sank after a collision in 1922.

Many Wickes-class destroyers were converted to other uses, starting as early as 1920, when 14 were converted to light minelayers (DM). Six of these were scrapped in 1932, and replaced by five additional conversions. Another four were converted to auxiliaries or transports at that time. Four Wickes-class DM conversions and four Clemson-class DM conversions survived to served in World War II.[2] During the 1930s, 23 more were scrapped, sold off, or sunk as targets. This was mostly due to a blanket replacement of 61 Yarrow-boilered destroyers 1930-31, as these boilers wore out quickly in service. Flush-deckers in reserve were commissioned as replacements.[22]

Starting in 1940, many of the remaining ships were also converted. Sixteen were converted to high-speed transports with the designation APD. Eight were converted to destroyer minesweepers (DMS). Most ships remaining in service during World War II were rearmed with dual-purpose 3"/50 caliber guns (76 mm) for better anti-aircraft protection. The AVD seaplane tender conversions received 2 guns the APD transport, DM minelayer, and DMS minesweeper conversions received 3 guns, and those retaining destroyer classification received 6.[2] Also, half of the torpedo tubes were removed in those retained as destroyers all torpedoes were removed from the others. Nearly all had half the boilers removed, for increased fuel and range or to accommodate troops, reducing their speed to 25 knots (46 km/h).[11][2]

The low-angle Mark 9 4" guns removed from these ships were transferred to defensively equipped merchant ships for anti-submarine protection.[23]

USS Ward (DD-139) had an eventful career. She was built in record time: her keel was laid on 15 May 1918, launched only 17 days later on 1 June 1918, and commissioned 54 days after that on 24 July 1918. She is credited with firing the first US shots of the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, sinking a Japanese midget submarine with gunfire before the air attack started. The sinking was uncertain until the submarine's wreck was discovered in 2002. As the high-speed transport APD-16, she was damaged beyond repair by a kamikaze attack on 7 December 1944, and was sunk after abandoning ship by gunfire from USS O'Brien (DD-725), commanded at the time by Ward's former CO from the Pearl Harbor attack.[24]

Thirteen Wickes class were lost during World War II in U.S. service. The remainder were scrapped between 1945 and 1947.

Twenty-two Wickes-class destroyers were transferred to the Royal Navy, with five to the Royal Canadian Navy, in the Destroyers for Bases Agreement. Most of these ships were refitted much like the U.S. destroyers and used as convoy escorts, but some were used very little and were not considered worth refitting. Buchanan (DD-131), renamed HMS Campbeltown, was disguised as a German vessel and expended as a blockship in the St Nazaire Raid. (The Buchanan involved in the Japanese surrender formalities was a later ship.) One further destroyer was sunk the remainder were scrapped between 1944 and 1947.

In 1944 seven were transferred by Britain to the Soviet Navy, in place of Italian ships claimed by the USSR after Italy's surrender. These vessels all survived the war, and were scrapped between 1949 and 1952.[20]

Some of these ships are also referred to as Little class (52 ships), Lamberton class (11 ships), or Tattnall class (10 ships) to signify the yard that built them and to note the slight design differences from the Bath Iron Works ships. Some of these non-Bath Iron Works units were actually commissioned prior to the lead ship, Wickes.[11][20]


Watch the video: US Navy USS Saufley DD465 1952 Living Conditions (August 2022).