Brief outline of Destroyers and Gunboats mentioned in these web pages about the Pacific War, the early years.
Destroyers and Gunboats
Brief Ship Descriptions
USS Allen (DD-66)
Allen commissioned 24 January 1917, 1,070 tons, 4- 4"
guns, 12 torpedo tubes, and escorted the first WWI troop convoy
from the U. S. to France. On 23 August 1940 Allen was recommissioned. She was moored at Pearl Harbor
on 7 December 1941 without sustaining any casualties. Allen, the lowest numbered (oldest) DD,
saw duty in the Pearl Harbor area until August 1945.
USS Jacob Jones
(DD-130) commissioned 20 October 1919, 1,090 tons, 4- 4" guns, 12 tt
and served many years as a
plane guard in the North Atlantic and Caribbean. In September
1940, Jacob Jones underwent intensive ASW sound school
training and joined in Neutrality Patrol. With Pearl Harbor, she began
convoy patrol in the Atlantic. She made depth charge attacks
4Jan42, 2Feb42, and 22Feb42.
Jacob Jones was torpedoed 28Feb42 off Cape May,
New Jersey, there were 11 survivors.
(DD-139 / APD-16) commissioned 24 July 1918, decommissioned 1921, and recommissioned 15Jan41.
Assigned to harbor entrance patrol, she was on duty the night of Dec 6-7 with orders to
"shoot to kill". Routinely making figure-eights off the harbor entrance, she sighted
and sank a miniature submarine attempting to penetrate the harbor. Ward, fired
the first shot and made the first kill in the Pacific War at 0645, over an hour before
the air attack on Pearl Harbor began. As new destroyers arrived, the older ships
were converted to other uses. Wardwas refitted as a troop transport in late 1942,
a boiler room replaced for birthing troops and equipped with four landing
craft. Designated APD-16, she got underway for the Solomons in February 1943.
She fought in New Guinea and Philippines. On Dec 7, 1944 she was attacked by
three Betty bombers, rammed by one and set afire. Ward
was sunk three years after she began the war. Ward earned nine battle stars for WW2 service.
(DD-145) commissioned 31 December 1918, decommissioned 22 June
1922, and was placed in reserve. Greer recommissioned 31 March 1930 till 13 January 1937.
As war swept across Europe, Greer recommissioned 4 October 1939,
joined the Neutrality Patrol in February 1940.
The "Greer Incident" occurred 4 September. Greer, carrying
mail and passengers to Argentia, Newfoundland, was signaled by a British plane
that a Nazi submarine had crash-dived some 10 miles ahead. Forty minutes later
the DD's soundman picked up the undersea marauder, and Greer began to
trail the submarine. The plane, running low on fuel, dropped four depth charges
before returning to base, while Greer continued to dog the U-boat.
Two hours later the German ship fired a torpedo that passed 100 yards astern
Greer charged in to attack with depth charges.
When news of the attack against an American ship on the high seas reached
the United States, President Roosevelt seized this occasion to make a
"fireside chat," declaring that Germany had been guilty of an act
of piracy and authorized first strike by American ships and planes "in
the waters which we deem necessary for our defense." The period of
"undeclared war" in the Atlantic had begun.
Greer spent the war patrolling North Atlantic and Caribbean and
escorting convoys to Europe
and North Africa until 1944 when the old four-stack destroyer and her sister
ships were replaced by newer and faster escorts ; she spent the remainder
of her long career performing a variety of tasks in American waters.
(DD-209 / DMS-12)
commissioned 20 October 1919 and was converted to destroyer minesweeper DMS-12 on 19 November 1940.
She was at sea with Indianapolis off Pearl Harbor Dec 1941
and served all over the Pacific in convention destroyer duties with occasional mine
sweeping when required. Long was sunk by two kamikaze hits in Lingayen
Gulf, 6 Jan 1945. Long received nine battle stars for World War II service.
USS Edsall (DD-219)
commissioned 26 November 1920, 1,190 tons, 4- 4"/50 guns, 12 torpedo tubes. With the Asiatic
fleet during the raid on Pearl Harbor, she searched for survivors of British Force Z,
escorted shipping to Darwin and sank I-124 attempting to mine that harbor. Escorting
Langley (AV-3) when she was sunk, took on survivors. Edsall
ran into the Japanese battle fleet and evaded massive surface attack until she was finally hit and
stopped by aircraft. Chikuma was sent to sink Edsall at point blank range.
and correcting information from the survivors.
USS Stewart (DD-224)
commissioned 15 Sept 1920, 1,190 tons, 4- 4" guns, 12 torpedo tubes.
Damaged in the strike on Badung Strait, she entered dry dock, where
hasty bracing did not hold. Stewart, on 2 Mar 42, rolled over in dry dock
and was wrecked by demolitions before evacuation of Java.
Stewart was salvaged by the Japanese as Patrol Boat No. 102.
USS Pope (DD-225)
commissioned 1920, 1,190 tons, 4- 4" guns, 12 TT, joining the Asiatic fleet in 1922.
Pope was at Manila
as the war started and departed 11 December 1941 for Balikpapan.
Pope had a distinguished record in the Netherlands East Indies.
During the battle of Makassar Strait she made torpedo and gun attacks
to delay Japanese landings at Balikpapan and later in the battle of
Badoeng Straits she impeded the invasion of Bali. In the Battle of
the Java Sea, Pope and HMS Encounter were directed to escort
HMS Exeter away from the action. On the evening of 28 February 1942
the heavy cruiser and two destroyers left Soerabaja and proceeded north.
Midway between Java and Borneo enemy surface and air forces launched
an attack the next morning. The three Allied ships fought four Japanese
heavy cruisers and four destroyers. Pope
fired all torpedoes and 140 salvoes of ammunition. Shortly before noon
the two British ships were destroyed by gunfire, and an hour
later Pope was attacked and sunk by 12 dive-bombers
and scuttling charges.
USS Pillsbury (DD-227)
commissioned 15 December 1920, 1,190 tons, 4- 4" guns, 12 TT.
She served for many years with the Asiatic Fleet and
was off Borneo when the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor.
Assigned to ABDA force, Pillsbury
saw action at Badoeng Strait 4 Feb 1942; again, Badoeng Strait on the night of 19-20 February
damaging a Japanese destroyer. About 1Mar42, Pillsbury
and Asheville (PG-21) were sunk
in a night surface action with three IJN cruisers and two destroyers in Bali Strait.
Pillsbury received two battle stars for World War II service.
USS Reuben James
(DD-245) commissioned on 24 September 1920, 1,190 tons, 4- 4" guns, 12 torpedo
Reuben James sailed from Newfoundland with four other destroyers to escort
eastbound convoy HX-156 as far as Iceland to deliver war material to Britain.
The ship had postured itself between an ammunition ship and the
known position of a German U-boat wolf pack. On 31 October 1941,
Reuben James was torpedoed by German submarine U-552.
She sank quickly. Of the crew, 44 survived, and 100 died.
Reuben James was the first U.S. Navy ship sunk by hostile
action associated with World War II. folk song
USS Monaghan (DD-354). Farragut class, 1375 tons, commissioned 1935.
One of eight of the first group of modern destroyers since the flush deck ones commissioned in 1919-20.
Monaghan was the "ready" destroyer at Pearl Harbor and was standing out to assist
Ward when she sighted a miniature submarine that had fired on Curtiss (AV-4).
She charged to ram and dropped two depth charges, sinking the submarine. [more]
Monaghan foundered, with sister ship Hull (DD-350) and Spence (DD-512),
in a typhoon E. of Philippines on 8Dec44.
USS Porter (DD-356),
the first of her class of eight destroyers, commissioned 25 August 1936, 1,800 tons,
8- 5"/38, 8 TT.
She operated continuously with the Pacific Fleet from 5 Aug 37 and was at sea during the attack
on Pearl Harbor.
As TF 16 exchanged air attacks with strong Japanese forces northeast of Guadalcanal
in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, 26 Oct 1942, Porter was torpedoed by submarine I-21.
USS Cassin (DD-372),
a Mahan class destroyer commissioned in 21Aug36.
Cassin was in drydock with Downes (DD-375) and Pennsylvania (BB-35) at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.
In the Japanese attack, a bomb exploded Downes' fuel tanks, causing uncontrollable fires on board both Downes and Cassin.
Cassin tipped over against Downes. Both ships were considered lost, Cassin decommissioned
as of 7 December 1941. However, superb salvage saved her. She was towed to Mare Island Navy Yard and a new hull rebuilt around her.
Recommissioned 6 February 1944, Cassin fought at Tinian, Marcus, Leyte, Luzon, and Iwo Jima.
Cassin received six battle stars for World War II.
USS Shaw (DD-373) .
Mahan class destroyer commissioned in 18Sep36.
On 7 December, Shaw was drydocked in YFD-2. During the Japanese attack,
she took three bomb hits. Fires spread through the ship and the order
to abandon ship was given five minutes before the forward magazine blew up.
Temporary repairs were made at Pearl Harbor. On 9Feb42, Shaw sailed for
San Francisco where she completed repairs, including the installation of
a new bow at the end of June. She then fought in the Solomons, New Guinea, Marshalls, and Philippines.
Shaw earned eleven battle stars during World War II.
USS Downes (DD-375).
Mahan class destroyer commissioned 15Jan37.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941, Downes was in drydock with Cassin (DD-372);
and Pennsylvania ( BB-38). The three came under heavy attack starting raging fires fed by oil from a ruptured
fuel tank causing ammunition and torpedo warheads on board to explode.
Later Cassin slipped from her keel blocks and rested against Downes.
She was listed as a complete loss and officially decommissioned, but her machinery was salvaged and
shipped to Mare Island Navy Yard where a new hull was built and recommissioned at Mare Island
on 15Nov43. The rebuilt Downes received four battle stars for World War II service.
USS Bagley (DD-386)
a Gridley class destroyer, 1,500 tons, 4- 5". Commissioned 12June37.
On December 7, 1941 the USS Bagley was moored at the Navy Yard Pearl harbor
in a position to fire upon torpedo bombers attacking battleship row and knocked down
five before they could launch their destruction. She then provided escort in the Eastern
Pacific and participated in the raid on Bougainville, 20Feb42, and
Salamaua-Lae, 10Mar42, invasion of Guadalcanal, and took part in the disastrous
Battle of Savo Island, 9Aug42. She continued to
provide convoy escort in the South Pacific and the invasion of New Britain.
Overhaul in early 1944 prepared her for bombardment of Marianas, Volcano
Islands, Yap, Palau, Formosa, Philippines, Battle of Leyte Gulf,
invasions of Lingayen Gulf, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. She received the
surrender of Marcus Island.
Bagley received 12 battle stars for her World War II service.
a Gridley class destroyer, 1,500 tons, commissioned 14 Aug 1937.
On Pearl Harbor day, she safely made her way to sea with only four officers on board (all Ensigns).
She joined the Enterprise (CV-6) task force and made raids on Pacific Islands.
She was present at the battle of Savo Island. Later, while patrolling in Ironbottom Sound
during the Battle of Eastern Solomons, Blue was torpedoed by the Japanese
destroyer Kamikaze, 22 August 42, killing nine men and
wounding 21. After unsuccessful attempts to tow her to Tulagi, she was scuttled on 23 Aug 1942.
Blue received five battle stars for her nine months service in World War II.
USS Helm (DD-388)
a Gridley class destroyer, 1,800 tons, 4- 5", commissioned 16 Oct 1937.
Helm was underway in West Loch when the Japanese attacked and fired on them. She rescued
government workers from Howland and Baker Islands in 31Jan42. She survived the disaster at
Savo Island. She participated in invasion in the South and SW Pacific
until overhaul Spring 1944. Then sailed with the fast carrier fleet screening in the major
battles to the end of the war.
Helm received 11
battle stars for World War II service.
USS Henley (DD-391), Gridley class, 1,850 tons, 35 knots, commissioned 14August37.
Henley was possibly the first ship to fire 5" guns at Pearl Harbor. Instead of Muster, in error, General Quarters had been sounded and the crew was already on the move with 25 rounds of 5" ready because of a broken elevator. She is credited with 1-1/2 planes downed. Provided escort and later fought at Guadalcanal and New Guinea. Henley was sunk by torpedo off Finschafen, N.G., 21Sep43, with four battle stars.
USS Jarvis (DD-393)
a Gridley class destroyer, 1,500 tons, commissioned 27 October 1937.
She emerged from the attack on Pearl Harbor with only superficial damage and performed ASW
and convoy escort duties until participating in the invasion of Guadalcanal.
Jarvis was torpedoed 8 Aug 1942 by aircraft while screening transports at the
Guadalcanal landing. After receiving emergency repairs she proceeded towards Sydney for
permanent repairs. She passed through the Battle of Savo Island, apparently unhit.
Reported as a cruiser, Japanese planes for Rabaul found and sank her with all hands on 9 Aug.
USS Benham (DD-397)
commissioned 2 February 1939 as the first of her class: 1,500 tons,
4- 5"/38, 16-21"TT, 251 men.
An escort with Enterprise (CV-6) when Pearl Harbor was attacked, she also escorted the Doolittle
Raid, and fought at Midway, invasion of Guadalcanal, and Battle of Eastern Solomons.
During 14-15 Nov42 Naval Battle of Guadalcanal Benham took a torpedo from an IJN destroyer
and had to be abandoned. She received five battle stars for her 11 months service in World War II.
first of her class, commissioned in 1939, 1,570 tons, 4- 5"/38, 8x4 21" TT, 251 men.
The destroyer operated with the Neutrality Patrol in Caribbean and Atlantic waters.
With the outbreak of war she became part of Task Force 17 formed around Yorktown (CV-5)
participating in raids on Marshall Islands and Lae and Salamaua. She was sunk by Japanese
aircraft during the Battle of the Coral Sea, 7 May 1942,
while escorting Niesho (AO-23) to the next refueling station.
The oiler and destroyer were mistaken as a carrier and cruiser and subjected
to all out attack from planes of two Japanese fleet carriers. Sixteen
survivors of Sims were rescued with the survivors of Niesho. Two battle stars.
USS Anderson (DD-411) Sims class, commissioned 11Aug'39. 1,620 tons, 348', 38.7kn ; 5- 5", 8- 21" tubes.
Transferred from Pearl Harbor to the Atlantic as part of the undeclared war with Germany. On 30Oct41 accompanying New Mexico - Yorktown task force Anderson made a depth charge attack to damage a U-boat creating an oil leak. She had just returned to Iceland with Idaho and Mississippi when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Escorted New Mexico and Mississippi back to the Pacific where she joined Yorktown to the SW Pacific and made the raid on Lae and Salamaua, participated in the Battle of Coral Sea escorting Lexington, rescued 377 survivors, escorted damaged Yorktown back to Pearl and the Battle of Midway where she rescued 203.
Anderson escorted Hornet during the Battle of Eastern Solomons.
Participated in the Battle of the Santa Cruz where she took on 247 survivors of Hornet. She continued thruout the Pacific War until taking a kamikaze at Letye Gulf. Anderson was awarded ten battle stars for her World War II service and was sunk at Bikini 1946.
USS Hammann (DD-412)
a Sims class destroyer, commissioned 11 August 1939. At Iceland when war began,
she departed 6 January 1942 for the Pacific with TF-17 and fought at the
Battle of Coral Sea and at Midway. Hammann was torpedoed 6July42 by I-168
after the Battle of Midway while aiding salvage of Yorktown (CV-5).
While picking up 3 boatloads of survivors, detected U-boat
and attacked with depth charges. First contact with Germans before WW2 on 10Apr41.
Impressive war record in the Atlantic. [It may be interesting to follow up on German radio controlled bombs off Italy that
hit Philadelphia and severely damaged Savannah while Niblack was
providing air cover.] Niblack earned 5 battle stars.
(DD-432), a Gleaves class destroyer, 2,450 tons, commissioned on 13 September 1940.
On Neutrality patrol escorting a convoy before we entered the war, Kearney
was depth charging an attacker when torpedoed by U-568.
She lost 12 men but returned to service by the Spring of 1942.
Later earned 3 battle stars in Africa, Med, France.
USS De Haven (DD-469)
a Fletcher class destroyer, 2,050 tons, commissioned 21 September 1942.
Escorted troopships and patrolled to stop the Tokyo Express around Guadalcanal.
On 1 February 1943 De Haven screened a beachhead at Marovo on Guadalcanal when
sunk by enemy aircraft bombs with 167 killed.