USS Anderson (DD-411)

USS Anderson (DD-411) was a Sims class destroyer that was based in the Pacific in 1940-41, then joined the neutrality patrol in the Atlantic. Early in 1942 she returned to the Pacific, fighting in the battle of the Coral Sea, the battle of Midway, the invasion of Guadalcanal, the battle of the Santa Cruz Islands and the naval battle of Guadalcanal. In 1943 she briefly served in the Aleutians then took part in the invasion of Tawawa. In 1944 she took part in the invasion of the Marshall Islands, the New Guinea campaign and the invasion of Leyte, where she was hit by a kamikaze. She returned to action in May 1945 when she was posted to the Aleutians, where she remained for the rest of the war. She was used as a target in the Bikini Atoll tests, where she was sunk in Test 'Able'.

The Anderson was named after Edwin Alexander Anderson, who served in the US Navy from 1878 to 1924, serving during the Spanish-American War and the First World War, and peaking as Commander-in-Chief of the Asiatic Fleet in 1922-23.

The Anderson was laid down by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co at Kearny, New Jersey, on 15 November 1937, launched on 4 February 1939 when she was sponsored by Admiral Anderson’s widow Mertie Loraine Anderson, and commissioned on 19 May 1939. Her shakedown cruiser began in July when she departed for Cuba. The cruise took her to the Panama Canal, and then north to Canada. She was on her way from Quebec back to Newport when the Second World War broke out, and on 8 September was inspected by a RCAF aircraft. Her shakedown cruise ended at New York on 16 September. However she still wasn’t entirely complete, as only now was her main battery director installed and tested.


USS Anderson (DD-411) at New York, 1939-40 USS Anderson (DD-411) at New York, 1939-40

The Anderson ran her final acceptance trials off Rockland, Maine, on 7 February 1940. More trials followed, before she eventually moved to the west coast, reaching her new base at San Diego on 1 May 1940.

The Anderson entered active service with a neutrality patrol off the coast of southern California. On 20 May she found the tug Ray P. Clark, which had got lost while towing a barge loaded with horses and hay, and directed it to San Nicolas Island. The Anderson was back at San Diego on 23 May. At the start of June she acted as a plane guard for the Yorktown (CV-5), then from 19-21 June for the Enterprise (CV-6).

On 22 June the Anderson became the flagship of Commander Allan E. Smith, commander of Destroyer Division 3. On 25 the new flagship departed for Pearl Harbor with the Enterprise , Hammann (DD-412), Mustin (DD-413), Sterett (DD-407), Hopkins (DD-248) and Rowan (DD-405). They arrived at Pearl Harbor on 2 July. The Anderson was based at Pearl Harbor from July until the start of December, operating around the Hawaiian islands, as well as undergoing a period in the drydock (28-29 October and 30 October-4 November). She departed for the US West Coast on 2 December with the rest of Destroyer Squadron 8, arriving at San Diego on 8 December. She then moved to Los Angeles on 26 December form an overhaul.


The overhaul ended in the first week of January 1941. The Anderson left San Diego on 14 January, met with the Enterprise and Lexington (CV-2) and helped escort them back to Pearl Harbor, where they arrived on 21 January. She resumed operations in Hawaiian waters, although this only lasted until 24 March when she departed for the west coast, this time carrying passengers heading back from Pearl Harbor. She reached Mare Island at the end of March, and spent April undergoing repairs and alterations.

On 29 May she left Long Beach, officially to return to Pearl Harbor, but actuallt to transfer to the Atlantic with the Philadelphia (CL-41), Hammann, Mustin, and Rowan to join the Neutrality Patrol. Before passing through the Panama Canal the Anderson’s hull number and name were painted out, and all of her vertical surfaces were painted in Navy Gray in an attempt to hide which ships were moving back east. The small fleet passed through the canal on the night of 8-9 June. On 11 June the Anderson departed from Guantanamo Bay to help escort the Idaho (BB-42) to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, arriving on 15 June.

The Anderson left port on 19 June to join the Wasp (CV-7), Tuscaloosa (CA-37) and Rowan on a neutrality patrol that took them almost to the Cape Verde Islands, at the eastern edge of the area then being patrolled by the US Navy. This cruise ended at Bermuda on 5 July.

The Anderson then moved to Norfolk, then the Boston Navy Yard, arriving on 19 July for alterations that included the removal of No.3 5in mount, the addition of extra .50in AA guns, extensions to her depth charge tracks, space for 24 extra depth charges and the installiaton of a ‘Y-Gun’ depth charge projector. This refit lasted into August, and she spent the second half of the month on anti-submarine exercises before returning to Boston on 30 August.

USS Anderson (DD-411) underway in the Atlantic, 1941 USS Anderson (DD-411) underway in the Atlantic, 1941

On 2 September she departed for Casco Bay, Maine, where she joined Task Force 15. This force escorted the first major reinforcement convoy to Iceland, carrying an Army brigade to join the marine garrison. During the voyage the task force depth charged two possible U-boats, before arriving at Reykjavik on 15 September. After a brief break at Reykjavik the Anderson departed on 26 September to escort a convoy to Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, arriving on 3 October.

After a week at Placentia Bay the Anderson departed on 10 October as part of Task Force 14, based around the Yorktown, arriving on 13 October. The fleet was hit by bad weather during the voyage, and the Anderson was one of many ships to be damaged by the weather.

On 26 October the Anderson left Casco Bay with TG 14.3 (New Mexico (BB-40), Yorktown, Philadelphia, Savannah (CL-42) and seven destroyers to escort a convoy of six British merchant ships heading east across the Atlantic. On 30 October the Anderson detected a sonar contact, and dropped six depth charges. The Morris followed, but they were then ordered to cease fire by the command of DesDiv 3 after sightings of porpoises and blackfish suggested it was a false contact. However the Anderson then investigated an oil slick that contaoled oil, water and burnt TNT and soon afterwards detected propeller noises. She attacked with another pattern of six depth charges. The Hughes also detected the contact, and directed the Anderson to drop a third pattern of depth charges, However the contact was then lost.  The Anderson remained with the convoy until she and the Hammann were detached on 6 November to head to Iceland. Later on the same day they spotted a merchant ship which made radical changes of course when the two destroyers appeared. They investigated and foud it was a Norwegian tanker heading for Halifax. The two destroyers reached Iceland on 7 November, and operated in Icelanding waters for the next month. From 1-6 December she escorted the Idaho and Mississippi (BB-41) on a sweep in the southern end of the Denamrk Strait, between Iceland and Greenland.

In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor the Anderson was recalled to the US, departed on 9 December. She reached Charleston on 19 December where she underwent a period of repairs and alterations. This included replacing the .50in AA guns with 20mm guns.


On 6 January 1942 the Anderson left Hampton Roads with the Morris and Hammann, to join BatDiv 3, which was heading back to the Pacific to replace some of the battleships knocked out of action at Pearl Harbor. They escorted the New Mexico and Mississippi to San Francisco, arriving on 22 January 1942. On 25 January she departed fron San Francisco to escort Convoy 2019 to Hawaii, arriving on 2 February.

The Anderson spent two weeks operating around Pearl Harbor, before departed on 16 February to join Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher’s TF 17 (Yorktown, Astoria (CA-34) and Louisville, Hammann, Sims and Walke). This task force moved towards the south-west Pacific, and on 6 March 1942 joined Vice Admiral Wilson Brown’s TF 11. The two forces then combined, and prepared to raid the Japanese base at Rabaul. However this plan was abandoned after the Japanese captured Lae and Salamaua, on the north-eastern coast of New Guinea. The Americans decided to use their carriers to attack this new target instead of Rabaul. While the carriers and their escorts moved into the Gulf of Papua, the Anderson was allocated to a surface force (Astoria, Chicago (CA-29), Louisville, and HMAS Australia, Anderson, Sims, Hammann, and Hughes) that was posted near Rossel Island in the Louisiade Archipelogo, to guard against any Japanese surface ships and to cover a convoy carrying US Army troops to Noumea, New Caledonia. The carrier raids on Lae and Salamaua inflicted serious damage on the Japanese shipping off the two settlements. The forces then rejoined on 14 March.

The Anderson operated with the Yorktown into late April, patrolling the Coral Sea. She reached Tongatabu in the Tonga Islands in late April, but on 29 April the Japanese landed on Tulagi in the Solomons, where they established a seaplane base. Task Force 17 was sent to attack the new Japanese base, with the Anderson serving in the screen of the Yorktown. On 4 May the Yorktown’s aircraft attacked Tulagi, sinking a destroyer and three smaller warships.

The next Japanese move was an attempt to sail around the eastern tip of New Guinea and occupy Port Morseby, on the south-eastern coast. On 6 May Fletcher’s force was joined by Admiral Fitchs’ TF 11, and over the next few days the combined force would take part in the battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval battle in history in which the two side’s surface ships never sighted each other. On 7 May the Anderson screened the Lexington while American aircraft sank the light carrier Shoho. However on the following day both sides attacked. The Americans damaged the Shokaku and inflicted heavy losses on the Zuikaku’s air group (knocking both out of the battle of Midway). However the two American carriers were operating three or four miles apart, so were unable to support each other when the Japanese attacked. The Anderson was still part of the screen of the Lexington, but was unable to stop the Japanese inflicting fatal damage on the carrier. The carrier had to be abandoned, and the Anderson picked up 377 of her crew. The Phelps (DD-361) then had to sink the crippled carrier.  On 10 May the Anderson transferred the survivors from Lexington to the Portland (CA-33), then on 11 May reached Noumea.

By 28 May she was back at Pearl Harbor with TF 17, but on 30 May she sortied once again, this time to screen the Yorktown as she headed towards Midway. After the initial American successes on 4 June, aircraft from the one surviving Japanese carrier Hiryu attacked the Yorktown. The Anderson claimed two victories during this attack, but the Yorktown was still hit by Japanese bombs, and was dead in the water for two hours. The Yorktown was then able to get underway once again, but soon afterwards was hit by two torpedoes. Once again the Anderson claimed a victory during this Japanese attack. At first it looked as if the Yorktown was doomed, but when she refused to sink a salvage party was put on board. On 6 June, just as it looked like she might be saved, the Japanese submarine I-168 fired a spread of torpedoes that sank the destroyer Hammann and fatally damaged the Yorktown. The Yorktown stayed afloat until the following morning.

The Anderson was back at Pearl Harbor by 13 June. From 8-15 July she escorted the Fulton (AS-11) to Midway and back. From 22-27 July she escorted the escort carrier Long Island (AVG-1) to Palmyra Island and back to Pearl Harbor.

On 17 August Anderson and TF 17 sortied from Pearl Harbor heading to the Solomons, to join the battle around Guadalcanal. They joined TF 61 on 29 August, and the Anderson joined the screen of the carrier Hornet. Two days later the fleet was weakened when the Saratoga (CV-3) was torpedoed and forced to withdraw for repairs. On 14 September the Anderson left Espiritu Santo with the Wasp (CV-7) and Hornet task groups to escort six transports to Guadalcanal. On 15 September the Japanese submarine I-19 torpedoed Wasp, narrowly missed Hornet and hit the North Carolina (BB-55) and O’Brien. The Anderson escorted the North Carolina to Tongatabu, arriving on 19 September. In the second half of September the Anderson escorted a Dutch convoy to Dumbea Bay on New Caledonia.

On 3 October she sortied with TF 17 which was to launch an air attack against Japanese ships in the Buin and Faisi areas. However the Anderson was then detached to try and find a downed pilot, and had to continue on to Noumea alone after falling too far below the task force. She rejoined the task force on 8 October, and sortied with it on 15 October, once again heading to Guadalcanal. On 16 October the Hornet launched strikes on the Japanese. On 24 October TF 17 and TF 16 merged to form TF 61.

Two days later the two sides clashed once again in the battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The Americans damaged two Japanese carriers, but the Japanese hit the Hornet, causing serious damage. The Hornet stayed afloat and efforts to save her continued until the evening, when the Japanese attacked again, hitting her with another bomb and torpedo. The Hornet was abandoned, and the Anderson picked up 247 survivors.

It was now clear that the Hornet couldn’t be towed away, and if she was left afloat where she was might even fall into Japanese hands. The Mustin was ordered to sink her, and fired eight torpedoes. Of these only five hit, and only three exploded. The Hornet stayed afloat, so the Anderson fired eight more torpedoes. Six of these hit, but still the Hornet remained afloat. By now Japanese warships were approaching, so the two destroyers were orderd to withdraw. The Japanese hit the carrier with four Long Lance torpedoes, all of which exploded, and early on 27 October the carrier finally sank.

In November 1942 the Anderson continued to operate around Guadalcanal, screening a transport group as it landed troops in Lunga Roads, taking part in shore bombardments to support landings on 4-6 November, and screening the Enterprise when she attacked Japanese shipping at Gaudalcanal on 13-14 November.

In December 1942 the Anderson operated with TF 16 from Espiritu Santo, carrying out a mix of anti-submarine patrols and training.


This continued until 23 January, when she left Espiritu Santo to escort TU 62.4.7, a convoy of merchant ships, to Guadalcanal and back. During the same mission she and the Wilson (DD-408) bombarded Japanese positions on the northern coast of Guadalcanal on 29 January.

The Anderson operated from the New Hebrides until 7 March 1943, mainly on hunter-killer anti-submarine missions and escorting oilers as they rendezvoused with TF 67 and TF 68.

The Anderson was then ordered back to the US for repairs and an overhaul, leaving the New Hebrides on 7 March, reaching Pearl Harbor on 22 March and spending the period from 9 April-8 June at San Francisco undergoing repairs.

In June the Anderson escorted a convoy to Pearl Harbor and back to San Francisco. On 11 July she departed from San Francisco as part of TG 96.1, heading to Kodiak, in Alaska. She arrived on 21 July, and joined TG 16.17 on 30 July. She took in bombardmends of Kiska on 2 August and 15 August, and remained in the Aleutians until 21 September.

She then headed to the opposite end of the Pacific, and spent the period from 14 October to 1 November at Wellington, New Zealand, preparing to take part in the invasion of Tarawa. She arrived off Tarawa as part of Task Force 53 on 19 November 1943. On 20 November, D-Day for the landings on Betio, she was part of Fire Support Group No.3, and bombarded targets at the eastern end of the island. She remained in the area until 29 November, forming part of the radar picket and also performing some shore bombardments.

She then returned to the US, and by 21 December 1943 had reached San Diego, to form part of the escort for the convoy carrying the 4th Marine Division for the invasion of Kwajalein


The Anderson spent most of January escorting the Marines west across the Pacific. On 30 January 1944 she was part of a force diverted to Wotje to carry out a diversionary strike on the island. She opened fire at 0642, but at 0646 a Japanese shell hit her combat information centre, killing her captain, Lt. Commander John G. Tennent III, two ensigns and three enlisted men, and wounding 14. She remained with the bombardment force until she was able to move out to join the anti-submarine screen.

The damage wasn’t serious enough to require her to return for repairs. On 31 January she she approached Roi and Namur at Kwajalein Atoll, and formed part of the outer screen for the major units as they bombarded the island. Having survived the Japanese shell, on 1 February she hit an uncharted pinnacle while transferring her wounded, and this time suffered damage that forced her to be towed back to Pearl Harbour for repairs.

The repairs weren’t completed until June. On 15 June she departed for the south-west Pacific. In July she escorted a convoy heading to Oro Bay, New Guinea.

On 1 August she reached Cape Sansapor, New Guinea as part of TG 77.3. During the landings she carried out anti-submarine patrols between Amsterdam Island  and Cape Opmarai. From then until 25 August she carried out patrols between Woendi harbour and Cape Sunsapor.

On 15 September she provided fire support and patrolled off White Beach during the landings on Morotai.

On 12 October she left Seeadler Harbor as part of TG 78.2 to take part in the invasion of Leyte, arriving on 20 October. During the initial landings she was on patrol duties. On 25 October she joined TG 77.2, arriving while the group was under air attack.

On 1 November the Anderson was posted in Cabalian Bay, where she was screening a group of LCIs. During the day there were several air attacks, and the Anderson claimed one victory.

At 0927 she reported two Mitsubishi G4M1 Bettys flying nearby, and soon afterwards one of them fired a torpedo at her, but missed. At 1812 she was hit by a Nakajima Ki-43 ‘Oscar’, which hit on the port side, just behind the break in the deck. Fourteen were killed and twenty-two wounded, of whom two later died. Amongst the missing were her medical officer and pharmacist’s mate, but the Bush came to her aid, transferring over her own medical staff. The Bush then escorted the Anderson and her LCIs to San Pedro Bay, arriving early on 2 November.

The Anderson arrived at Pearl Harbor on 29 November, and was then ordered back to San Francisco for repairs, arriving on 9 December.


Once these repairs were completed, the Anderson was allocated to the forces in the Aleutians, this time for a longer tour. She reached Attu on 11 May 1945 and joined TG 92.2. On 19 May she took part ina bombardment of Suribachi Wan and a sweep into the Sea of Okhotsk.

On 10-12 June she took part in a bombardment of Japanese positions on Matsuwa To in the Kuril Islands, and another sweep in the Sea of Okhotsk.

On 23-25 June most of TG 92.2 attempted to find a Japanese convoy that was heading south from Paramushiro, while the Hughes, Anderson and Trenton (CL-11) patrolled east of the Kurils to prevent the convoy escaping east into the Pacific. However the convoy was destroyed by the main part of the group.

From 15-22 July the Anderson took part in a patrol to the east of the Kurils, another sweep in the Sea of Okhotsk and another bombardment of Suribachi Wan and Paramushir To in the Kirils.

From 11-12 August she made another sweep in the Sea of Okhotsk and bombarded Matsuwa To in the Kurils.

The Anderson left Alaskan waters heading for Japan on 27 August, to take part in the occupation of northern Honshu. She reached Ominato on 8 September, and remained in Japanese waters until 30 October, when she departed for the United States.

She reached San Diego on 1 December, and was allocated to the forces to be used in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. She was sunk by the explosion during Test Able on 1 July 1946.

Anderson was awarded ten battle stars for her World War II, for the Coral Sea, Midway, Santa Cruz, Naval battle of Guadalcanal, capture and defence of Guadalcanal, Gilberts, Marshalls, Western New Guinea, Leyte and the Kurile Islands.

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 December 2022), USS Anderson (DD-411) ,

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