USS Borie (DD-215)

USS Borie (DD-215) was Clemson class destroyer that served in the Caribbean for most of the Second World War, before being scuttled after suffering heavy damage when she rammed and sank U-405 in November 1943.

The Borie was named after Adolph Edward Borie, the Secretary of the Navy for U.S. Grant from 5 March to 22 June 1869.

The Borie was launched at Cramp of Philadelphia on 4 October 1919 and commissioned on 24 March 1920. In April 1920 she was allocated to the United States Naval Detachment in Turkish Waters, and served in the Black Sea. In 1921 she departed for the Far East, heading through the Suez Canal to join Destroyer Division 38 in the Asiatic Fleet. For the next four years she following the standard routine of the Asiatic Fleet, spending the summer in Chinese waters, operating from bases at Chefoo and Shanghai, and the winter in the Philippines. This routine was broken in January 1925 when she was used to transport a force of Marines to Shanghai to protect US interests (alongside the Whipple (DD-217) and Barker (DD-213).

USS Borie (DD-215), 1920-21

The Borie returned to the US later in 1925. She then operated in the Caribbean from 1925 until the spring of 1927. She then made a cruise to Europe, before joining the Atlantic Fleet. She served with that organisation from 1927 to 1929, when she was allocated to the Asiatic Fleet once again.

In January-February 1932 she was present with the US fleet that moved to Shanghai after the Japanese attacked the city. On 28 January the city authorities declared a State of Emergency. On the following day a landing force was put ashore to protect the Riverside Plant of the Shanghai Power Company. These men were relieved by a part of marines from the Houston on 4 February.

In 1932-33 the Borie was equipped to serve as a Squadron Leader at San Diego. She then joined Destroyer Squadron 2 of the Battle Force.

Looking after from mast of USS Borie (DD-215), 1942
Looking aft from mast of
USS Borie (DD-215), 1942

In 1937 she took part in a well documented cruise to Alaska, along with a large number of other destroyers. Other than that she spent most of her time on normal destroyer duties.

After the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe the Borie was allocated to the Neutrality Patrol. In December 1939 she was part of a newly formed Caribbean Patrol. She then joined the Inshore Patrol, 15th Naval District, based in Panama Bay, then carried out patrol and escort duties in the Caribbean.

This lasted until 26 June 1943, when she left the Caribbean. She briefly visited New York, where repairs were carried out in early July. She then joined the hunter-killer anti-submarine group based around the escort carrier USS Card (CVE-11). The Borie took part in four patrols with this group. On 1 November 1943 she detected U-405. The Borie dropped depth charges that forced the U-boat to surface. The Borie then rammed her, and ended up jammed on top of the submarine. Remarkably the U-boat crew continued to resist, and a period of small arms fire followed. Both sides suffered casualties in the battle, with the Borie losing 27 dead, partly to small arms fire and partly to intermittent fire from the sub’s 88mm deck gun. Eventually U-405 attempted to escape, which exposed her to the Card’s heavier guns. The submarine was badly damaged, her surviving crew surrendered, and shortly afterwards she sank. Another U-boat was close by and fired at the Borie, preventing any rescue operation.

USS Borie (DD-215) being bombed by aircraft from USS Card (CVE-13)
USS Borie (DD-215) being bombed by aircraft from USS Card (CVE-13)

The Borie was also very badly damaged. She was too badly crippled for it to be safe to try and tow her to port, and on 2 November she was sunk by USS Barry (DD-248).

A memorial service for the casualties was held soon afterwards on the flight deck of USS Card. The crew was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their role in the battle, and this was presented on the Card on 10 November 1943.

The Borie (DD-215) received three battle stars for her World War II service, for Task Group 21.14 (27 July 1943-10 September 1943), Task Group 21.14 (25 September 1943-9 November 1943) and the attack on U-405 (1 November 1943) as well as the Presidential Unit Citation for her operations in the Card group.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)


2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4in


30ft 10.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
One 3in/23 AA gun
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple mountings
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement








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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 December 2018), USS Borie (DD-215) ,

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