USS Mackenzie (DD-614)

USS MacKenzie (DD-614) was a Benson class destroyer that served as a transatlantic convoy escort and took part in the invasion of Sicily, the fighting at Anzio, the invasion of the South of France and probably sank U-182.

The MacKenzie was named after Comdr. Alexander Slidell MacKenzie who served in the US Navy during the American Civil War and was later killed during an operation on Formosa.

The MacKenzie was laid down by the Bethlehem Steel Co at San Pedro, California on 29 May 1941, launched on 27 June 1942 when she was sponsored by Miss Gail Nielsen, a descendent of MacKenzie, and commissioned on 21 November 1942.


After a shakedown cruise along the US West Coast the MacKenzie headed east to the Atlantic, passing through the Panama Canal on 1 March 1943. She arrived at Casco Bay, Main on 13 March, and began to escort convoys heading along the East Coast.

USS MacKenzie (DD-614) from the air USS MacKenzie (DD-614) from the air

She then moved onto trans-Atlantic convoys, escorting two convoys to the Mediterranean in May-June. On 16 May the MacKenzie carried out two depth charge attacks on a sonar contact. After the war German records showed that this had probably sunk U-182.

At the end of June she joined the forces allocated to the invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky. She formed part of the ‘Cent’ Attack Force, and left North Africa on 9 July. On 10 July she reached Scoglitti, Sicily, where she was used to screen the transport ships and to provide fire support for the troops fighting on shore.

This role only lasted for three days, and she then returned to convoy escort duty. From then until 7 October she escorted a series of convoys between the United States and North Africa.

From 7 October until late autumn she escorted convoys between the US and the UK. She then underwent repairs at Swansea, before escorting two more trans-Atlantic convoys.


On 18 March 1944 the MacKenzie reached Naples, then moved north to support the fighting at Anzio. On 18 June she helped sink a two-man submarine that was attempting to attack the fleet off Anzio. She continued to support the fighting around Anzio until early June.

During this period she returned to North Africa at least once, as on 12 April she took part in a shore bombardment exercise near Mers-le-Kebir with the Madison, Philadelphia and Kendrick (DD-612).

On 6 June she returned to convoy escort duties.

The MacKenzie was part of Rear Admiral Morton L. Deyo’s Bombardment Group for Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the south of France of August 1944. This group also included the battleship Arkansas (BB-33), cruisers Marblehead and Brooklyn, the British cruiser HMS Argonaut and two French cruisers, the Duguay-Trouin and Emile-Bertin.

On 1 September she joined a force that included the older cruisers Omaha, Cincinnati (CL-6) and Marblehead (CL-6) and the heavy cruiser Quincy (CA-71) to help escort then west through the Straits of Gibraltar. Once they were through she returned to Oran while most of the rest of the group departed for the US.

On 15 September the MacKenzie left the Mediterranean herself heading for Boston, where she underwent five months of repairs and overhaul.


After her repairs the MacKenzie returned to the Mediterranean, arriving on February 1948.

From 28 March to 21 April she operated along the Franco-Italian border, providing fire support for the fairly static fighting in that area during the day and joining the blockage of the Gulf of Genoa, which includes the major Italian naval base at La Spezia, at night.

In May she moved west to perform convoy escort duties in the Straits of Gibraltar.

After the end of the war in Europe she remained in the Mediterranean until July when she returned to the US to prepare to move to the Pacific. However the war ended well before she was ready to move, and on 4 November she reached Charleston to be prepared to be decommissioned. She was decommissioned on 4 February 1946 and in January 1947 joined the reserve at Philadelphia. She was struck off on 1 July 1971 and sunk in fleet exercises on 1 June 1974.

MacKenzie received four battle stars for World War II service, for Sicily, Anzio, the South of France and sinking U-182

Displacement (standard)

1,620 design
1,911t as built

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

37.89kt at 51,390shp at 2,065t on trial (Mayo)


2-shaft Westinghouse turbines
4 boilers
50,000shp design


6,500nm at 12kt design
5,520nm at 12kt at 2,400t wartime
3,880nm at 20kt at 2,400t wartime

Armour - belt


 - deck



348ft 1in


36ft 2in


Five 5in/38 guns
Five 21in torpedoes
Ten 0.5in AA guns
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement


Laid Down

29 May 1941


27 June 1942


21 November 1942

Struck off

1 July 1971

Sunk in fleet exercises

1 June 1974

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.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (8 August 2023), USS Mackenzie (DD-614) ,

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