Gridley Class Destroyers

The Gridley class destroyers marked a victory for those in the US Navy who saw the destroyer as primarily an offensive ship, and the torpedo as its main weapon. On the Farragut, Mahan and Dunlap classes guns had been seen as being as important as torpedoes, and they were armed with five 5in guns and eight (Farragut) or twelve torpedoes (Mahan and Dunlap).

In March 1935 the General Board issued a specification that called for a destroyer with four guns and sixteen torpedoes carried in four quad mounts, two on each side. New gyro controlled torpedoes were being developed that in theory would allow all sixteen torpedoes to be fired in one go, using 'curving ahead fire' to curve onto the correct course after being launched. The new design was to have a single funnel, and was meant to be lighter than 1,500t standard displacement so that it would be faster on the same engine power. The specifications eventually called for a speed of 37kts on 44,000shp, although by the time they were build advances in engine technology meant that they achieved nearly 39kts on 50,000shp.

In 1935 Bethlehem wasn't yet ready to move to the high speed turbines introduced on the Mahan Class, and so the Gridley class was built with low-speed turbines. However they did accept the need for more advanced boilers, and the boilers on the Gridley class ships operated at 600psi and 700 degrees F. The uptakes from the boilers were trunked into a single funnel.

A total of twenty-two sixteen torpedo destroyers were built. These fell into three classes and two batchs. The first batch of ten ships included the first two Gridley class ships, built by Bethlehem's Quincy yard and the eight-ship Bagley class, which combined the new layout with the General Electric turbines introduced on the Mahan class. The second batch, built using FY 36 funds, included ten Benham class ships, which used a new gun mount, and two more Gridley class ships, this time built at Bethlehem's San Francisco yard.

The first two Gridley class ships were thus funded by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of June 1934, which funded twelve 1,500 ton destroyers and two 1,850 ton destoyers under fiscal year 1935. The final two were funded in 1935, with money from fiscal year 1936.

Individual Ships

USS Gridley (DD-380) was at sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Between then and May 1942 she escorted convoys between Pearl and the south Pacific. She then moved to the Aleutians, before returning south for more escort duties. In July 1943 she supported the invasion of New Georgia. Later in the year she took part in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands, then early in 1944 the Marshall Islands. In June she took part in the invasion of the Marianas and the battle of the Philippine Sea. In September she supported the invasion of Peleliu. She then supported the invasion of the Philippines. In February 1945 she began a trip back to the US for repairs.

USS Craven (DD-382) was at sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She took part in the early carrier raids, then moved to the US west coast to take part in convoy escort duties. In November 1942 she joined the fighting off Guadalcanal, where she spent the next nine months. In August 1943 she took part in the battle of Vella Gulf. In 1944 she supported the invasion of the Marshall Islands, Hollandia and the Marianas. She took part in the battle of the Philippine Sea, then supported the fast carriers during their raids. In 1945 she changed theatre, and spent the first half of 1945 conducting anti-submarine patrols off the US East Coast, before escorting a convoy to Britain in May 1945. She then moved to the Mediterranean where she remained until 1946.

USS McCall (DD-400) was also at sea. She took part in the early carrier raids, then escorted convoys to Samoa, Fiji and Tonga. In May she moved to the Aleutians, before in November joining the campaign off Guadalcanal. She spent most of 1943 in the Solomons, mainly on escort or anti-submarine duties. In 1944 she escorted the fast carriers during their raids, supported the invasion of Hollandia, and then the Marianas. She took part in the battle of the Philippine Sea then supported the fast carrier raids. She took part in the invasion of the Philippines, and fought at the battle of Leyte Gulf. In February-March 1945 she took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima, then returned to the US for a refit that was still underway when the Japanese surrendered.

USS Maury (DD-401) was also at sea and took part in the early carrier raids. She was sent south in an attempt to take part in the battle of the Coral Sea, but arrived too late. She was in place to take part in the battle of Midway. She guarded the Enterprise during the initial landings on Guadalcanal, and fought in the battle of the Eastern Solomons and the battle of Santa Cruz. She was based in the Solomons for the next ten months. After a six week break in the summer of 1943 she took part in the invasion of the Gilberts in November 1943 and supported the fast carriers during the raids in the first half of 1944. She then took part in the invasion of the Marianas and the battle of the Philippine Sea. She took part in the invasion of the Philippines and fought in the battle of Leyte Gulf. After leaving the Philippines she took part a period of training, and then returned to the US, where she was decommissioned.

 

Displacement (standard)

1,589.5t

Displacement (loaded)

2,218.7t

Top Speed

37kts design
38.99kts at 47,265shp at 1,774tons on trial (Gridley)
38.7kts at 53,073shp at 1,992tons on trial (Gridley)

Engine

2 shaft Bethlehem turbines
4 boilers
44,000shp design, 50,000shp as built

Range

6,500nm at 12kts design
7,735nm at 15kts at 1,771t (trial)
5,520nm at 12kts at 2,150t (wartime)
4,910nm at 15kts at 2,150t (wartime)
3,660nm at 20kts at 2,150t (wartime)

Length

341ft 4.25in

Width

35ft 6.5in

Armaments

Four 5in/38 DP guns
Sixteen 21in torpedo tubes in four quad mounts
Four .50in AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement

158

Ships in Class

 

USS Gridley (DD-380)

Struck off 1947

USS Craven (DD-382)

Struck off 1947

USS McCall (DD-400)

Struck off 1947

USS Maury (DD-401)

Struck off 1945

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 March 2019), Gridley Class Destroyers , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_gridley_class_destroyers.html

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