USS Breese (DD-122/ DM-18)

USS Breese (DD-122/ DM-18) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw service in the last week of the First World War and then as a fast minelayer during the Pacific campaigns of the Second World War.

The Breese was named after Kidder Randolph Breese, an officer in the US Navy who took part in Commodore Perry's expedition to Japan and fought on the Union side during the American Civil War.

The Breese was laid down at Newport News on 10 November 1917, launched on 11 May 1918 and commissioned on 23 October 1918. She reached the Cruiser Force of the Atlantic Fleet just in time to serve as a convoy escort during the last week of the First World War.

Anyone who served on her between 3-11 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

Radford (DD-120), Sproston (DD-173), Breese (DD-122), Badger (DD-126), Montgomery (DD-121)
Radford (DD-120), Sproston (DD-173), Breese (DD-122), Badger (DD-126), Montgomery (DD-121)

After the war the Breese joined Division 12, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. She took part in the spring exercises in Cuban waters, before in July she was alloated to the Pacific Fleet. She served with Squadron 4, Division 12, Pacific Fleet until June 1920, whem she was placed into the Rotating Reserve. Between October 1920 and June 1922 she took part in various divisional and fleet exercises, before on 17 June 1922 she was decommissioned.

The Breese was redesignated as a light minelayer on 5 January 1931 with the designation DM-18. She was converted to her new role at Mare Island Navy Yard and was recommissioned on 1 June 1931. After trials at San Diego she joined Division 1, Minecraft, Battle Force, based at Pearl Habor. She took part in exercises and operated as a target ship for submarine training for the next six years, before in June 1937 she returned to San Diego, where she was decommissioned again on 12 November 1937.

The Breese was recommissioned again on 25 September 1939. This time she joined Mine Division 5 of the Battle Force, and on 2 November she reached Puget Sound, where she joined the neutrality patrol off Oregon and Washington.

In 1940 the Breese was used to carry the commander of the Alaskan Section on an inspection cruise of the Alaskan naval bases. She then joined her division as it moved to Hawaii late in the year. She was then attached to Mine Division Two, Minecraft, Battle Force, Pacific Fleet, and she spent most of 1941 engaged in training exercises in Hawaii waters.

The Breese was docked at Buoy D-3 in the Middle Loch at Pearl Harbor, along with the rest of Mine Division Two, when the Japanese attacked. The division put to sea in order, from outer to inner, with the Breese moving second, at 0917 hours. She opened fire on the attacking aircraft, and shot down one dive bomber with a hit from her 3"/23 anti-aircraft gun (described in her own battle report as 'probably accidental'!).

Joint launch of USS Gamble (DD-123) and USS Breese (DD-122), 1918
Joint launch of
USS Gamble (DD-123) and
USS Breese (DD-122), 1918

Once she was underway the Breese began involved in the attack on one of the Japanese midget submarines that took part in the attack. Members of her crew spotted a submarine, probably the I-22tou (Lt Iwasa Naoji), which had earlier been sighted by USS Zane (DMS-14). The submarine was rammed and sunk by the Monaghan (DD-354) and sank to the north-west of Ford Island. The Breese also dropped eleven depth charges on suspected submarines, bringing up oil. Overall she fired 45 rounds of 3" ammo and 1,700 rounds of .50in calibre ammo.

The Breese was based in the central Pacific for almost two years after Pearl Harbor, serving as a minelayer and on patrols.

In the spring of 1942 the troop ship President Taylor ran agound on Canton Island. The Breese escorted the transport Argonne (AP-4)when she left Pearl Harbor on 6 April to try and salvage the troop ship. They arrived on 12 April, and remained there until 5 May when they departed for Pearl Harbor.

On 3 August 1942 the destroyer USS Tucker (DD-374) hit a newly laid US mine while assing through the Segond Channel on the way to Espiritu Santo. The Breese arrived on the scene early on 5 August and took part in efforts to save the Tucker, but the damaged destroyer sank early on 4 August.

The Breese took part in the Solomon Islands campaign. She first served there on 6-13 May 1943. She then returned for Operation Toenails, the invasion of New Georgia (29 June-25 August 1943) and the landings at Cape Torokina on Bougainville (1-8 November 1943).

In 1944 the Breese took part in the invasion of the Philippies, supporting the invasion of Leyte (12-24 October 1944). In 1945 she took part in the invasion of Lingayen Gulf from 4-18 January 1945, the invasion of Iwo Jima from 16 February to 7 March and the invasion of Okinawa from 25 March-30 June. She supported the Third Fleet operations against Japan from 5-31 July, and in August and September she swept mines in the East China Sea and in the area between western Japan and Korea.

The Breese left for the west coast on 7 November, and arrived back in the United States on 25 November. She moved to the east coast, where she was decommissioned on 15 January 1946 and sold for scrap on 16 May 1946.

The Breese earned ten battle stars during the Second World War, for Pearl Harbor, the Solomon Islands, New Georgia, Treasury-Bougainville, Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima, Okinawa Gunto, 3rd Fleet Operations against Japan and and post-war Minesweeping Operations.

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts (design)
35.34kts at 24,610shp at 1,149t on trial (Wickes)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
24,200shp (design)


3,800nm at 15kts on trial (Wickes)
2,850nm at 20kts on trial (Wickes)


314ft 4in


30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement


Laid Down 10 November 1917


11 May 1918


23 October 1918


15 January 1946

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 (9 August 2017), USS Breese (DD-122/ DM-18) ,

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