USS Gansevoort (DD-608)

USS Gansevoort (DD-608) was a Benson class destroyer that served in the Aleutians, the Gilbert Islands, the Marshalls, and the invasion of Leyte before being badly damaged by a kamikaze attack at Mindoro on 30 December 1944. Although she survived, the repairs took so long that the war was over before she was ready to return to action, and she went straight into the reserve.

The Gansevoort was named after Commodore Guert Gansevoort who served in the US Navy during the Mexican War and the American Civil War, ended as commander of the ironclad Roanoke.

The Gansevoort was laid down by the Bethlehem Steel Co at San Francisco on 16 June 1941, launched on 11 April 1942 when she was sponsored by Mrs Robert C. Sofio, the wife of a great-grandnephew of Gansevoort, and commissioned on 25 August 1942.  

On 11 October she left San Francisco to help escort the Idaho from San Francisco to Puget Sound. On 18 November she left San Francisco as part of a convoy heading to Noumea in New Caledonia, where she arrived on 9 December. She then joined the forces operating in the south Pacific, and spent the next three months escorting convoys bringing reinforcements and supplies to Guadalcanal from American bases in New Caledonia, the New Hebrides and New Zealand.


On 18 March 1943 the Gansevoort left the New Hebrides to join Rear Admiral Charles H McMorris’s Northern Covering Group in the Aleutians. She was with that group during the pre-invasion bombardment of Attu on 26 April. On 14 May she carried out several depth charge attacks on a possible Japanese submarine near to Attu, without success. She took part in bombardments of Kiska on 2 and 12 August, although the Japanese evacuated that island before the American attack. She left the Aleutians on 24 August heading for Puget Sound.

USS Gansevoort (DD-608) at New York, 1945 USS Gansevoort (DD-608) at New York, 1945

At Puget Sound she underwent repairs that lasted until 28 September. She then departed for Wellington, New Zealand as part of Destroyer Division 27, and on her arrival joined the Southern Attack Group (Rear Admiral Hill).

This group was used to carry Major General Julian C. Smith’s 2nd Marine Division to Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. The Gansevoort provided fire support during the invasion on 20 November, often coming right up to the beach to fire on Japanese strong points.

On 24 November she supported the Marines as they attacked Apamama Atoll. She picked up Marine wounded from the initial fighting, then with the Nautilus (SS-168) carried out a bombardment that destroyed the Japanbese garrison.

The Gansevoort carried out anti-submarine patrols around Tarawa until 3 December.

On 3 December she left Tarawa with the Tennessee (BB-43), attack transports President Polk (AP-103) and President Monroe and destroyers Hoel and Walker (DD-517) heading for Pearl Harbor. They arrived on 11 December. The Gansevoort then departed for San Francisco, where both of her high pressure turbines were replaced.


On 13 March the Gansevoort left San Francisco heading for Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands, arriving on 1 April. She spent the next few months blockading the bypassed Japanese garrisons in the eastern Marshall Islands. During this period she bombarded the defences of Mille on 26 May and 9 June and Taroa on 8 August. On 19 August she departed for Pearl Harbor.

After replenishing at Pearl Harbor she departed for Manus in the Admiralty Islands to join the fleet gathering to invade the Philippines. She was allocated to Destroyer Squadron 48, part of the escort for Vice Admiral T.S. Wilkinson’s Southern Attack Force and screened them off the landing area on Leyte on 20-21 October.

From 27 October to 13 December she was used to escort troop and supply convoys moving between New Guinea and the Philippines. On 27 December she joined another convoy, at Dulay on Leyte. This large convoy left Leyte on the same day to carry supplies to Mindoro. Over the next few days the convoy came under near repeated attacks. The Gansevoort came to General Quarters 49 times during the 72 hour voyage, claiming 5 victories and 12 assists over Japanese aircraft. The Japanese only managed to sink one merchant ship and one LST.

Early on 30 December the convoy finally reached Mangarin Bay on Mindoro. However at 1540 the Japanese carried out a successful kamikaze attack, hitting the destroyers Gansevoort and Pringle (DD-477), the tender Orestes and aviation tender Porcupine (IX-126). The Gansevoort was hit on the port side of the main deck by an aircraft identified as a Val, Betty or Zero in different accounts. The attack caused a massive explosion, which killed or wounded 34 men, started several first knocked out her steering and electrical power. The damage also stopped damage control parties reaching the rear of the ship. The Wilson (DD-408) and Philip (DD-498) helped put out the fires. Two men from the Philip boarded the Gansevoort and set her depth charges to safe then jettisoned them. She was towed to the PT base at Caminavit Point on Mindoro.

This didn’t end her problems. The Porcupine had also been towed to the same area, and was still on fire. The Gansevoort was ordered to fire torpedoes to try and knock the burning stern off the Porcupine before the flames reached the aviation fuel tanks further forward. However the water was too shallow for the torpedoes to be effective. One did hit, but the flames reached the aviation fuel. The Porcupine was burnt out right down to the waterline, and the Gansevoort had to be towed out of danger, to another anchorage off White Beach.


The Gansevoort was too badly damaged to be towed to any of the repair bases. She was also too badly damaged for most of the crew to stay onboard, so most of her crew camped on Mindoro, while the engineering officer, damage control officer and twenty men stayed on board to carry out some major structural repairs. Over the next month they were able to repair some of the damage to the top part of the main hull structure (the upper flange of the hull girder). This gave her enough structural strength to be towed over 300 miles to San Pedro Bay, then one thousand miles east to Ulithi. This sort of repair work was rarely carried out by a destroyer’s own crew and normally required proper repair facilities.

From 2-5 February the Gansevoort was towed from Mindoro to San Pedro Bay by the motor torpedo boat tender Willoughby (AGP-9). She was then towed to Ulithi for emergency repairs, which were completed by 21 April.

The Gansevoort reached San Francisco under her own power on 19 May. Her battle damage was then repaired, but by the time this work was complete the war was over, and she was surplus to requirements. She departed San Diego heading for the East coast on 3 October. She reached New York on 20 October and took part in the Navy Day celebration on 27 October. However on 1 November she departed for Charleston and an inactivation overhaul. She was decommissioned on 1 February 1946, and remained in the reserve until she was struck off on 1 July 1971. She was sunk as a target on 23 March 1972.

Gansevoort received four battle stars for World War II service, for the consolidation of the Solomons, the Aleutians, the Gilberts and Leyte.

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

16 June 1941


11 April 1942


on 25 August 1942

Struck off

1 July 1971

Sunk as target

23 March 1972

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 (29 June 2023), USS Gansevoort (DD-608) ,

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