USS Kane (DD-235/ APD-18)

USS Kane (DD-235/ APD-18) was a Clemson class destroyer that took part in US reconquest of the western Aleutians, and the invasions of New Guinea, the Admiralty Islands, Saipan, Guam, Leyte and Okinawa

The Kane was named after Elisha Kent Kane, a surgeon in the US Navy who served in Chinese waters, with the Africa Squadron and during the Mexican War, before taking part in two attempts to find Sir John Franklin, the second of which became a major voyage of Arctic exploration in its own right.

The Kane was laid down on 3 July 1918 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp of Camden, New Jersey, launched on 12 August 1919 and commissioned on 11 June 1920.

The Kane was one of five Clemson class destroyers that were armed with 5”/51 caliber guns in place of the 4in guns used on the rest of the class.

The Kane’s shakedown cruise took her across the Atlantic to Gibraltar, then north to Brest, then east to Copenhagen and into the Baltic, where she visited Danzig and the Gulf of Riga. On 1 October 1920 she was damaged by a First World War mine just outside the Gulf of Riga. The blast damaged her port engine shaft and propeller struts. Initial repairs were carried out at Landskrone, Sweden, and she then underwent an overhaul at Chatham. After this she was considered to be fit for further service and departed for the Mediterranean on 21 May 1921.

USS Kane (DD-235) at Philadelphia
USS Kane (DD-235)
at Philadelphia

On 22 June, while heading east through the Mediterranean, the Kane rescued an Italian torpedo boat that had was close to drifting onto the rocks off Cape Spartivento. She reached Constantinople on 22 October, and was used to carry supplies, medical aid, refugees and relief officials around the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean. She left Constantinople on 18 May 1923 heading back to the US.

After her arrival back in the US she joined the Scouting Fleet, remaining with that unit for the next five years, mainly operating along the US East Coast and in the Caribbean.

In 1923 her engine room crew won the 1923 Navy Trophy for Destroyer Class Engineering Efficiency. This came with a sizable trophy, and more importantly individual prize money for the engineering staff.

Between 13 February and 17 July 1925 the Kane took part in a fleet training cruise to San Diego and Pearl Harbor.

In the spring of 1927 the Kane operated off the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras, protecting US interests.

She was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 31 December 1930.

The Kane was recommissioned on 1 April 1932 and departed for San Diego on 29 June. She was based there for the next four years, before heading to the Caribbean for fleet exercises in April 1936. She was then chosen to join the US squadron protecting US citizens during the Spanish Civil War, leaving New York on 17 August 1936 to join Squadron 40-T. On 30 August, while heading to Bilbao, an unidentified tri-motored aircraft dropped bombs within 100 yards of her. The Kane fired at the bomber three times and drove it off. As the aircraft remained unidentified, protests were made to both sides in the Civil War (a similar incident occured with the Royal Navy, when the aircraft was believed to be a Nationalist Junkers).

The squadron was joined on 27 September 1936 by the Raleigh (CL-7), which acted as its flagship. The Kane served with the squadron until 9 November 1937 when she and the Hatfield were relieved by the Claxton and Manley. The Kane returned to Charleston on 22 November and was decommissioned once again on 28 April 1938.


The Kane was recommissioned on 23 September 1939 after the outbreak of war in Europe and joined the neutrality patrol in the North Atlantic. On 7 August 1940 she joined the inshore defensive patrol at Panama. She was then moved north to San Diego, arriving on 4 November 1940. She spent the next few months patrolling off the coast of California.


The Kane underwent an overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard from 4 January-3 March 1941. She was the based at Seattle, and used to patrol along the western seaboard and into Alaskan waters.

She overhauled in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from 4 January to 3 March 1941, she was based at Seattle for patrols north to Alaska, and along the western seaboard. After the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, she departed Seattle for Kodiak, Alaska, and escorted troop transports back to Seattle 23 December.

The Kane appeared in Japanese intelligence reports just before Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese Consul at Seattle reported that she was one of fifteen ‘Coast Guard’ ships that had passed through the harbour in single file to commemorate Navy Day on 27 October 1941.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Kane was sent north to Kodiak, Alaska, and was used to escort troop transports back to Seattle, arriving on 23 December.


A second voyage followed early in 1942. She then moved to Seward, on the southern coast of Alaska (south of Anchorage), arriving on 19 April 1942 to begin a period of convoy escort duties between the Alaskan islands and anti-submarine patrols.

On 11 June 1942 the Kane rescued 11 survivors from the SS Arcata, which had been sunk by shellfire from the Japanese submarine I-7.

On 3 August 1942 the Kane was attacked twice by four engined bombers (probably long range flying boats). She opened fire with her AA guns but had no success, and had to manoeuvre to avoid being hit.

Later in August 1942 the Kane was part of the US fleet that took part in the occupation of Adak.


The Kane continued to operate in Alaskan and Aleutian waters until February 1943, when she arrived at Seattle to be converted into a high speed transport. She was reclassified as APD-18 and the work was completed by 3 April. She then took part in a period of training with the 7th Infantry Division.

The Kane’s first combat duties in her new role came during the US invasion of Attu. On 11 May two US submarines landed the first 100 Army Scouts on the island. Several hours later the Kane was guided inshore by the radar on the battleship Pennsylvania, allowing her to drop 400 reconnaissance troops on the island. During the fighting that followed, the Kane was used as a medical evacuation ship, and to carry medical supplies between Holtz and Massacre Bay.

On 14 August the Kane landed part of the Army’s 1st Special Service Force on Kiska. She later landed troops on Little Kiska Island, but in both cases the Japanese had already evacuated.

On 22 August the Kane and the Dale (DD-353) carried out a reconnaissance of Rat and Buldir Islands, finding no Japanese.

The Kane remained on duty in the Aleutians until 20 November 1943 when she moved south for an overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard, which lasted until 7 January 1944.


After her overhaul the Kane moved to Pearl Harbor to join the 5th Amphibious Force, which was preparing for the capture of the Marshall Islands. On the night of 30-31 January she landed marines on the islands at the entrance to Majuro Lagoon. She was also used to occupy the islands on the eastern side of Kwajalein Lagoon.

On 25 February she left to help screen the landings at Milne Bay, New Guinea. She then took part in the occupation of Seeadler Harbor on Manus during the occupation of the Admiralty Islands.

On 22 April 1944 she landed men from the 163rd Infantry at Aitape, then bombarded Japanese positions before attacking Ali Island. She was then used to escort a convoy to the Solomon Islands before returning to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 23 May 1944.

On 15 June 1944 she landed Marines early in the invasion of Saipan. She then supported Underwater Demolition Team 4 during operations around the island. On 23 June she suffered a near miss from Japanese bombing that wounded three men.

On 17 July 1944 she entered Agat Bay, Guam, where she supported UDT 4 as it helped blow up some of the underwater obstacles built by the Japanese, this allowing the marines to land on 21 July. On 24 July, while still operating off Guam, the Kane was almost hit by Japanese mortar fire.

On 10 August she returned to Pearl Harbor, to collect 100 tons of demolition explosives to be used in the invasion of Leyte. On 18 October she entered Leyte Gulf, and her UDT used those explosives to help clear the way for the invasion of Leyte on 20 October. After this she left for San Pedro and an overhaul, arriving on 4 December 1944.


The Kane departed from San Diego on 20 April 1945 to move to Hawaii, where she was used to train Underwater Demolition Team 24. She then took part in the invasion of Okinawa. She arrived off Kerama Retto, to the south-east of the main island on 12 June. She was used to escort the hospital ship Solace (AH-5) out of the combat area, and was then used to patrol off an anchorage to the south-west of the island. On 21 June she had to fight off two kamikaze aircraft. One week later she left Okinawa to escort a convoy to Leyte.

That ended her involvement in the front line fighting. On 4 July she joined the Philippine Sea Frontier and was used to patrol the shipping lanes heading east from the Philippines for the rest of the war.

On 13 September she left Leyte to carry occupation troops to Korea, arriving at Jinsen on 17 September. She was then used to handle communications for the Jinsen representative of the 7th Amphibious Force, before she was relieved on 12 November 1945.

The Kane returned to the United States, reaching San Diego on 13 December 1945. She then moved to Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned on 24 January 1946 and sold for scrap on 21 June 1946.

Kane received seven battle stars for service in World War II, for the Aleutians, Bismarck Archipelago (Admiralty Islands), Eniwetok, Western New Guinea,  Marianas (Saipan, Guam), Leyte landings, Okinawa and Hollandia.

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)


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



12 August 1919


11 June 1920

Sold for scrap

21 June 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 (13 August 2019), USS Kane (DD-235/ APD-18) ,

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