USS Lansdale (DD-426)

USS Lansdale (DD-426) was a Benson class destroyer that served on the neutrality patrol, escort duty and at Anzio before being sunk during a German air attack on Convoy UGS-38 on 20 April 1944

The Lansdale was laid down at the Boston Navy Yard on 19 December 1938, launched on 30 October 1939 when she was sponsored by Mrs Ethel S. Lansdale and commissioned on 17 September 1940.

USS Lansdale (DD-426), New York Navy Yard, 22 October 1943 USS Lansdale (DD-426), New York Navy Yard, 22 October 1943

The Lansdale was named after Philip Van Horne Lansdale, who served in the US Navy from 1879 until he was killed during an intervention on Samoa in 1899.

The Lansdale’s shakedown cruise took her to the Caribbean. On 18 January 1941 she left Boston to join the neutrality patrol in the Caribbean, operating around Cuba, the Virgin Islands, Martinique and the British West Indies, before returning to Boston on 6 March.

After her return to Boston she underwent training in escort duties. In late June she escorted transports moving from Charleston, South Carolina to Argentia, Newfoundland.

The Lansdale formed part of Task Force 19, which was formed to escort a convoy carrying US Marines to Iceland to replace the British garrison.

This was a powerful fleet, built around the battleships Arkansas and New York and the cruisers Brooklyn (CL-40) and Nashville (CL-43) and protected by two destroyer divisions – Des Div 13 (Benson, Gleaves (DD-423), Mayo (DD-422) and Niblack (DD-424) and DesDiv 14 (Charles F. Hughes (DD-428), Hilary P Jones (DD-427) and Lansdale (DD-426) with DesDiv 60 as the outer screen (Bernadou (DD-153), Buck (DD-420), Ellis (DD-154), Lea (DD-118) and Upshur (DD-144)

The task force left Argentia on 1 July and reached Reykjavik on 7 July.

In the second half of 1941 she made three further runs between Newfoundland and Iceland, escorting convoys carrying supplies and reinforcements to the US garrison. She was heading east on the third of these runs when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The return trip to Boston lasted from 15-24 December.


From 22-27 January 1942 the Lansdale escorted seven troop ships from New York to Key West.

On 1 February she reached Casco Bay, Maine, to act as a plane guard for the Wasp (CV-7).

She spent most of the next six months on a mix of anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort duties along the US eastern seaboard and out to Iceland, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and the Gulf of Mexico. A brief interruption came from 8-21 May when she patrolled the area between Puerto Rico and Bermuda with the cruisers Savannah (CL-42) and Juneau (CL-52).

On 6 August the Arkansas, Brooklyn (CL-40), Roe (DD-418), Ericsson (DD-440), Madison (DD-425), Eberle, Nicholson (DD-442), Kearny, Mayo, Niblack, Benson, Gleaves, Hilary P. Jones (DD-427) and Charles F. Hughes (DD-428) left Brooklyn to escort a convoy of fourteen US, British and Polish troop transports to Halifax, arriving on 8 August.

From 9-18 August she escorted a convoy from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Lisahally, Northern Ireland.

From 27 August-5 September she escorted a convoy from Greenock, Scotland to New York.

She then escorted another convoy from New York to Northern Ireland.

On 10 October the Lansdale left Greenock to return to New York along with the Arkansas. On 14 October Madison, Hilary P. Jones and Lansdale were detached and ordered to Casco Bay, to escort the Indiana (BB-58) to Norfolk. They arrived on 18 October, and sailed with the Indiana on 19 October. However on 20 October the Madison and Hilary P Jones were detached and ordered to New York.

From 10-21 October she served as a screen for the Arkansas (BB-33) from a base at New York.

On 2 November she put to sea with Task Force 38 to escort Convoy UGF-2 to North Africa with reinforcements for Operation Torch. The convoy arrived at Safi in French Morocco on 18 November. She was then used to patrol the approaches to Safi and Casablanca, before she departed for New York on 22 December as part of a convoy of 41 transports protected by six escorts.


The Lansdale reached New York on 10 January 1943 and underwent a short overhaul.

On 30 January Task Force 99 (Destroyer Division 14 – Lansdale, Hilary P. Jones, Charles F. Hughes and Madison) departed from New York to escort a convoy to Northern Ireland, arriving on 7 February.

On 15 February DesDiv 14 and the 42nd Escort Group got underway to join Convoy UC-1 and Escort Group 44, which were coming from Liverpool. The combined force then headed across the Atlantic to Curacoa in the Dutch West Indies. On 23 February the convoy was attacked by Wolf Pack Rochen (U-43, U-66, U-87, U-202, U-218, U-504, U-521 and U-558) and U-382, U-522 and U-569. The submarines torpedoed the British Fortitude, Empire Norseman, Esso Baton Rouge, Athelprincess and Murena of which the Empire Norseman, Esso Baton Rouge and Athelprincess sank. The escorts carried out depth charge attacks but without success. However on the following day Hilary P Jones, Charles F. Hughes and Lansdale clashed with six surfaced U-boats, probably sinking one and damaging one. There were no more attacks on the convoy and it reached Curacoa on 6 March.  The Lansdale had already been detached from the main convoy, and on the same day reached Port-au-Spain, Trinidad, escorting SS Maasyerk. She reached Curacoa on 9 March.

Between 20 March and 6 October the Lansdale continued to carry out escort duties, and escorted eight convoys between the Caribbean and the United Kingdom and three between Curacoa and New York as well as shorter range missions in the Caribbean.

She then moved to Norfolk. On 3 November she departed as part of the escort for a convoy heading to Casablanca, returning on 17 December.

Lansdale arrived Port-au-Spain, Trinidad, 6 March as escort for SS Maasyerk before proceeding 8 to 9 March to Curacao, Netherland West Indies, for more escort duty. From 20 March until 6 October she made eight escort runs between the Caribbean and the United Kingdom, three convoy runs between Curacao and New York, and periodic escort and patrol runs to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Continuing escort duty out of Norfolk, Lansdale made a run to Casablanca and back between 3 November and 17 December before sailing again for north Africa 13 January 1944.


The Lansdale left Norfolk heading for Casablanca on 13 January 1944, and arrived on 1 February. She then moved to Tunis, arriving on 10 February. She then escorted the Brooklyn (CL-40) to Algiers.

The Lansdale was next used to support the fighting at Anzio. She reached Pozzouli, near Naples, on 14 February. From then until 22 March she was used to escort the Philadelphia (CL-41) during fire support missions at Anzio and further south and on anti-submarine duties.

She returned to Oran from 22-26 March.

On 10 April she left Oran as part of the escort for Convoy UGS-37, on the last stage of a voyage from Norfolk to Bizerte. The convoy contained sixty merchant ships and six LSTs, and was a prime target for the Germans. Late on 11 April a force of 16-25 Dornier and Junkers bombers attacked the convoy off Cape Bengut, Algeria, with a mix of torpedoes and the new radio controlled bombs. The destroyer escort Holder (DE-401) was hit by a torpedo but survived, and the convoy defenders claimed four victories while the Germans failed to sink any ships.

On 12 April the Lansdale left UGC-37 to escort three merchant ships from Oran to join the west-bound convoy UGS-36.

On 18 April she left Oran to join Convoy UGS-38, heading east to Bizerte. The Lansdale was posted off the port bow of the convoy, to jam the signals controlling any radio-controlled bombs and as part of the anti-submarine screen.

At about 21.00 on 20 April the convoy was attacked by German aircraft off Cape Bengut. This time the force of 18-24 Junkers and Heinkels had more success. They flew low and close to short to evade radar, and caught the convoy by surprise. In the first attack torpedoes from Ju-88s damaged SS Samite and destroyed SS Paul Hamilton, which exploded with the loss of all 580 of her crew. The second wave, also of Juners, sank another merchant ship.

The third way, of five He-111s, attacked towards the Lansdale. She was attacked from both sides, but was able to avoid two torpedoes and shoot down a Ju-88, before she was hit on the starboard side by a third torpedo at 21.06 (although she was able to shoot down the attacking aircraft). The torpedo destroyed the forward fire room and opened holes on both sides of the ship. She took on a 12 degree list to port and her rudder jammed to the right, so she ended up steaming in a clockwise circle. At 21.12 she was attacked again by two aircraft, which both dropped torpedoes, but the turning ship was a difficult target and both missed. She also claimed one of the attacks. By 21.20 she was moving straight, but the list was increasing. By 21.22 it had reached 45 degrees, and her commander, Lt. Commander D.M. Swift, gave the order to abandon ship. By 21.30 the list had reached 80 degrees, so she was almost on her side. At about 21.35 she split in two, and the stern section sank. The bow sections stayed afloat for another 20 minutes.

Forty-seven men were lost with the Lansdale, but most of her crew were rescued by the Menges (DE-320) and Newell (DD-322), which spent several hours searching for survivors. The Menges picked up 113 Americans and two German airmen, while the Newell rescued 119 men including Lt. Commander Swift.

Lansdale received four battle stars for World War II service, for Anzio, convoy UC-1, convoy UGS-37 and convoy UGS-38.

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


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

19 December 1938


30 October 1939


17 September 1940

Sunk by air attack

20 April 1944

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 (21 March 2023), USS Lansdale (DD-426) ,

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