USS Sicard (DD-346/ DM-21)

USS Sicard (DD-346) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Asiatic Squadron in 1920s, in the Aleutians in 1942-43, Bougainville in 1943, on patrol and minelaying duties in South Pacific in the first half of 1944, then helped train submarines for the rest of the war.

The Sicard was named after Montgomery Sicard, who served with the US Navy during the American Civil War was commander of the North Atlantic Squadron until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.

The Sicard was laid down by the Bath Iron Works, Maine, on 18 June 1919, launched on 20 April 1920 when she was sponsored by Admiral Sicard’s daughter-in-law Mrs. M.H. Sicard and commissioned on 9 June 1920.

USS Sicard (DD-346) in Dry Dock USS Sicard (DD-346) in Dry Dock

On 26 June 1920 the Sicard joined Destroyer Squadrons, Atlantic Fleet, at Newport, Rhode Island, and operated with that unit until the spring of 1922. She spent most of her time on exercises, including visits to the Caribbean in the winters of 1920-21 and 1921-22. On 20 January 1921 she passed through the Panama Canal to take part in a joint Atlantic and Pacific Fleet exercises, reaching Callao, Peru. She returned to the Atlantic on 24 February. In June 1921 she took part in a mock attack on captured German U-boats, firing on and sinking U-148. This was followed in July by mock attacks on the destroyers V-43 and S-132, which were also sunk by a combination of destroyer and battleship fire.

Early in 1922 the Sicard was chosen for duties on the Asiatic Station. She arrived at Brooklyn Navy Yard on 27 April to be repaired and fitted out for her new duty, and at Newport on 15 June to collect new torpedo equipment. She then departed for the Far East on 20 June, sailing east via the Mediterranean, Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean. She and her squadron arrived at Chefoo, China, on 26 August 1922 where they joined the Asiatic Fleet. She was based at Chefoo and Tsingtao in China in the summers and Manila in the winters. As well as the normal mix of fleet exercises and training, she took part in operations to protect US interests during the various outbreaks of civil war in China.

On 30-31 August 1923 the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama were devastated by earthquakes. Admiral E.A. Anderson, commander of the Asiatic Fleet, ordered all available ships to the area to take part in the relief effort, and the Sicard reached Yokohama on 11 September. She was used as a despatch boat between there and Tokyo and to move refugees from the ruined city. From 25 September to 3 October she was based as Nakasaki, to act as a radio relay ship while direct radio links between Yokohama and Tokyo were out. The Sicard and the US fleet later received the thanks of the Japanese government.

In December 1923 she was part of an international fleet that visited Canton to convince the local Chinese government not to take over the Chinese Maritime Customs, an unusual organisation that had been set up by western diplomats but that paid its takings to the Chinese government. The efforts were succesful, and the setup survived until the Communist take over.

In 1924 the Sicard was part of a sizable US fleet that supported the round the world flight of four Douglas World Cruisers of the USAAC. As the aircraft flew across the western Pacific the Sicard moved from Hong Kong to Rangoon, then Burma and finally Calcutta, acting as a plane guard and to maintain radio communications with the aircraft.

In March 1927 some of her marines were used to protect the docks of the Standard Oil Co. and the Dollar Steamship Line, on the opposite side of the Yangzi to Shanghai.

The Sicard and her squadron were relieved in the summer of 1929 and departed from Yokohama on 22 July 1929, heading east to San Diego, where they arrived on 17 August.

In October 1929 the Sicard joined the Destroyer Squadrons, Battle Fleet. For the next eight years she served with the battle fleet, taking part in the normal life of the fleet – exercises along the west coast, visits to Alasak waters and training duties, as well as some of the Fleet Problems

USS Sicard (DD-346) in Manila Bay USS Sicard (DD-346) in Manila Bay

Between 15 February and 21 June 1930 the Sicard was in the Atlantic, along with the Battle Fleet. She took part in Fleet Problem X in the Caribbean, then visited New York and Hampton Roads to take part in a Presidential Review on 20 May 1930.

From 4 February-15 April 1931 she took part in Fleet Problem XII, which took place in the Canal Zone and involved an attack on the canal.

From 1 February-22 March 1932 she took part in Fleet Problem XIII, which took place in Hawaiian waters.

From 24 March-1 October 1934 she was part of Rotating Reserve Squadron 20 at San Diego.

On 1 October the Sicard returned to active service, with Destroyer Squadron 4 of the Battle Force.

In May 1935 the Sicard took part in Fleet Problem XVI, which took place around Hawaii. On 12 May she was rammed by the Lea (DD-118) off Diamond Head, Oahu. The bows of the Lea struck the stern of the Sicard, and carried away a large part of the ward room. The Sicard was towed to Pearl Harbor by the Rail (AM-26), where she underwent repairs that kept her out of action until August.

In May 1937 the Sicard went into the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard to be converted into a light minelayer. On 20 June she was reclassified as DM-21. She remained in Hawaiian waters from then until the attack on Pearl Harbor, apart from a visit to the US West Coast for repairs from 20 September-20 December 1937.

1941

On 21 November 1941 the Sicard went into the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for an overhaul. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December she was thus unable to move, and could only fire her .30in machine guns. Some of her crew were sent to the cruiser New Orleans(CA-32) and destroyer Cummings (DD-365) to help man their guns.

1942

The Sicard’s overhaul was completed by 28 January 1942, and she then began a period of anti-submarine patrols in the waters south-west of Oahu. On 1-9 April she laid part of a large defensive minefield at French Frigate Shouals, 500 miles to the north-west of Oahu, to prevent the Japanese fleet using it as a base for another attack on Hawaii. On 10-18 April she set up a Marine radio and surveillance station at Eastern Island in the Midway group.

On 19 June the Sicard left Pearl Harbor heading for Seattle, where she picked up mines. In July she used them to help lay a defensive minefield off Kodiak, Alaska. She then returned to Hawaii, arriving on 27 July. After a spell of local patrols she departed for the Aleutians again on 16 September where she laided another minefield and carried out some patrols. On 22 November she departed for San Francisco where she underwent another overhaul, which was completed by 22 December.

1943

After the overhaul was complete, the Sicard took part in amphibious landing exercises off San Diego, before on 24 April 1943 leaving San Francisco with the force that was to invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands. The Sicard was chosen to act as a landing craft control vessel, but on the night before the attack she collided with the Macdonough (DD-351) in thick fog. Both ships were damaged and the Sicard had to tow the McDonough back to Adak, before heading to San Francisco for her own repairs. These were completed by 29 July.

The Sicard returned to the Aleutians for the invasion of Kiska, and guided assault boats into the beach between 15-18 August. The next few weeks were spent on local patrols and escort duties, before she escorted a convoy to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 15 September.

On 24 September 1943 the Sicard left Pearl Harbor heading for the South-west Pacific, where she would spend the next ten months. She escorted ships to Noumea and Espiritu Santo on her way out, then joined the Gamble (DM-15) and Breese (DM-18) at Purvis Bay to form a fast mine-laying group.

The group departed for Bougainville on 31 October, and early on 2 November laid an offensive minefield off the island. As the group was retreating after completing their job they were passed by some of the American cruisers taking part in the battle of Empress Augusta Bay.

The Sicard was one of five destroyer-minelayers that laid a minefield off Bougainville on 8 November, then helped lay a third minefield off the Shortland Islands on 24 November.

1944

The Sicard spent most of the first half of 1944 on escort duties, protecting convoys in a vast area that included Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal, Purvis Bay, Noumea, Fiji, New Zealand, and Kwajalein. This was interrupted by another spell of minelaying this time helping to lay minefields off Buka Island on 2 and 10 May.

The Sicard departed for Alameda, California and another overhaul on 11 July 1944. This was completed by 20 September, and she departed for Pearl Harbor on 4 October. In mid November she began her last role, helping train submarines, at first operating off the coast of Oahu.

1945

The period of operations off Oahu lasted until 9 January 1945. She then moved to Midway, where she carried out the same duties, taking part in daily exercises with submarines. She was reclassified as miscellaneous auxiliary AG-100 on 5 June 1945. She finished her duties off Midway on 2 September 1945 and returned to the US, arriving at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 21 October. She was decommissioned on 21 November 1945, struck off on 19 December 1945 and sold for scrap on 22 June 1946.

Sicard received two battle stars for her World War II service, for Pearl Harbor and the occupation of Cape Torokina in November 1943.

Displacement (standard)

1,190t

Displacement (loaded)

1,308t

Top Speed

35kts
35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)

Engine

2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)

Range

2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt

 

 - deck

 

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 10.5in

Armaments

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

114

Launched

20 April 1920

Commissioned

 

Struck off

19 December 1945

Sold for scrap

22 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

WWII Home Page | WWII Subject Index | WWII Books | WWII Links | Day by Day

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 July 2021), USS Sicard (DD-346/ DM-21) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Sicard_DD346.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies