Bagley Class Destroyers

The Bagley Class Destroyers used the high speed turbines introduced on the Mahan class, but carried one less 5in gun and sixteen torpedo tubes, up from twelve.

The Baglay class combined features from the Mahan class and the Gridley classes. The Mahan class had introduced new General Electric turbines, which were more efficient than the Parsons turbines used in earlier designs, and had been armed with five 5in guns and twelve torpedo tubes in three quad mounts (one on the centre line and two on the wings). These turbines operated at higher speeds than the earlier models, were simpler in construction and more robust and were powered by high pressure high temperature boilers.

USS Bagley (DD-386) underway, 1937-40 USS Bagley (DD-386) underway, 1937-40

The Gridley class saw a change in the balance of armaments, with four 5in guns and sixteen torpedo tubes carried in four quad mounts, two on each side. They were built by Bethlehem's Quincy yard and used Bethlehem turbines.

The Baglay class combined the General Electric based machinery of the Mahan class with the sixteen torpedo battery of the Gridley class. All eight were built at the Navy Yards, and they were constructed as part of a batch of ten destroyers that included the first two Baglay class ships.

The Balley class was fund by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of June 1934, which funded twelve 1,500 ton destroyers and two 1,850 ton destroyers under fiscal year 1935. This was used to fund the two Dunlap class ships, the first two Gridley class ships and all eight Bagley class ships.

Christening of USS Blue (DD-387) and USS Helm (DD-388) Christening of USS Blue (DD-387) and USS Helm (DD-388)

USS Mugford (DD-389) with torpedo tubes out USS Mugford (DD-389) with torpedo tubes out

USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) off Mare Island , 1942 USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) off Mare Island , 1942

USS Henley (DD-391) at sea, 2 May 1938 USS Henley (DD-391) at sea, 2 May 1938

USS Patterson (DD-392) and USS Jarvis (DD-393) being launched, 1937 USS Patterson (DD-392) and USS Jarvis (DD-393) being launched, 1937

The Bagley class was followed by the Benham class, which used a base ring gun mount on all four 5in guns. Ten of the twelve FY 35 destroyers were Benham class, and the other two completed the Gridley class. 

Individual Ships

USS Bagley (DD-386) was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. She took part in the attempt to relief Wake Island and the early carrier raids, then operated in the south-west Pacific. In August she took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal, the battle of Savo Island and the battle of the Eastern Solomons. She then joined the forces supporting the fighting on New Guinea. In 1943 she took part in the occupation of Woodlark and Kiriwina Islands, the landings at Lae and Finschhafen, the invasion of New Britain and the landings at Saidor. In 1944 she returned to the US for a refit, then returned to the Pacific for the invasion of the Marianas. She took part in the battle of the Philippine Sea. During the battle of Leyte Gulf she was part of the force sent north to attack the Japanese decoy carriers. She supported the fighting on the Philippines into 1944, then the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945. She was decommissioned in 1946.

USS Blue (DD-387) was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. She took part in the early carrier raids, then escorted convoys from San Francisco, before taking part in the invasion of Guadalcanal. On 22 August 1942 she was torpedoed by the Japanese destroyer Kawakaze and on 23 August had to be scuttled.

USS Helm (DD-388) was based in the Pacific from 1939 and claimed one aircraft during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In March 1942 she helped set up a new base in Efate in the New Herbrides, before moving to the Australian coast. She took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal and the battle of Savo Island, then moved to the New Guinea theatre. She took part in the invasion of Cape Gloucester on New Britain and the landings at Saidor. In 1944 she took part in the invasion of the Marianas, and the battle of the Philippine Sea. She then escorted the fast carriers during their devastating raids. She was part of the carrier screen as Admiral Halsey rushed north to intercept the Japanese carriers at the Battle of Leyte Gulf and supported the fighting on the Philippines into February 1945. During 1945 she took part in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She was later used as a target ship during the atomic bomb tests.

USS Mugford (DD-390) was at Pearl Harbor. She took part in the Wake Island expedition, then operated as a convoy escort in the south Pacific into May 1942. She then took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal and the battle of Savo Island. She then operated in the Coral Sea. From June 1943 she took part in the New Guinea campaign, supporting the attacks on Lae, Finschhaven and New Britain. In 1944 she took part in the invasion of the Mariana Islands, and the battle of the Philippine Sea. She supported the fast carriers in their raids, and then took part in the return to the Philippines. She fought at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. On 5 December she was hit by a kamikaze, and needed to return to the US for repairs. She returned to the war zone in May 1945, and was used as a patrol vessel and escort ship to the end of the war.  

USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) was at Pearl Harbor. She took part in the early carrier raids, then escorted convoys between Hawaii and the West Coast. In June she helped support the fleet that had fought at Midway. In August she took part in the landings on Guadalcanal and was very badly damaged at the battle of Savo Island. Repairs took until November 1942. In June 1943 she supported the landings at Rendova on New Georgia, then on 5 July she landed troops at Rice Anchorage. She fought in the battle of Kolombangara. In November she began operations off New Guinea and New Britain. In 1944 she supported the landings at Saidor, before returning to the US for a refit. She returned in time to take part in the Marianas campaign, then the invasion of Leyte. She was part of the carrier force that moved north to intercept the Japanese decoy force during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. On 27 April 1945 she was hit by a kamikaze off Okinawa, but was soon back in action. For the last few months of the war she escorted convoys between the Marianas and Ryukyus islands. She was sunk after her use in the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests.

USS Henley (DD-391) was at Pearl Harbor. She took part in the Wake expedition, and then served as a escort vessel during the first half of 1942. In August she took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal. In September 1943 she supported the Australian landings at Finschafen. On 3 October she was hit by a torpedo which broke her keel. She sank with the loss of 15 men.

USS Patterson (DD-392) was at Pearl Harbor. She took part in the early carrier raids. After an overhaul she took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal and the battle of Savo Island, where she was hit by Japanese gunfire. In September 1943 she took part in the invasion of Vella Lavella. She was badly damaged in a collision on 29-30 September, and lost her bow. Repairs took until March 1944. She returned in time to take part in the Marianas campaign and the battle of the Philippine Sea. She supported the fast carriers, then took part in the invasion of Leyte. She took part in the dash north that took the fast carriers away from the main Japanese attack. She then supported the invasions of Mindoro and Luzon. In 1944 she took part in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, then carried out escort duties to the end of the war.

USS Jarvis (DD-393) was at Pearl Harbor. She took part in the failed attempt to relieve Wake Island. Early in 1942 she escorted convoys to Australia and San Francisco. In August she took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal. On 8 August she was hit by a Japanese torpedo and her commander decided to head for Australia for repairs. On 9 August, while heading west without any protection, was attacked by 31 Japanese aircraft and lost with all hands.

Displacement (standard)

1,624.3t

Displacement (loaded)

2,245t

Top Speed

38kts design
36.8kt at 47,191shp at 1,969t on trial (Blue)

Engine

2-shaft General Electric turbines
4 boilers
46,000shp

Range

6,500nm at 12kts design
6,940nm at 12kts at 2,200t wartime
4,360nm at 20kts at 2,200t wartime

Length

341ft 3in

Width

35ft 6.5in

Armaments

Four 5in/38 guns
Sixteen 21in torpedo tubes in four quad mounts
Four .50in AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement

158

Ships in Class

Fate

USS Bagley (DD-386)

Sold 1947

USS Blue (DD-387)

Scuttled 23 August 1942

USS Helm (DD-388)

Struck off 1947

USS Mugford (DD-390)

Sunk 1948

USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390)

Sunk 1948

USS Henley (DD-391)

Lost 3 October 1943

USS Patterson (DD-392)

Struck off 1947

USS Jarvis (DD-393)

Lost August 1942

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 (20 April 2022), Bagley Class Destroyers , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_bagley_class_destroyers.html

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