Dunlap Class Destroyers

The two Dunlap Class destroyers were similar to the earlier Mahan class destroyers, but with experimental enclosed mounts for two of their 5in guns.

The main difference between the Mahan and Dunlap classes was the introduction of prototype 5in enclosed mounts for No.1 and No.2 positions on the Dunlap class ships. These guns were given base ring mounts. The entire gun and its crew were carried on a rotating platform, with the shell hoist in the centre of the platform. The entire thing was fully enclosed (earlier destroyers had carried partial shields that were open at the back and rotated with the gun, not a base platform). The rear three guns were still mounted on pedastals, without shields. As a result the forward gun crew shelter was eliminated.

All members of the Mahan, Dunlap and Bagley classes used similar General Electric turbines which operated at higher pressures and temperatures than the Parsons types used on earlier designs. This combined with better boilers to give an increase in speed to around 38 kts and an increase in endurance.

When built the Dunlap was 23 tons overweight, not bad given the size of the ship.

The Dunlap class was funded by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of June 1934, which funded twelve 1,500 ton destroyers and two 1,850 ton destoyers under fiscal year 1935.

The Dunlap class was followeed by the Bagley class, which carried sixteen torpedoes and four 5in guns, but used the same engines as the Mahan and Dunlap classes.

USS Dunlap (DD-384) was at sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. After taking part in some early operations in the Pacific, she spent the period from March-October 1942 escorting convoys along the US West Coast. The first half of 1943 saw her performing the same roles in the Fiji, Tonga and New Hebrides area. In July 1943 she joined the Solomons campaign, and in August she fought at the battle of Vella Gulf, a successful US destroyer action. In 1944 she took part in the invasion of the Marshall Islands, then joined the British Eastern Fleet to attack targets on Java. After escorting President Roosevelt to Pearl Harbor she returned to patrol duty in the Marianas. She took part in the invasion of Leyte Gulf and was on the edges of the battle of Leyte Gulf. In 1945 she supported the invasion of Iwo Jima, and was then used to patrol the Bonin Islands. At the end of the war she helped take the surrender of the Bonin Islands.

USS Fanning (DD-385) was also at sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She took part in the failed attempt to relieve Wake Island. In April 1942 she escorted the carriers carrying the Dolittle raiders. She was then used to escort convoys from the US to Pearl Harbor, before joining TF 11 in the Solomons in November 1942. She took part in the Guadalcanal campaign and the occupation of the Russell Islands. In 1944 she took part in the invasion of the Marshall Islands, then joined the Royal Navy for an attacks on Sumatra and Java. Later in the year she took part in the invasion of Leyte, then took part in the Battle of the San Bernardino Strait or Samar, part of the wider battle of Leyte Gulf. In 1945 she supported the invasion of Iwo Jima, and then patrolled the area around Eniwetok, Iwo Jima and Guam. She was decommissioned in December 1945.  

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

39.09kt at 45,452hp at 1,741t on trial (Fanning)


2 GE turbines
4 boilers
46,000shp design




341ft 5in




Five 5in/38 DP guns
Twelve 21in torpedo tubes in four triple mounts
Four .50in AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement


Ships in Class


USS Dunlap (DD-384)

Sold 1947

USS Fanning (DD-385)

Sold 1948

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 February 2019), Dunlap Class Destroyers , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_dunlap_class_destroyers.html

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