Wickes Class Destroyers

First World War Service
Interwar Period
Second World War Service

The Wickes Class Destroyers were the first of the famous mass produced flush-deckers of the First World War, and the only type to see active service during that war. Along with the Clemson class they provided the bulk of the US destroyer force during the inter-war years, and many survived to play varied roles during the Second World War.

The Caldwell class destroyers introduced the flushdeck layout, which was introduced in an attempt to improve the stability of American destroyers. This required a wider beam, which then required a reduction in draft to avoid adding too much drag. A raised forecastle would have reduced the amount of weight that could be allocated to the ship's main longitudinal structures, and so the flush-deck layout was adopted.

USS Wickes (DD-75) in Devonport Drydock, 1919
USS Wickes (DD-75) in
Devonport Drydock, 1919

USS Woolsey (DD-77) sinking, 26 February 1921
USS Woolsey (DD-77) sinking
26 February 1921

Crews of Rathburne, Talbot, Dent, Waters, Lea and Dorsey
Crews of Rathburne, Talbot,
Dent, Waters, Lea

and Dorsey

Preliminary Design for Wickes Class Destroyers
Preliminary Design for
Wickes Class Destroyers

The Wickes class was designed for the FY 17 programme, which included 35knot battlecruisers and the 35kt Omaha class scout cruisers. The Navy decided that it wanted its new destroyers to match that speed, so they could operate with the new fleet. This required a 50% increase in power compared to the Caldwell class. This was achieved by adding 90-100 tons more machinery and reduction gearing to improve the efficiency of the engine. The sloped keel of the Caldwell class was replaced with a level keel, which reduced drag and allowed for more horizontal propeller shafts. The Caldwell class hull was already strong enough to cope with these changes, so no significant changes were needed there. The General Board specifications called for a speed of 35kts on trial at 1,150 tons and endurance of 2,500nm at 20kts, while the actual contracts called for 3,600nm at 15kts. 

The first twenty Wickes class destroyers were authorised by Congress in 1916, as part of a larger programme for 50 destroyers. Another 15 were funded on 3 March 1917, just one month before the US entry into the war. Another twenty-six were ordered in May-April 1917. At this point the General Board of the Navy wanted a massive increase in destroyer production, but didn't want to produce more costly high-speed fleet destroyers. The General Board wanted a mix of a slower mass-produced type and high-speed fleet destroyers, while the Board on the

Crew of USS Philip (DD-76), 1930s
Crew of
USS Philip (DD-76),

Destroyer Evolution
Destroyer Evolution

Submarine Menace wanted 200 austere destroyers. While work was carried out on the new anti-submarine designs, 200 destroyers were approved. The first fifty were to be of the Wickes class, in order to speed up production, bring the total number ordered up to 111. The other 150 were eventually built as Clemson Class Destroyers, which ended up as high speed fleet destroyers with extra fuel capacity.

In the end this massive programme wasn't that effective. Less than half of the Wickes class destroyers arrived in time to take part in the First World War, with only one from the fourth batch seeing combat. None of the Clemson class ships were commissioned in time for the First World War. The US Navy did enter the inter-war period with a massive destroyer fleet, but one that was increasingly outdated.

Two basic detailed designs were produced. Bath produced one, which used Parsons turbines (with a few Westinghouse turbines) and Normand, Thornycroft or White-Foster boilers. This design was used by all non-Bethlehem yards.

Bethlehem Steel produced the second design, which was used at their Quincy, Fore River, Massachusetts and San Francisco Yards. This used Curtiss turbines and mainly Yarrow boilers. These tended to deteriorate in service, and in 1929 the remaining 60 Yarrow powered destroyers were decommissioned.

The quality of these ships varied. Range was the biggest problem. USS Wickes had a range of 5,000nm at 15kts and 3,400nm at 20kts, beating the contract requirements. Cramp-built boats averaged 3,990nm at 15kts and 3,148kts and 20kts. In general the Bath design was considered the better of the two, and ships built to it were called 'Long Radius Boats'. Newport News attempted to reach 3,500nm at 15kts using geared cruising turbines, but these only began to appear after August 1918. The Quincy built boats weren't as impressive. USS Bell managed 4,000nm at 15kts on trials, but these were always conducted with unrealistically light loads. In practice her Commanding Officer reported 3,400nm at 13-15kts. USS Stribling only managed 2,300nm and USS Gregory 2,400nm. These lower figures weren't really good enough for anti-submarine warfare in the Atlantic, where all of those ships completed before the Armistice were used. The problem was solved in the Clemson class by adding 35% more fuel, meaning that the worst of the Clemson class had better endurance than the best of the Wickes class.

In September 1918 the C/O of USS Wickes produced a report on his ship. It behaved well at maximum displacement with winds not above force 6 - in these circumstances it performed just as well as the 740 ton 'flivver's and 1,000 ton classes. If the ship was light it rolled excessively in winds between force 4 and force 7. She held a course better than earlier destroyers, but at the same time had a large turning circle and turned badly at light loads - both of these were blamed on the V-shaped stern, which also reduced the available deck space at the stern, now needed for anti-submarine weapons. Head winds had a greater effect on the flush deckers than on the earlier types with raised forecastles. She was very wet in Atlantic winter conditions - indeed he said that in winter weather her 'normal condition … is practically that of a submersible', with no-one able to safely walk around on deck. Compared to the earlier classes the 740 ton vessels did better in the short heavy seas off the Irish coast, but the 1,000 tonners and flushdeckers suffered less damage. Compared to their British allies, the Wickes rode heavy seas better than pre-Flotilla Leader Type British destroyers and had sturdier weather deck fittings but weaker hulls.

In general the Wickes was judged to be a better convoy escort that its British equivalents. This was only true of the Bath-designed ships. The more numerous Bethlehem types only had a designed range of 2,250nm at 20 knots, enough for wartime operations from Irish bases, but not enough to escort a transatlantic convoy. A number of solutions were suggested in October 1918, including replacing the forward magazine or one of the boilers with new fuel tanks. These changes were ruled out during the war as being too disruptive to production, and in the post-war period as being too costly. A post-war plan to complete fifty as long range escorts was also cancelled, but during the 1920s some valuable work was done on fuelling at sea, a key technique during the Pacific War.


The Wickes class destroyers were ordered in four batches. The 1916 act authorized 50 destroyers (DD-75 to DD-124), of which twenty were to be built at once (DD-75 to DD-94) under the FY 17 budget. The original plan was for sixteen to be built on the Atlantic coast and four on the Pacific coast if at all possible.

The second batch was funded by an act of 3 March 1917, which provided direct funding for fifteen destroyers (DD-95 to DD-109). This act also created a Naval Emergency Fund that could be used for additional destroyers at the President's discretion.

The third batch was ordered in May-April 1917, and took the total above the original fifty. Twenty six were ordered in this batch (DD-110 to DD-135).

The fourth batch of fifty (DD-136 to DD-185 was ordered in the summer of 1917 as part of a larger batch of 200 destroyers, most of which were built as Clemson class destroyers.

A total of 111 Wickes class destroyers were thus ordered in four batches. At first production was split between the Bath Iron Works, the Bethlehem Steel yards at Quincy and San Francisco and the Mare Island Navy Yard, but as the production programme expanded eight different yards were used, with rather variable results.

None of the four batches was entirely completed in time to see wartime service. Fourteen of the twenty ships in the first batch, seven from the second batch, eight from the third batch and only one from the fourth batch saw active service during the First World War (a total of 30), and in most cases that came late in 1918. Another six ships were commissioned before the Armistice but saw no service, for a total of 36 from 111 ships commissioned on or before Armistice Day. The following Clemson class did even worse, with none arriving in time to make any contribution during the First World War.

Batch One

USS Little (DD-79), USS Jarvis (DD-38) and USS Burrows (DD-29), Brest, 1918
USS Little (DD-79),
USS Jarvis (DD-38)
USS Burrows (DD-29),
Brest, 1918

The first batch of 20 was split between Bath (four ships - DD-75 to DD-78), Bethlehem (fifteen ships - DD-79 to DD-92, eight built at Quincy, seven at San Francisco) and the Mare Island Navy Yard (two ships - DD-93 and DD-94).

Most of these ships saw wartime service. All of the Quincy and Mare Island ships were ready in time, as were three Bath ships - the last was commissioned on 11 November 1918. Bethlehem's San Francisco plant didn't do so well - only one of her ships saw wartime service and a second was commissioned before the armistice but saw no service).

Batch Two

All fifteen ships funded in 3 March 1917 batch were built by Bethlehem (DD-95 to DD-109). Quincy built eight, of which seven saw wartime service. Once again San Francisco was slower - two of her seven were commissioned before the armistice but saw no service, the last five appeared after the end of the war.

Batch Three

In April 1917 the Secretary of the Navy asked the six private destroyer builders what capacity they had for ships beyond DD-109, with the aim of ordering another twenty six ships (DD-110 to DD-135).

Bethlehem's Union Iron Works at San Francisco also couldn’t guarantee delivery until 1919, and neither Bethlehem Yard could take more than six orders. One battleship and two scout cruisers were cancelled at their Quincy plant in an attempt to free up space, but at this stage only San Francisco received a fresh order, for three ships (DD-110 to DD-112). All three were commissioned after the end of the war.

Five scout cruisers were cancelled at Cramp, and six destroyers replaced them (DD-113 to DD-118). Five of these ships saw wartime service, and the last was commissioned before the armistice but saw no service, an impressive record.

Three battleships and two battlecruisers were cancelled at Newport News, and were replaced with six destroyers (DD-119 to DD-124). Three arrived in time for wartime service, one was commissioned but saw no service and two were post-war commissions.

Three battleships and one battlecruiser were cancelled at New York Shipbuilders and replaced with six destroyers (DD-125 to DD-130). None of these ships were commissioned in time to see wartime service.

Bath was already building four ships and said they couldn't add any more before 1919. Even so they received an order for four ships (DD-131 to DD-134). They were proved correct, and the first of these ships wasn't ready until January 1919.

Finally the Charleston Navy Yard was asked to build one ship, DD-135. This was probably the slowest to appear of any Wickes class ships - it was laid down on 29 July 1918 and not completed until 20 April 1920.

Only eight of these twenty six ships arrived in time to see wartime service.

Batch Four (DD-136 to DD-185)

In July 1917 a telegram was sent to the shipbuilders announcing that orders were to be placed for the final fifty Wickes class ships, to be completed within 18 months. By this point the US ship building industry was already working at full capacity, and so although places were found for all fifty, only one ship, built at Mare Island Navy Yard, arrived in time to see wartime service. Another of their ships was commissioned before the end of the war, but the other 48 ships in this batch were commissioned after the end of the war (as were all of the Clemson class ships that followed).

Six ships were ordered from the Mare Island Navy Yard (DD-136 to DD-141). Cramp built fifteen (DD-142 to DD-156), New York Shipbuilding four (DD-157 to DD-160), Bethlehem's Quincy plant ten (DD-161 to DD-170), Bethlehem's Union Iron Works at San Francisco ten (DD-171 to DD-180) and Newport News five (DD-181 to DD-185).


The two Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co yards produced the largest number of ships, with Quincy and San Francisco producing 26 ships each, for a total of 52. This wasn't entirely a positive things, as the Yarrow boilers used in Bethlehem ships deteriorated badly over time, and in 1929 the Navy scrapped sixty of its remaining Yarrow boilered destroyers.

Next came the William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Co of Philadelphia, which built 21 ships.

The other yards produced smaller numbers of ships. Newport News produced 11, New York Shipbuilding produced 10, Bath and the Mare Island Navy Yard both produced 8 and the Charleston Navy Yard produced 1, rather slowly.

Private Yards


Bath built four ships from batch one (DD-75 to DD-78) and four from batch three (DD-131 to DD-134). Three from the first batch were commissioned in time to see active service during the First World War, and the last was commissioned on 11 November 1918. All four ships from batch three were commissioned after the end of the war.

Bethlehem Overview

Bethlehem received orders in all four batches. In batch one they built DD-79 to DD-92. They produced all fifteen ships of batch two (DD-95 to DD-99), only three in batch three (DD-110 to DD-112) and twenty from batch four (DD-161 to DD-180). Production was equally split between their Quincy, Fore River yard and the Union Iron Works, San Francisco. The two yards performed rather differently.

Bethlehem Quincy, Fore River

Quincy produced eight ships from batch one (DD-79 to DD-86), eight from batch two (DD-95 to DD-102) and ten from batch four (DD-161 to DD-170). All eight of the first batch arrived in time to serve in the First World War, as did seven of the eight from batch two, with one (DD-100) being commissioned during the war but not seeing service. All ten ships from batch four were commissioned post-war.

Bethlehem San Francisco/ Union Iron Works

Bethlehem's San Francisco Yard didn't perform as well. They produced ships in all four batches - six from batch one (DD-87 to DD-92), seven from batch two (DD-103 to DD-109), three from batch three (DD-110 to DD-112) and ten from batch four (DD-171 to 180).

Of these twenty six ships only one arrived in time to see service during the First World War (DD-87). One more from batch one and two from batch two were commissioned during the war but didn't see service (partly because of the extra time needed to get from San Francisco to the war zone in the Atlantic). Four ships from batch one, five from batch two and all thirteen from batch three and batch four arrived after the end of the war.

New York Shipbuilding

New York Shipbuilding entered the production programme late, and built six from batch three (DD-125 to DD-130) and four from batch four (DD-157 to DD-160). All ten of these ships were commissioned after the Armistice, and all four from batch four were also launched after the war.

Newport News

Newport News was another late arrival, and built six from batch three (DD-119 to DD-124) and five from batch four (DD-181 to DD-185). In total they built twenty five Wickes and Clemson class ships, and another six Clemson class ships were cancelled (DD-200 to DD-205).

Newport News was one of the more efficient builders. Three from batch three arrived just in time to see wartime service, and a fourth was commissioned but saw no service. The last two from batch three and all four from batch four were commissioned after the end of the war. 

The Newport News ships were the only Wickes class ships not to use geared turbines. Instead they were powered by Curtis direct drive turbines.

William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Co, Philadelphia

Cramp was also introduced to the programme with batch three, and also performed well. They built six from batch three (DD-113 to DD-118) and fifteen from batch four (DD-142 to DD-156).

Five of the batch three ships arrived in time for wartime service and the sixth was commissioned before the Armistice. All fifteen from batch four were commissioned after the end of the war.

Navy Yard Production

Mare Island Navy Yard

The Mare Island Navy Yard was present at the start and end of the production programme, building two ships from batch one (DD-93 and DD-94) and six from batch four (DD-136 to DD-141). Both of the ships from batch one saw wartime service. They were also the only yard to complete any ships from the fourth batch in time for wartime service, with USS Boggs (DD-136) seeing some service off the US Coast in the last few weeks of the war. A second ship was commissioned during the war but saw no service, and another four were commissioned in the post war period.

The Mare Island Yard was responsible for the quickest construction of a Wickes class ship. USS Ward (DD-139) was laid down on 15 May 1918, launched on 1 June 1918 and commissioned on 24 July 1918, a total of only seventy days. Ironically after all of that effort she saw no wartime service.

Charleston Navy Yard

The Charleston Navy Yard only produced one member of the class, USS Tillman (DD-135). This was probably the slowest to be completed - she was laid down on 29 July 1918 and launched on 7 July 1919, but wasn't commissioned until 30 April 1920.

First World War Service

Despite all of the effort that went into their construction, the Wickes class ships didn't make that big a contribution to the American war effort during the First World War. Only 36 were commissioned before the Armistice (two more were commissioned on 11 November) and only 26 saw any service. Most of them didn't enter service until the last few months of the war (some of the later ships only managed a single escort mission before the armistice).

The US Navy thus relied on its older destroyers, even using the original Bainbridge class ships. Those ships constructed on the West Coast were less likely to see combat, simply because of the length of the journey from San Francisco to the key bases in the US north east. The last member of the class to see service was USS Breese (DD-122), commissioned on 23 October 1918 and which spent a few days on convoy escort duties just before the Armistice.

Those ships that did arrive in time were thrown into the battle of the Atlantic, mainly operating from Queenstown, Brest or the US East Coast. After all of the arguments over the correct role for the destroyer - offensive torpedo attack, or gun armed fleet defence, none of the Wickes class performed either of those roles during the First World War, instead becoming convoy escorts and anti-submarine ships.

April 1918 (3)
6th: USS Little (DD-79), USS Fairfax (DD-93)
26th: USS Kimberly (DD-80)

May 1918 (2)
15th: USS Sigourney (DD-81)
24th: USS Stevens (DD-86)

USS Colhoun (DD-85) in dazzle camouflage, 1919
USS Colhoun (DD-85) in dazzle camouflage, 1919

Officers and Crews of USS Dyer (DD-84), Dardanelles, 1919
Officers and Crews of
USS Dyer (DD-84),
Dardanelles, 1919

USS Stringham (DD-83) at Boston Navy Yard, 11 February 1919
USS Stringham (DD-83) at Boston Navy Yard, 11 February 1919

USS Gregory (APD-3/ DD-82)
USS Gregory (APD-3/ DD-82)

June 1918 (4)
1st: USS Gregory (DD-82), USS Taylor (DD-94)
13th: USS Colhoun (DD-85)
24th: USS Rathburne (DD-113)

July 1918 (7)
1st: USS Dyer (DD-84)
2nd: USS Stringham (DD-83)
20th: USS Talbot (DD-114)
24th: USS Ward (DD-139)
26th: USS Montgomery (DD-121)
31st: USS Wickes (DD-75), USS Bell (DD-95)

August 1918 (6)
8th: USS Waters (DD-115)
16th: USS Stribling (DD-96)
21st: USS Murray (DD-97), USS Israel (DD-98)
22nd: USS Lamberton (DD-119)
24th: USS Philip (DD-76)

September 1918 (9)
7th: USS McKee (DD-87)
9th: USS Dent (DD-116)
11th: USS Luce (DD-99)
18th: USS Dorsey (DD-117)
20th: USS Schley (DD-103)
23rd: USS Maury (DD-100), USS Boggs (DD-136)
30th: USS Woolsey (DD-77), USS Radford (DD-120)

October 1918 (5)
2nd: USS Lea (DD-118)
19th: USS Robinson (DD-88)
23rd: USS Breese (DD-122)
24th: USS Mahan (DD-102)
26th: USS Lansdale (DD-101)

November 1918
11th: USS Evans (DD-78), USS Champlin (DD-104)

Interwar Period

Losses/ Scrapped

A number of ships were lost or struck off in the interwar period.

USS Woolsey (DD-77) was lost in a collision on 26 February 1921.
USS DeLong (DD-129) grounded on 1 December 1921, and was struck off on 1922

USS Hazelwood (DD-107) was struck off in 1935

USS Stevens (DD-86) in dazzle camouflage
USS Stevens (DD-86)
in dazzle camouflage

USS Dyer (DD-84), USS Stevens (DD-86), USS McKee (DD-87), USS Harding (DD-91), USS Champlin (DD-104), USS Mugford (DD-105), USS Radford (DD-120), USS Meredith (DD-165), USS Bush (DD-166), USS Renshaw (DD-176), USS O'Bannon (DD-177) were struck off in 1936

Looking aft from bridge of USS Kimberly (DD-80), 1918
Looking aft from bridge of USS Kimberly (DD-80), 1918

USS Gridley (DD-92) in Dry Dock, 1919
USS Gridley (DD-92)
in Dry Dock, 1919

USS Kimberly (DD-80), USS Gridley (DD-92), USS Bell (DD-95) were struck off in 1937

USS Taylor (DD-94) and USS Walker (DD-163) were struck off in 1938

Most of the ships struck off in 1935-38 were Bethlehem built ships with Yarrow boilers that decayed in use. The only exceptions were the Taylor (DD-94), a Mare Island ship, and the Radford (DD-120), a Newport News ship.

Converted to Fast Transports - APD

In 1938-39 the Caldwell class destroyer USS Manley (DD-74) was converted into a fast troop transport, with the new classification AG-28 (Auxiliary). As converted she could carry 120 Marines, with landing boats replacing the torpedo tubes. This first conversion was a success, and so a more ambitious refit was ordered. This time she lost her forward boilers and their two funnels, all the torpedo tubes and one waist gun (the other waist gun was moved to the centre line). She could carry a 75mm pack howitzer on the deck and four 36ft assault boats (either LCPL or LCPR), and a Marine rifle company for 48 hours. The Manley became APD-1, the first of a sizable group of conversions.

In May 1940 the Navy put in place a major programme of conversions, which included five more fast transports (APD-2 to APD-6). This time Wickes class ships were used.

Anther twenty six destroyers were converted into APDs after the US entry into the Second World War - twelve Wickes class and fifteen Clemson class ships.

Wartime Conversions
October 1942: APD-7 to APD-12 (three Wickes, three Clemson)
December 1942: APD-13 (one Clemson)
January 1943: APD-14 to APD-18 (four Wickes, one Clemson)
July 1943: APD-19 (one Wickes)
August 1943: APD-21, APD-23, APD-24 (one Wickes, two Clemson)
October 1943: APD-20 (one Wickes)
December 1943: APD-22 (one Wickes)
January 1944: APD-29 (one Clemson)
May 1944: APD-25 (one Wickes)
March-June 1944: APD-31 to APD-36 (six Clemson class AVDs)

USS Colhoun (DD-85) and troop convoy, 1918
USS Colhoun (DD-85) and troop convoy, 1918

USS McKean (APD-5), early 1942
USS McKean (APD-5), early 1942

Wickes Class conversions
APD-2: Colhoun (DD-85)
APD-3: Gregory (DD-82)
APD-4: Little (DD-79)
APD-5: McKean (DD-90)
APD-6: Stringham (DD-83)
APD-7: Talbot (DD-114)
APD-8: Waters (DD-115)
APD-9: Dent (DD-116)
APD-14: Schley (DD-99)
APD-15: Kilty (DD-137)
APD-16: Ward (DD-139)
APD-17: Crosby (DD-164)
APD-19: Tattnall (DD-125)
APD-20 - USS Roper (DD-147)
APD-21: Dickerson (DD-157)
APD-22: Herbert (DD-160)
APD-25: Rathburne (DD-113)

Converted to Minelayers - DM

In 1920 DD-96 to DD-102, DD 110 to DD-112 and DD-171 to DD-174) were converted into mine layers as DM-1 to DM-14. This involved removing all of the torpedo tubes and adding storage space and dropping equipment for mines. The 4in gun battery was retained.

In 1930 six of the first batch were scrapped (DM-5, DM-7, DM-8, DM-10, DM-11 and DM-14). Four new conversions were approved, and DD-121 to DD-124 became DM-15 to DM-18 (although not in the same numerical order).

In 1936-37 the last eight of the original fourteen were scrapped, and were replaced with four Clemson class conversions.

In 1944 the 'ultimate approved' battery for the mine layers became two or three 3in/ 50 dual purpose guns and twin power operated Bofors guns. By this point there were four Wickes class and four Clemson class conversions in service. The Wickes class conversions were all struck off in 1945-46.

DM-1 - USS Stribling (DD-96), struck off 1936
DM-2 - USS Murray (DD-97), struck off 1936
DM-3 - USS Israel (DD-98), struck off 1937
DM-4 - USS Luce (DD-99), struck off 1936
DM-5 - USS Maury (DD-100), struck off 1930
DM-6 - USS Lansdale (DD-101), struck off 1937
DM-7 - USS Maham (DD-102), struck off 1930
DM-8 - USS Hart (DD-110), struck off 1931
DM-9 - USS Ingraham (DD-111), struck off 1937
DM-10 - USS Ludlow (DD-112), struck off 1930
DM-11 - USS Burns (DD-171), sold 1932
DM-12 - USS Anthony (DD-172), struck off 1936
DM-13 - USS Sproxton (DD-173), struck off 1936
DM-14 - USS Rizal (DD-174), struck off 1931
DM-15 - USS Gamble (DD-123), scuttled 1945
DM-16 - USS Ramsay (DD-124), struck off 1945
DM-17 - USS Montgomery (DD-121), struck off 1945
DM-18 - USS Breese (DD-122), struck off 1946

Converted to Fast Mine Sweepers

As part of the May 1940 programme four Wickes class ships from DesDiv 52 were converted into fast minesweepers as DMS-1 to DMS-4. All of the torpedo tubes were removed and a false squared off stern was added to support mine sweeping davits. Another four ships were recommissioned to serve as DMS-5 to DMS-8. In 1941 another ten ships were converted (DMS-9 to DMS-18). Most of these were Clemson class ships, but DMS-18 was a Wickes class.

At first these ships kept their 4in guns, but in 1942 they were scheduled to get 3in/ 50 dual purpose guns as they were expected to face air attack. By 1944 this was reduced to two or three 3in/ 50 dual purpose guns and twin power operated Bofors guns.

DMS-1: USS Dorsey (DD-117)
DMS-2: USS Lamberton (DD-119)
DMS-3: USS Boggs (DD-136)
DMS-4: USS Elliot (DD-146)
DMS-5: USS Palmer (DD-161)
DMS-6: USS Hogan (DD-178)
DMS-7: USS Howard (DD-179)
DMS-8: USS Stansbury (DD-180)
DMS-18 - USS Hamilton (DD-141)

To Royal Navy

Fifty flushdeck destroyers went to the Royal Navy under the Destroyer for Bases deal of September 1940, where they became the Town Class. The fifty were made up of three Caldwell class ships, twenty-seven Wickes class ships and twenty Clemson class ships.

USS Sigourney (DD-81) at Boston Navy Yard, 9 February 1919
USS Sigourney (DD-81) at Boston Navy Yard, 9 February 1919

USS Evans (DD-78) at San Diego, 1920s
USS Evans (DD-78) at San Diego, 1920s

USS Wickes (DD-75) - HMS Montgomery
USS Philip (DD-76) - HMS Lancaster
USS Evans (DD-78) - HMS Mansfield
USS Sigourney (DD-81) - HMS Newport
USS Robinson (DD-88) - HMS Newmarket
USS Ringgold (DD-89) - HMS Newark
USS Fairfax (DD-93) - HMS Richmond
USS Williams (DD-108) - HMS St. Clair
USS Twiggs (DD-127) - HMS Leamington
USS Buchanan (DD-131) - HMS Campbeltown
USS Aaron Ward (DD-132) - HMS Castleton
USS Hale (DD-133) - HMS Caldwell
USS Crowninshield (DD-134) - HMS Chelsea
USS Tillman (DD-135) - HMS Wells
USS Claxton (DD-140) - HMS Salisbury
USS Yarnall (DD-143) - HMS Lincoln
USS Thatcher (DD-162) - HMCS Niagara
USS Cowell (DD-167) - HMS Brighton
USS Maddox (DD-168) - HMS Georgetown
USS Foote (DD-169) - HMS Roxborough
USS Kalk (DD-170) - HMS Hamilton
USS Mackenzie (DD-175) - HMCS Annapolis
USS Hopewell (DD-181) - HMS Bath
USS Thomas (DD-182) - HMS St. Albans
USS Haraden (DD-183) - HMCS Columbia
USS Abbot (DD-184) - HMS Charlestown
USS Bagley (DD-185) - HMS St. Marys

Second World War Service

The Wickes class ships performed an impressively wide range of tasks during the Second World War. The conversions have been dealt with above, and many of them were heavily involved in the fighting, especially in the Pacific, where the fast transports played a part in many amphibious landings. A significant number of members of the class were still unmodified destroyers. Some operated as rear area patrol vessels, but their main contribution came in the Battle of the Atlantic, where they served as convoy escort vessels and anti-submarine warfare ships, a repeat of their First World War duties.


Stats (Bath Type)

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts (design)
35.34kts at 24,610shp at 1,149t on trial (Wickes)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
24,200shp (design)


3,800nm at 15kts on trial (Wickes)
2,850nm at 20kts on trial (Wickes)


314ft 4in


30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement


Stats (Bethlehem Type Kimberly)

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts design
34.81kts at 27,350shp at 1,236t on trial (Kimberly)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp design


2,500nm at 20kts (design)


314ft 4.5in


30ft 11.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedo tubes in four triple mountings
Two 1-pounder AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement



Ship in Class


USS Wickes (DD-75)

To RN as HMS Montgomery

USS Philip (DD-76)

To RN as HMS Lancaster

USS Woolsey (DD-77)

Lost in collision, 1921

USS Evans (DD-78)

To RN as HMS Mansfield

USS Little (DD-79)

APD-4, sunk by gunfire 5 Sept 1942

USS Kimberly (DD-80)

Struck off 1937

USS Sigourney (DD-81)

To RN as HMS Newport

USS Gregory (DD-82)

APD-3, sunk by gunfire 5 Sept 1942

USS Stringham (DD-83)


USS Dyer (DD-84)

Struck off 1936

USS Colhoun (DD-85)

APD-2, sunk by bombs 30 Aug 1942

USS Stevens (DD-86)

Struck off 1936

USS McKee (DD-87)

Struck off 1936

USS Robinson (DD-88)

To RN as HMS Newmarket

USS Ringgold (DD-89)

To RN as HMS Newark

USS McKean (DD-90)

APD-5, sunk by torpedo 17 Nov 1943

USS Harding (DD-91)

Struck off 1936

USS Gridley (DD-92)

Struck off 1937

USS Fairfax (DD-93)

To RN as HMS Richmond

USS Taylor (DD-94)

Struck off 1938

USS Bell (DD-95)

Struck off 1937

USS Stribling (DD-96)

DM-1, struck off 1936

USS Murray (DD-97)

DM-2, struck off 1936

USS Israel (DD-98)

DM-3, struck off 1937

USS Luce (DD-99)

DM-4, struck off 1936

USS Maury (DD-100)

DM-5, struck off 1930

USS Lansdale (DD-101)

DM-6, struck off 1937

USS Mahan (DD-102)

DM-7, struck off 1930

USS Schley (DD-103)

APD-14, struck off 1945

USS Champlin (DD-104)

Struck off 1936

USS Mugford (DD-105)

Struck off 1936

USS Chew (DD-106)

Struck off 1945

USS Hazelwood (DD-107)

Struck off 1935

USS Williams (DD-108)

To RN as HMS St. Clair

USS Crane (DD-109)

Struck off 1945

USS Hart (DD-110)

DM-8, struck off 1931

USS Ingraham (DD-111)

DM-9, struck off 1936

USS Ludlow (DD-112)

DM-10, struck off 1930

USS Rathburne (DD-113)

APD-25, struck off 1945

USS Talbot (DD-114)

APD-7, struck off 1945

USS Waters (DD-115)

APD-8, struck off 1945

USS  Dent (DD-116)

APD-9, struck off 1946

USS Dorsey (DD-117)

DMS-1, grounded Oct 1945

USS Lea (DD-118)

Struck off 1945

USS Lamberton (DD-119)

AG-21, DMS-2, struck off 1947

USS Radford (DD-120)

Struck off 1936

USS Montgomery (DD-121)

DM-17, damaged by mine 1944, struck off 1945

USS Breese (DD-122)

DM-18, sold 1946

USS Gamble (DD-123)

DM-15, damaged 1945, scuttled 1945

USS Ramsay (DD-124)

DM-16, AG-98, struck off 1945

USS Tattnall (DD-125)

APD-19, struck off 1946

USS Badger (DD-126)

Struck off 1945

USS Twiggs (DD-127)

To RN as HMS Leamington

USS Babbitt (DD-128)

AG-102, struck off 1946

USS DeLong (DD-129)

Grounded 1921, struck off 1922

USS Jacob Jones (DD-130)

Sunk by torpedo 1942

USS Buchanan (DD-131)

To RN as HMS Campbeltown

USS Aaron Ward (DD-132)

To RN as HMS Castleton

USS Hale (DD-133)

To RN as HMS Caldwell

USS Crowninshield (DD-134)

To RN as HMS Chelsea

USS Tillman (DD-135)

To RN as HMS Wells

USS Boggs (DD-136)

IX-36, AG-19, DMS-3, sold 1945

USS Kilty (DD-137)

IX-37, APD-15, struck off 1945

USS Kennison (DD-138)

AG-83, struck off 1945

USS Ward (DD-139)

APD-16, sunk by kamikaze 7 Dec 1944

USS Claxton (DD-140)

To RN as HMS Salisbury

USS Hamilton (DD-141)

DMS-18, AG-111, struck off 1945

USS Tarbell (DD-142)

Struck off 1945

USS Yarnall (DD-143)

To RN as HMS Lincoln

USS Upshur (DD-144)

AG-103, struck off 1945

USS Greer (DD-145)

Struck off 1945

USS Elliot (DD-146)

DMS-4, AG-104, struck off 1945

USS Roper (DD-147)

APD-20, struck off 1945

USS Breckinridge (DD-148)

AG-112, struck off 1945

USS Barney (DD-149)

AG-113, struck off 1945

USS Blakeley (DD-150)

Struck off 1945

USS Biddle (DD-151)

AG-114, struck off 1945

USS Du Pont (DD-152)

AG-80, struck off 1946

USS Bernadou (DD-153)

Struck off 1945

USS Ellis (DD-154)

AG-15, struck off 1945

USS Cole (DD-155)

AG-116, struck off 1945

USS J. Fred Talbott (DD-156)

AG-91, struck off 1946

USS Dickerson (DD-157)

APD-21, damaged by kamikaze 2 April 1945, scuttled

USS Leary (DD-158)

Sunk by torpedo 24 Dec 1943

USS Schenck (DD-159)

AG-8, struck off 1945

USS Herbert (DD-160)

APD-22, struck off 1945

USS Palmer (DD-161)

DMS-5, sunk by torpedo 1945

USS Thatcher (DD-162)

To RCN as HMCS Niagara

USS Walker (DD-163)

Struck off 1938

USS Crosby (DD-164)

APD-17, struck off 1945

USS Meredith (DD-165)

Struck off 1936

USS Bush (DD-166)

Struck off 1936

USS Cowell (DD-167)

To RN as HMS Brighton

USS Maddox (DD-168)

To RN as HMS Georgetown

USS Foote (DD-169)

To RN as HMS Roxborough

USS Kalk (DD-170)

To RN as HMS Hamilton

USS Burns (DD-171)

DM-11, sold 1932

USS Anthony (DD-172)

DM-12, struck off 1936

USS Sproston (DD-173)

DM-13, struck off 1936

USS Rizal (DD-174)

DM-14, struck off 1931

USS Mackenzie (DD-175)

To RCN as HMCS Annapolis

USS Renshaw (DD-176)

Struck off 1936

USS O'Bannon (DD-177)

Struck off 1936

USS Hogan (DD-178)

DMS-6, AG-105, struck off 1945

USS Howard (DD-179)

DMS-7, AG-106, struck off 1945

USS Stansbury (DD-180)

DMS-8, AG-107, struck off 1946

USS Hopewell (DD-181)

To RN as HMS Bath

USS Thomas (DD-182)

To RN as HMS St. Albans

USS Haraden (DD-183)

To RCN as HMCS Columbia

USS Abbot (DD-184)

To RN as HMS Charleston

USS Bagley (DD-185)

Doran, 1939, to RN as HMS St Mary

AG - Auxiliary, General
APD - Troop Transport, High Speed
DM - Light Minelayer
DMS - High Speed Minesweeper
IX - Unclassified Misc

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 January 2017), Wickes Class Destroyers , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_wickes_class_destroyers.html

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