Farragut-class destroyer (1934)
USS Farragut (DD-348)
|Builders:||Fore River Shipyard
Bath Iron Works
Brooklyn Navy Yard
Boston Navy Yard
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
|Preceded by:||Clemson class|
|Succeeded by:||Porter class|
|Length:||341 ft 3 in (104.01 m)|
|Beam:||34 ft 3 in (10.44 m)|
|Draught:||16 ft 2 in (4.93 m)|
2 Curtis geared steam turbines
42,800 hp (31,900 kW)
|Speed:||37 knots (69 km/h)|
|Complement:||160 officers and enlisted|
Following the provisions of the London Naval Treaty of 1930, the ships were laid down between 1932 and completed by 1935. After more than 14 years since the last of the previous class of American destroyers (the Clemson-class) was commissioned, the Farragut's were commissioned in 1934 and 1935.
These ships were slightly larger than their predecessors, faster, and they had only two stacks, versus the four stacks common to all the earlier classes. The class was the first of six classes of 1,500-ton destroyers built in the 1930s to modernize the United States Navy, and all eight Farraguts saw extensive front-line service during World War II.
The list of desired improvements compiled from the operational expericence of the earlier Wickes and Clemson classes was both long and comprehensive. Both classes had pointed sterns that deeply dug into the water, greatly increasing turning diameter. This was addressed with the flat stern design of the Farragut class. The previous classes were flush deck designs; while providing good hull strength, this proved to be wet in high seas. This was addressed with the raised forecastle employed on the Farragut class. Cruising range on both the Wickes and Clemson classes had been a constant affliction of commanders; the Clemson's had been built with wing tanks giving better range, but at the cost of having high mounted fuel oil on both sides—a decidedly-vulnerable feature in a ship without an armored belt such as a destroyer. The Farragut class corrected this range deficiency by having a design range of 5,800 nautical miles (10,700 km) as opposed to the Clemson's 4,900 nautical miles (9,100 km). Steady improvements to both boilers and steam turbines in the years intervening between the Clemson and Farragut designs allowed greater speed and a reduction from 4 to 2 smoke stacks.
The success of the efforts become clear with the testimony of Admiral Land, who was then the head of the Bureau of Construction and Repair to the General Board, comparing the Farragut class to the Wickes and Clemson classes. Those advantages were:
- The Farragut class was 3.3 knots faster.
- The class had double the GM height (resulting in greater stability).
- They had 25% more armament—5 main guns rather than 4—and about 35% greater firepower, mounting 5 in (127.0 mm)/38cal guns (Mark 12) as opposed to the 4 in (102 mm)/50 caliber gun (Mark 9) mounted on most previous destroyers.
- All 8 torpedo tubes were on the preferred centerline position.
- The guns were fed by power hoist from the magazines.
- Being high-freeboard vessels, sea-keeping was much improved over the flush deckers that preceded it.
- The radius of action increased by 450 nautical miles (830 km).
This had all been accomplished on a displacement rise of only 22%.
- As Built: These were the first US destroyers with a dual-purpose main armament. They received five of the then-new 5 in (127.0 mm)/38cal gun (Mark 12), installed in Mark 21 dual-purpose single mounts. The forward two mounts (numberered 51 and 52) were partially enclosed in un-armored gunhouses. (see picture) The midships mount (No 53) and the after two mounts (numbers 54 and 55) were open. Unlike subsequent five-gun US destroyers, mount 53 was immediately aft of the stacks. Just aft of mount 53 were two trainable torpedo tube 'quad-mounts' (with four 21" (533mm) tubes on each mount), one abaft the other. On the 01 deck, aft of mount 52, there were two single .50 cal (12.7mm) machine gun (MG) mounts next to the port and starboard rails. Two more .50 cal MGs were on the main deck, midships.
- c 1943: Due to the need for greater anti-aircraft (AA) protection that emerged in World War II, the .50 cal MGs and Mount 53 were replaced by 20 mm and 40 mm AA weapons. The type and quantity varied from ship to ship depending on when and where they were refitted. Also, roll-off depth charge racks were added to the stern.
All ships were present at the attack on Pearl Harbor. Worden ran aground in Alaskan waters in 1943. Hull and Monaghan were lost in Typhoon Cobra in December 1944. The remaining five ships survived World War II; they were fated to be broken up for scrap shortly after the end of the war.
Ships in class
- USS Farragut (DD-348)
- USS Dewey (DD-349)
- USS Hull (DD-350)
- USS Macdonough (DD-351)
- USS Worden (DD-352)
- USS Dale (DD-353)
- USS Monaghan (DD-354)
- USS Aylwin (DD-355)
- Friedman, p.46
- Friedman, p.44
- Friedman p.81
Media related to Farragut class destroyers (1934) at Wikimedia Commons
U.S. destroyers: an illustrated design history By Norman Friedman