USS Kearny (DD-432)

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Kearny after she had been torpedoed by German submarine U-568.
Kearny at Reykjavík, Iceland, two days after she had been torpedoed by a U-boat. USS Monssen is alongside. Note the torpedo hole in Kearny's starboard side.
Career
Builder: Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
Launched: 9 March 1940
Commissioned: 13 September 1940
Decommissioned: 7 March 1946
Struck: 1 June 1971
Fate: Sold for scrap, 6 October 1972
General characteristics
Class & type: Gleaves-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,630 tons
Length: 348 ft 3 in (106.15 m)
Beam:   36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)
Draft:   11 ft 10 in (3.61 m)
Propulsion: 50,000 shp (37 MW);
4 boilers;
2 propellers
Speed: 37.4 knots (69 km/h)
Range: 6,500 nautical miles at 12 kt
  (12,000 km at 22 km/h)
Complement: 16 officers, 260 enlisted
Armament:   5 × 5 in (127 mm) DP guns,
  6 × 0.5 in. (12.7 mm) guns,
  6 × 20 mm AA guns,
10 × 21 in (53 cm) torpedo tubes,
  2 × depth charge tracks

USS Kearny (DD-432), a Benson-Livermore-class destroyer, was a United States Navy ship named for Commodore Lawrence Kearny, who was known for his tenacity in capturing slave traders in West-Indian waters and his tireless efforts in fighting Greek pirates in the Mediterranean.

Early history[edit]

Kearny was launched 9 March 1940 by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey; sponsored by Miss Mary Kearny; and commissioned on 13 September 1940, Commander Anthony L. Danis in command.

After shakedown and sea trials, Kearny got underway 19 February 1941 from New York Harbor for St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, where she took part in the Neutrality Patrol off Fort de France, Martinique, French West Indies, until 9 March. The new destroyer patrolled around San Juan, Puerto Rico, and escorted ships in the Norfolk area until August when she sailed for NS Argentia, Newfoundland, to escort North Atlantic convoys.

Convoys escorted[edit]

Convoy Escort Group Dates Notes
HX 151 24 Sept-1 Oct 1941[1] from Newfoundland to Iceland prior to US declaration of war
ON 24 13-14 Oct 1941[2] from Iceland to Newfoundland prior to US declaration of war
SC 48 16-17 Oct 1941[3] battle reinforcement prior to US declaration of war; torpedoed by U-568
AT 18 6-17 Aug 1942[4] troopships from New York City to Firth of Clyde

Kearny incident[edit]

While Kearny was docked at U.S.-occupied Reykjavík before the America's formal entry into World War II, she was summoned with three other U.S. destroyers to assist a beleaguered convoy whose Canadian escorts were being overwhelmed. A U-boat wolfpack was tearing the convoy apart. Kearny immediately began dropping depth charges on the German U-boats and continued to barrage throughout the night. (This attack was specifically cited as a provocation in Hitler's declaration of war on the U.S. two months later.[5]) At the beginning of the midwatch 17 October, a torpedo fired by U-568 struck Kearny on the starboard side. The crew confined flooding to the forward fire room, enabling the ship to get out of the danger zone with power from the aft engine and fire room. Regaining power in the forward engine room, Kearny steamed to Iceland at 10 knots (20 km/h), arriving 19 October. Kearny lost 11 men, and 22 others were injured in this attack. After temporary repairs Kearny got underway Christmas Day 1941, and moored six days later at Boston, Massachusetts, for permanent repairs.

The survival of Kearny led to renewed support for split fire rooms and engine rooms in military craft.[6]

Later history[edit]

From 5 April to 28 September 1942, Kearny was busy escorting convoys to the British Isles, Panama Canal, and Galveston, Texas. Late in September, she sailed to act as a fire support unit in the North African invasion. There she screened USS Texas (BB-35) and USS Savannah (CL-42) on fire support missions, shot down an enemy plane, and escorted troop ships to Safi, French Morocco. Kearny departed the invasion theater and escorted a convoy back to New York, arriving 3 December 1942.

Kearny escorted ships to Port of Spain, Trinidad; Recife, Brazil; and Casablanca until 15 November 1943, then joined the hunter-killer task group based on the escort carrier Core (CVE-13) on 25 November. During the day of 1 January 1944, in coordination with antisubmarine planes from Core, Kearny fired a depth charge attack on a submarine resulting in a large oil slick, she returned to New York 18 January.

Next month Kearny joined the U.S. 8th Fleet in French Algeria. She reported to USS Brooklyn (CL-40) on 10 March for duty in Italy, where both warships engaged in supplying fire support for the U.S. 5th Army. Due to their daily fire-support trips to the Anzio beachhead area, the warships became known as the "Anzio Express." They later were commended by the Fifth Army commander, General Mark W. Clark, for this fire support.[7]

Kearny was detached from the group the beginning of June and steamed to Anzio alone to give Allied troops their last naval fire support prior to their breakthrough and capture of Rome. The veteran destroyer saw more convoy duty before sailing for the invasion of Southern France.

Kearny was inner fire support ship for Red Beach, Cavalaire Bay, France, and rendered counter-battery fire and pre-H-hour bombardment. She screened heavy fire support ships; laid smoke screens off Toulon; and, on 19 August 1944, began two months of duty screening transports carrying troops between Naples and southern France.

Afterward, Kearny made several cross-Atlantic voyages from New York to Oran. On 6 August 1945, Kearny transited the Panama Canal for duty in the Pacific, arriving at Pearl Harbor late in August after hostilities had ended. She escorted a transport squadron carrying occupation troops to Japan via Saipan, arriving at Wakayama, Japan, 27 September. During the next month Kearny made voyages to Philippine Islands and Okinawa before returning to Japan in October. She sailed from Wakayama, Japan, 29 October 1945 for home via Pearl Harbor, San Diego, and the Panama Canal, arriving Charleston, South Carolina, 5 December 1945. She decommissioned there 7 March 1946, and went into reserve. Kearny was subsequently moved to Orange, Texas. The ship was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 June 1971, sold 6 October 1972, and broken up for scrap.

Awards[edit]

Kearny received three battle stars for service in World War II.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

  1. ^ "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  2. ^ "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  3. ^ "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  4. ^ "AT convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  5. ^ http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v08/v08p389_Hitler.html
  6. ^ U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  7. ^ "Tin Can Sailors - The National Association of Destroyer Veterans". Destroyers.org. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 

External links[edit]