"Destroyer minesweeper" was a designation given by the United States Navy to a series of destroyers that were converted into high-speed ocean-going minesweepers for service during World War II. The hull classification symbol for this type of ship was "DMS." Forty-two ships were so converted, beginning with USS Dorsey (DD-117), converted to DMS-1 in late 1940, and ending with USS Earle (DD-635), converted to DMS-42 in mid 1945. The type is now obsolete, its function having been taken over by purpose-built ships, designated as "minesweeper (high-speed)" with the hull classification symbol MMD.
The original ships were obsolete four-stack destroyers built during and after World War I with usable power plants; they were nicknamed "four-pipers" on account of having the four stacks. The number 4 boiler, fourth stack, and torpedo tubes were removed, depth charge racks repositioned forward from the stern and angled outboard, and the stern modified to support sweep gear: davits, winch, paravanes, and kites. Two 60-kilowatt turbo-generators replaced the three original 25-kilowatt generators to improve capability for sweeping magnetic and acoustic mines.
Conversion of the initial seventeen ships was completed in October and November of 1940, and included eight Wickes-class and nine Clemson-class destroyers. An additional Wickes-class destroyer was converted in 1941. The 24 later ships in the series were Gleaves-class destroyers built during the war.
The fictional USS Caine, DMS-22 , from Herman Wouk's novel The Caine Mutiny, is sketched within the novel itself. Although showing only two smokestacks, the sketch illustrates a flush deck and a galley deckhouse similar to the converted Wickes Class destroyer/minesweepers which actually had three smokestacks.
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