History Podcasts

US Destroyer Starting with A - History

US Destroyer Starting with A - History

USN Ship Designations

Warships in the United States Navy were first designated and numbered in a system originating in 1895. Under this system, ships were designated as "Battleship X", "Cruiser X", "Destroyer X", "Torpedo Boat X" and so forth where X was the series hull number as authorized by the US Congress. These designations were usually abbreviated as "B-X", "C-X", "D-X", "TB-X," etc. This system became cumbersome by 1920, as many new ship types had been developed during World War I that needed new categories assigned, especially in the Auxiliary ship area.

To rectify this problem, on 17 July 1920, Acting Secretary of the Navy Robert E. Coontz issued General Order No. 521, "Standard Nomenclature for Naval Vessels." This document created a standardized system of alpha-numeric symbols to identify ship types such that all ships were now designated with a two letter code and a hull number, with the first letter being the ship type and the second letter being the sub-type. For example, the destroyer tender USS Melville, first commissioned as "Destroyer Tender No. 2" in 1915, was now re-designated as "AD-2" with the "A" standing for Auxiliary, the "D" for Destroyer (Tender) and the "2" meaning the second ship in that series. Ship types that did not have a sub-classification simply repeated the first letter. This meant that Battleships became "BB-X" and Destroyers became "DD-X" with X being the same number as previously assigned. Ships that changed classifications were given new hull numbers within their new designation series.

The Navy has updated these designations many times over the past century with the most recent (as of 2019) being "Classification of Naval Ships and Craft, SECNAVINST 5030.8C" which was issued in 2016. See below for copies of both the 1920 and the 2016 documents.

The designation "USS" standing for "United States Ship" was adopted in 1909. Prior to that time, no designation was used in official documents. New-construction ships not yet in commission do not use "USS" and are instead prefixed with "PCU" which stands for "Pre-Commissioning Unit." Ships that are out of commission also do not use "USS" and are properly referenced only by their names.

It should be noted that in the United States Navy, unlike European Navies, the first ship in a class to be authorized by the US Congress is the designated class leader (class name ship), regardless of the order in which the ships of that class are laid down, launched or commissioned. For example, contrary to many European texts, for the last class of "Standard" battleships, the battleship USS Colorado BB-45 (commissioned 30 August 1923) is the class leader under USN designation standards, not USS Maryland BB-46 (commissioned 21 July 1921). These battleships are thus properly designated as being "USS Colorado BB-45 Class" and not as "USS Maryland BB-46 Class."

Please note that the listings below include many designations that are no longer in use by the current-day US Navy and that others were proposed designations not actually used or were intended for ships that were never built. Red italicized designations are for those ships actually in commission or currently under construction as of the present time (2019).

US Navy USS Paul Ignatius guided missile destroyer successfully intercepts ballistic targets with SM-3 missiles

According to information published by NATO on June 1, 2021, the U.S. Navy USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) guided missile destroyer has successfully intercept ballistic targets firing two Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) during the International Naval Exercise At-Sea-Demo/Formidable Shield 2021.
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- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) successfully fired a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor to engage a ballistic missile target during exercise At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield, May 26, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan T. Beard/Released)

The ability to launch, track and intercept missiles is key to improved defensive capability, capacity and ultimately deterrence against an ever-advancing missile threat. Ballistic missile launches are not only complex to track but require precision engineering to consummate engagements. The intercepts are kinetic, effectively hitting a bullet with a bullet at hypersonic speed in space. Maintaining the capability within the Alliance requires being able to track and share fire control quality data across multiple partners, domains, and data networks.

The At-Sea Demonstration within At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 21 originates from the partnership with the Maritime Theater Missile Defence Forum (MTMD-F). MTMD-F activities are important enablers of NATO Ballistic Missile Defence. The Forum is a global partnership focused on coalition capability and interoperability for Maritime Integrated Air and Missile Defence.

Bringing together ships, aircraft, ground assets and deployed staff from ten nations, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, allows participants to learn from each other and strengthen relationships with Allies and Partners in the region.

The USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) is a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in service with the United States Navy. She was launched in November 2016 and commissioned in July 2019. The U.S. Navy began procuring Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers, also known as Aegis destroyers, in FY 1985 (FY for Fiscal Year), and a total of 87 have been procured through FY 2021, including 2 in 2021. Guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW).

The "Flight IIA Arleigh Burke" ships have several new features, beginning with USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79). Among the changes is the addition of two hangars for antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopters, and a new, longer 5-inch/62-caliber (127 mm) Mark 45 Mod 4 naval gun (installed onto USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) and later ships). Later Flight IIA ships starting with USS Mustin (DDG-89) have a modified funnel design that buries the funnels within the superstructure as a signature-reduction measure.

The USS Paul Ignatius is armed with 1 × 32 cell, 1 × 64 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems, 96 × RIM-66 SM-2/SM-3 surface-to-air missile, BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missileor RUM-139 VL-Asroc anti-submarine missile, one 5 in (130 mm)/62 naval gun, two 25 mm Mk 38 automatic cannons, four .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns, two Mk 46 triple torpedo tubes and one 20mm Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System)

The RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) is a ship-based surface-to-air missile system used by the United States Navy to intercept short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles as a part of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. The latest version of the SM-3 has an operational range from 900 to 1,200 km.

Scooting and shooting in Tunisia

Though some M3 GMCs resisted the Japanese invasion of The Philippines, tank-destroyer battalions first saw action in the deserts of North Africa starting in 1942.

Their most important engagement pitted the M3s of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion against the entire 10th Panzer Division in the battle of El Guettar in Tunisia early in the morning on March 23, 1943.

Deployed in defense of the 1st Infantry Division just behind the crest of Keddab ridge, the 601’st 31 gun-laden halftracks moved forward and potted off shots at the panzers as they rolled down Highway 15, then scooted back and found new firing positions. They were bolstered only by divisional artillery and a minefield prepared by their engineers.

Two companies from the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion reinforced them at the last minute, one of them suffering heavy losses while approaching.

The panzers advanced within 100 meters of the 601st’s position before finally withdrawing, leaving 38 wrecked tanks behind. However, the 601st had lost 21 of its M3s and the 899th lost seven of its new M10 vehicles.

The heavy losses did not endear the tank-destroyers to Allied commanders. Gen. George Patton said the tank-destroyers had proved “unsuccessful.”

In fact, the battle of El Guettar marked the only occasion in which U.S. tank-destroyers were used in the manner intended — deployed as an entire battalion to stop a German armored breakthrough concentrated on a narrow front.

The German army remained largely on the defensive in the second half of World War II, and failed to achieve armored breakthroughs like those in Poland, France and Russia. As a result, the U.S. Army scaled back the number of tank-destroyer battalions to 106. Fifty-two deployed to the European theater and 10 to the Pacific.

Another problem was that tank-destroyer doctrine presupposed moving into ambush positions after the German tanks had already overrun defending infantry. In practice, nobody wanted to consign the infantry to such a fate, so tank-destroyers deployed closer to the front line for forward defense.

The first proper tank-destroyer was the M10 Wolverine, which featured the hull of the M4 Sherman tank and a new pentagonal turret. General Motors and Ford produced 6,400 M10s.

The Wolverine mounted a long-barrel high-velocity 76-millimeter gun thought to have good armor-piercing performance. However, it had less effective high-explosive shells for use against enemy infantry — at least, compared to the 75-millimeter shells fired by Sherman tanks.

Naturally, tank-destroyer units carried more armor-piercing shells than high explosive shells, while the reverse was true in tank units.

Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia all fielded tank-destroyer vehicles, as well. Some were simply anti-tank guns mounted on a lightly-armored chassis, such as the Marder and Su-76, while others were heavily-armored monstrosities with enormous guns, such as the Jagdpanther and the JSU-152.

None had turrets. These were seen as expensive luxuries unnecessary for the defensive anti-tank role. American doctrine envisioned a more active role, thus the turrets. However, the M10’s hand-cranked turret was so slow it took 80 seconds to complete a rotation.

While Sherman tanks had three machine guns, the M10 had just one pintle-mounted .50-caliber machine gun that could only be fired if the commander exposed himself over the turret. Movie star Audie Murphy won the Medal of Honor when he repelled a German assault near Colmar, France using the machine gun of a burning Wolverine.

The M10’s biggest deficit lay in armor protection. The Wolverine had an open-top turret, meaning the crew was exposed to shrapnel and small-arms fire from above. Its armor was also thinner overall than the Sherman’s was.

These shortcomings had their rationales. Even the heavier armor on a Sherman could be reliably penetrated by the long 75-millimeter guns of the standard German Panzer IV tank, let alone the more potent guns on German Panther and Tiger tanks.

Remembering Pearl Harbor: Interview with a Navy Survivor

The following interview is an excerpt from the oral history of Captain Douglas G. Phillips, USN (Retired), recorded in December 2010. Captain Phillips graduated from the New York State Merchant Marine Academy in 1937, and later obtained a commission with the U.S. Navy. His first Navy assignment was aboard USS Castor, and he later reported to the light minelayer (and former destroyer) USS Ramsay in Pearl Harbor on December 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack. The morning of December 7, Ramsay was at anchor and on the attack azimuth for Japanese planes aiming at the battleship USS Utah.

Captain Phillips retired from the Navy in 1965, and passed away in June 2011. The interview was conducted by Rear Admiral Oakley E. Osborn, USN (Retired). Those interested in the full transcript of the interview, which includes detailed information on his life in and out of the Navy, should contact the Naval Historical Foundation.

OAKLEY E. OSBORN: Doug, we are in Pearl Harbor. You’re in USS Ramsay and you reported on the 6 th of December, 1941. Let’s go into the next day and tell me what you were doing that morning if you remember.

An undated photo of Lieutenant Douglas Philips, USN. Courtesy of Rear Admiral Oakley E. Osborn, USN (Retired).

CAPT PHILLIPS: I remember very well what I was doing. It was my first day aboard. It was a beautiful sunny day. I was up and had breakfast – first one in the Wardroom. Then I was up on deck admiring the scenery and was pretty happy. Then in about three minutes I saw planes coming over and finally it dawned on me that those were Japanese planes, and they came very, very close to the Ramsay. They were lined up to torpedo the Utah. The Utah berth was one of their designated targets. A spy had sent a map to Tokyo showing the location of the ships in Pearl Harbor, so they had an exact spot for the carriers and battleships and other ships they decided to take out. In a matter of minutes after the attack started our running boat was coming back one of our whaleboats was coming back with some cargo. They later testified that they had been under fire by the planes that were going toward the Utah. Anyway, that boat got aboard. We had the Ready Duty starting at 0800 which meant we had the steam up. I was up on deck. I didn’t go in the engine room because it was a different plant altogether and I figured I’d be in the way and I thought I could do something on deck. I knew a little bit about what was going on. We had some 4-inch rapid fire guns that were installed on the galley deckhouse.

In the meantime the planes were successful in getting several torpedoes into the Utah and we watched there dumbfounded just a short distance away to see the Utah battleship roll over in a matter of minutes after the first attack. The Utah was an old battleship being used as a target vessel. They had planks or beams 8-by-8s or 7-by-7s, on deck and they would bomb it. The Navy bombers would practice on it. They could bomb it with inert bombs and that’s what it was used for primarily but it was configured as a battleship. The Japanese thought – we were told – that that was a carrier berth so that’s why they went after the old Utah. We watched in amazement as she rolled over right in front of us with men falling off, because as the ship rolled it wasn’t buttoned up at all. They didn’t have time to close watertight doors. As it rolled the crew couldn’t stand up after a little while. They were coming off the ship and these timbers that had not been attached to the deck started rolling off when the men were coming off. I understand why they had some casualties. That was the introduction. In the meantime, a midget submarine had gotten in. When they opened the harbor entrance gate for the early departure of a ship, one of the midget submarines sneaked in. The midget submarines there were several of them that were brought to the harbor entrance waters just previous without the U.S. knowing it. I think there were two men per submarine. The one that got inside Pearl Harbor came up near our anchorage and the Curtis threw a smoke bomb to mark where they last saw the periscope. By that time I went up on the galley deckhouse where there was a 4-inch gun on either side. I had earlier been a loader as an enlisted man so I knew a little bit about it. The Captain called back from the bridge and said, “Is that gun loaded”, because we had started to train up. He said, “Is that gun loaded?” I thought he said, “Load it.” I was in new whites. I grabbed a shell out of the case – all our ammunition was at the ready – and loaded it and got an enlisted man there and said, “Come on, get aboard here”. He sat in the other side and we trained around and depressed it to where we would fire at this target if we had to. Low and behold, right as we lined up our sights the Navy hospital was in the background so we knew enough not to try that shot. By that time we couldn’t see anything. The smoke pot had left a mark but we couldn’t be sure what we were shooting at. But the Captain just said, “Is that gun loaded”? All I heard was, “Load”, and I did it.

Later, we got orders to get underway and we went out on a couple of different missions. One was to steam back and forth with another ship toward the entrance where we would set up enough underway noise to keep the Japanese from laying torpedoes in the entranceway where you have to slow down and it would be an easy target. We had that duty for several hours and then they got someone else to do that. For the next several days, until the following Wednesday we went out on what we called “Witch Hunts”. We steamed Darken Ship and had ammunition at the ready. We were under condition watches – every gun wasn’t manned at that time – and we went out on these “Witch Hunts” to the other islands, among other places. Then on the following Wednesday we came back in and we were horrified at the destruction. During the attack we had been on the opposite side of Ford Island from the battleships so we didn’t see the damage going out. We were intent on going out because one Japanese plane flew right over us. If he had found us in the channel or sunk us there we would have fouled up the channel. Anyway, we got out okay. We did the sound business for a while and then went on these “Witch Hunts”. During those patrols we dropped a number of depth charges. We had a crude sound detection system which would show deflection on a meter if there was any kind of an on anomaly. When we got a good contact we assumed it was a submarine and let go with the depth charges. The following Wednesday when we came back in we saw the amount of damage. Everybody was very gun shy. Not many of us went ashore.

OEO: Do you remember about how long the attack was going on?

CAPT PHILLIPS: Yes, it went on for a little over an hour and then they came with the second wave. So it was all over by 10 o’clock they were all on their way back to their carrier groups to the North.

OEO: What do you remember about that two hour period? What was happening on your ship?

CAPT PHILLIPS: We first put the other boiler on the line so that we had two boilers. And we stood by weapons. We had machine guns in the foredeck in the main deck space where you go off and on the ship. We had two machine guns there and they fired at the torpedo bombers that took out the Utah. Mostly we wanted to get moving, “What are we waiting for? We’re ready to go.” Finally, about the time it ended – it was still going on briefly as we got underway – we got a glimpse of the other side of Ford Island at that time. The two hours goes in a hurry when you’re running around doing things and so on. Anyway, we did that high speed sweep thing, running up and down either side of the ship channel just making noise to interfere with submarine listening devices.

OEO: What was your impression of your skipper’s performance during these two hours?

CAPT PHILLIPS: Very good. Lieutenant Commander Gelzer Sims. He and the Exec conferred about what to do. He was a real leader, a gentleman of the old school. He later commanded the USS Maury at Midway and was a Navy Cross winner.

OEO: Were there any outstanding things with the rest of the crew that come to mind?

CAPT PHILLIPS: We were still at battle stations all that time because it kind of diminished but then it picked up again after the first hour. We were on battle stations, which was ready to man any and all guns we had which weren’t very many. After we’d fired extensively on the planes going for the Utah it was pretty quiet. Most of the planes we saw were too high for us to handle and neither of the bigger guns were for anti-aircraft. They were surface guns. Under a situation like that the time goes quickly. We were just standing by saying, “Why don’t they give us orders? Why don’t they give us orders?” We were ready to go. By that time there was no question about what was going on in the Pearl Harbor area. As it quieted down the Exec came down the deck and I saluted and said, “Sir, I’m a Reserve officer. I volunteered for active duty a little over a year ago. I’m ready to go home now”. I was being a wise guy of course. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “No, we’d like to have you stick around for a little bit.”

The Captain told a story after we settled down and went back in port. He said he met an old admiral friend and the admiral said to him, “Well Captain, how many Jap subs have you sunk out there”, and he said, “Admiral, we made some attacks. Some were pretty good, others we couldn’t tell. I can’t honestly say that we sunk any.” The admiral said, “Let me shake your hand. You are the first honest destroyer skipper I’ve met since this damn war has started.” That is what a lot of ships did. It was easy to do. You make an attack and think its good but a lot of them weren’t. So we operated that way. We went over to one of the other islands and patrolled in there mostly looking for Jap submarines because at that time we didn’t know how many were loose in there. We operated in and around Pearl Harbor for several weeks.

After the first of the year, we got orders to Pago Pago, Samoa. We were with another ship plus the hospital ship, so we were in a convoy of three ships. We got a good contact en route but it went away and we never had a chance to drop depth charges. At Pago Pago they sent a working party ashore up into the jungle where there were a whole bunch of mines stored World War I vintage mines. We had to get a truck and haul them down and set them up because we were going to lay mines. They had been stored away for just such an emergency I guess. We mined American Samoa and then we had enough to drop some mines over on British Samoa. Finally, we went further west and spent a lot of time in Suva. In Fiji there is a nice port but Suva has a wonderful natural anchorage just a few miles from Suva Proper. That was going to be the fleet anchorage, and we were going to mine that. We did drop some mines in the channels near Suva but they cancelled the mining operation for the area that was going to be the future anchorage because the war was moving forward. We moved on to Efate in the New Hebrides Islands, and laid a few mines there and then that was all of them. Later in the year, in the summer, we came back to Pearl and not long after, got orders to the Aleutians.

OEO: Stepping back, when you went back into Pearl after a few days of maneuvers outside the channel you then went over and anchored on the side of Ford Island where the battleships were. What could you see from that position?

CAPT PHILLIPS: Not too much because the island was in between us but we knew some of the ships were still burning. There was some smoke coming up. We didn’t see the whole thing. We saw a good view of it as we came in the harbor and hung a left to go to Middle Lock. We saw enough to know that the battleships had rolled over. Our flagship the Ogallala, had sunk and it was alongside another ship. The torpedo wound up sinking the Ogallala which was the Minecraft Battle Force flagship. She was on her side. Coming back in the devastation was all there for everybody to see.

OEO: Any more on Pearl Harbor on December 7 th ?

CAPT PHILLIPS: The real aftermath story of Pearl Harbor was the salvage work. They did one heck of a job getting those ships together and pumped out. They had a lot of good divers all ready to go and they had the equipment. That is one of the best stories of World War II, the rapidity of getting things back together. The Japanese really screwed up. There are two tank farms on the edge of Pearl. They didn’t bother them. And there was an ammunition depot. If you come in the harbor you hang a left and that’s West Lock. You go there and unload your ammo if you’re going in for ship’s overhaul. We were lucky being at a mooring but the other four ships in our division were in for an overhaul and they lost men because the Navy Yard and all that area was bombed. We were the lucky ones. We saw those planes come down to sink the Utah. From then on they were high and we were using machine guns. Someone gave me a BAR (Browning automatic rifle) but I didn’t know how to work it. The problem with our guns they weren’t for airplanes, they were for surface shooting. Shooting at an airplane flying by with a machine gun is kind of difficult. Anyway, we avoided any casualties where we were. They were busy at other places. The Japs should have been after the tank farms and the ammunition depot.

On one of the Pearl Harbor anniversary trips I was on a bus with Pearl Harbor survivors and authors of various books and historians as well as several Japanese aviators that flew on December 7 th . One of the Japanese had his wife and daughter and her daughter’s husband. I had earlier purchased a large Japanese flag and had pictures of the flag with me. I went to the daughter of this pilot, because he didn’t speak any English, and told her my story and showed her the pictures and they told me what the flag was. It has a lot of names on it for one thing and it’s also got some brown spots. It is silk and in good shape. They said when a guy was going off to war they would have a party for him and they would all sign the Japanese flag. They would sign all their names and wish him well and then he would wear it on his person.

OEO: Are there any other recollections about December 7, 1941 and Pearl Harbor?

CAPT PHILLIPS: Oh, there were a lot of stories going around. One comes to mind. The Officer of the Deck, when the attack started, sounded General Quarters and the Captain came up on deck and said, “Who sounded General Quarters?” The OOD said, “I did Sir.” And Captain said, “I’m the only one that gives the order to General Quarters”. And the kid said, “Yes Sir. But those are Japanese planes. And Sir, I have to go to my battle station.” The Captain didn’t know there was an attack. That is the kind of thing that went on because naturally there was a lot of confusion.

USS RAMSAY (DD 124, prior to being reclassified as DM 16) underway in the 1930’s during war games. NHHC image NH 101654.

The US Army’s World War II Tank-Destroyers: Waste of Time or Wonder Weapon?

Maybe one of the most curiously successful failures in U.S. military history.

During the 1940s, the U.S. Army developed a special weapon to counter the tanks of the German Wehrmacht. Most of these vehicles had the hull of a Sherman tank and a turret with a long-barrel cannon.

But don’t dare call them tanks. These were tank-destroyers.

After the war, the U.S. Army concluded tank destroyers were a waste of time. Official histories excoriated the failure of the program.

But a look at historical records shows that tank destroyers actually did their job well.

The tank-destroyer force was the Army’s response to the wild successes of German armor in Poland and France in 1939 and 1940. Panzer divisions would concentrate more than a hundred tanks on a narrow front, overwhelming the local anti-tank weapons of defending troops and rolling deep into enemy lines.

In 1941, the Army concluded that it needed mobile anti-tank units to intercept and defeat German armored spearheads. Towed anti-tank guns took too long to deploy on the move and it was difficult to guess where the enemy would concentrate for an attack. Instead, self-propelled anti-tank battalions would wait behind friendly lines.

When the German armor inevitably broke through the infantry, the battalions would deploy en masse to ambush the advancing tank columns.

The Army didn’t intend for its own tanks to specialize in defending against enemy panzers. The new armor branch wanted to focus on the same kind of bold armored attacks the Germans were famous for.

The Army tested the concept out in war games at Louisiana in September 1941. Tank-destroyers performed extremely well against tanks — perhaps because, as the armor branch alleged, the “umpire rules” were unfairly tilted in their favor. Tanks could only take out anti-tank units by overrunning them, rather than with direct fire.

With the support of the Army’s chief of training and doctrine Lt. Gen. Leslie McNair, tank-destroyers became their own branch in the army, just like armor and artillery already were. A tank-destroyer center began training units at Fort Hood, Texas. Fifty-three battalions of 842 men each initially mobilized, with plans to grow the force to 220 battalions.

Each battalion had 36 tank-destroyers divided into three companies, as well as a reconnaissance company of jeeps and armored scout cars to help ferret out the disposition of enemy armor so that the battalions could move into position. The recon company also had an engineer platoon to deal with obstacles and to lay mines.

The first tank-destroyer units made do with hastily improvised vehicles. The M6 was basically an outdated 37-millimeter anti-tank gun mounted on a three-quarter-ton truck.

The M3 Gun Motor Carriage, or GMC, was an overloaded M3 halftrack — a vehicle with wheels in the front and tracks in the rear — toting a French 75-millimeter howitzer on top. Both types were lightly armored and lacked turrets.

Scooting and Shooting in Tunisia:

Though some M3 GMCs resisted the Japanese invasion of The Philippines, tank-destroyer battalions first saw action in the deserts of North Africa starting in 1942.

Their most important engagement pitted the M3s of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion against the entire 10th Panzer Division in the battle of El Guettar in Tunisia early in the morning on March 23, 1943.

Deployed in defense of the 1st Infantry Division just behind the crest of Keddab ridge, the 601’st 31 gun-laden halftracks moved forward and potted off shots at the panzers as they rolled down Highway 15, then scooted back and found new firing positions. They were bolstered only by divisional artillery and a minefield prepared by their engineers.

Two companies from the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion reinforced them at the last minute, one of them suffering heavy losses while approaching.

The panzers advanced within 100 meters of the 601st’s position before finally withdrawing, leaving 38 wrecked tanks behind. However, the 601st had lost 21 of its M3s and the 899th lost seven of its new M10 vehicles.

The heavy losses did not endear the tank-destroyers to Allied commanders. Gen. George Patton said the tank-destroyers had proved “unsuccessful.”

In fact, the battle of El Guettar marked the only occasion in which U.S. tank-destroyers were used in the manner intended — deployed as an entire battalion to stop a German armored breakthrough concentrated on a narrow front.

The German army remained largely on the defensive in the second half of World War II, and failed to achieve armored breakthroughs like those in Poland, France and Russia. As a result, the U.S. Army scaled back the number of tank-destroyer battalions to 106. Fifty-two deployed to the European theater and 10 to the Pacific.

Another problem was that tank-destroyer doctrine presupposed moving into ambush positions after the German tanks had already overrun defending infantry. In practice, nobody wanted to consign the infantry to such a fate, so tank-destroyers deployed closer to the front line for forward defense.

The first proper tank-destroyer was the M10 Wolverine, which featured the hull of the M4 Sherman tank and a new pentagonal turret. General Motors and Ford produced 6,400 M10s.

The Wolverine mounted a long-barrel high-velocity 76-millimeter gun thoughtto have good armor-piercing performance. However, it had less effective high-explosive shells for use against enemy infantry — at least, compared to the 75-millimeter shells fired by Sherman tanks.

Naturally, tank-destroyer units carried more armor-piercing shells than high explosive shells, while the reverse was true in tank units.

Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia all fielded tank-destroyer vehicles, as well. Some were simply anti-tank guns mounted on a lightly-armored chassis, such as the Marder and Su-76, while others were heavily-armored monstrosities with enormous guns, such as the Jagdpanther and the JSU-152.

None had turrets. These were seen as expensive luxuries unnecessary for the defensive anti-tank role. American doctrine envisioned a more active role, thus the turrets. However, the M10’s hand-cranked turret was so slow it took 80 seconds to complete a rotation.

While Sherman tanks had three machine guns, the M10 had just one pintle-mounted .50-caliber machine gun that could only be fired if the commander exposed himself over the turret. Movie star Audie Murphy won the Medal of Honor when he repelled a German assault near Colmar, France using the machine gun of a burning Wolverine.

The M10’s biggest deficit lay in armor protection. The Wolverine had an open-top turret, meaning the crew was exposed to shrapnel and small-arms fire from above. Its armor was also thinner overall than the Sherman’s was.

These shortcomings had their rationales. Even the heavier armor on a Sherman could be reliably penetrated by the long 75-millimeter guns of the standard German Panzer IV tank, let alone the more potent guns on German Panther and Tiger tanks.

Therefore, the Wolverine’s inferior protection made little difference against those vehicles. It did leave the M10 more vulnerable than the Sherman to lighter anti-tank weapons, but these were no longer very common.

Likewise, the M10’s open top gave the crew a better chance of spotting the enemy tanks first — usually the factor determining the winner of armor engagements. It would rarely be a weakness when only fighting tanks. Of course, it would be a problem when engaging enemy infantry and artillery, but that was meant to be the Sherman’s job.

The M10 fully replaced the M3 GMC by 1943, but its superior gun proved less of a panacea than the Army had hoped. The Sherman tank’s short 75-millimeter gun was unable to penetrate the frontal armor of German Tiger and Panther tanks, which accounted for roughly half the Wehrmacht tank force by 1944.

The Wolverine’s 76-millimeter gun supposedly could — but experience in combat showed it failed to penetrate the frontal armor of Germany heavy tanks at ranges greater than 400 meters. A problem known as shatter-gap meant that the tip of the 76-millimeter shell deformed when it hit face-hardened armor plate at long distances, causing it to explode before penetrating.

The tank-destroyer’s inability to take out the best enemy tanks heightened the branch’s generally negative reputation.

In the Italian campaign that began in 1943, German armor was rarely encountered in large numbers, and M10s were often asked to provide fire support for the infantry. They were even used as indirect-fire artillery. Though firing lighter shells, a tank-destroyer battalion had twice as many gun tubes as 105-millimeter artillery battalion did, and longer range.

Instead of holding tank-destroyers in corps reserve, it became standard practice for commanders to attach a tank-destroyer battalion to front-line infantry divisions. Rather than fighting as unified battalions, companies or platoons of tank-destroyers would detach to provide direct support to infantry and combined arms task forces. For every anti-tank round the tank-destroyers fired, they fired 11 high-explosive rounds.

Doctrinaire officers complained that the M10s, vehicles in most respects similar to a tank, were being employed as if they were tanks. Gen. Omar Bradley suggested that the Army should instead use heavy towed anti-tank guns, which could be more effectively concealed in dense terrain.

Life on a Naval Vessel During the Vietnam War in the 1960s

This episode starts when I was a student at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. I was due to graduate in September, 1967. Our Detailer from BUPERS was due to visit with us to discuss orders. When I went in to see him, I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me if I would take another Chief Engineer’s tour. He said that he needed to find a replacement for an officer aboard a guided missile frigate (DLG) who had just resigned. The DLG’s were relatively new and were considered to be the top of the line of the destroyer force at the time. The ship was USS England (DLG 22) homeported in Long Beach. I had been stationed in Long Beach in the late 1950s, which was where I had first met my wife. We still had several close friends from our single days there. We proceeded to find a home in Huntington Beach.

It was time to go to work. There would be plenty of adventures over the next couple of years. I called the ship on the phone to find out where it was located. It was at the Long Beach naval station on Terminal Island, only a few piers away from the minesweepers that I had left 7 years earlier. I found the ship and identified myself. I was immediately taken up to the wardroom where I met the CO and XO. I discovered that the ship would soon be entering overhaul at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and was scheduled for a six month deployment starting the next June.

From there, it was off to San Diego for three weeks of school prior to actually reporting to the ship. I drove down and checked into the 32nd Street BOQ, the same place I had stayed as a fresh caught Ensign eleven years earlier. I had not been to San Diego since 1960. Some significant changes had taken place since I left. Some of the more obvious ones:

  • There was a freeway between Los Angeles and San Diego by way of Orange County. Previously, you had to drive up Highway 101 to go too or from Long Beach.
  • There was a bridge over to Coronado and you no longer had to reach it by ferry.
  • The ships all had berths at the Naval Station. You no longer had to stay out at buoys. The water taxis had gone out of business.
  • The city had major league football and basketball teams and would soon get a National League baseball franchise.

I actually preferred it the old way. The three weeks of school went by without incident and it was time to report to the ship. I packed up my bags and reported on board.

(DLG-22) Off Bath, Maine on 18 May 1971. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command # NH 106507)

First, a bit about the ship itself. It was a Leahy-Class ship. At the time, it was classified as a guided missile frigate (DLG). It was one of nine ships of the Leahy (DLG 16) Class that entered service between service between 1962 and 1964. The ships were built in 6 different shipyards. In 1975, at the direction of the CNO, the ships of the class would be re-designated as guided missile cruisers (CG). These were the largest destroyer type ships in existence at the time, being 533 feet long and having a full load displacement of 7,800 tons. Their primary purpose was to provide anti-air and anti-submarine protection for fast carrier task forces. The ship was fairly new, having been commissioned in December 1963. It had been built right nearby at the Todd Shipyards in San Pedro. The living accommodations and command and control spaces were all air conditioned. The ships principle weapon was the Terrier surface to air guided missile. It was an intermediate range missile with a range of about 35 to 40 miles. There were two missile launchers, one forward and one aft. The ships were referred to as “double enders”. The missiles were capable of carrying nuclear warheads. There was also an ASROC launcher in the forward part of the ship plus a number of anti-submarine weapons.

The ships were the first and only frigate class designed without a main gun battery for shore bombardments or ship to ship engagements. All it had was a pair of 3”50 twin gun mounts, located one on each side of the ship amidships. This limited its capability to perform some functions in close in waters, such as the Tonkin Gulf. Also, at the time the ship was not fitted with the latest state-of-the-art combat direction system (NTDS).

Nevertheless, the ship presented a very impressive appearance and was considered to be a very prestigious assignment. All of the major jobs on the ship were filled by officers one grade higher than those aboard a destroyer. The CO was a full captain, the XO a commander, and the department heads were lieutenant commanders.

A list of the major ship characteristics follows:

  • Length – 533 ft
  • Beam – 53 ft
  • Draft – 24 ft 6 in
  • Full load displacement – 7,800 tons
  • Propulsion – Twin screw – steam turbine – 4 boilers 85,000 shp
  • Speed – 32 knots
  • Range – 8,000 nautical miles at 20 knots
  • Complement – 396 (31 officers & 365 enlisted) including squadron staff

Because of lessons learned during the Vietnam War, the navy went to a somewhat modified design in the follow on Belknap (DLG 26) class ships. These were referred to as “single enders” because they only had a single Terrier launcher located in the forward part of the ship. This launcher was also capable of firing ASROC, eliminating the need for a separate launcher. A 5”/54 gun mount was located in the after part of the ship. Otherwise their characteristics were very similar to those of the Leahy-class ships. The nine ships of this class entered service between 1964 and 1967.

I had met the CO and XO from previous tours. The CO had been commanding officer of a ship in Newport and the XO had been XO of one of the ships in our squadron, Desron 12, in Newport. The three captains that I ended up serving under had entered the navy as junior officers right near the end of World War II. The officer that I was to relieve as chief engineer had decided to resign and get out of the navy.

It was a good ship to be aboard. Despite some flaws, the ship was among the newest in the fleet, and the XO was excellent to work for. His general methodology was to act as a big scoutmaster and to keep everybody happy. I actually wound up car-pooling with him over the next couple of years. It was about a half hour to and from work. I still remember first hearing about the RFK assassination on the radio during one of these trips. The basic ship’s organization was essentially the same as that on my previous ships.

The ship proved to be a bit of a challenge. We entered the shipyard just as I was taking over as Chief Engineer and I had not really had a chance to see it steam as yet. It was obvious, however, that the ship was beginning to show some wear and tear and the machinery spaces gave the appearance of a ship much more than four years old. The machinery plant was state of the art for 1963. The ship was propelled by a twin-screw steam turbine propulsion plant rated at 85,000 HP. Steam was provided by four D Type boilers that provided superheated steam at a pressure of 1200 psi and a temperature of 950 °F. This was approximately double the pressure that the World War II-era ships operated on. The navy started building 1200 psi ships in the early 1950s. Ironically, I was to commission the last one, USS Moinester (FF 1094) in 1974 as commanding officer. Since then, all naval surface combatants have been powered by gas turbines.

The ship did not have a lot of automation, other than automatic boiler controls which were pneumatically operated. Actually, it had about the same amount as the commercial T-2 tankers that I had previously sailed on. But it was a good deal more complex than the World War II destroyers and the plant required a definite care and feeding. The basic machinery arrangement was the same as that aboard the World War II destroyers with alternating firerooms and engine rooms. However, a number of major steam cycle components which previously been located in the engine rooms were now located in the fire rooms. This included the deareating feed tanks, feed booster pumps, and main feed pumps plus the aforementioned automatic boiler control systems. In addition, there was much more emphasis on boiler water testing and chemical treatment.

The electrical plant consisted of four 1000 kW, 450 VAC, 60 Hz turbo generators, two in each engine room. There were also two 300 kW emergency generators. The forward unit was driven by a Solar gas turbine while the after set was driven by a Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine.

This was the first significant application of a gas turbine aboard a combatant ship and it was to provide me with many adventures over the next couple of years. Bear in mind that there was no Gas Turbine Technician rating at the time and none of my sailors had any significant training on the unit. The automatic start sequence did not work but the crew had managed to come up with a manual sequence. When I asked for a demonstration, I was told that during one of the times that the unit had been started it had produced a significant jet of smoke and flames from the side of the ship out onto the pier. I decided that I could not mess it up any more than it was already, so I made it my own personal project to figure out what was wrong with it on my duty nights, assisted by an EN or EM. I finally obtained the services of a NAVSEA technician who was able to get us straightened out. After that, the turbine became somewhat of a show piece for visitors. But we were eventually able to depend on it as an emergency generating plant.

Aboard my first ship, a Fletcher-class destroyer, most of the senior petty officers had been through World War II and had as much as 12 to 14 years of experience in operating ships of that type. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that most of these people were now retired and the follow on generation had much less experience on ships of this type. The hands on experience that I gained studying at Massachusetts Maritime academy and sailing on Texaco commercial tankers (plus my previous naval tours) was to prove invaluable over the next couple of years.

Getting out of the shipyard proved to be a nightmare. It was one casualty after another. It soon became obvious that I was going to have to be the chief troubleshooter. Crew training appeared to be nonexistent. My Chief Boiler Technician (BT)’s previous ship had been a 250 psi converted Liberty Ship and he was completely lost. On the day before shipyard sea trials, we still had not been able to successfully raise steam in the forward fireroom in #1A boiler and I was down there until about 1 AM before we were finally successful. But somehow we did manage to get through sea trials.

It soon became obvious to me that, in order to survive, I was going to have to concentrate on the engineering plant and remain as a non-watch stander. So I avoided any deck duties whatsoever over the next two years. The trouble with that is that a naval line officer did not make any points that way. None of my commanding or executive officers had any engineering experience and it was all up to me. One problem with that was that engineering in the navy has historically been an “out of sight-out of mind” occupation and people could not directly observe what I was doing or what contribution I was actually making. It was not uncommon in those days for naval officers to come out of chief engineer tours with glowing fitness reports while leaving heaps of rubble behind them. Because I concentrated on engineering, I was constantly being reminded that “I was not a well rounded naval officer” and I was viewed as somewhat of a freak.

We somehow managed to muddle our way through refresher training in San Diego and returned to Long Beach. It was in the middle of the Vietnam War and there was a lot going on around us, but we had a job to do. We had a six month deployment to the Far East (Westpac) coming up in June of 1968. June 17 came up all too soon and the next thing you knew we were heading off with Palos Verdes disappearing over the horizon. It was to be a very long six months. It would be England’s fourth deployment to the western Pacific in four years.

USS England (DLG 22) departing Pearl Harbor heading for a WestPac deployment in June 1968. U.S.Navy photo by PH3 R. Hartkopp.

Finally somebody figured out how to get some compressed air from the Gunners Mates and we managed to get the emergency generators started. In about 1/2 hour we had ship’s power restored and were back underway again.

Obviously, changes had to be made. After giving it some thought, I made two decisions that were to turn everything around and change what had started out to be a bad tour into a rousing success.

  1. I remembered something similar happening to me on the Fletcher-class destroyer Halsey Powell 10 years earlier and I took the same remedy. I transferred half of the sailors assigned to the forward fire room to the after fire room and vice versa. That broke up most of the squabbling that had been going on.
  2. I decided that I needed a reliable main propulsion assistant (MPA). Our previous MPAs did not have adequate training. One of my Ensigns had worked as an apprentice machinist in his fathers shop during the summers, appeared to have a good mechanical aptitude, and was eager to learn. I got him taken off the watch bill, put him in coveralls, and developed a comprehensive training program for him where he had to trace out piping systems, lean how equipment was operated, and then do it himself. Bit by bit, he began to learn what was going on.Within a couple of months, he could operate most of the equipment himself. This was unheard of for an Ensign. His final exam consisted of a conducting a plant light off prior to officially qualifying him as an engineering officer of the watch (EOOW). Some of the Chief Petty Officers resented it. But they had their chance. The younger sailors proved to be quite supportive.
  3. It became obvious to me that changes had to be made with regards to the operation of our ship service and control air system. Ship service air compressors and other components were located in a variety of spaces and nobody appeared to have charge of the overall system. I traced out the system, assigned responsibilities and established a doctrine as to how the system would be operated. Later, in the 1970s problems of this type became far less prevalent after the establishment of the 1200 psi improvement program. It included a program called EOSS (Engineering Operational Sequencing System) that included manuals containing system diagrams and prescribed operating procedures applicable to each specific ship class. That pretty well corrected problems of this type.

These actions changed everything. We were able to work as a team and things began to improve mightily. We really did not have any further serious engineering problems during the rest of the time that I was aboard.

The rest of the deployment went fairly smoothly. In fact, it was fairly dull. Our first stop was in Subic Bay for turnover to the Seventh Fleet in July. The remainder of the month was taken up with picket station duties. In August, we spent a good bit of the time in the Gulf of Tonkin on Search & Rescue (SAR) station. Our major function was to carry a helicopter that would be used to pick up downed pilots ashore. Our flight deck was originally designed to handle drone anti-submarine helicopters (DASH), a program that the navy had discontinued but fortunately the deck was large enough to handle conventional helicopters. Fortunately there were no downed pilots to pick up during our deployment.

The atmosphere was a bit surreal. Each evening I would go up on deck and look over at the shore where you could see gunfire going on. The bullets flying back and forth looked like fast moving fireflies in the distance. From there I would go down to watch the evening movie in the wardroom. Our favorites were some awful “Spaghetti Westerns” staring Stewart Granger as a character called “Old Surehand”. The movies were bad enough to provide comic relief. After the movies, I would take a complete tour of the engineering spaces followed by a visit to Main Control to write up my night orders.

Occasionally a MIG would start out from the beach and head in our direction causing us to go to battle stations. We always prepared to launch a Terrier Missile, but it never proved necessary as the aircraft always turned back. It was just as well because my battle station was adjacent to piping carrying steam at 1200 pounds per square inch and 950 Degrees F. Not a good place to be when being shot at.

The only direct contact we had with the war was one quiet Sunday afternoon when a South Vietnamese PT boat came alongside right after a battle with several crew members shot up. All of a sudden the ship’s doctor had a mess on his hands. The mess deck had to be hastily turned into a hospital. Some of the Vietnamese crewmembers died and had to be airlifted ashore in body bags. It was the closest we got to real shooting.

Our only ports of call during the cruise turned out to be Sasebo, Hong Kong, and Subic Bay. In fact, we wound up in drydock in Subic Bay in September for three weeks when we turned out to have severe corrosion in our starboard stern tube that was located inside a tank causing fuel to be contaminated with seawater. Our sailors were delighted. Despite the fact that Olongapo was a dump, they preferred it to Japan or Hong Kong, all for the wrong reasons.

SAR operations in the Tonkin Gulf, Mar/Apr 1967 aboard the USS England (DLG 22). An SH-3 is parked on the fantail flight deck while a UH-2 picks up a traveler via sling. (NAVSOURCE)

Professionally, the cruise had been a big success. I wound up with a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, the same award that was to plague CNO Mike Boorda 25 years later. It was specifically stated on the accompanying certificate that I was entitled to wear the “V.”

There were no overseas deployments scheduled during 1969. In July, we went on the annual Pacific Midshipman Training Cruise (PACMIDTRACRU 69). We were part of a group that included USS New Jersey (BB 62). Our scheduled ports of call were San Francisco, Monterey, and Pearl Harbor. The only other memory I have of that cruise was watching the Moonwalk in the officers club at Pearl.

I had a memorable personal experience that spring when my brother in law accompanied by his wife and family came out from Ireland to visit us. We had a very nice weekend in Palm Springs. But on the last day before we left for home, both of their kids came down with a rash. They had both come down with the measles. On the way home, I remarked to my wife that I had not ever had a case of measles as a child. Sure enough, within a couple of days I was deathly ill and confined to my bed. My vision was affected and I began shredding skin in some alarming places. The squadron doctor made a house call. But he had no idea how to treat a case of adult measles and his visit was spent sitting next to the bed reading medical textbooks on the subject. Nothing seemed to work. In desperation, my wife called a longtime friend who was an ex nurse for ideas. Her advice was to give me an enema. Darned if it didn’t work. My fever broke and the spots started clearing up. But I was still very weak and in need of some time to convalesce.

The adventure was still not over. On the Friday before the ship was scheduled to go to sea, my wife got a call from our CO. It turned out that he was fearful to take the ship out without me on board. He asked if I could come down and complete my recovery in my bunk on the ship. I reluctantly agreed. It is nice to be considered indispensable. But this was ridiculous. My wife drove me down to the ship and I went aboard. I immediately went below and crawled into my bunk. The announcement came over the 1MC to set the special sea detail prior to getting underway. About that time I heard a knock on the door. It proved to be the CO checking up on my welfare. We were scheduled to conduct engineering drills. The CO asked me if I felt well enough to participate. I still felt pretty weak, but I agreed to go on down to Main Control. I found a seat on a bucket. I was still wearing dark glasses and I could barely read the gages. I was sweating profusely and still felt quite weak. In the middle of things, we experienced a problem in the After Fireroom. Instinctively I jumped up, went up the ladder and descended the ladder into the fireroom. It was hotter than blazes down there. We got the problem fixed and I went back to Main Control. Then I noticed that something really strange had happened. I no longer needed my dark glasses, my vision was normal, and I felt at full strength. Don’t ask me to explain it.

USS England (CG 22) undergoing dismantlement at International Shipbreaking Limited on 15 JAN 2004. (NAVSOURCE)

As previously mentioned, the ship had been completed without the state of the art combat direction system due to funding limitations. But all of the ships of the class were scheduled for a six month AAW Modernization program at Bath Iron Works in Maine. The ship was due to sail for the East Coast around 1 February 1970. The fall of 1969 was spent in preparation for the trip to Bath including an underway period with Bath Iron Works personnel on board in order to demonstrate the ship.

Finally, I received a set of orders to be the commissioning XO of the USS Blakely (DE 1072), a Knox-class frigate (then called a destroyer-escort) under construction at Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans. The ship would be home ported in Charleston, South Carolina. But I would first have to organize the pre-commissioning crew in Newport, Rhode Island. So it would be back to New England for the first time since 1965. I was present at the decommissioning ceremony for the England at Bath in April 1970 while I was visiting my parents in Portland, Maine. It would be the last time that I would set foot on the ship.

The Leahy and her sisters of the Belknap-class were taken out of service in the early 1990s as part of the cut back at the end of the Cold War. England was decommissioned and stricken from naval service on January 21, 1994. It was scrapped in Brownsville Texas in 2004. The last naval ship that was powered by 1200 psi boilers was the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) which was decommissioned in 2009. I would still have plenty more exposure to 1200 psi engineering plants coming up as a member of the Atlantic Fleet propulsion examining board and the Board of Inspection and Survey, along with six years of experience in billets relating to the Knox-class frigates. As previously stated, I was the commissioning CO of the last 1200 psi ship to ever enter service, the USS Moinester (FF 1097) in 1974.

As an additional side note a number of celebrities were assigned to ships of this type during this time frame. These included:

  • Ensign John Kerry – USS Gridley (DLG 31) – Our sister ship in Long Beach
  • Robert Woodward – Well known reporter – Communications officer on USS Fox(DLG 33)
  • John Poindexter – His first seagoing assignment was as chief engineer of the USS Halsey (DLG 23). Later he served as commanding officer of the England between 1974 and 1976.
  • Stansfield Turner – Later CIA director – Commanding Officer USS Horne (DLG 30) 1967-1968

George W. Stewart is a retired US Navy Captain. He is a 1956 graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. During his 30 year naval career, he held two ship commands and served a total of 8 years on naval material inspection boards, during which he conducted trials and inspections aboard over 200 naval vessels. Since his retirement from active naval service in 1986 he has been employed in the ship design industry where he has specialized in the development of concept designs of propulsion and powering systems, some of which have entered active service. He currently holds the title of Chief Marine Engineer at Marine Design Dynamics.

The Destroyer's guide to Destroying

In this guide, I will be exploring the stats, playstyles of different destroyer nations and their effective use. I am mostly making this guide as many new players do not know which line to choose, and for more experienced players looking for a fresh line to play.

The stats below are for the tier 7 destroyers currently in the game. There is a general trend in stats for tiers 5 and above. Stats are of the ship with all upgrades, but no commander skills or modules.

Ship nameDPM (HE/AP) (K)Fires Per MinuteTorpedo DPMTorpedo DMG (Salvo)Torpedo reaction time (S)Speed (Boosted)(Kts)HealthUnique ConsumablesFlood %Stealth (KM)
Z-2390,99 / 180/1663.6/5.480.6K115K7.9s37/4019500Long-range hydro240%7.92
Lightning136/1797.278K124K7.8s3615900Long-Lasting hydro no E.B259%7.02

IJN Destroyers- Great stealth and torpedos, generally suited for a ninja playstyle, striking from the shadows.

USN Destroyers- good all-round destroyers with heavy gunpower. Good for an "ambushing" playstyle.

KMS Destroyers- Very well rounded, Featuring good survivability, fast-firing torpedos, poor maneuverability, and long-range Sonar. Can be tailored to any playstyle you want

RN Destroyers- Good guns and decent torpedos, unique smokescreen, and a long-duration Sonar. Very well suited to a defensive playstyle.

Hull – generally gives you more health and better maneuverability.

Torpedoes – faster, longer range, bigger damage but sometimes a trade-off of one against another.

Gunfire control system – increases gun range by 10%.


Damage control party – stops you from taking damage over time from fire and/or flooding and repairs damaged modules (guns, engine, rudder). This has unlimited uses but has a 60-second cooldown between uses.

Smoke generator – generates smoke, which makes anyone inside or behind it “invisible” for a period of time. Works both ways, The user and the enemy ship cannot see through it.

Engine boost – increases the top speed by 8%.

Destroyer VS Destroyer fights- Know thy enemy

USN- Very fast firing, usually the highest damaging guns That turn lightning fast. Struggle to land hits at 6+ KM and DPM takes time to "ramp up".

IJN- Powerful guns with the best 1 salvo damage and good ballistics. However, the guns fire and turn slowly

KMS- Have the option of normal/big guns. Normal guns have weaker HE but very strong AP. Big guns have decent HE and great AP but over-penetrate often and have slower ROF

RN- Fast firing with excellent fire causing capabilities, DPM is second only to American Destroyers and shares their poor ballistics.

So who is likely to win fights?

Close range- American> Britsh> German>IJN

Long-range- German> American> British> IJN

Driveby shots- IJN> German> American> British

What do I do if I am spotted?

A> Run behind an island, especially if you are spotted through Radar or Sonar

B) Smoke up, run in a straight-ish line then turn behind the first wall of smoke then stop. If you slow down then lay down smoke you can easily be blind fired out of existence.

C) Run to the cover of allies, who will heroically save you take some shots until you can pop off detection.

D) Avoid running into islands. ( By u/ruslan74)

Evasion tanking

This can be performed by the Faster and more maneuverable destroyers closer to late game

Basically, you use your engine booster, focus fire HE shells on an enemy battleship while occasionally firing torpedos. Dodge shells by moving in an unpredictable pattern and being more aggressive when their guns are reloading.

There are currently 4 tech trees of destroyers in legends. There are the Kriegsmarine, Imperial Japanese, United States, and Royal Navy destroyers. Each nation has its own unique playstyle and role. Here is an overview of each nation and its ships from tier 4 onwards.

IJN Destroyers

Want to strike from the shadows? Show the world the power of Nippon steel and be the bane of sleepy battleship drivers everywhere?

well, then these are the destroyers for you.

The destroyers of this nation fall into the torpedo boat category. They feature the best concealment, hardest hitting and longest range danger pylons, Weaker guns due to their poor rate of fire, great agility, and poor survivability. While their guns lack in DPM, they do not lack in fire causing capabilities. While they cannot win fights against other destroyers, they are more suited to destroying larger ships with their torpedo armament.

Mustuki- The first destroyer to have the massive 610mm IJN torpedos. Mutsuki has laughable gun power, featuring just 2 guns. Its torpedo armament is more powerful, featuring 2x3 torpedo tubes. A good introduction into the Japanese torpedo boats.

Fubuki- Featuring an enhanced gun and torpedo armament over its predecessor. Fubuki has decent guns and a very powerful 3x3 Torpedo armament. The stock Fubuki has a paltry 6km torpedo range, so upgrading it is the first priority. Your upgraded torpedos can sink battleships in a single salvo, and even a hit or two can cripple a battleship for the rest of the game.

Akatsuki- Very similar to its predecessor. It has an impressive 6 guns, slightly stronger torpedos and very high speed of 38 knots.

Kagero- Stealthy, Incredibly powerful torpedos, but is in a painful 2x4 arrangement. Very stealthy but has a mediocre speed. Kagero also has access to a Torpedo reload booster consumable.

Playstyle- Capture objectives but escape gunfights. Best spotters in the game and their stealth torpedo capabilities allows them to pummel larger ships while keeping them spotted. Play conservatively during the early game, for you are much more dangerous to isolated ships that have no way of knowing where you are, and when your torpedos will strike.

USN Destroyers-

Want to charge into a firefight? want to ambush ships larger than you using cover?

Well, then these are the destroyers for you.

The destroyers of this nation have great guns with shell arcs that touch the moon( no wonder they won the space race), slow, decently hard-hitting torps with good flooding chance, and are very, very stealthy. Unfortunately, you are stuck with 6.4km torpedos until Benson with the torpedo upgrade. American destroyers have the best gun DPM currently, and can fight all other destroyers in a brawl. They also have the longest-lasting smoke. They perform well around islands, as their shell arcs allow them to fire over small islands while undetected. As they generally have short torpedo ranges, they can also use islands to ambush other ships.

I will have the T3 here just because it's very fun

Clemson- A very fun seal clubber. With the artillery upgrade, it has a total of 8 guns and 12 torpedos. Charge into battle, flatten the enemy destroyer and smoke up to burn battleships. Then a banzai charge at the end of the game to get great damage games.

Farragut- Very fast-firing guns, solid top speed and faster torpedos over her predecessor. That's it really.

Mahan- You finally get the capability to stealth fire torpedos, albeit through a very small window. Faster guns, better torpedos, better health, lower speed.

Benson- Faster firing guns, faster speed, finally get 9.2 KM torpedos. Largely the same as her predecessors

Fletcher- Better guns, torpedos, the usual jazz. You can get some pretty ridiculous DPM with the main battery reload module.

Playstyle- Contest caps, act as the frontline. The American ships are very versatile and can be tailored to your own playstyle. You win every 1 vs 1 destroyer fight as close range, but the Germans have a few advantages at longer ranges. You can act as the first wave of defense for your allies, laying down smoke, spitting out torps at advancing ships(as the ships move towards your torpedos, the range is less of an issue). Set floods and fires, then switch to AP and devastate ships with your DPM.

KMS Destroyers-

Can't choose between a destroyer and a cruiser? Want to send other destroyers running for the hills?

Well, then the german destroyers are for you.

German destroyers are the most balanced of the destroyers. Great gun handling with great AP shells, fast reloading torpedos, and a long-range hydroacoustic search consumable that spots all torpedos and ships in a radius. Weaker HE shells but very strong AP shells for a destroyer. Some ships also have the ability to mount 150mm light cruiser guns on a destroyer hull. While these destroyers do have a great HP pool, they are quite wide and take AP penetration more often. The later tiers turn like oil tankers and taking a battleship salvo when angled will result in them exploding like one. Generally quite fast. German torpedos have great characteristics in all categories except alpha damage.

T-22 - The low point in the line. 360-degree turrets but with weak artillery. Torpedos are decent and reload quite fast. She does not have the good german shell ballistics and has a short duration smokescreen.

Ernst Gaede- Oh boy is this one an upgrade. Great health, great torpedos, and she get the famed german hydroacoustic search with the B hull upgrade. She also features the ability to mount 128mm or 150mm guns. The 128 m guns feature a faster ROF, greater DPM. The 150mm guns are the same size as those found on light cruisers. These feature better alpha damage, superior ballistics, penetration and gives their normally anaemic HE shells good fire-starting capabilities.

Leberecht Maass- Huge health pool, Good guns and torpedos, fast speed and has the manoeuvrability of a brick underwater. She loses access to the 150mm mounts but gains an extra gun mount, and retains access to the hydroacoustic search consumable.

Z-23- Great at everything, best cap bully and cruiser harasser.

Playstyle- Better at Taking over caps, RN destroyers are better at defending them. Go into a capture point with support from allies, push the other destroyer out with your torpedos and hydroacoustic search. Your 128mm AP can wipe the floor with other destroyers, especially at the range when they are less likely to over-penetrate. 150mm guns can surprise cruisers with your firepower. Choose targets with weak armour like the Nurnberg when they are low on health and broadside, please do not get into a duel with a Baltimore or Hipper. It will not end well for you.

Royal Navy Destroyers-

Want to lock down an area from hordes on enemies? Prefer solo fights because teamwork is overrated?

Then these are just the destroyers for you.

They are typically the slowest and do not have access to the engine boost consumable, but they are very manoeuvrable and have insane acceleration. This in addition to your shell arcs means that you perform very well with islands as cover, as you are less likely to get beached. They have access to a very long duration hydroacoustic search, the ability to fire torpedos tube by tube and very short, but very fast reloading smoke with many charges. They trade their speed boost for excellent acceleration. You can go out torps launched and guns blazing, then use your smoke as an escape and repeat it until the enemy is dead. Their tea-infused shells have almost twice the fire chance as those of American destroyers shells even though it is a smaller shell calibre.

Acasta- Pretty mediocre. Decent guns, decent torps, decent concealment. It also has poor survivability, poor shell ballistics and damage, bad speed and bad torpedo firing angles.

Icarus- Good stealth and better torpedos. Other aspects remain largely the same, but you now have access to the British hydroacoustic search consumable, which has a long duration.

Jervis- The line starts to get better here. Very competitive gun and torpedo armament, supplemented by great concealment and hydroacoustic search. Best fire-starting capabilities of any destroyer at this tier. however, her guns lack penetration with poor ballistics.

Lightning- An excellent bote. Superb concealment, excellent manoeuvrability, strong gun battery with flamethrower capabilities and 360-degree turret traverse. The best firestarter and cap contester in the game

Playstyle- These destroyers perform very well holding up a capture point. A high number of smoke charges, good hydro and torpedoes are excellent tools for defence. Is a battleship push incoming? single launch torpedos so that every single one hits the bow of a battleship, and burn its superstructure. Hydro acts as a screen against other DD's and their torpedos.

Russian Destroyers

The destroyers of this nation are extremely fast, have incredibly powerful guns that have Very long ranges and excellent shell ballistics. These destroyers are actually destroyer leaders, which were larger destroyers. Russian shells travel very fast. Their HE shells hit hard and cause fires very often, while their AP shells have excellent damage and penetration. The hulls of these destroyers have a very large health pool, and they become quite thick at higher tiers. The Russian destroyers are very fast, but their manoeuvrability degrades at higher tiers. Do not expect these destroyers to be as good as the ones you see on PC, the stronger destroyers will not be in-game due to the tier restriction. As the engagement ranges are much lower, you cannot dodge as well. Their torpedos are very stealthy and fast but have poor ranges until Kiev's upgrade. These destroyers also have terrible concealment. With an experienced commander at the helm, these destroyers can very often successfully duel battleships in the open with their guns alone.

Vladimir Trubetskoy seems to be the gun focused commander. He is an outstanding commander, with his inspiration providing a whopping 8% damage reduction, 5% range and a freaking ridiculous 8% fire chance. This is at a massive cost of 30% HE damage reduction. So, if you only want to shoot battleships use this skill. If you ever want to shoot a destroyer, do not take this skill. The IJN will beat you up in these fights as they have faster shells that take a huge amount of health away. Want to use the torpedo focused commander? yeah, no.

Isyaslav (III) -

Excellent main battery for the tier, which hits hard and fires fast. She is a torpedo menace and is able to charge into brawls and shred other ships with her hefty torpedo armament. She is quite fast and is very agile too. An excellent start to the line

Podvoisky (IV)-

An absolutely ridiculous speed of 42 knots base, an incredibly powerful main armament and a meaty hull makes this destroyer the best at her tier. Her guns traverse slow but have 360-degree turret traverse. Due to her heft and speed, she has a slow rudder shift and a large turning circle.

A general downgrade from her predecessor. She is much slower and does not gain much other than a small increase in DPM

You resume your journey in Russian balance with big guns and vodka powered engines. You reach a blistering speed of 43 knots. Your guns have a very high chance to cause fires, to use this to bully battleships form long ranges. Torpedos should be saved for last-ditch efforts.

Excellent guns with long ranges placed in a 2x3 turret arrangement. Her guns have excellent ballistics with incredible damage output. She has a large health pool and a good secondary armament for a destroyer. Kiev on PC can trade out her smokescreen consumable for a repair party. You get usable torpedos with 8km range after her torpedo upgrade.

Tashkent (VII)-

Tashkent should be the tier VII Russian destroyer, as it was actually built unlike the kiev. plus, we can claim Russian bias because the Americans get the tier 9 Fletcher. Tashkent is a lot clumsier than Kiev, but has more HP and faster shell velocity than the Kiev.

Long-range Kiting ships. Use your incredible range and HE shells to burn down battleships and cruisers from max range. Your AP DPM is incredibly potent, so give up shooting HE on broadside targets to shoot AP at their superstructure, this will rack up damage incredibly fast. Use HE after they have burned their damage control party or are angled. Use commander skils for rudder shift, speed, range and shell buffs. These are not beginner-friendly ships, you have to rely solely on your guns for the majority of the tech tree. You can easily gun down other destroyers in mid ranges. The American destroyers will shred you in a close-range gunfight, so watch out. They have a hard time hitting you past 7KM.

go 3-4KM behind your capping destroyers so that both of you will be spotted at roughly the same time. Protect your buddy from enemy destroyers. After the initial capping, move to areas with less enemy density and kite a battleship or two towards your allies. Since the battleship meta is to sit in spawn and not do much, focus on the active battleships then farm the campers. You win all destroyer engagements at long ranges. The British and especially the American can match you at close ranges. Past 7KM however, every small movement of your rudder will allow you do dodge all their shells.

Please feel free to post your feedback and questions in the comments below.

What do you think I can do better with the next class guide?

Edit: 93% upvoted. Not bad at all by Reddit standards. All votes for the next guide have been in favor of the cruisers, and none for battleships.

US Destroyer Starting with A - History

AN/SLQ-32(V)2 Electronic Warfare System
AN/SLQ-59 Electronic Warfare System
AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
Mk-36 Mod.12 SRBOC Decoy Launching System
Mk-59 Decoy Launching System

AEGIS System:
The ship is equipped with the AEGIS Combat System, which includes the AEGIS Weapon System and Surface Search Radar System, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), Electronic Warfare System as well as the Tomahawk, Phalanx, and Gun Weapon Systems. The AEGIS Weapon System consists of the AN/SPY-1D Radar, Vertical Launch System (VLS), Standard Missiles, Command and Decision, Weapon Control System, Fire Control System, Operational Readiness Test System, AEGIS Display System, and the AEGIS Combat Training System. The elements of these systems are further categorized as displays and processors, detection systems, identification and detection systems, control, navigation equipment, communication systems, engagement, and training. Displays and Processors the ship utilizes the following displays and processors:

- OA 9482/UYQ-70 Next Generation Peripherals (NGPs) and OJ 721 Embedded Processing System (EPS)
- OA 9482/UYQ-70 processors
- OJ-663(V)(1)/UYQ-21(V) computer display consoles with Tactical Graphics Capability (TGC)
- OL-191(V)5, 6/UYQ-21(V) processors/converter groups
- C-12206(V)/UYQ-21(V) Optoelectronic control display
- PT-563/UYQ Color Large Screen Display (CLSD) projectors
- OJ-452(V)9/UYQ-21 computer display consoles
- OL-190(V)5/UYQ-21(V) signal data processor groups

- AN/SPA-25G range azimuth indicator:
- AN/UYK-43(V) computers with AN/UYH-16(V) Mass Memory Storage Devices (MMSDs)
- AN/UYK-44(V) computers


Interior Communications:
- AN/STC-2(V) Integrated Voice Communications System (IVCS), IC switchboards
- AN/USQ-82(V) Fiber Optic Data Multiplex System (FODMS):
- Replaces point-to-point information transfer
- Two primary databuses (Fiber Data Distribution Interface / FDDI)
- Alarm and indicating system
- ON-201-(V)1/UYQ-21(V) interconnecting group, intercom
- DC portable communications

Exterior Communications:
High Frequency (HF) radio group AN/URC-131A(V):
- Low Frequency (LF) through HF, 10 KHz-30 MHz, six receivers.HF receivers, 2-30 MHz, twelve receivers
- HF transmitters, 2-30 MHz eight broad-band transmitters, one narrow-band transmitter

Very High Frequency (VHF) transmit and receive, 30-162 MHz:
- AN/GRC-211 two transceivers for non-secure voice
- AN/VRC-46A two FM transceivers for secure voice
- AN/URC-139 one transceiver for bridge-to-bridge communications

Ultra High Frequency (UHF) transmit and receive, 220-400 MHz:
- AN/GRC-171B(V)4 two transceivers for Link 4A
- AN/WSC-3(V)7, 11 sixteen transceivers

Satellite Communications (SATCOM) transmit and/or receive:
- AN/USQ-122A(V) one receiver for fleet broadcast
- AN/WSC-3(V)15 two transceivers for digital exchange system

Extremely High Frequency (EHF) SATCOM transmit and receive:
- AN/USC-38(V)2 one transceiver

Infrared transmit and receive:
- AN/SAT-2A one IR transmitter

Landline terminations, transmit and/or receive:
- Single channel Disable Communications (DC) secure Teletypewriter (TTY)
- Telephone

Special communications channel:
- ON-143(V)6/USQ: Officer in Tactical Command Information Exchange Subsystem(OTCIXS)
- ON-143(V)6/USQ: Tactical Data Information Exchange System (TADIXS)
- AN/SYQ-7A(V): Naval Modular Automated Communication System/Common User Digital Exchange System (NAVMACS/CUDIXS)
- AN/UYQ-62(V)2, Command and Control Processor (C2P)
- AN/USQ-118(V)1, Link 11
- AN/URC-107(V): Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), Link 16

Underwater Communications:
- AN/WQC-2A sonar communications set
- AN/WQC-6 sonar communications set

They were designed as multi-mission destroyers to fit the anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) role with their powerful Aegis radar and surface-to-air missiles anti-submarine warfare (ASW), with their towed sonar array, anti-submarine rockets, and ASW helicopter Anti-surface warfare (ASUW) with their Harpoon missile launcher and strategic land strike role with their Tomahawk missiles. With upgrades to their to AN/SPY-1 phased radar systems and their associated missile payloads as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, members of this class have also begun to demonstrate some promise as mobile anti-ballistic missile and anti-satellite weaponry platforms. Some versions of the class no longer have the towed sonar, or Harpoon missile launcher. Their hull and superstructure were designed to have a reduced rad ar cross section. The first ship of the class was commissioned on 4 July 1991. With the decommissioning of the last Spruance-class destroyer, USS Cushing, on 21 September 2005, the Arleigh Burke class ships became the U.S. Navy's only active destroyers the class has the longest production run for any post-World War II U.S. Navy surface combatant. Besides the 62 vessels of this class (comprising 21 of Flight I, 7 of Flight II and 34 of Flight IIA) in service by 2013, up to a further 42 (of Flight III) have been envisaged.

With an overall length of 505 feet (154 m) to 509 feet (155 m), displacement ranging from 8,315 to 9,200 tons, and weaponry including over 90 missiles, the Arleigh Burke class are larger and more heavily armed than most previous ships classified as guided missile cruisers.

The ships of the Arleigh Burke-class are among the largest destroyers built in the United States. Only the Spruance class , Kidd class (563 feet /172 m) and Zumwalt class (600 feet /180 m) were longer. The larger Ticonderoga-class ships were constructed on Spruance-class hull forms, but are designated as cruisers due to their radically different mission and weapons systems than the Spruance and Kidd class destroyers. The Arleigh Burke class on the other hand were designed with a new, large, water-plane area-hull form characterized by a wide flaring bow which significantly improves sea-keeping ability. The hull form is designed to permit high speed in high sea states.

The Arleigh Burke's designers incorporated lessons learned from the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruisers, the latter which was deemed too expensive to continue building and too difficult to further upgrade. With the Arleigh Burke class, the U.S. Navy also returned to all-steel construction. An earlier generation had combined a steel hull with an innovative superstructure made of lighter aluminum to reduce top weight, but the lighter metal proved vulnerable to cracking. Aluminum is also less fire-resistant than steel a 1975 fire aboard USS Belknap gutted her aluminum superstructure. Battle damage to Royal Navy ships exacerbated by their aluminum superstructures during the 1982 Falklands War supported the decision to use steel. Another lesson from the Falklands War led the navy to protect the ship's vital spaces with double-spaced steel armor (creating a buffer for modern rockets), and kevlar spall liners.

The Arleigh Burke design incorporates stealth techniques, such as the angled rather than traditional vertical surfaces and the tripod mainmast, which make the ship more difficult to detect, in particular by anti-ship missiles. A Collective Protection System makes the Arleigh Burke class the first U.S. warships designed with an air-filtration system against nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. Other NBC defenses include a "countermeasure wash down system".

Their AEGIS Combat System differs from a traditional rotating radar that mechanically rotates 360 degrees for each sweep scan of the airspace. Instead, Aegis uses a passive electronically scanned arrays, which allow continual tracking of targets simultaneous with area scans. The system's computer control also allows centralization of the previously separate tracking and targeting functions. The system is also resistant to electronic counter-measures. Their standalone Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers give them an anti-ship capability with a range in excess of 64 nautical miles (119 km 74 mi). With the retirement of the Tomahawk anti-ship missile variant, only Arleigh Burke-class ships before Flight IIA versions are well-equipped for anti-surface warfare with Harpoon launchers. Others are not, but are loaded with SM-2 missiles in their vertical launch cells capable of an anti-ship mode, though they have limited range and damage potential. "The 5-inch/54 caliber Mark 45 gun, in conjunction with the Mark 34 Gun Weapon System, is an anti-ship weapon which can also be used for close-in air contacts or to support forces ashore with Naval Gun-Fire Support (NGF), with a range of up to 20 miles (32 km) and capable of firing 20 rounds per minute." The class's RIM-7 Sea Sparrow/RIM-162 ESSM missiles provide point defense against missiles and aircraft while the Standard Missile 2 and 6 provide area anti-aircraft defense the SM-6 provides over the horizon missile defense. The Standard Missile 3 and 6 also provide Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD).

The ship has an electronics warfare suite that provides passive detection and decoy countermeasures. The class's Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helicopter system improves the ship's capabilities against submarines and surface ships, a helicopter able to serve as a platform to monitor submarines and surface ships, and launch torpedoes and missiles against them, as well as being able to support ground assaults with machine guns and Hellfire anti-armor guided missiles. The helicopters also serve in a utility role, able to perform ship replenishment, search and rescue, medical evacuation, communications relay, and naval gunfire spotting and controlling.

The Arleigh Burke class are multi-mission ships with numerous combat systems, including a "combination of. an advanced anti-submarine warfare system, land attack cruise missiles, ship-to-ship missiles, and advanced anti-aircraft missiles," Burkes have the Navy's latest anti-submarine combat system with active sonar, a towed sonar array, and anti-submarine rockets. They support strategic land strikes with their VLS launched Tomahawks. They are able to detect anti-ship mines at a range of 1400 yards.

So vital has the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMD) role of the class become that all ships of the class are being updated with BMD capability. Burke production is being restarted in place of additional Zumwalt-class destroyers.

In 1980, the U.S. Navy initiated design studies with seven contractors. By 1983 the number of competitors had been reduced to three: Bath Iron Works, Todd Shipyards and Ingalls Shipbuilding. On 3 April 1985 Bath Iron Works received a US$321.9 million contract to build the first of class, USS Arleigh Burke. Gibbs & Cox was awarded the contract to be the lead ship design agent. The total cost of the first ship was put at US$1.1 billion, the other US$778 million being for the ship's weapons systems. She was laid down by the Bath Iron Works at Bath, Maine, on 6 December 1988, and launched on 16 September 1989 by Mrs. Arleigh Burke. The Admiral himself was present at her commissioning ceremony on 4 July 1991, held on the waterfront in downtown Norfolk, Virginia.

The "Flight IIA Arleigh Burke" ships have several new features, beginning with the USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79). Among the changes are the addition of two hangars for ASW helicopters, and a new, longer Mark 45 Mod 4 5-inch/62-caliber naval gun (fitted on USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) and later ships). Later Flight IIA ships starting with USS Mustin (DDG-89) have a modified funnel design that buries the funnels within the superstructure as a signature-reduction measure. TACTAS towed array sonar was omitted from Flight IIA ships and they also lack Harpoon missile launchers. Ships from DDG-68 to DDG-84 have AN/SLQ-32 antennas that resemble V3 configuration similar to those deployed on Ticonderoga-class cruisers, while the remainder have V2 variants externally resembling those deployed on some Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates . V3 has an active electronic countermeasures component while V2 is passive only. AN/SLQ-32 is being upgraded under the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), the first SEWIP Block 2 upgrades were installed in 2014 with full-rate production scheduled for mid-2015. A number of Flight IIA ships were constructed without a Phalanx CIWS because of the planned Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, but later the Navy decided to retrofit all IIA ships to carry at least one Phalanx CIWS by 2013.

USS Pinckney, USS Momsen, USS Chung-Hoon, USS Nitze, USS James E. Williams and USS Bainbridge have superstructure differences to accommodate the Remote Mine-hunting System (RMS). Mk 32 torpedo tubes were moved to the missile deck from amidships as well.

The U.S. Navy began a modernization program for the Arleigh Burke class aimed at improving the gun systems on the ships in an effort to address congressional concerns over the retirement of the Iowa-class battleships. This modernization was to include an extension of the range of the 5-inch (127 mm) guns on the flight I Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (USS Arleigh Burke to USS Ross) with extended range guided munitions (ERGMs) that would have given the guns a range of 40 nautical miles (74 km). However, the ERGM was cancelled in 2008.

The modernization program is designed to provide a comprehensive mid-life upgrade to ensure that the class remains effective. Reduced manning, increased mission effectiveness, and a reduced total cost including construction, maintenance, and operation are the goals of the modernization program. Modernization technologies will be integrated during new construction of DDG-111 and 112, then retrofitted into DDG flight I and II ships during in-service overhaul periods. The first phase will update the hull, mechanical, and electrical systems while the second phase will introduce an open architecture computing environment (OACE). The result will be improved capability in both ballistic missile defense (BMD) and littoral combat. By 2018 all Burkes homeported in the Western Pacific will have upgraded anti-submarine systems, including the new AN/SQR-20 Multifunction Towed Array.

The Navy is also upgrading the ships' ability to process data. Beginning with USS Spruance, the Navy is installing an internet protocol (IP) based data backbone, which enhances the ship's ability to handle video. Spruance is the first destroyer to be fitted with the Boeing Company's gigabit Ethernet data multiplex system (GEDMS).

In July 2010 BAE Systems announced that it had been awarded a contract to modernize 11 ships. In May 2014 Sam LaGrone reported that 21 of the 28 Flight I/II Burkes would not receive a mid-life upgrade that included electronics and Aegis Baseline 9 software for SM-6 compatibility, instead they would retain the basic BMD 3.6.1 software in a US$170m upgrade concentrating on mechanical systems and on some ships, the anti-submarine suite. Seven Flight I ships - DDG 51-53, 57, 61, 65, 69 - will get the full US$270m Baseline 9 upgrade. Deputy of surface warfare Dave McFarland said that this change was due to the budget cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

In 2016, the Navy will begin the outfitting of 34 Flight IIA Arleigh Burke vessels with a hybrid-electric drive (HED) to lower fuel costs. While the Burke’s four LM-2500 gas turbines are most efficient at high speeds, an electric motor is to be attached to the main reduction gear to turn the drive shaft to propel the ship at speeds under 13 knots, such as during ballistic missile defense or maritime security operations use of the HED for half the time could extend time on station by 2.5 days before refueling. Two vessels are planned to be outfitted in 2016, with the rest upgraded at a rate of four per year. Also starting that year, four destroyers patrolling with the U.S. 6th Fleet based in Naval Station Rota, Spain (USS Porter (DDG-78), USS Carney (DDG-64), USS Ross (DDG-71), USS Donald Cook (DDG-75)) will get a self-protection upgrade by replacing a Phalanx CIWS with the SeaRAM, a close-range ship defense system that combines the Phalanx sensor dome with an 11-cell RAM launcher, the first time the system has been paired with an Aegis ship.

Production restarted and further development:
The class was scheduled to be replaced by Zumwalt-class destroyers beginning in 2020, but an increasing threat from both long- and short-range missiles caused the Navy to restart production of the Arleigh Burke class and consider placing littoral combat mission modules on the new ships.

In April 2009 the Navy announced a plan that limited the Zumwalt class to three units while ordering another three Arleigh Burke-class ships from both Bath Iron Works and Ingalls Shipbuilding. In December 2009 Northrop Grumman received a $170.7 million letter contract for DDG-113 long-lead-time materials. Shipbuilding contracts for DDG-113 to DDG-115 were awarded in mid-2011 for US$679.6m–$783.6m these do not include government-furnished equipment such as weapons and sensors which will take the average cost of the FY2011/12 ships to US$1,842.7m per vessel. DDG-113 to DDG-115 will be "restart" ships, similar to previous Flight IIA ships, but including modernization features such as Open Architecture Computing Environment DDG-116 to DDG-121 will be "Technology Insertion" ships with elements of Flight III. Flight III proper will begin with the third ship procured in 2016.

Flight III ships, construction starting in FY2016 in place of the canceled CG(X) program, have various design improvements including radar antennas of mid-diameter increased to 14 feet (4.3 m) from the previous 12 feet (3.7 m). These Air and Missile Defense Radars (AMDR) use digital beamforming, instead of the earlier passive electronically scanned array radars.

However, costs for the Flight III ships increased rapidly as expectations and requirements for the program have grown. In particular, this was due to the changing requirements needed to carry the proposed Air and Missile Defense Radar system required for the ships' ballistic missile defense role. The Government Accountability Office found that the design of the Flight IIIs was based on "a significantly reduced threat environment from other Navy analyses" and that the new ships would be "at best marginally effective". The U.S. Navy disagrees with the GAO findings, claiming the DDG-51 hull is "absolutely" capable of fitting a large enough radar to meet requirements. Installation of the AMDR would require double the power and double the cooling, but there is room to fit what is needed inside the hull.

In spite of the production restart, the U.S. Navy is expected to fall short of its requirement for 94 missile-defense-capable destroyer and cruiser platforms starting in FY 2025 and continuing past the end of the 30-year planning window. While this is a new requirement as of 2011, and the U.S. Navy has never had so many large missile-armed surface combatants, the relative success of the Aegis ballistic missile defense system has shifted this national security requirement onto the U.S. Navy. The shortfall will arise as older platforms that have been refitted to be missile-defense-capable (particularly the cruisers) are retired in bulk before new destroyers are planned to be built.

The U.S. Navy was considering extending the acquisition of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers into the 2040s, according to revised procurement tables sent to Congress, which have the U.S. Navy procuring Flight IV ships from 2032 through 2041. However this was canceled to cover the cost of the Ohio Replacement Submarine, with the air defense commander role retained on one cruiser per carrier battle group.

Future replacement:
USS Michael Murphy was originally intended to be the last of the Arleigh Burke class. However, with reduction of the Zumwalt-class production, the U.S. Navy requested new DDG-51-class ships. Long-lead materials contracts were awarded to Northrop Grumman in December 2009 for DDG-113 and in April 2010 for DDG-114. General Dynamics received a long-lead materials contract for DDG-115 in February 2010. It is anticipated that in FY2012 or FY2013, the U.S. Navy will commence detailed work for a Flight III design and request 24 ships to be built from 2016 to 2031. In May 2013, a total of 76 Burke-class ships was planned. The Flight III variant is in the design phase as of 2013. In June 2013, the U.S. Navy awarded $6.2 billion in destroyer contracts. Up to 42 Flight III ships may be procured by the U.S. Navy with the first ship entering service in 2023.

In April 2014, the U.S. Navy began the early stages of developing a new destroyer to replace the Arleigh Burke-class called the "Future Surface Combatant". The new class is expected to enter service in the early 2030s and initially serve alongside the 22 Flight III DDGs. No hull design or shape has been speculated yet, although the destroyer class will incorporate emerging technologies like lasers, on-board power-generation systems, increased automation, and next-generation weapons, sensors, and electronics. They will leverage technologies in use on other platforms such as the Zumwalt-class destroyer, Littoral Combat Ship, and Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers. The Future Surface Combatant may place importance on the Zumwalt-class destroyer's electric drive system that propels the ship while generating 58 megawatts of on-board electrical power, levels required to operate future directed energy weapons. Laser weapon systems are likely to become more prominent to engage threats without using missiles that could potentially cost more than the target it is engaging. Less costly weapon systems may help keep the destroyer class from becoming too expensive. Initial requirements for the Future Surface Combatant will emphasize lethality and survivability, as well as being able to continue to protect aircraft carriers. The ships also have to be modular to allow for inexpensive upgrades of weaponry, electronics, computing, and sensors over time as threats evolve.

The Aegis Combat System (ACS):
. is an advanced command and control (command and decision, or C&D, in Aegis parlance) and weapon control system (WCS) that uses powerful computers and radars to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets.

The ACS is composed of the Aegis Weapon System (AWS), the fast-reaction component of the Aegis Anti-Aircraft Warfare (AAW) capability, along with the Phalanx Close In Weapon System (CIWS), and the Mark 41 Vertical Launch System. Mk 41 VLS adopts a modular design concept, which results in different versions that vary in size and weight. The length comes in three sizes: 209 in (5.3 m) for the self-defense version, 266 in (6.8 m) for the tactical version, and 303 in (7.7 m) for the strike version. The empty weight for an 8-cell module is 26,800 lb (12,200 kg) for the self-defense version, 29,800 lb (13,500 kg) for the tactical version, and 32,000 lb (15,000 kg) for the strike version, thus incorporating anti-submarine warfare (ASW) systems and Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM). Shipboard torpedo and naval gunnery systems are also integrated.

AWS, the heart of Aegis, comprises the AN/SPY-1 Radar, MK 99 Fire Control System, WCS, the Command and Decision Suite, and SM-2 Standard Missile family of weapons these include the basic RIM-66 Standard, the RIM-67 extended range missile, and the newer RIM-161 designed to counter ballistic missile threats. A further SM-2 based weapon, the RIM-174 Standard ERAM is currently in testing, and may be integrated into the system in the near future. Individual ships may not carry all variants weapons load-outs are adjusted to suit assigned mission profile. The Aegis Combat System is controlled by an advanced, automatic detect-and-track, multi-function three-dimensional passive electronically scanned array radar, the AN/SPY-1. Known as "the Shield of the Fleet", the SPY high-powered (6 megawatt) radar is able to perform search, tracking, and missile guidance functions simultaneously with a track capacity of well over 100 targets at more than 100 nautical miles (190 km). However the AN/SPY-1 Radar is mounted lower than the AN/SPS-49 radar system and so has a reduced radar horizon.

The Aegis system communicates with the Standard missiles through a radio frequency (RF) uplink using the AN/SPY-1 radar for mid-course update missile guidance during engagements, but still requires the AN/SPG-62 radar for terminal guidance. This means that with proper scheduling of intercepts, a large number of targets can be engaged simultaneously.

The computer-based command-and-decision element is the core of the Aegis Combat System. This interface makes the ACS capable of simultaneous operation against almost all kinds of threats. The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMD) program is intended to enable the Aegis system to act in a sea-based ballistic missile defense function, to counter short- and medium-range ballistic missiles of the variety typically employed by a number of potential opponent states. As of January, 2014, the US and Japan were the only countries to purchase or deploy the Aegis BMD.

Flight II

Flight IIA

a Standard Missile was fired from the forward Mk-41 VLS

a Standard Missile was fired from the aft Mk-41 VLS

deck details

superstructure details

superstructure details

Mk-45 Mod.4 gun and forward Mk-41 Vertical Launching System / VLS

Flight I - aft Mk-41 VLS and Mk-141 HARPOON launcher

Flight IIA - with 2 hangars

class variations:

Arleigh Burke class DDG - Flight I & II

Arleigh Burke class DDG - Flight IIA
(with hangar for 2 SH/MH-60 helicopters)

Arleigh Burke class DDG - Flight IIA
(with Mk-45 Mod.4 - 5"/62 caliber gun)

Arleigh Burke class DDG - Flight IIA
(without Mk-15 CIWS)

Arleigh Burke class DDG - Flight IIA
(with encapsuled funnel)

Arleigh Burke class DDG - Flight IIA with modifications for the Remote Mine-hunting System (RMS)
(note: the Mk-32 torpedo tubes were moved to the missile deck)

US Destroyer Starting with A - History

USS Decatur (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 5) with sisters off Chefoo, China in 1905.

The four classes compared. Banner: Decatur (Bainbridge class). Above top: Hopkins. Above center: Lawrence. Above bottom: Worden (Truxtun class).

Nine of them&mdashthe Bainbridge class&mdashwere designed by the Navy Department. Recognition features included a high fo&rsquoc&rsquos&rsquole and four widely-spaced stacks. Their main batteries consisted of two guns of a new 3-inch/50 caliber rapid fire design. They also mounted five 6-pounders and carried two 18-inch torpedo tubes.

The remaining seven ships were designed by three private builders (all of which were later acquired by Bethlehem Steel): Harlan & Hollingsworth at Wilmington, Delaware (Hopkins class), Fore River at Quincy, Massachusetts (Lawrence class), and Maryland Steel at Sparrows Point, Maryland (Truxtun class). The seven substituted a turtleback forecastle for the Bainbridges&rsquo raised foredeck but their armament remained the same, except that Paul Jones, Peary and Preble carried one twin torpedo tube mount instead of two singles and the Truxtuns carried one more 6-pounder. (Lawrence and Macdonough later proved unable to carry their 3-inch guns and replaced them with 6-pounders.)

Hulls in all cases were 246&ndash260 feet overall length. Coal-fired boilers operated at 240 or 250 psi. Vertical, inverted triple-expansion reciprocating steam engines developing 7,000 to 8,400 shaft horsepower drove two screws, good for 28&ndash30 knots. Complement was 72&ndash75 officers and men.

Keels were laid between February 1899 and January 1900. The Bainbridges and Truxtuns were delivered in 1902 the others in 1903.

On 24 February 1916, the Navy Department decided that the sixteen were &ldquono longer serviceable for duty with the fleet&rdquo and reclassified them as &ldquocoast torpedo vessels.&rdquo They nonetheless operated through World War I before being stricken from the Navy List in 1919 and sold for scrapping in 1920. The Truxtuns were subsequently converted as banana carriers. In 1942, ex-Worden was apparently sunk in this service by U-109 ex-Whipple was scrapped only in 1956.