DD-421 Benson, Gleaves, Livermore, Bristol classes

Design History
An improved version of the preceding I>Sims class, the Benson's general layout followed the Sims. The most important difference to that class was found belowdecks: the Bensons introduced the alternating engine room - boiler room layout that characterized all new designs at this time. The Bureau of Engineering had announced the availability of boilers equal to such an arrangement in the spring of 1937. The new design required two stacks, since the boilers were now further apart. The alternating arrangement increased tonnage, and a still more durable hull increased tonnage by another fifty tons over the Sims, which everyone concerned considered most acceptable. Controversy arose, however, over the selection of the steam plant to be installed.

Although Navy Yards would build four ships, the other four were split two-two between Bath Iron Works and Bethlehem (Fore River Yard). Arguments arose over who would do the design work, and who thus get to decide on the steam engineering used. In the end, Bethlehem designed the steam plants for the four Navy Yard ships, and Bethlehem's own, which used machinery which returned to the designs of before the Mahan class, which Bethlehem however claimed still equalled those plants in effectiveness. The two Bath boats, designed by Gibbs & Cox of New York, used the more advanced plant of the Mahans, forming a subclass with the Bensons, the Gleaves (& Livermore).

A LIVERMORE class ship mid-war Although similar to the Sims class in other respects when ordered, the ships of the Benson / Gleaves classes would be significantly modified prior to going into service. Returning to study its destroyer designs after having placed the orders for the Bensons, the General Board found that the design itself was fairly good; added anti-aircraft armament might be needed. Since the 28mm L/73 guns which the Board wished for could not be provided on the displacement of the Bensons, the Board asked for two more 12.7mm L/90 guns. Furthermore, it asked for the use of the new quintuple torpedo mounts in place of the quadruple mounts previously asked for; BuEng added that a higher-temperature steam plant could be added. Leaving the external characteristics as they were, the General Board asked for eight such destroyers in FY39, the Livermores. Since the progress of the eight Benson / Gleaves was not so great yet, these changes were also applied to those ships (although only the Gleaves could accomodate the higher temperature boilers). Destroyer production was increasing rapidly now that the limitations of the London Treaties had fallen; this, and the 1938 Naval Expansion Act (the Vinson-Trammel Bill) allowed for increased naval expenditures. Thus, not long after the General Board had approved the eight destroyers for FY39 (in the spring of 1938), it asked for eight more of the Livermores for FY40 (approved by the Secretary of the Navy in December 1939). This request was, so to speak, "advance funded" by the Vinson bill.

The final batch of the Benson design, the Bristols, were similar to the War Emergency destroyer program in Britain: ships which were not the latest design, but could be built rapidly and were still useful. During the considerations for the ships to be built under the FY41 program (by now essentially unrestricted through several acts of Congress), the General Board pointed to the desirability of maintaining destroyer production at high speeds, without incurring the lapse from the old design (Livermore) to the new one (Fletcher). Concurring, the orders for 12 units were placed in May 1940; followed by 15 more in September, and 41 more in December. All units traded in the No.3 gun for a combination of 20mm and 40mm guns (initially only 20mm guns in ships commissioned early). The machinery, gun-fire control and general design followed the Livermore class, although wartime expediency required less streamlining. However, all 5" guns were in enclosed mounts in this class.

One of many midships layouts of the class Modification History
The difficulty of tracing the modifications to so many different ships is obvious; it must necessarily be abbreviated here. All ships traded their 12.7mm L/90 guns against 20mms in 1942, and received search and fire-control radars. Some had additional 20mm guns added. Atlantic ships had additional depth charge storage and more throwers, removing one quintuple torpedo mount. As time and availability permitted, starting in late 1942, these ships were equipped with 40mm twins, or alternatively for some time with a 28mm quad, and had open 5" guns (where used) replaced by enclosed mounts. Late in 1944, a number of ships received more AA guns instead of one quintuple mount. Between 1944 and 1945, twenty-four ships were rebuilt as fast minesweepers. Sixteen underwent Kamikaze refits in mid-1945. Armament varied. For examples, see below.

Service History
It is impossible to trace the service history of individual ships given the huge numbers concerned. Suffice it to say that ships of this class participated in every naval operation of World War II. Although most were scrapped in the 1940s, some were retained into the fifties. The majority of these destroyers was initially deployed to the Atlantic, while the later Fletchers went to fleet operations in the Pacific. However, as the Atlantic became less of a battlefield in 1944/45, many of the previously assigned destroyers went to the Pacific.

Ships in class:
DD-421 Benson
DD-422 Mayo
DD-425 Madison
DD-426 Lansdale
DD-427 Hilary P. Jones
DD-428 Charles F. Hughes

DD-423 Gleaves
DD-424 Niblack

DD-429 Livermore
DD-430 Eberle
DD-431 Plunkett
DD-432 Kearny
DD-433 Gwin
DD-434 Meredith
DD-435 Grayson
DD-436 Monssen
DD-437 Woolsey
DD-438 Ludlow
DD-439 Edison
DD-440 Ericsson
DD-441 Wilkes
DD-442 Nicholson
DD-443 Swanson
DD-444 Ingraham

DD-453 Bristol
DD-454 Ellyson
DD-455 Hambleton
DD-456 Rodman
DD-457 Emmons
DD-458 Macomb
DD-459 Laffey
DD-460 Woodworth
DD-461 Forrest
DD-462 Fitch
DD-463 Corry
DD-464 Hobson
DD-483 Aaron Ward
DD-484 Buchanan
DD-485 Duncan
DD-486 Lansdowne
DD-487 Lardner
DD-488 McCalla
DD-489 Mervine
DD-490 Quick
DD-491 Farenholt
DD-492 Bailey
DD-493 Carmick
DD-494 Doyle
DD-495 Endicott
DD-496 McCook
DD-497 Frankford
DD-598 Bancroft

DD-599 Barton
DD-600 Boyle
DD-601 Champlin
DD-602 Meade
DD-603 Murphy
DD-604 Parker
DD-605 Caldwell
DD-606 Coghlan
DD-607 Frazier
DD-608 Gansevoort
DD-609 Gillespie
DD-610 Hobby
DD-611 Kalk
DD-612 Kendrick
DD-613 Laub
DD-614 Mackenzie
DD-615 McLanahan
DD-616 Nields
DD-617 Ordronaux
DD-618 Davison
DD-619 Edwards
DD-620 Glennon
DD-621 Jeffers
DD-622 Maddox
DD-623 Nelson
DD-624 Baldwin
DD-625 Harding
DD-626 Satterlee

DD-627 Thompson
DD-628 Welles
DD-632 Cowie
DD-633 Knight
DD-634 Doran
DD-635 Earle
DD-636 Butler
DD-637 Gherardi
DD-638 Herndon
DD-639 Shubrick
DD-640 Beatty
DD-641 Tillman
DD-645 Stevenson
DD-646 Stockton
DD-647 Thorn
DD-648 Turner

Benson etc.: 1,911 tons
Gleaves: 1,838 tons
Benson etc.: 2,591 tons
Gleaves: 2,572 tons
Benson etc.: 106,09m / 348ft 1 13/16"
Gleaves: 106,08m / 348ft 3 5/8"
Benson etc.: 11,02m / 36ft 2 1/8"
Gleaves: 11m / 36ft 1 3/8"
Draft (Full Load):
Benson etc.: 4,10m / 13ft 9 3/4"
Gleaves: 4,97m / 13 8 1/4"
Crew (Officers/Men):
Benson etc.: 10 / 182
Gleaves: 9 / 199
Benson etc.: 3,880nm at 20 knots
Gleaves: 3,630 at 20 knots
Speed: 35 knots
Belt: No belt armor
Deck: No deck armor
Barbettes: No barbette armor
Conning Tower: No conning tower armor
Armament and Equipment
(As designed):
Main: 5 x 127mm L/38, in single mounts: two forward, superfiring, one in front of after deck house, two aft, superfiring
Secondary: None
AA: 6 x 12.7mm L/90 in single mounts
Torpedoes: 10 533mm torpedo tubes in two quintuple centerline mounts
Depth Charges: 2 x depth charge track, 10 depth charges

(Ingraham, May 1942):
Main: 4 x 127mm L/38, two forward superfiring, two aft superfiring
Secondary: None
AA: 6 x 20mm L/70
Torpedoes: 10 533mm torpedo tubes in two quintuple centerline mounts
Depth Charges: 4 x K-Gun, 2 x depth charge track

(Quick, March 1944):
Main: 4 x 127mm L/38, two forward superfiring, two aft superfiring
Secondary: None
AA: 4 x 40mm L/56 in two twin mounts, 7 x 20mm L/70
Torpedoes: 5 533mm torpedo tubes in one quintuple centerline mount
Depth Charges: 6 x K-Gun, 2 x depth charge track

(Parker, June 1945, after AAW1945):
Main: 4 x 127mm L/38, two forward superfiring, two aft superfiring
Secondary: None
AA: 12 x 40mm L/56 in two quad and two twin mounts, 8 x 20mm L/70 in two twin and two single mounts
Torpedoes: None
Depth Charges: 4 x K-Gun, 2 x depth charge track