DD-348 Farragut class

Design History
The Farragut class of destroyers was the first class of modern destroyers commissioned in the U.S. Navy, complete with centerline guns, five-inch artillery, and a large displacement. The necessity for such vessels became increasingly clear in the course of the 1920s.

The U.S. flushdecker construction program had turned out the last ships in 1920, two years after the end of World War I. By that time, other nations had either overtaken the U.S. in the capability of their ships, or had begun construction of ships that would soon be more capable than the U.S. ships. The British Navy's V&W class of 1918 had undoubtedly and directly outclassed the flushdeckers in seaworthiness, armament (carrying four 4" guns in centerline mounts), speed and maneuverability. Despite the knowledge of these facts, it remained impossible to change the situation in America's favor: with some 200 flushdeckers available, Congress' willingness to fund additional destroyers was low.

Nonetheless, the Bureau of Construction and Repair, starting as early as 1917, began drawing up designs for large "leaders", ships much more powerful than the flushdeckers. For Fiscal Year 1919, five large destroyers, called flotilla leaders, although no definite design was prepared. The notion was declined by Congress, feeling the Navy to be already well-endowed with warships. Soon thereafter, the interest in the construction of new destroyers vanished completely as the Washington Treaty seemed to usher in an age of non-construction of warships.

Interest revived in 1927, when tactical data, technological advances, and a feeling of hope for Congressional funding combined to lead to a first draft for the new destroyers. After considerable initial debate, in early 1928 the initial characteristics were laid down. At 1,600 tons, the new ship would be considerably larger than the flushdeckers; with four 5" L/51 guns, a 3"/50 anti-air gun and twelve torpedo tubes, it would be considerably stronger; and, it was hoped, by adopting different hull designs, the primary flaws of the flushdecker, its immense radius at high speeds and bad seakeeping, could be avoided. Vitally important for the new design was the adoption of high-pressure plants, promising long range with little fuel.

Opinions were then solicited from the prospective customers in the fleet, whose replies were generally in favor of changing the 5" guns from L/51 to L/25, offering a dual-purpose role for the main armament in both anti-surface work (for which, of course, the L/25 was not optimal) and anti-air work, whilst addressing problems with fire-control and centerline space. Since the long-range fire of a L/51 would not be directable from the destroyers, their replacement with the L/25 gun was quite natural.

Deck layout of Farragut class Other issues were then adressed to C&R. Their preference for a six-tube torpedo mount arrangement, with superimposed triplets, seemed impossible to manage on a rolling, heaving destroyer. Simple triple mounts, or new quadruple mounts, were considered much preferable.

The matter did not settle on anything resembling a decision, but the issue turned out not to require one - Congress would not fund new ships in 1928, or 1929 for that matter. In early 1930, the General Board began drawing up requirements once more, this time quickly bound into tight confines by the provisions of the 1930 London Treaty. In November, C&R announced its designs for three types of destroyers, from1,375 to 1,850 tons, carrying the 5" L/25 guns for the above mentioned reasons (and because its ammunition was more easily handled), each having a rather high forecastle and thus, greater dryness forward. Additionally, the Bureau of Ordnance had developed a intermediate gun - 5" L/38 - which Construction and Repair now definitely favored over any of the older guns. By January 1931, an initial production design, which at 1,750 tons was to have six 5" gus, nine torpedo tubes, and 35 knots of speed at light ship condition. This was not very feasible, and in March, alternative batteries were presented. Selected among the alternatives was one providing for five 5" L/38 guns (the forward two shielded against the weather, the others open), two quadruple torpedo mounts, and four .50-caliber machine guns, with a broad stern as a provision for depth charge racks and tracks. A Mk33 director atop the bridge would direct fire from the guns, a measurable improvement over the flushdeckers, whose guns operated in local control. 650F (343C), 400psi steam-plants, for superheated steam and high power on light weight, powered the new ships' engines for 38,6 knots trials speed. The new ships would only displace 1,500 tons light.

Eight ships were ordered, the final designs of the Farraguts being drawn up by Bethlehem Steel of Quincy, Massachusetts, and constructed by Bethlehem and Bath Iron Works. Their characteristics showed the new ships to be superior to the flushdeckers in speed, stability, armament, maneuverability, habitability, seakeeping, and range, showing clearly that the new approach to destroyer construction was entirely useful.

KANE as APD-18 Modification History
By the middle of 1935, all ships had been refitted with depth-charge tracks and storage, indicating the necessity of providing the fleet with anti-submarine warfare methods. Problems with the new ships arose in 1940, when the King Board required stronger anti-air armament for all ships. The Farraguts lacked the weight margin to allow for such installations easily, as did all later destroyers. As wartime necessity indicated that more, and heavier AA was not only desirable but a matter of life-and-death, the no. 3 5" gun was removed, making available weight and space for the installation of radar systems (all ships received, in due course, SC and SG radar, and fire-control radar for their directors), anti-air weapons (all ships received 40mm twins and 20mm singles, and lost their .50-caliber guns), and additional depth charges. Unlike later ships, the Farraguts did not lose their torpedo tubes in favor of still heavier anti-air armament in the last months of the war.

Service History
Eight Farragut destroyers were constructed. All served in the Pacific Fleet at the beginning of the war. Monaghan sank a midget submarine at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Supporting all kinds of operations during the war, the Farragut class ships suffered some casualties. Worden ran aground in the Aleutians, becoming a total loss. Hull and Monaghan were lost in December 1944 in a typhoon off the Philippines. The remaining ships, having served for four continous years, were scrapped in 1947.

Ships in class:
DD-348 Farragut
DD-349 Dewey
DD-350 Hull
DD-351 Macdonough
DD-352 Worden
DD-353 Dale
DD-354 Monaghan
DD-355 Aylwin

Standard: 1,358 tons
Full: 2,307 tons
Length: 104m / 341ft 3"
Beam: 10,43m / 34ft 3"
Draft (Full Load): 3,82m / 12ft 6,75"
Crew (Officers/Men): 10/150
Endurance: 3,710nm at 20 knots
Speed: 36,5 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, two forward, superfiring, one abaft the stacks, two aft, superfiring
Secondary: None
AA: 4 x 12.7mm L/90 in single mounts
Torpedoes: 8 533mm torpedo tubes in two centerline quadruple mounts
Depth Charges: 2 x depth charge track, 14 depth charges

(Dale, October 1944):
Main: 4 x 127mm L/38, as above minus the gun abaft the stack
Secondary: None
AA: 4 x 40mm L/56 in two twins, 5 x 20mm L/70 in single mounts
Torpedoes: 8 533mm torpedo tubes as above.
Depth Charges: 4 x K-Gun, 2 x depth charge track