The Gleaves-class destroyers were a class of 66 destroyers of the United States Navy built 1938–42, designed by Gibbs & Cox. The first ship of the class was USS Gleaves. They were the production destroyer of the US Navy when it entered World War II.
The Gleaves class were initially specified as part of a 24-ship Benson class authorized in fiscal years 1938–40; however, Bethlehem Shipbuilding requested that the six ships designed by them use less complex machinery. Initially, Gleaves and Niblack, although designed by Gibbs & Cox and built by Bath Iron Works, were to follow the Benson design. This temporarily made Livermore the lead ship with more complex machinery, so the class was initially called the Livermore class, and this name persisted through World War II. However, it soon proved possible for Gleaves and Niblack to be built to the Livermore design. Since Gleaves was completed before Livermore and had a lower hull number, the class is more correctly the Gleaves class. Eighteen of these were commissioned in 1940–41. The remaining 48 “repeat Gleaveses” were authorized in 1940–42. These plus the 16 "repeat Bensons" were also known at the time as the Bristol class, after USS Bristol. During World War II the Bensons were usually combined with the Livermores (more correctly the Gleaves class) as the Benson-Livermore class; this persisted in references until at least the 1960s. The classes are now called the Benson-Gleaves class. In some references both classes are combined and called the Benson class. The Benson- and Gleaves-class destroyers were the backbone of the pre-war Neutrality Patrols and brought the action to the enemy by participating in every major naval campaign of the war.
The Bensons were originally envisioned as a single class of 24 ships, the first eight of which were ordered in fiscal year 1938 (FY38). Six of these were designed by Bethlehem Shipbuilding, to be built at a Bethlehem yard and several naval shipyards, and two were designed by Gibbs & Cox, to be built at Bath Iron Works. All were to have 600 psi (4,100 kPa) steam (references vary) superheated to 750 °F (399 °C), with cruising turbines and double-reduction gearing to maximize fuel efficiency. After contract award, Bethlehem requested that their design be modified to use less-complex single-reduction gears and no cruising turbines. Bethlehem claimed they could achieve comparable fuel efficiency with the simpler machinery. This request was granted, but FY39 and FY40 ships, beginning with Livermore, would use the more complex machinery. So the class was known through World War II as the Benson-Livermore class, and this name persisted in many references until at least the 1960s. In the spring of 1938 the Navy's Bureau of Steam Engineering requested that the FY39 and FY40 ships be modified for 850 °F (454 °C) superheat. It proved possible for Bath to build their two FY38 ships, Gleaves and Niblack, to the new design. Gleaves was completed prior to Livermore and had a lower hull number, thus the class name is more correctly the Benson-Gleaves class.
The only external difference between the Benson and Gleaves classes was the shape of the stacks; the Bensons' were flat-sided and the Gleaves were round.
After the Fall of France in 1940 a rapid expansion of the Navy was envisioned. To fill the gap until the Fletcher-class destroyers would be ready for service, an additional 72 "repeat" Benson- and Gleaves-class ships were ordered in FY41 and FY42. 24 repeat Bensons were built by several Bethlehem yards, while an additional 48 repeat Gleaves were built by various other builders. These were initially called the Bristol class after Bristol, a repeat Gleaves and the first of these to be completed, although the machinery of the repeat Bensons was different from the repeat Gleaveses. The repeat ships were ordered with reduced torpedo and gun armament and increased anti-submarine and light anti-aircraft armament.
In some references the Benson and Gleaves classes are combined as the Benson class.
The Gleaves class was designed as an improved version of the Sims class with two stacks and a new "echeloned" machinery arrangement that featured alternating boiler and engine rooms, designed to give the ships a better chance at surviving torpedo damage. Loss of one compartment, or even two adjacent compartments, would no longer disable the entire propulsion system. This design was credited with the survival of USS Kearny after she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-568 near Iceland in October 1941, before the US entered the war. The Benson-Gleaves class also introduced quintuple torpedo tube mounts. Their scantlings, or framing dimensions, were increased to carry the weight of the new machinery. This increased the ships' displacement by about seventy tons, to 1630 tons standard displacement. Twenty ships (DD-493-497, 618-28, and 645-648) had square-faced bridges in an attempt to speed production.
The Gleaves class were all completed with 600 psi (4,100 kPa) steam (references vary) superheated to 850 °F (454 °C), double-reduction gearing, and cruising turbines. The main steam turbines were designed and built by Westinghouse.
The class was completed with four or five 5-inch (127 mm) dual purpose guns (anti-surface and anti-aircraft (AA)), controlled by a Mark 37 Gun Fire Control System as in the previous Sims class. The introduction of two centerline quintuple torpedo tube mounts in the Benson-Gleaves class was a significant improvement and was continued in subsequent World War II classes. This allowed a broadside of ten tubes with savings in space and weight compared to previous classes, which had twelve or sixteen tubes and an eight-tube broadside. However, most of the Gleaves class spent most of the war with only five torpedo tubes equipped in favor of greater light anti-aircraft armament. This varied considerably in different ships as the war went on; for example, the specified pair of twin 40 mm (1.6 in) guns were not widely available until mid-1942 and a quadruple 1.1 in (28 mm) machine cannon mount and a 20 mm (0.79 in) gun were temporarily substituted. In 1945 sixteen ships (DD-423-424, 429-432, 435, 437-440, 443, 497, 623-624, and DD-628) were modified for maximum light AA armament as an anti-kamikaze measure, with four 5-inch guns, no torpedo tubes, twelve 40 mm guns in two quad and two twin mounts and four 20 mm guns in two twin mountings. Photographs indicate that, as with most pre-1942 destroyers, the initial anti-submarine armament of two depth charge tracks was augmented with four or six K-gun depth charge throwers in 1941-42 on most ships. In 1943 twelve ships (DD-493, 609, 620, 622-623, 635, 637-639, and DD-646-648) were temporarily equipped with three Mousetrap ASW rocket launchers, but this was unsuccessful and the only such installation on post-1930 US destroyers. They were removed beginning in March 1944.
Twenty-four Gleaves-class ships were converted to destroyer minesweepers (DMS-19 through DMS-42) in 1944 and 1945. Twelve Atlantic Fleet ships (DD-454-458, 461-462, 464, 621, 625, 636, and 637) were converted in 1944, with the rest in the Pacific in 1945 (DD-489-490, 493-496, 618, 627, and 632-635). Magnetic and acoustic minesweeping gear was fitted, with armament reduced to three 5 in guns, no torpedo tubes, two K-guns, four 40 mm guns in two twin mounts, and seven 20 mm guns on the Atlantic ships. The Pacific ships and Hobson had increased light AA armament, with eight 40 mm guns in two quad mounts and six 20 mm guns in two twin and two single mounts. Twelve DMS conversions were the only Benson-Gleaves-class ships retained in service postwar. However, they were judged ineffective in the Korean War due to requiring a large crew compared with purpose-built minesweepers, and were decommissioned in 1954-56.
Twenty-one were in commission when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Eleven were lost to enemy action during World War II, including Gwin, Meredith, Monssen, Bristol, Emmons, Aaron Ward, Duncan, Beatty, Glennon, Corry, and Maddox. Six of these were in the Pacific, two were off Normandy, and three were in the Mediterranean. Ingraham was lost in a collision with an oiler in 1942, and Turner was lost to an internal explosion in 1944.
Most were decommissioned and placed in the Reserve Fleet just following World War II. Twelve DMS conversions remained in commission into the 1950s, the last withdrawn from service in 1956. Hobson was sunk in a collision with the aircraft carrier Wasp in 1952. Baldwin grounded while under tow and was scuttled in 1961 while out of commission, thus is not counted as a loss.
Eleven ships of the class were transferred to foreign navies 1949-1959; two to Greece, four to Turkey, one to Italy, two to Taiwan, and two to Japan. On 19 October 1954 Ellyson and Macomb were transferred to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force where they served as JDS Asakaze and JDS Hatakaze, the latter was further transferred to Taiwan in 1970 as Hsien Yang to replace the ex-Rodman of the same name.
Modernization was considered in the 1950s but not implemented except on the transferred ships. Those ships not transferred to other countries were mostly sold for scrap in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The 66 ships of the Gleaves class were:
|Ship name||Hull No.||Builder||Laid down||Launched||Commissioned||Decommissioned||Fate|
|Gleaves||DD-423||Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine||16 May 1938||9 December 1939||14 June 1940||8 May 1946||Sold for scrap, 29 June 1972|
|Niblack||DD-424||8 August 1938||18 May 1940||1 August 1940||June 1946||Sold for scrap, 16 August 1973|
|Livermore||DD-429||6 March 1939||3 August 1940||7 October 1940||24 January 1947||Sold for scrap, 3 March 1961|
|Eberle||DD-430||12 April 1939||14 September 1940||4 December 1940||3 June 1946||Transferred to Greece as Niki, 22 January 1951|
|Plunkett||DD-431||Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey||1 March 1939||7 March 1940||17 July 1940||3 May 1946||Transferred to Taiwan as Nan Yang, 16 February 1959|
|Kearny||DD-432||9 March 1940||13 September 1940||7 March 1946||Sold for scrap, 6 October 1972|
|Gwin||DD-433||Boston Navy Yard||1 June 1939||25 May 1940||15 January 1941||N/A||Sunk, Battle of Kolombangara, 13 July 1943|
|Meredith||DD-434||24 April 1940||1 March 1941||Sunk by air attack near San Cristóbal, Solomon Islands, 15 October 1942|
|Grayson||DD-435||Charleston Navy Yard||17 July 1939||7 August 1940||14 February 1941||4 February 1947||Sold for scrap, 12 June 1974|
|Monssen||DD-436||Puget Sound Navy Yard||12 July 1939||16 May 1940||14 March 1941||N/A||Sunk, First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 13 November 1942|
|Woolsey||DD-437||Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine||9 October 1939||12 February 1941||7 May 1941||6 February 1947||Sold for scrap, 29 May 1974|
|Ludlow||DD-438||18 December 1939||11 November 1940||5 March 1941||20 May 1946||Transferred to Greece as Doxa, 22 January 1951|
|6 June 1950||22 January 1951|
|Edison||DD-439||Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey||18 March 1940||23 November 1940||31 January 1941||18 May 1946||Sold for scrap, 29 December 1966|
|Ericsson||DD-440||13 March 1941||15 March 1946||Sunk as target, 17 November 1970|
|Wilkes||DD-441||Boston Navy Yard||1 November 1939||31 May 1940||22 April 1941||4 March 1946||Sold for scrap, 29 June 1972|
|Nicholson||DD-442||3 June 1941||26 February 1946||Transferred to Italy as Aviere, 15 January 1951|
|17 July 1950||15 January 1951|
|Swanson||DD-443||Charleston Navy Yard||15 November 1939||2 November 1940||29 May 1941||10 December 1945||Sold for scrap, 29 June 1972|
|Ingraham||DD-444||15 February 1941||19 July 1941||N/A||Sunk in collision with USS Chemung near the Azores, 22 August 1942|
|Bristol||DD-453||Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey||20 December 1940||25 July 1941||22 October 1941||Sunk by U-371 near Algeria, 13 October 1943|
|Ellyson||DD-454||26 July 1941||28 November 1941||19 October 1954||Transferred to Japan as Asakaze, 19 October 1954|
|Hambleton||DD-455||16 December 1940||26 September 1941||22 December 1941||15 January 1955||Sold for scrap, 22 November 1972|
|Rodman||DD-456||29 April 1942||28 July 1955||Transferred to Taiwan as Hsien Yang, 28 July 1955|
|Emmons||DD-457||Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine||14 November 1940||23 August 1941||5 December 1941||N/A||Sunk by kamikazes near Okinawa, 6 April 1945|
|Macomb||DD-458||3 September 1940||23 September 1941||26 January 1942||19 October 1954||Transferred to Japan as Hatakaze, 19 October 1954, later transferred to Taiwan as Hsien Yang, 6 August 1970|
|Forrest||DD-461||Boston Navy Yard||6 January 1941||14 June 1941||13 January 1942||30 November 1945||Sold for scrap, 20 November 1946|
|Fitch||DD-462||3 February 1942||24 February 1956||Sunk as target off Northeast Florida, 15 November 1973|
|Corry||DD-463||Charleston Navy Yard||4 September 1940||28 July 1941||18 December 1941||N/A||Sunk by shore-based gunfire off Carentan River, France, 6 June 1944|
|Hobson||DD-464||14 November 1940||8 September 1941||22 January 1942||Sunk in collision with USS Wasp, 26 April 1952.|
|Aaron Ward||DD-483||Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey||11 February 1941||22 November 1941||4 March 1942||Sunk by air attack off Guadalcanal, 7 April 1943|
|Buchanan||DD-484||21 March 1942||21 May 1946||Transferred to Turkey as Gelibolu, 28 April 1949|
|Duncan||DD-485||31 July 1941||20 February 1942||16 April 1942||N/A||Sunk, Battle of Cape Esperance, 12 October 1942|
|Lansdowne||DD-486||29 April 1942||2 May 1946||Transferred to Turkey as Gaziantep, 10 June 1949|
|Lardner||DD-487||15 September 1941||20 March 1942||13 May 1942||16 May 1946||Transferred to Turkey as Gemlik, 10 June 1949|
|McCalla||DD-488||27 May 1942||17 May 1946||Transferred to Turkey as Giresun, 29 April 1949|
|Mervine||DD-489||3 November 1941||3 May 1942||17 June 1942||27 May 1949||Sold for scrap, 27 October 1969|
|Quick||DD-490||3 July 1942||28 May 1949||Sold for scrap, 27 August 1973|
|Carmick||DD-493||Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation||29 May 1941||8 March 1942||28 December 1942||15 February 1954||Sold for scrap, 7 August 1972|
|Doyle||DD-494||26 May 1941||17 March 1942||27 January 1943||19 May 1955||Sold for scrap, 6 October 1972|
|Endicott||DD-495||1 May 1941||5 April 1942||25 February 1943||17 August 1955||Sold for scrap, 6 October 1970|
|McCook||DD-496||30 April 1942||15 March 1943||27 May 1949||Sold for scrap, 27 August 1973|
|Frankford||DD-497||5 June 1941||17 May 1942||31 March 1943||6 March 1946||Sunk as target near Puerto Rico, 4 December 1973|
|Davison||DD-618||Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey||26 February 1942||19 July 1942||11 September 1942||24 June 1949||Sold for scrap, 27 August 1973|
|Edwards||DD-619||18 September 1942||11 April 1946||Sold for scrap, 25 May 1973|
|Glennon||DD-620||25 March 1942||26 August 1942||8 October 1942||N/A||Sunk by mine off Quinéville, France, 10 June 1944|
|Jeffers||DD-621||5 November 1942||23 May 1955||Sold for scrap, 25 May 1973|
|Maddox||DD-622||7 May 1942||15 September 1942||31 October 1942||N/A||Sunk by air attack off Sicily, 10 July 1943|
|Nelson||DD-623||26 November 1942||January 1947||Sold for scrap, 18 July 1969|
|Baldwin||DD-624||Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation||19 July 1941||14 June 1942||30 April 1943||20 June 1946||Grounded at Montauk, New York 15 April 1961, scuttled 5 June 1961|
|Harding||DD-625||22 July 1941||28 June 1942||25 May 1943||2 November 1945||Sold for scrap, 16 April 1947|
|Satterlee||DD-626||10 September 1941||17 July 1942||1 July 1943||16 March 1946||Sold for scrap, 8 May 1972|
|Thompson||DD-627||22 September 1941||15 July 1942||10 July 1943||18 May 1954||Sold for scrap, 7 August 1972|
|Welles||DD-628||27 September 1941||7 September 1942||16 August 1943||4 February 1946||Sold for scrap, 18 July 1969|
|Cowie||DD-632||Boston Navy Yard||18 March 1941||27 September 1941||1 June 1942||27 April 1947||Sold for scrap, 22 February 1972|
|Knight||DD-633||23 June 1942||19 March 1947||Sunk as a target near Southern California, 27 October 1967|
|Doran||DD-634||14 June 1941||10 December 1941||4 August 1942||29 January 1947||Sold for scrap, 27 August 1973|
|Earle||DD-635||1 September 1942||17 May 1947||Sold for scrap, October 1970|
|Butler||DD-636||Philadelphia Naval Shipyard||16 September 1941||12 February 1942||15 August 1942||8 November 1945||Sold for scrap, 10 January 1948|
|Gherardi||DD-637||15 September 1942||17 December 1955||Sunk as target near Puerto Rico, 3 June 1973|
|Herndon||DD-638||Norfolk Naval Shipyard||26 August 1941||2 February 1942||20 December 1942||28 January 1946||Sunk as target, 24 May 1973|
|Shubrick||DD-639||17 February 1942||18 April 1942||7 February 1943||16 November 1945||Sold for scrap, 28 September 1947|
|Beatty||DD-640||Charleston Navy Yard||1 May 1941||20 December 1941||7 May 1942||N/A||Sunk by air attack off Algeria, 6 November 1943|
|Tillman||DD-641||4 June 1942||6 February 1947||Sold for scrap, 8 May 1972|
|Stevenson||DD-645||Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey||23 July 1942||11 November 1942||15 December 1942||27 April 1946||Sold for scrap, 2 June 1970|
|Stockton||DD-646||24 July 1942||11 January 1943||16 May 1946||Sold for scrap, 25 May 1973|
|Thorn||DD-647||15 November 1942||28 February 1943||1 April 1943||6 May 1946||Sunk as target off Northeast Florida, 22 August 1974|
|Turner||DD-648||16 November 1942||15 April 1943||N/A||Sunk by internal explosion near New York City, 3 January 1944|
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