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Caldwell-class destroyer
USS Caldwell (DD-69).jpg
USS Caldwell (DD-69)
Class overview
Name: Caldwell class destroyer
Builders: Mare Island Navy Yard
Norfolk Navy Yard
Seattle Dry Dock Company
William Cramp & Sons
Bath Iron Works
Operators: US flag 48 stars.svg United States
Royal Navy Ensign Great Britain
Preceded by: Sampson-class destroyer
Succeeded by: Wickes-class destroyer
Built: 1916–1920
In commission: 1917–1945
Completed: 6
Retired: 6
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 1,020 tons (standard)
1,125 tons (normal)
Length: 308 ft (94 m) waterline
315 ft 6 in (96.16 m) overall
Beam: 31 ft 3 in (9.53 m)
Draft: 8 ft (2.4 m)
11 ft 6 in (3.51 m) max
  • (DD 69-71) Thornycroft boilers
    Parsons geared steam turbines
    two shafts (20,000shp)
  • (DD 72-73) White-Forster boilers
    Parsons direct drive turbines
    three shafts (18,500hp)
  • (DD 69-71) 35 kn (65 km/h)
  • (DD 72-73) 30 kn (56 km/h)
  • Complement: 146

    The Caldwell Class of destroyers served in the United States Navy near the end of World War I. Two were deleted during the 1930s, but four survived to serve throughout World War II, three of these in service with the Royal Navy under the Lend-Lease Agreement.

    Design and Construction

    The six Caldwell Class torpedo-boat destroyers were authorised by Congress under the Act of 3 March 1915, "to have a speed of not less than thirty knots per hour [sic] and to cost, exclusive or armor and armament, not to exceed $925,000.00 each ...Provided, that three of said torpedo-boats herein authorised shall be built on the Pacific Coast." Built from 1916 to 1918, the six ships of the Caldwell class were the first of 279 ordered (6 of which were cancelled) to a flush-decked design to remove the forecastle break weakness of the preceding Tucker class. The forward sheer of the Caldwell class was improved to keep "A" mount from being constantly washed out. The class had beam torpedo tubes and wing mounts, both flaws in design also found in the numerous Wickes-class and Clemson-class vessels which followed them. There were differences in appearance; Caldwell, Craven and Manley were built with four "stacks" (funnels), while Gwin, Conner and Stockton had only three. Once the mass-production destroyers made the design prevalent, the Caldwells became known as "flush-deck" or "four-stack" destroyers.[2]

    World War I anti-submarine (ASW) modifications included a depth charge track and possibly a Y-gun depth charge thrower.

    Manley's high-speed destroyer transport (APD) conversion, removing her forward stacks and boilers, gave her the capacity to lift 200 Marines and four 11 m (36 ft) Higgins assault boats (LCP(L), LCP(R), or LCVP). She saw action at Guadalcanal and Kwajalein. Three entered Royal Navy service in 1940 under the Destroyers for Bases Agreement as part of the Town class. USS Conner (DD-72) serving as HMS Leeds provided cover at Gold Beach on 6 June 1944; her sisters served as convoy escorts. All three survived the war, two being sunk as targets and one scrapped, postwar.


    While the gun armament was typical for destroyers of this period, the torpedo armament of 12 x 21" torpedo tubes was larger than usual, in accordance with American practice at the time. A factor in the size of the torpedo armament was the General Board's decision to use broadside rather than centerline torpedo tubes.[3] This was due to the desire to have some torpedoes remaining after firing a broadside, and problems experienced with centerline mounts on previous classes with torpedoes striking the gunwales of the firing ship.[4] The Mark 8 torpedo was equipped.

    Most ships carried a 3 inch 23 caliber (76 mm) anti-aircraft (AA) gun, typically just aft of the bow 4 inch gun. The original design called for two 1 pounder AA guns, but these were in short supply and the 3 inch gun was more effective.[5] Anti-submarine (ASW) armament was added during World War I. Typically, a single depth charge track was provided aft, along with a Y-gun depth charge projector forward of the aft deckhouse.[6]

    Ships in class

    The 6 ships of the Caldwell class were:

    Hull no. Ship name Builder Laid down Commissioned Decommissioned Fate Service notes
    DD-69 USS Caldwell (DD-69) Mare Island Navy Yard 8 December 1916 1 December 1917 27 March 1936 Scrapped 1936
    DD-70 USS Craven (DD-70) Norfolk Navy Yard 20 November 1917 19 October 1918 23 October 1940 Scuttled May 1946 Transferred to Royal Navy as HMS Lewes
    DD-71 USS Gwin (DD-71) Seattle Dry Dock Company 21 June 1917 20 March 1920 28 June 1936 Sold March 1939
    DD-72 USS Conner (DD-72) William Cramp & Sons 16 October 1916 12 January 1918 23 October 1940 Scrapped March 1947 Transferred to Royal Navy as HMS Leeds
    DD-73 USS Stockton (DD-73) William Cramp & Sons 16 October 1916 26 November 1917 23 October 1940 Scrapped July 1945 Transferred to Royal Navy as HMS Ludlow
    DD-74 USS Manley (DD-74) Bath Iron Works 22 August 1916 15 October 1917 14 June 1922 Scrapped 1946 Re-designated APD-1 in August 1940


    • Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4. 
    • Fitzsimons, Bernard, General Editor. The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare, Volume 5, pp. 510–11, "Caldwell", and Volume 16, pp. 1717–18, "Leeds". London: Phoebus, 1978.
    1. Campbell 1985 p.143
    2. Flush-decker page, retrieved 16 Oct 2013
    3. Friedman, p. 24,34
    4. Friedman, p. 24
    5. Friedman, p. 44
    6. Friedman, p. 45

    External links

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