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Town Class Belmont Group

Brighton
Brighton
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Votes250
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Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
USN RN
H46 Belmont USS Saterlee Newport News 10 July 18 21 Dec 18 22 Dec 19 8 Oct 40 Torpedoed 31 Jan 42
H64 Beverley USS Branch Newport News 25 Oct 18 19 April 19 3 April 20 8 Oct 40 Torpedoed 10 April 43
H72 Bradford USS Lanahan Bethlehem (Squantum) 20 April 18 21 Sept 18 5 April 19 8 Oct 40 Sold out 19 April 46
H81 Broadwater USS Hunt Newport News 10 July 18 8 Mar 19 28 Feb 20 8 Oct 40 Torpedoed 18 Oct 42
H90 Broadway USS Hunt Newport News 20 Aug 18 14 Feb 20 8 June 20 8 Oct 40 Sold out 18 Feb 47
H82 Burnham USS Aulick Bethlehem (Quincy) 3 Dec 18 11 April 19 26 July 19 8 Oct 40 Sold out 4 Mar 47
H94 Burwell USS Lamb Bethlehem (Squantum) 20 April 18 25 Aug 18 17 Mar 19 8 Oct 40 Sold out 4 Mar 47
H96 Buxton USS Edwards Bethlehem (Squantum) 20 Apr 18 10 Oct 18 24 April 19 8 Oct 40 For disposal 21 Mar 46
I05 Cameron USS Welles Bethlehem (Quincy) 13 Nov 18 8 May 19 2 Sept 19 9 Sept 40 C.T.L. 5 Dec 40
I28 Chesterfield USS Welborn Newport News 24 Sept 18 6 Mar 20 25 Jun 20 9 Sept 40 Sold out 4 Mar 47
I45 Churchill USS Herndon Newport News 25 Nov 18 31 May 19 17 April 20 9 Sept 40 Lost 16 Jan 45 (USSR)
I14 Clare USS Abel P. Upshur Newport News 20 Aug 18 14 Feb 20 21 May 20 9 Sept 40 Sold out 25 Aug 45
G60 Ramsey USS Meade Bethlehem (Squantum) 23 Sept 18 24 May 19 8 Sept 19 26 Nov 40 Sold out 18 Feb 47
G71 Reading USS Bailey Bethlehem (Squantum) 3 June 18 5 Feb 19 27 June 19 26 Nov 40 Sold out 24 July 45
G79 Ripley USS Shubrick Bethlehem (Squantum) 3 Jun 18 31 Dec 18 3 July 19 26 Nov 40 Sold out 20 Mar 45
G58 Rockingham USS Swasey Bethlehem (Squantum) 27 Aug 18 7 May 19 31 July 19 26 Nov 40 Mined 27 Sept 44
I80 Sherwood USS Rodgers Bethlehem (Quincy) 25 Sept 18 26 April 19 22 July 19 23 Oct 40 Scrapped 1945
I73 Stanley USS McCalla Bethlehem (Quincy) 25 Sept 18 28 Mar 19 19 May 19 23 Oct 40 Torpedoed 18 Dec 41

Displacement: 1,190tons/l,209tonnes (standard).
Length: 314ft 3in/95.7m (oa); 311 ft/94.8m (wl).
Beam: 30ft 9in/9.37m. Draught: 9ft 3in/2.8m (mean).
Machinery: four White Foster or Yarrow boilers; 2shaft geared turbines.
Performance: 27,000shp; 35kts.
Bunkerage: 375 tons/381 tonnes.
Guns: three 4in (3 x 1 ); one 3in; two MG (except one 4in; one 3in; four or five 20mm).
Torpedoes: six 21in (2 x3) except three 21in.
Complement: 146.

Lewes Group

Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
USN RN
G68 Lewes USS Conway Norfolk N Yd. 20 Nov 17 29 Jun 18 19 Oct 18 23 Oct 40 Scuttled May 1946
G27 Leeds USS Conner Cramp 16 Oct 16 21 Aug 17 12 Jan 18 13 Oct 40 Sold out 4 Mar 47
G57 Ludlow USS Stockton Cramp 16 Oct 16 17 Jul 17 26 Nov 17 02 Oct 40 Sold out 5 July 45

Displacement: 1,020tons/1,036tonnes (standard).
Length: 315ft 6in/96. lm (oa); 308ft/93.8m (wl).
Beam: 30ft 9in/9.37m.
Draught: 7ft 6in/2.28m (mean).
Machinery: four White Foster boilers (Lewes, Thornycroft); 3 shaft Parsons (geared in Lewes) turbines. (2 shaft only in Lewes).
Performance: 18,500shp (20,000shp Lewes); 30kts.
Bunkerage: 290 tons/294 tonnes.
Guns: two 4in; two 2pdr; four 20mm. (Lewes no 4in but five 20mm).
Complement: 146.

Campbeltown Group

Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
USN RN
I42 Campbeltown Buchanan Bath Iron Works 29 June 18 2 Jan 19 20 Jan 19 09 Sep 40 Lost 28 Mar 42
I20 Caldwell Hale Bath Iron Works 07 Oct 18 29 May 19 12 Jun 19 09 Sep 40 Sold out 20 Mar 45
I23 Castleton Aaron Ward Bath Iron Works 01 Aug 18 10 Apr 19 21 Apr 19 09 Sep 40 Sold out 4 Mar 47
I35 Chelsea Crowinshield Bath Iron Works 05 Nov 18 24 Jul 19 06 Aug 19 09 Sep 40 Sold out 12 July 49
G05 Lancaster Philip Bath Iron Works 01 Sep 17 25 Jul 18 24 Aug 18 23 Oct 40 Sold out 18 Feb 47
Gl9 Leamington Twiggs N.Y. Sbdg 23 Jan 18 28 Sep 18 28 Jul 19 23 Oct 40 Sold out 26 July 51
G42 Lincoln Yarnall Cramp 12 Feb 18 19 Jun 18 29 Nov 18 23 Oct 40 Sold out Sept 1952
G76 Mansfield Evans Bath Iron Works 28 Dec 17 30 Oct 18 11 Nov 18 23 Oct 40 Broken Up Canada 1944
G95 Montgomery Wickes Bath Iron Works 26 Jun 17 25 Jun 18 31 July 18 23 Oct 40 Sold out 10 April 45
G88 Richmond Fairfax Mare Island 10 Jul 17 15 Dec 17 6 April l8 5 Dec 40 Sold out 12 July 49
I52 Salisbury Claxton Mare Island 25 Apr 18 15 Jan 19 13 Sep 19 5 Dec 40 Sold in Canada 25 June 44
I95 Wells Tillman Charleston 29 Jul 18 7 Jul 19 30 Apr 21 5 Dec 40 Sold out Aug 1945

Displacement: 1,090tons/1,107tonnes
Length: 314ft 3in/95.7m (oa); 309ft/94.2m (wi). Beam: 30ft 6in/9.3m.
Draught: 8ft 9in/2.7m (mean).
Machinery: four Thornycroft, White-Foster or Normand boilers; 2-shaft geared turbines.
Performance: 27,200shp; 35kts
Bunkerage: 375tons/381tonnes.
Guns: three 4in; one 3in AA; four MG
Torpedoes: six 21in (2 × 3)
Complement: 146.

Bath Group

Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
USN RN
I17 Bath Hopewell Newport News 19 Jan 18 8 Jun 18 21 Mar 19 23 Sep 40 Torpedoed 19 Aug 41
I08 Brighton Cowell Bethlehem (Fore River) 15 Jul 18 23 Nov 18 17 Mar 19 23 Sep 40 Sold out 5 April 49
I21 Charlestown Abbot Newport News 5 Apr 18 4 Jul 18 18 Jul 19 23 Sep 40 Sold out 4 Mar 47
I40 Georgetown Maddox Bethlehem (Fore River) 20 Jul 18 27 Oct 18 10 Mar 19 23 Sep 40 Sold out 1 Sept 52
G08 Newark Ringgold Union Iron Works 20 Oct 17 14 April l8 14 Nov 18 05 Dec 40 Sold out 18 Feb 47
G47 Newmarket Robinson Union Iron Works 30 Oct 17 28 Mar l8 19 Oct 18 05 Dec 40 Sold out Sept 1945
G54 Newport Sigourney Bethlehem (Fore River) 25 Aug 17 16 Dec l7 14 May l8 5 Dec 40 Sold out 18 Feb 47
I07 Roxburgh Foote Bethlehem (Fore River) 7 Aug 17 14 Dec 18 21 Mar 19 23 Sept 40 Sold out 5 April 49
I15 StAlbans Thomas Newport News 23 Mar l8 4 July l8 25 April l9 23 Sept 40 Sold out 5 April 49
I12 St. Marys Doran Newport News 11 May l8 19 Oct 18 26 Aug 19 23 Sep 40 Sold out 20 Mar 45

Displacement: 1,060tons/1,076tonnes (standard).
Length: 314ft 3in/95.7m (oa); 309ft/94.lm (wl).
Beam: 30ft 6in/9.3m.
Draught: 8ft 6in/2.59m (mean).
Machinery: four Thornycroft, Yarrow or Normand boilers; 2-shaft geared turbines
Performance: 27,000shp; 35kts
Bunkerage: 300tons/305tonnes.
Guns: three 4in; one 3in; seven MG
Torpedoes: six 2lin (2 × 3)
Complement: 146.

Design

Dating back to the 1914-18 war, these old destroyers were American contemporaries of the British V & W class, but, visually, they looked a decade older with their four-funnelled layout. Originally armed with four 4-inch guns and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes, their armament looked impressive, but the four triple deck tubes, two on each beam, took up much deck space and top weight. Two of the 4-inch guns were also on the beam allowing a broadside of only three guns. Nevertheless, they were fast and numerous, serving in the USN in large numbers until 1945. Many had been laid up in reserve as newer destroyers completed in the 1930s, in which state they were to be found at the outbreak of WW2in September 1939. The U-boat offensive against trade to and from the United Kingdom soon had the Royal Navy's escort forces stretched to the limit in 1940, and it was against this background that in May of that year, Churchill sent a telegram to the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, suggesting the exchange of bases for the loan of fifty old destroyers. The request was turned down but the following month, after more heavy destroyer losses to the Royal Navy, a renewed appeal fell on more responsive ears and acting without the agreement of Congress, Roosevelt agreed the exchange on 2 September 1940. Fifty of the seventy flush-deckers remaining in the US reserve fleet would be transferred to the Royal Navy in exchange for the right to establish US bases in the West Indies. No sooner had agreement been reached than the old destroyers began to move eastwards. Aaron Ward sailed from Boston for Halifax N.S. on 4 September to be turned over to the Royal Navy as HMS Castleton, quickly followed by Hale and Abel P. Upshur, renamed Caldwell and Clare respectively. All were renamed after towns with names common to both the USA and Great Britain. Seven were taken over by the Royal Canadian Navy being renamed after rivers rather than towns except for Annapolis.

The British Admiralty had some reservations about the stability of these old ships given their heavy armament, and their internal and messing arrangements were foreign to Royal Navy practice so that those who manned them received them with somewhat mixed feelings. Despite these grumbles, they were a short-term answer to an immediate problem and gave a good account of themselves in anti-submarine duties, a task for which they had not been designed.

Modifications

In the role of anti-submarine escort, these destroyers were, in their original configuration, far from ideal. Like all destroyers used in this role, they had an excess of unnecessary speed and were wrongly armed. The 'flush-deckers', however, were also unhandy with an excessive turning circle and, with their fine lines, very lively in a North Atlantic sea-way. The British Admiralty, always conservative over the stability question, took immediate steps to improve this and at the same time make the armament more suitable for the task in hand, convoy escorting.

With such a large group of ships, there were obviously many different variations in outfit details, but the basic alterations included the removal of 'X' gun and two of the four triple banks of torpedo tubes. The US-pattern 3-inch at 'Y' position was removed and replaced by a British 3-inch or 12pdr in place of 'X' gun. Radar Type 271 was fitted on the bridge when it became available, as was Type 286 at the masthead. This latter was later replaced by Type 290 or 291. Depth-charge stowage was increased and asdic installed. The torpedo tubes left in were intended to give some protection against the surface raiders then (1940) at large in the oceans. Many ships later lost the beam 4-inch guns, 20mm Oeriikons being added in lieu and in these units, the torpedo outfit was usually reduced to one triple bank, repositioned on the centre-line. The Lewis group, however, lost 'A' gun and 'Y' gun, retaining only the beam guns, but Lewes was armed only with 2pdr and 20mm guns. All torpedoes were removed from these three as well as St. Albans. (Note also that Leeds and Ludlow had only three funnels.) The bridge structures on many units were enlarged, canvas dodgers being replaced by light screen plating in many instances.

Bradford, Stanley and Clare were more extensively modified as long-range escorts, when the two foremost boilers and their funnels were removed to increase both bunkerage and accommodation. Of these, Clare received single 2pdrs in lieu of the beam 4-inch guns. Their bridges were considerably modified and a deck-house was built on abaft it. Hedgehog mortars were fitted to these and many others of the group and a few were also fitted with HF/DF on a mast aft. Finally, Campbeltown was altered to resemble a German torpedo-boat for the St-Nazaire raid in 1942. Both after funnels were removed and clinker screens were added to the forward pair.

Service

Georgetown fitted for escort duties
Georgetown fitted for escort duties
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All these boats served the North Atlantic convoys as soon as they had completed the necessary initial modifications, except Cameron, which saw little service for she was very badly damaged in an air raid while at Portsmouth on 5 December 1940. Declared a constructional total loss, she was used for shock trial purposes until scrapped in November 1944. The remainder soldiered on in the stormy North Atlantic, assisting in the sinkings of U89, U110, U131, U187, U207, U401, U434, U587 and U960, plus, it must be said, the friendly Polish submarine Jastrab and the minesweeper Alberic, both by the unfortunate St Albans. The other side of the coin was that Bath was torpedoed by U201 in the North Atlantic while under Norwegian colours as part of the 5th Escort Group, Belmont by U82, Broadwater by U101, Churchill (as Soviet Deiatelnyi) by U956 in the Arctic, Stanley by U574 and Beverley by U188. In addition, Rockingham was mined off Aberdeen and Campbeltown was expended in the St.Nazaire raid.

Only Lewes left home waters, going to the South Atlantic in 1943-44 before sailing for Australia, where she was used as an air target vessel for the British Pacific Fleet, based on Sydney. She never returned home and was scuttled in Australian waters on 25 May 1946. By 1943 the need for these had diminished with the increasing numbers of escorts joining the convoy war and in any event their age was beginning to tell. Some were spending a disproportionate amount of time in dockyard hands. As a result many were withdrawn from escort duties and converted to aircraft target vessels (Brighton as early as November 1942) In 1944 most had been reduced to reserve, but one or two remained active into 1945.