USS Badger (DD-126)

USS Badger (DD-126) was a Wickes class destroyer that spend most of the Second World War operating in the Atlantic, carrying out a mix of escort and anti-submarine warfare duties.

The Badger was named after Oscar C. Badger, a US Naval Officer during the American Civil War, who retired in 1885 with the rank of Commodore.

The Badger was laid down at Camden, New Jersey, on 9 January 1918, launched on 24 August 1918 and commissioned on 29 May 1919.

The Badger crossed the Atlantic in June 1919, alongside the Ellis (DD-154), McCalla (DD-253) and Roper (DD-147). She served in the Adriatic under Rear Admiral Philip Andrews, helping to implement the Austro-Hungarian armistice. The Badger was only in the Adriatic for a few weeks, and returned to New York in mid August 1919.

A few days later she left for San Diego, along with the Hazelwood (DD-107) and Schley (DD-103). They arrived at San Diego on 8 September, and the Badger joined Destroyer Squadron, Destroyer Division 16, Pacific Fleet. She remained with the Pacific Fleet for the next 32 months. She started as part of Flotilla 5 of Squadron 4, but in 1920 this became Squadron 5 of Flotilla 4 in one of the more pointless changes of designations. Through this she remained with Division 16, apart from a short spell in Division 32, Squadron 4, Flotilla 2. Her first period of service ended on 4 September 1940 when she was placed into reduced commission, with a skeleton crew.

Between January 1921 and May 1922 the Badger returned to active duty, with Division 16, then Division 14, both of Squadron 5, Flotilla 4. On 27 May 1922 she was fully decommissioned for the first time, and entered the reserve fleet.

Towards the end of 1929 the Badger was chosen to replace USS Reno (DD-303), whose Yarrow boilers had worn out. The task was carried out at San Diego by the crew of the Reno, and on 18 January 1930 she was recommissioned with her new crew.

The Badger joined Division 14, Squadron 6 of the Battle Fleet. She spent most of the next 14 months in the Pacific, apart from one cruise into the Atlantic in 1930. This involved fleet exercises in the West Indies and a visit to New York. In February-March 1931 the Badger took part in Fleet Problem XII, of the Pacific coast of Panama. After this finished she was one of nine destroyers chosen to join the Scouting Fleet (Scouting Force from 1 April 1931). This meant that she moved to the East Coast, where she joined Destroyer Division 7, Destroyer Squadron 3, Destroyer Flotilla 1, Scouting Force. After a short spell in Cuban waters she moved to her new base at Charleston.

In 1932 the Badger moved to the Pacific for the annual exercise, but then remained there for the rest of the year in response to Japanese aggression in China. The Scouting Force remained in the Pacific until the end of Fleet Problem XIV in 1933. The Badger was back at Norfolk, Virginia by late May, where she joined Rotating Reserve Destroyer Squadron 19 on 1 June 1933. This meant that she shared her crew with a second destroyer.

At the start of October 1933 the Badger was reactivated as part of Destroyer Squadron 10, Scouting Force. She was used as a training ship, and in 1934 she officially joined the Training Squadron of the Scouting Force. In 1935 she returned to the rotating reserve, but in May that idea was abandoned and she resumed active service, once again with the Scouting Force Training Squadron. Late in 1937 she became part of the Training Detachment, United States Fleet.
  
In October 1938 the Badger was chosen to join Squadron 40-T, the American naval force operating to support American citizens during the Spanish Civil War. She reached her new base in France on 17 November 1938, but she didn’t actually do much in Spanish waters, instead visiting a series of other Mediterranean ports. In the summer of 1939 she visited Le Havre, Rotterdam and St. Nazaire, before returning to her Mediterranean base at Villefranche.

In September 1939 Britain and France declared war on Germany, and Villefranche stopped being a neutral port. The American squadron moved to neutral Lisbon on 1 October, but the Badger was relieved on 5 October, and returned to the United States.

On 1 February 1940 the Badger joined DesDiv 53, DesRon 27 with the Neutrality Patrol. During 1940 she operated from a variety of bases on the US East Coast, visited Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Panama. She spent most of September-October on the Pacific coast of Central America, then returned to the Caribbean, where she served until the start of December.

Work with the Neutrality patrol continued for the first three months of 1941. In March-April she underwent a significant refit. Her four 4in single purpose guns and two torpedo tube mounts were replaced with six 3in/ 50 caliber dual purpose guns.

In September 1941 the Badger was allocated to the Support Force, based at Argentia, Newfoundland. She arrived in early October, and was soon at sea escorting a convoy across the western atlantic. She was at Reykjavik when the USS Kearny (DD-432) was torpedoed by U-568, and was ordered to replace her at sea. She escorted two convoys between Reykjavik and Argentia, and on 21 November made an attack on a suspected submarine.

Anyone who served on her between 6 October and 7 December 1941 qualified for the American Defense Service Medal.

The Badger was at Argentia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. After two weeks of repairs she escorted a convoy to Iceland between 22 December and 2 January 1942. She was then allocated to Convoy ON-54, a westbound convoy heading for North America. This convoy ran into a fierce gale. The Badger lost one whaleboat and her mainmast was snapped, and on 13 January she had to leave the convoy and attempt to reach safety. She reached St. John's, Newfoundland on 19 January, and then moved to Boston for repairs.

After the repairs were completed she returned to Iceland, where she was based from mid February until late July 1942. She was used to escort convoys between the mid-ocean rendezvous point and Reykjavik and sometimes in the mid Atlantic stretch as well. Her period in Iceland came to an end after she ran aground on 31 July, forcing her to return to Boston for more repairs. After her return to action she moved to Argentia, arriving in late September. She spent the next four weeks operating between Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Greenland. Between 23 October and the end of the year she escorted two convoys to Londonderry and back.

On 22 January 1943 the Badger reached Guantanamo Bay, at the start of four months escorting merchant ships, first from Guantanamo Bay to Aruba and Trinidad then from April to Kingston, Jamaica and New Orleans. This period ended with her return to Guantanamo Bay on 2 June 1943.

In late June the Badger began a period of five months operating with hunter-killer anti-submarine warfare groups. In late June she formed part of TG 21.12, with the carrier Core (ACV-13) and the destroyers Barker (DD-213) and Bulmer (DD-222). This group escorted the Gibraltar-bound convoy UGS-11 until 11 July, when it was transferred to the west bound convoy GUS-9. This was a successful period. On 13 July aircraft from Composite Squadron 13 (VC-13) on the Core sank U-487 on 13 July and U-67 on 16 July. In 17 July the group was detached for the convoy and spent the rest of the month hunting independently, before being dissolved off Hampton roads on 31 July.

In mid-August the Badger joined a second group build around the Core, TG 21.16. This group provided loose cover for convoy UGS-15, but a plan to follow this with a period of independent submarine hunting was ended when vibrations in Core's turbines limited her to 12 knots.

On 22 September the Badger joined Convoy TO-8 at sea, arriving at Aruba on the following day. On 25 September she left Aruba with another convoy, which she covered until 30 September.

On 15 October the Badger joined TG 21.16, a hunter-killer group built around the Block Island (CVE-21). This group escorted convoy UGS-19 then carried out an anti-submarine sweep. On 28 October the Block Island's aircraft sank U-220 in the ocean north of the Azores. The task group reached Casablanca on 5 November, then returned to the United States as part of the escort for convoys GUS-20 and UGS-23. The Badger left the group on 25 November.

The Badger was next used on convoy escort duties with the Service Force, Atlantic Fleet. On 16 December she left Norfolk to escort Kennebec (AO-36) to Bermuda. From there they joined a convoy heading for Aruba. The Badger then escorted that convoy back towards the United States, before on 31 December 1943 she split off with the Niobrara (AO-72) to escort her into Chesapeake Bay.

On 12-14 January 1944 she escorted the Mattole from Norfolk to Narragansett Bay, new England. She then escorted the escort carrier HMS Begum as she moved from Norfolk to New York. Between 20 January and 29 January she escorted the Rapidan (AO-18) from Norfolk to Bermuda and back.

On 12 February 1944 the Badger joined the large convoy UGS-33, which had 83 merchantmen and twelve warships. This convoy passed into the Mediterranean after eighteen days and the escorts reached Casablanca on 3 March. Next was Operation Spangle, a show of force aimed at a Spanish fishing village that was suspected of aiding U-boats. This involved firing starshells and dropping depth charges near the village.

In March the Badger returned to the United States. In mid-April she began a prolonged period escorting convoys along the US east coast and to Bermuda and into the Caribbean. This lasted until 17 October, when the Badger entered the Panama Canal heading for the Pacific. She then spent a month helping to train submarines off the west coast of Central America.

In mid-November the Badger returned to the Atlantic, where she joined the Antisubmarine Development Detachment. She spent most of the next seven months operating with this unit at Port Everglades.

On 20 June 1945 the Badger left for Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned on 20 July 1945. She was struck off on 13 August. She was sold for scrap on 30 November 1945 but this sale fell through, and she had to be sold a second time on 31 December 1945.

The Badger earned one battle stars during the Second World War, for service with Task Group 21.12 in June-July 1943.

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)

 

Top Speed

35kts (design)
35.34kts at 24,610shp at 1,149t on trial (Wickes)

Engine

2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
24,200shp (design)

Range

3,800nm at 15kts on trial (Wickes)
2,850nm at 20kts on trial (Wickes)

Armour - belt

 

 - deck

 

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement

114

Laid Down

9 January 1918

Launched

24 August 1918

Commissioned

29 May 1919

Decommissioned

20 July 1945

Struck off

13 August 1945

Sold for scrap

30 November 1945
31 December 1945

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 August 2017), USS Badger (DD-126) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Badger_DD126.html

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