USS Dallas (DD-199)

USS Dallas (DD-199) was a Clemson class destroyer that took part in Operation Torch, the invasion of Sicily and the Salerno landings, as well as performing escort duties.

USS Dallas (DD-199), 1934
USS Dallas (DD-199), 1934

The Dallas was named after Alexander J. Dallas, a US Naval Officer who fought in the War of 1812, founded the Pensacola Navy Yard, then commanded the West India Squadron and finally the Pacific Squadron.

The Dallas was laid down at Newport News on 25 November 1918, launched on 31 May 1919 and commissioned on 29 October 1920. She was based at Charleston, South Carolina, and operated along the East Coast, before being placed out of commission at Philadelphia on 26 June 1922.

USS Dallas (DD-199) at the Presidential Naval Review, 4 June 1927
USS Dallas (DD-199) at the Presidential Naval Review, 4 June 1927

Unlike many of her sister-ships, the Dallas didn’t spend long out of service. Instead she was recommissioned on 14 April 1925, and remained in service almost continuously until 1945 (with one short break in 1939).

Between 14 April 1925 and June 1927 her captain was Carl Townsend Osburn, who was the most successful American Olympian until the 1970s. She served with a number of destroyer squadrons, and as the flagship of Squadrons 9, 7 and 1. During the period between 1925 and 1931 she was based on the East Coast and in the Caribbean, and took part in the normal US Navy routine of summer exercises off the US East Coast and winter exercises in the Caribbean. She also spent some time as an experimental ship at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island.

In January-March 1932 the Dallas moved to the west coast and a new base at San Diego. She was based on the west coast for most of the next six years, taking part in exercises, and visits to Hawaii and Alaska (including a trip to Alaska in 1937 alongside the Long (DD-209) and Wasmuth (DD-338)). She returned to the East Coast in 1934 to take part in the Presidential Review of the Fleet at New York in June 1934 and spent most of the rest of the year taking part in exercises off the East Coast and Caribbean, before returning to San Diego in November.

The Dallas was based in the Canal Zone from May to November 1938, where she supported Submarine Squadron 3 and made a series of visits to local ports. At the end of the year she moved to Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned on 23 March 1939.

USS Dallas (DD-199) in Wadi Sebou, 11 November 1942
USS Dallas (DD-199)
in Wadi Sebou,
11 November 1942

Within a few months war had broken out in Europe, and the US Navy began to expand once again. The Dallas was recommissioned on 25 September 1939, and became flagship of Destroyer Squadron 41 then Squadron 30 in the Atlantic Fleet. She was based along the Atlantic Coast, and spent 1940 and the first part of 1941 taking part in training exercises.

This ended on 7 July 1941 when she departed for Argentia, Newfound. Between 11 July 1941 and 10 March 1942 she operated from Argentia and Halifax, escorting convoys to Reykjavik and later to Londonderry. Anyone who served on her between 10 July-31 July, 18 August-18 October or 28 October-28 November 1941 qualified for the American Defense Service Medal.

The American entry into the war brought the war to the US East Coast. Between 1 April and 3 October 1942 the Dallas helped escort coastal shipping moving between New York, Norfolk, Florida, Texas, Cuba, Bermuda and into the Caribbean. She was then allocated to the forces taking part in Operation Torch, and departed from Norfolk on 25 October 1942 to join Task Force 34.

USS Dallas (DD-199) approaching Juneau, Alaska, 1937
USS Dallas (DD-199) approaching Juneau, Alaska, 1937

During Operation Torch she was used to land 75 men from a U.S. Army Raider battalion at Lyautey airport. This involved a dangerous voyage up a shallow river, the Wadi or Oued Sebou, piloted by René Malavergne, a French civilian pilot who had been imprisoned by the Vichy French but escaped and reached Britain. The Dallas was under fire for much of the run and had to cope with shallow water, sunken ships and other obstacles, as well as cutting her way through a cable across the river, before she finally landed her troops close to the airport. By 10.30am on 10 November the first P-40s had flown into Lyautey airfield from the escort carriers out at sea. The Dallas was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for this exploit, while Malavergne became the first foreign civilian to be awarded the Navy Cross.

The Dallas didn’t stay in North Africa for long after Operation Torch, and departed for the US on 15 November. In the first half of 1943 she spent most of her time on escort duties between Norfolk, New York and New London, breaking the routine with a trip to Gibraltar between 3 March and 14 April.

In May 1943 she moved back to the Mediterranean, ready to take part in the invasion of Sicily. She reached Oran on 23 may and spent some time patrolling off the North African coast. On 9 July she joined Task Force 81, and formed part of the screen during the landings at Scoglitti on Sicily (10-12 July). This was followed by another period of escort and patrol duties.

On 7 September she joined part of the escort of a convoy heading for Salerno, and on 9 September she screened the transport group landing there. After two days off Salerno she joined a south-bound convoy, picking up two downed British airmen on the way. She escorted reinforcements heading by sea to Salerno, then remained in the Mediterranean until 11 December, when she departed for the US East Coast.

After undergoing an overhaul, the Dallas escorted two convoys heading for North Africa between 23 February and 9 June 1944. On 11 May she helped fight off an Axis air attack on the second convoy, claiming one enemy aircraft.

The Dallas then returned to the US East Coast, where she performed a mix of convoy escort and training duties. On 31 March 1945 she was renamed as the USS Alexander Dallas, to free up her original name for the new cruiser USS Dallas (CA-140).

After the end of the war in Europe the Dallas was surplus to requirements. On 7 June 1945 she moved to Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned on 28 July 1945. She was sold for scrap on 30 November 1945.

The Dallas received four battle stars during the Second World War, for Operation Torch, the invasion of Sicily, the Salerno landings and the defence of Convoy UGS-40 on 11 May 1944.

Displacement (standard)

1,190t

Displacement (loaded)

1,308t

Top Speed

35kts
35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)

Engine

2-shaft Westinghouse geared turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)

Range

2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt

 

 - deck

 

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 10.5in

Armaments

Four 4in/ 50 guns
One 3in/23 AA gun
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple mountings
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement

114

Launched

31 May 1919

Commissioned

29 October 1920

Decommissioned

28 July 1945

Sold for scrap

30 November 1945

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 September 2018), USS Dallas (DD-199) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Dallas_DD199.html

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