Tucker Class Destroyers

The Tucker Class Destroyers were an improved version of the previous O'Brien class, and were the first US destroyers that had the ability to lay mines,

Work on the design of the Tucker class ships began in the autumn 1912. The class was authorized by Congress in March 1913, for construction in FY 14.

In September 1912 the General Board asked C&R to provide a sketch design for a rather ambitious new design. This was to be armed with six 21-in twin torpedo tubes, four 4in guns, 20 mines, an operational radius of 2,500nm at 20 knots and a top speed of 34 knots. C & R responded with a massive 2,160ton destroyer, with 40,000shp and three shafts. Each one would cost $1.9 million, a vast increase on the $760,000 for the previous O'Brien class ships. The new ships would be larger than HMS Swift, the largest destroyer yet constructed (and one of Admiral Fisher's failed experiments).

USS Tucker (DD-57), Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston
USS Tucker (DD-57),
Charlestown Navy Yard,
Boston

USS Conyngham (DD-58), Boston, 11 February 1919
USS Conyngham (DD-58),
Boston, 11 February 1919

USS Porter (DD-59), Queenstown, 1918
USS Porter (DD-59), Queenstown, 1918

USS Tucker (DD-57) under construction, 1 January 1915
USS Tucker (DD-57) under construction, 1 January 1915

The Chief Constructor was opposed to the new design and preferred an improved O'Brien design. In November the General Board gave way and asked for plans for four different variants of the O'Brien with different armament. A plan with four 4in guns and six twin torpedo tubes was judged to be most practical, and in late November C & R was asked to work on a 29.5kt destroyer with an operational radius of 2,500 miles at 20 knots. Two anti-aircraft guns were to be carried if possible and the ability to lay 36 floating mines was required. They were to have a bow strong enough to ram enemy destroyers.

The new design was approved by the Secretary of the Navy on 2 December 1912. A basic design was approved on 29 January 1913 and the class was authorised later in the year. One key feature was the demand for more even performance within the class, after earlier ships were found to have wildly different operating ranges.

Wadsworth (DD-60) was first US destroyer to get geared turbine engines, which were later adopted in most US destroyers.

All but one of the Tucker class ships had a single cruising turbine that could be used to power one shaft. USS Wadsworth (DD-60), with her experimental geared turbines, didn't have a separate cruising engine.

USS Tucker (DD-57) was based at Queenstown from May 1917 to the summer of 1918 to take part in the anti-submarine campaign, then at Brest to help escort US troop convoys to France. During this second period she was awarded a 'probable kill' for an attack on a U-boat on 8 August. After the war she was decommissioned in 1921, but then reactivated to serve with the Coast Guard from 1926 to 1933, as CG-23. After returning to the Navy she was briefly used as a Sea Scout training ship, but then sold for scrap in 1936.

USS Conyngham (DD-58) moved to Queenstown in April 1917 with the first batch of US destroyers. She was based there for the entire war. She was decommissioned in 1922, but reactivated to serve with the Coast Guard from 1924 to 1933. She was scrapped in 1934.

USS Porter (DD-59) served at Queenstown from May 1917 until June 1918, then at Brest. On 28 April 1918 she badly damaged U-108. She was decommissioned in 1922, but reactivated for the Coast Guard from 1924 to 1933. She was scrapped in 1934.

USS Wadsworth (DD-60) in rough seas
USS Wadsworth (DD-60)
in rough seas

USS Wadsworth (DD-60) was the flagship of the first US destroyer squadron to move to Queenstown in April 1917. She took part in a series of attacks on U-boats during her time at Queenstown, although without confirmed successes. In April 1918 she moved to Brest, where she remained for the rest of the war. After the war she was used to support the trans-Atlantic flight of four Curtiss NC-4 flying boats in 1919. She was decommissioned in 1922 and scrapped in 1936.

USS Jacob Jones (DD-61) was based at Queenstown from May 1917. On 6 December 1917 she became the only US destroyer lost to enemy action during the First World War, when she was sunk by U-53 with the loss of two-thirds of her crew.

USS Wainwright (DD-62) on trials, 1915-16
USS Wainwright (DD-62) on trials, 1915-16

USS Wainwright (DD-62) was part of the first US destroyer squadron to move to Queenstown. She took part in a number of attacks on possible U-boats, before moving to Brest in the summer of 1918. After the war she served with the Coast Guard from 1926 until 1934. In 1933 she was briefly recalled to Navy duty to help guard the Florida Strait during a revolution in Cuba. After returning to the Navy she was soon scrapped.

In the mid-1920s four of the five surviving Tucker class ships were transferred to the Coast Guard to take part in the 'Rum Runner' patrol, with the new classifications CG-21 to CG-25. They were part of a second group of destroyers to join the Coast Guard, adding to the original force of 20.

The surviving members of the class were scrapped between 1934 and 1937 under the terms of the London Naval Treaty of 1930.

Displacement (design standard)

1,090t (DD-57 to DD-59)
1,060t (DD-60)
1,150t (DD-61 to DD-62)

Displacement (loaded)

1,205t

Top Speed

29.5kts at 17,000-18,000shp
29.56kt at 16,399shp at 1,103tons on trial (Tucker)

Engine

2-shaft Curtis turbines
4 boilers
17,000shp apart from
18,000shp (DD-58, DD-59)
17,500shp (DD-60)

Range

2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Length

315ft 3in

Width

30ft 6in (DD-58, DD-59, DD-51)
29ft 9in (DD-57, DD-60, DD-62)

Armaments

Four 4in/50 guns
Eight 21in torpedo tubes in twin mountings
Depth charges

Crew complement

99

Ships in Class

USS Tucker (DD-57)

 

USS Conyngham (DD-58)

 

USS Porter (DD-59)

 

USS Wadsworth (DD-60)

 

USS Jacob Jones (DD-61)

 

USS Wainwright (DD-62)

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 September 2016), Tucker Class Destroyers , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_tucker_class_destroyers.html

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