- Fletcher class destroyer
United States Navycommissioned 175 "Fletcher"-class destroyers between 1942 and 1944. They were built by shipyards across the United Statesfor service in World War II, and some served during the Korean Warand into the Vietnam War. Ironically, many were sold to the very countries they had fought against: Italy, Germany, and Japan, as well as other navies, where they would go on to have even longer, distinguished careers. Several others were cancelled prior to being laid down.
The "Fletcher" class (named for Admiral Frank F. Fletcher) was the largest class of
destroyerordered, and was also one of the most successful and popular with the destroyer men themselves. Compared to earlier classes built for the Navy, they carried a significant increase in anti-aircraft(AA) weapons and other weaponry, which caused displacements to rise. Their flush deckconstruction added structural strength, although it did make them rather cramped.
Throughout the course of World War II, the number of AA weaponry increased resulting in five twin-40 mm Bofors plus seven 20 mm weapons by 1945. Fifty-one were further modified beginning in 1945, replacing the forward
torpedo tubes and midships 40 mm twin Bofors with quad mounts for a total of 14 barrels, and the seven 20 mm singles with six 20 mm twins. Three ("Pringle", "Stevens", "Halford") were built (six planned) with aircraft catapults, resulting in the deletion of one 5-inch mount and the after set of torpedo tubes. This alteration was not a success in service and was not repeated. The three destroyers were later converted to the normal "Fletcher"-class configuration.
Nineteen were lost during World War II; six more were damaged and not repaired. Postwar, the remainder were decommissioned and put into reserve.
With the outbreak of the
Korean Warmany were returned to active duty. During this time 39 were refitted, reducing their overall main armament and the number of torpedo tubes. A new ahead-throwing weapon called Weapon Alphawas installed in many of the ships. Others carried trainable hedgehogs.
Many of the ships were sold to other navies during the mid 1950s, including: :Argentina: 5:Brazil: 7:Chile: 2:Colombia: 1:Greece: 6:Italy: 3:Japan: 2:Mexico: 2:Peru: 2:South Korea: 3:Spain: 5:Taiwan: 4:Turkey: 4:West Germany: 6
Any remaining were broken up in the 1970s. The last "Fletcher" in service, BAM "Cuitlahuac" (ex-"John Rodgers"), left the Mexican navy in 2001, meaning the total service life of the "Fletcher"s stretched into the 21st century. [ [http://www.destroyerhistory.org/fletcherclass/ destroyerhistory.org: "Fletcher" class] ]
Four ships have been preserved as
* USS "Cassin Young" (DD-793), in
* USS "The Sullivans" (DD-537), in
Buffalo, New York
* USS "Kidd" (DD-661), in
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
* AT (Destroyer of Hellenic Navy) "Velos" (D-16) former USS "Charrette" (DD-581) in Faliro, Greece
The USS "John Rodgers" has also been bought from the Mexican Navy and will be brought to the U.S. and restored as a museum.
* [http://www.destroyerhistory.org/fletcherclass/index.html "Fletcher"-class destroyers] at [http://www.destroyerhistory.org/index.html Destroyer History Foundation]
* [http://www.ussconway.com USS Conway's Official Website, "Fletcher" class]
* [http://www.destroyersonline.com/usndd/classflet.html Destroyers Online, "Fletcher" class]
* [http://www.nps.gov/bost/CY%20Webpage/pages/cytour.html USS "Cassin Young" website]
* [http://www.ussbush.com/fletcher.htm "Fletcher"-class facts, USS "Bush" website]
* [http://www.heinzalbers.org/z_1.htm "German Navy Fletcher-Class, USS DD-515 Anthony. Pictures and History in English"]
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