This is now the third time I've redone these things.
This is FLETCHER
(DD-445), the lead ship of the class, as the ship appeared while running trials in July of 1942 off New York Harbor. She is painted in the usual Measure 12 (modified) of the time.
The Federal-built units were delivered to the Navy without a medium anti-aircraft gun atop the aft deckhouse position. These guns were installed by the New York Navy Yard during the fitting out period. No Mark 51 director for this mount has yet been fitted. SG and SC radars have been fitted at the mast head, and a Mark 4 "FD" radar sits atop the Mark 37 director.
This is NICHOLAS (DD-449) as the ship appeared at Tulagi in July of 1943 after the Battle of Kula Gulf. She is camouflaged in Measure 21, like all her sisters in DesRon 21.
NICHOLAS, O'BANNON (DD-450), and CHEVALIER (DD-451) were built at Bath Iron Works to the same pattern, and all received a 1.1" quad machine cannon atop the after deckhouse, which they took to the Pacific. Further field modifications added three 20mm Oerlikons on the fantail, with only a small splinter shield ahead of the outboard guns. A fourth 20mm gun was sited above the pilot house.
This is O'BANNON (DD-450) in August of 1943. She is configured almost identically to her sister NICHOLAS (DD-449).
This is CHEVALIER (DD-451) in July of 1943, after the Battle of Kula Gulf. CHEVALIER received a 20mm Oerlikon in a small tub ahead of the pilot house, built to a pattern seen on the BENSON-GLEAVES and SIMS class destroyers.
This is HALFORD (DD-480) in April of 1943 while undergoing an inclining test at Puget Sound Navy Yard. She is camouflaged in Measure 21.
HALFORD was one of the experimental "aircraft-handling" FLETCHER
class destroyers. Six of the original 24 ships were ordered to be completed with a catapult and crane for launching and recovering a single OS2U Kingfisher scout plane. Ultimately only three of the six ever actually operated a plane at sea, and the concept was considered flawed by the Navy in light of the destroyers' normal operation alongside carrier task forces, but pressure from above pushed the project along. All six DDs were returned to standard configuration after the design proved ineffective.
The "aircraft-handling" group of modifications included the removal of mount 53 and the after torpedo tubes and their replacement with a compressed-air driven catapult. The catapult itself was a slightly modified version of the type used aboard the OMAHA class cruisers and was designated the Type A Mark 4 Mod.1. The original design for the aircraft-handling ships included a centerline-mounted boom-and-kingpost crane fitted just aft of the no.2 stack, but in trials this design proved disappointing and a new crane type was commissioned. HALFORD was fitted with the updated crane, itself a modified version of those used on cruisers. Unfortunately it could not fit on the centerline, so was mounted on the port side main deck abeam the no.2 stack. It was powered by winching gear mounted on the main deck, and the knuckle was hinged to allow it to be laid flat on the deck when not in use. The modifications also added repair shops for the aircraft and an aviation fuel tank in the stern. The after conning station normally sited on the deck house between mount 53 and 54 was relocated to the searchlight platform on the aft stack, a modification later performed on all the rebuilt "round bridge" FLETCHERs and standard on all the "square-bridge" types.
Otherwise, HALFORD has a fairly standard early-to-mid war configuration for a FLETCHER
class destroyer. She has not yet received amidships 40mm Bofors, but one twin 40mm mount sits on the fantail between the depth charge tracks, controlled by a Mark 51 director. HALFORD also has 20mm Oerlikon guns atop the pilot house and in a small tub forward of the bridge; this was a design created by the Boston Navy Yard for the BENSON/GLEAVES class destroyers and later authorized for use on FLETCHERs as a stopgap measure to get more guns onto each ship. The ship's radar fit is the standard SC-2 air search and SG surface search, with a Mark 4 "FD" fire control/ranging radar on the Mark 37 director.
HALFORD would survive the war, being decommissioned shortly after the Japanese surrender, ultimately being scrapped in 1970.
This is CONWAY (DD-507) in August of 1943 while escorting convoys in the South Pacific. She is camouflaged in the rare Measure 18 pattern, a variation of Measure 12 that used Haze Grey (5-H) on the superstructure above the main deck instead of Ocean Grey (5-O).
CONWAY, one of the later built units, is fitted with two twin 40mm Bofors mounts - one above the shortened aft deckhouse, and one in a tub on the fantail. Both are directed by Mark 51 directors nearby. The revised aft deckhouse used on the later units required the relocation of the after/emergency conning station to the searchlight platform on the number 2 stack. The antenna trunk which provided the lead-in for the ship's TAJ radio has also been relocated to this position.
This is JOHNSTON (DD-557) during the Battle off Samar on October 25th, 1944. The ship is camouflaged in Measure 21.
JOHNSTON was one of the "square bridge" FLETCHER
class destroyers, which incorporated a revised/simplified open bridge based on British war experience. Wartime refits and revisions to the class added two more 40mm Bofors twin mounts amidships (abeam the no.2 stack), and replaced the 20mm Oerlikons normally fitted ahead of the bridge with another pair of twin Bofors. The SC-2 air search antenna and SG surface search antenna sit at the masthead (the standard authorized radar fit for destroyers by 1944).
JOHNSTON was sunk by gunfire in this configuration during the Battle off Samar (part of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf), with 186 men killed in action.
This is THE SULLIVANS (DD-537) in November of 1944, while operating in the Pacific. She is camouflaged in Measure 21.
THE SULLIVANS shows the standard mid-to-late war authorized AA configuration, with five twin 40mm Bofors mounts -- two abeam the pilothouse, two abeam the number 2 stack, and one on the aft deckhouse. These were controlled by Mark 49 directors as launched, but replaced with the simpler Mark 51 in 1944. Radar fit is the standard SC-2 air search mattress at the masthead with SG surface search below it. A TBS tactical radio antenna sits atop the portside yardarm. Note the clover emblem on the forward stack, an iconic feature of this ship. Built at Bethlehem Steel's San Francisco yard, THE SULLIVANS shows a distinctive feature of ships built or altered at this yard -- a rub strake installed amidships below the waist 40mm position.
THE SULLIVANS survived the war, serving in the postwar US Navy, before becoming a museum in Buffalo, New York.
This is HOEL (DD-533) in October of 1943, at the conclusion of a refit period at Mare Island. She is camouflaged in the overall Navy Blue of Measure 21.
As built, the ship went to sea for trials with three twin 40mm Bofors mounts (one of the aft deckhouse and two amidships), all controlled by Mark 49 directors. Post-shakedown alterations removed the 20mm Oerlikons originally ahead of the bridge and replaced them with two more twin Bofors mounts, directed by simpler Mark 51 directors mounted on the bridge wings. HOEL would go to the combat zone in this configuration.
This is HOEL (DD-533) in October of 1944 at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The ship is camouflaged in Measure 32/1D.
HOEL has received Mark 51 directors for the 40mm Bofors guns, replacing the earlier Mark 49s. Otherwise, the ship is nearly identical in configuration to her late 1943 appearance. HOEL would be lost in this configuration during the Battle off Samar, with 253 officers and enlisted men going down with the ship.
This is HEERMANN (DD-532) in October of 1944 at the Battle off Samar. She is camouflaged in Measure 31/24D, with Dull Black over Haze Grey.
HEERMANN was the only American destroyer to survive the Battle off Samar. Heavily damaged, the ship sailed to Kossol Passage for temporary repairs before retiring to the Mare Island Navy Yard for a refit and repair period. The ship later participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima and the actions off Okinawa. HEERMANN survived the war, serving in the post-war US Navy, before finally being sold to Argentina in 1961. Renamed ALMIRANTE BROWN (D-20), the ship served in the Argentine Navy until it was finally sold for scrap in 1982.