Benham Class, U.S. Destroyers

Photograph of Benham-class destroyer

Naval Historical Center #NH 90936

Schematic diagram of Benham class destroyer

ONI 222


Tonnage 1637 tons standard
Dimensions 340'9" by 35'6" by 12'10"
103.86m by 10.82m by 3.91m
Maximum speed       38.5 knots
Complement 184
Armament 4x1 5"/38 dual-purpose guns
4 0.50 machine guns
4x4 21" torpedo tubes
2 depth charge tracks
4 depth charge throwers
2-shaft Westinghouse geared turbine (50,000 shp)
3 Babcock & Wilcox boilers
Bunkerage 484 tons fuel oil
Range 6500 nautical miles (12,000 km) at 12 knots
QC sonar
Modifications 1941: All but Benham and Ellet  landed 2x4 torpedo tubes in return for  more depth charges and two more machine guns.

1942: Radar added. All but Benham and Ellet replaced machine guns with 6x1 20mm Oerlikon AA guns.

1943: Received 2x2 40mm Bofors AA guns. Added SC, SG, and FD radar.

1945: Sterett and Lang landed all torpedo tubes and added kamikaze refit of 4x2 40mm Bofors and 4x2 20mm Oerlikon.

The Benhams were completed during 1938-1940, making them among the most modern destroyers with which the U.S. Fleet started the war. They were heavily armed, had great hull strength, and were extremely fast. 

At the time their design was under development, in 1935, the Navy had become so concerned with the increasing difficulty of fitting the desired firepower on a treaty-limited 1500-ton displacement that serious consideration was given to abandoning the heavy dual-purpose gun mounts. However, the Fleet insisted on the dual-purpose armament, and the design chosen was essentially an improved Gridley. The ships used three higher-pressure boilers in place of the four boilers of the earlier class, as well as more powerful machinery, and their displacement ended up being well over the 1500-ton limit. This no longer mattered much, as the 1936 London Treaty substituted restrictions on total destroyer tonnage for restrictions on individual ship tonnage. 

They were expensive for destroyers, costing nearly $5 million dollars at the time.

Units in the Pacific:

Benham       Task Force 8 (Enterprise)       Lost 1942-11-15 at Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
Ellet Task Force 8 (Enterprise)     

Lang arrived 1942-6
Wilson arrived 1942-6-9
Stack arrived 1942-6-12
Sterett arrived 1942-6-12
Trippe arrived 1945-5-1
Rhind arrived 1945-5-12
Mayrant arrived 1945-5-14



Whitley (1988)

Worth (2001)

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