Sampson Class, U.S. Destroyers

Photograph of Wickes-class destroyer

Naval History and Heritage Command #NH 103524


Tonnage 1135 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 315'3" by 29'8" by 9'10"
96.1m by 9.0m by 3.0m
Maximum speed       29.6 knots
Complement 100
Armament 4x1 4"/50 guns
6x1 20mm Oerlikon AA guns
2x3 21" torpedo tubes
2 depth charge tracks (50 depth charges)
2 depth charge throwers
2-shaft Curtis turbines (17,000 shp)
4 Yarrow boilers
290 tons
Range 2500 nautical miles (4600 km) at 20 knots

The Sampsons were the last group of "thousand-tonners" to be completed, in 1917, and only Allen was still in service by the time of the Pacific War. The "thousand-tonners" were much larger than previous destroyers and were an attempt at a balanced design capable of screening the battle line, attacking the enemy's battle line, or scouting for the fleet. Destroyer officers felt that destroyers should be used aggressively, dashing in to launch their torpedo salvoes, then dashing back out, if any were still afloat and navigable at that point. The Navy General Board believed that the battleship gun was the arbiter of naval victory and that destroyers must be able to keep up with and screen the larger ships. The scouting role reflected the unbalanced composition of the U.S. Fleet throughout this period, which had a powerful battle line and large numbers of destroyers, but neglected light cruiser construction.

The resulting design satisfied no one, but the General Board insisted that future designs must continue to strike a balance between offensive and defensive capability, and many features of the "thousand-tonners" were duplicated in the Caldwell class that formed the basis for the mass-production destroyers of the First World War.

Allen was present at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and continued operating in the Hawaii area, mostly as a training vessel, throughout the war.

Units in the Pacific:


Pearl Harbor


Friedman (2004)

Whitley (1988)

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