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The Clemson-class destroyer was a class of naval destroyers that were used by the United States Navy during World War II. It was one of the mass-produced destroyer classes, with around 156 being built, and only six of them were not commissioned[1]


The Clemson-class, along with the Wickes subclass, were designed in World War I as the standard destroyer for the United States Navy. The Clemson-class was a slightly redesigned version of the Wickes-class. There were 156 and 111 units of each type built from 1917 to 1922. The ships served into the Second World War, although many were decommissioned during the inter-war period, being replaced by more modern vessels. By the attack on Pearl Harbor, relatively few of these vessels remained in operational status (Most notably, the USS Ward, which fired the first shots of the US in World War II against a Japanese minisub outside of Pearl Harbor) as front line units. A number of them were being held in reserve by the Navy.

These ships, ever plentiful, saw service in the hands of other nations during World War II. The United Kingdom and the United States drafted the destroyers for Bases Agreement, in which the United States transferred forty-seven Clemson/Wickes-class destroyers (and three of the older Caldwell-class vessels) to Britain's Royal Navy for use as convoy escort ships in exchange for American access to British land for establishing military bases overseas. All fifty of the vessels were collectively known as the Town class under British control. Later during the war, a surplus of the British vessels led to nine being transferred to the Soviet Navy, five being transferred to the Norweigan Navy, and a single vessel (The famed HMS Campbeltown) being transferred into Dutch service[2]. The Royal Canadian Navy operated a number of the vessels under the control of the Royal Navy.

A single vessel, USS Stewart, was scuttled during the beginning of the war in the Pacific at Surabaya in the Dutch colony at Java to prevent capture by the Japanese. But, as done with other vessels scuttled in the South Pacific, it was raised and rebuilt by the Imperial Japanese Navy, being recaptured by Americans at the end of the war.

Ships in class



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