Sumner and Gearing class late war Fleet Destroyers

With treaty limits off, thanks to Pearl Harbor and the war, U.S. ship designers could create the ideal destroyer (which many people think the Fletcher class already was). The twin, dual purpose 5" gun turret on cruisers and battleships had been very successful and was the envy of all other navies. Thus, it was decided to design and build a new class with three of the twin 5" gun turrets.

The first attempt were the Sumner class -- basically the new armament on a Fletcher sized hull -- many of which saw combat in 1944-45. Although their fighting qualities were good, the Sumners had too little fuel capacity and short range. So the Navy Department added another hull section which improved seakeeping qualities as well as fuel capacity and range. At first, these were termed the "long hull Sumners," but eventually they were renamed the Gearing class, after the first of the modified ships.
They became the backbone of our postwar destroyer squadrons, until the Forrest Shermans arrived. (There are photos of the Gibbs & Cox commissioning models of both Gearing and Sherman at http://www.dt.navy.mil/cnsm/faq_09c.html )

The Gearings had only one set of torpedo tubes, with war experience (and the sudden shortage of surface targets) shifting emphasis to antiaircraft defense.

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18Apr09