|The Sumner class destroyer was the next evolutionary step from the
Fletcher class and reflected the increasing need for Anti-Aircraft Warfare defense. They
shared the same power plants as their predecessor but had twin rudders and were
slightly longer and wider in the beam. They are often referred to as 'short-hulls'
as the subsequent Gearing class DD's were essentially the same as the Sumner class except
for a 14 foot extension inserted into the middle of the hull. This was to give the
ship a larger fuel capacity and, therefore, increased range.
Of the seventy Sumner's Class DD's built only five were lost to enemy action. The Meredith struck a mine during the D-Day landing and was lost to a German aircraft attack. The Cooper was sunk by a Japanese destroyer in the Philippines. The Mannert L. Abele was sunk by a hit from an "Oka"-bomb and a Kamikaze plane off Okinawa. The Drexler and the Hugh W. Hadley were both lost to hits by Kamikazes. Many others suffered severe damage from large numbers of Kamikaze attacks and various other battle actions but these were repaired and returned to service. Twelve of the seventy DD's were converted for mine-laying duty while under construction.
As the years passed and the need for improved Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilites became evident, the Sumner Class DD's received numerous modifications to the weapons and electronics on board. Improved surface and air search radars, ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) equipment, fixed and directable hedgehog launchers, new torpedoes and torpedo launching systems, DASH (Drone Anti Submarine Helicopter), fixed and variable depth sonar (VDS) systems were added extending the service life of the ships far beyond the expectations of the people that planned the first one. A few of these old work-horses are still around even today in the service of foreign navies!
We are looking for information on the any and all Sumner class ships and you may E-mail submissions to Mark Roberts.
Displacement: 2,610 tons (3,218 tons Full Load) Length: 376 feet 10 inches Beam: 40 feet 10 inches Draught: 14 feet 2 inches Machinery: Four Babcock & Wilcox boilers two-shaft G.E.C. geared turbines Performance: 60,000 shp for 36.5 knots Bunkerage: 504 tons Range: 3,300 nautical miles at 20 knots Guns: six 5 inch; twelve 40 mm; eleven 20 mm Torpedoes: ten 21 inch