Sampson-class destroyer

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USS Sampson DD-63.jpg
USS Sampson
Class overview
Name: Sampson class
Preceded by: Tucker class
Succeeded by: Caldwell class
Built: 1915–17
In commission: 1916–46
Completed: 6
Retired: 6
Preserved: 0
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
  • 1,111 tons (normal)
  • 1,225 tons (full load)
Length: 315 ft 3 in (96.09 m)
Beam: 30 ft 7 in (9.32 m)
Draft: 10 ft 9 in (3.28 m)
Speed: 29.5 kn (54.6 km/h; 33.9 mph)
Complement: 99 officers and crew

The Sampson-class destroyers served in the United States Navy during World War I. Commissioned in 1916 and 1917, the class was a modification of the O'Brien and Tucker classes, with the number of 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes increased from four twin-mounts to four triple-mounts. The Sampsons were the final six ships of the 26 "thousand tonner" destroyers. They were the largest and most heavily armed of the "thousand tonners", and the subsequent "flush deck" classes differed mainly in hull design and the engineering plant.



While the gun armament was typical for destroyers of this period, the torpedo armament of twelve 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes was a significant increase over the preceding Tucker class, replacing four twin mounts with four triple mounts. Both the gun and torpedo armament would remain standard through the mass-production "flush-deck" Wickes and Clemson classes commissioned through 1921. As with the other "thousand tonners", a factor in the size of the torpedo armament was the General Board's decision to use broadside rather than centerline torpedo tubes.[1] This was due to the desire to have some torpedoes remaining after firing a broadside, and problems experienced with centerline mounts on previous classes with torpedoes striking the gunwales of the firing ship.[2] The Mark 8 torpedo was equipped.

This was the first US destroyer class to mount anti-aircraft guns: two 1 pounder (37 mm) autocannons. Anti-submarine (ASW) armament was added during World War I. Typically, a single depth charge track was provided aft, along with a Y-gun depth charge projector.[3]


While the main turbines were direct drive, all of the class were fitted with geared cruising turbines as in the preceding Tucker class, on one shaft in Allen, Wilkes and Shaw and on both shafts in the others.[4]


The Sampson class served in World War I as convoy escorts in the Atlantic. Wilkes and Shaw served in the United States Coast Guard as part of the Rum Patrol 1926-34. While the other ships of the Sampson class were retired and scrapped 1934-36 to comply with the London Naval Treaty, Allen survived into the 1940s and served through World War II before being decommissioned and scrapped, the only pre-flush-deck destroyer to serve in that war.[5]

Ships in class[edit]

The six ships of the Sampson class were:

Name Hull no. Shipyard Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Fate
Sampson DD-63 Fore River Shipbuilding 15 April 1915 4 March 1916 27 June 1916 15 June 1921 Scrapped 1936
Rowan DD-64 Fore River Shipbuilding 10 May 1915 23 March 1916 22 August 1916 19 June 1922 Scrapped 1939
Davis DD-65 Bath Iron Works 7 May 1915 15 August 1916 5 October 1916 20 June 1922 USCG 1926-33, scrapped 1934
Allen DD-66 Bath Iron Works 10 May 1915 5 December 1916 24 January 1917 15 October 1945 Scrapped 1946
Wilkes DD-67 William Cramp & Sons 11 March 1915 18 May 1916 10 November 1916 5 June 1922 USCG 1926-34, scrapped 1934
Shaw DD-68 Mare Island Navy Yard 7 February 1916 9 December 1916 9 April 1917 21 June 1922 USCG 1926-33, name removed 1 November 1933 for new ship, scrapped 1934



  1. ^ Friedman, p. 24,34
  2. ^ Friedman, p. 24
  3. ^ Friedman, p. 45
  4. ^ Gardiner, p. 123
  5. ^ Sampson Class page


External links[edit]