USS Wickes (DD-75) moored

USS Wickes (DD-75) moored


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U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann .The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.


USS Wickes (DD-75) moored - History

Historical Sketch of USS Zane (DD-337)

DD-337 was named for Marine Corps officer Randolph Talcott Zane, (1887-1918) who served in the Chateau Thierry region of France during World War I. Wounded and shell-shocked on 26 June, Zane never recovered from his injuries and died on 24 October 1918. Zane was commissioned at Mare Island on 15 February 1921. Converted from a destroyer to a high-speed minesweeper at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard and reclassified as DMS-14 on 19 November 1940, Zane operated primarily in Hawaiian waters on the eve of World War II.

On the morning of 7 December 1941, she was moored off Pearl City in a nest with her three sister ships of Mine Division 4 Trever (DMS-16), Wasmuth (DMS-15), and Perry (DMS-17). The crew was just finishing breakfast when, at 0757, a signalman on watch topside observed a single plane drop a bomb on the southern end of Ford Island after a long gliding approach from the northward. Only then did the men topside realize it was a Japanese plane. With 10 percent of her enlisted men and 25 percent of the officers ashore, Zane went to general quarters and, within three minutes of the initial explosion, had manned her .50-caliber antiaircraft machine gun battery. Her commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. L. M. LeHardy, was senior officer afloat in the division and reported: "0800 Observed Japanese plane gliding low over Ford Island, enemy character now positive. This was not a drill." Commencing fire at "any and all planes which passed within a reasonable distance of the nest," Zane began preparations at 0803 for getting underway, as belting and ammunition supply parties turned to. At 0830, Zane spotted a "strange submarine" 200 yards astern of Medusa (AR-1), anchored in nearby berth K-23. Zane's position in the nest, however, rendered her incapable of opening fire with her after 4-inch gun her aim was fouled by Perry (DMS-17), moored outboard. However, Monaghan (DD-354) soon made the whole problem academic at 0840, when she charged down upon the Japanese type "A" midget submarine and destroyed her by ramming and with depth charges. Meanwhile, the fleet gradually began to fight back and, by the time the second wave of Japanese planes arrived, the enemy found a decidedly hot reception. Gunfire from a nearby ship possibly Medusa brought down one Japanese plane, whose bomb burst in the water near Perry . The enemy aircraft exploded into flames on the way down and crashed on shore to the loud cheers of all hands topside in Zane. Subsequently, the ships of MinDiv 4 got underway individually and stood out to take up patrol offshore. Zane had suffered no damage from the enemy during the raid, but the melee of "friendly" anti-aircraft fire from a number of ships nearby including some in the nest itself had severed a number of strands of rigging and antennae. At 1410, Zane and Wasmuth rigged up a twin-ship, moored-mine sweep with 400 fathoms of wire between them and entered the Pearl Harbor entrance channel at 1547, sweeping up to the vicinity of the gate vessel before the sweep wire parted.

Subsequently returning to sea, Zane resumed anti-submarine patrols, carrying them out at a time when submarine sightings most of them fictitious proliferated. Zane operated locally out of Pearl Harbor into the spring of 1942 as a convoy escort. The high-speed minesweeper then underwent repairs and alterations and together with her four sister ships was re-assigned to remove mines prior to the Guadalcanal invasions before D day, 7 August. During the struggle for Guadalcanal, Zane worked off Tulagi and Guadalcanal frequently battling Japanese forces the end of 1942. She later took part in the campaigns to occupy the Russells, New Georgia, in 1942, and the Marshalls, Marianas and Carolines in 1944. V-J Day found her in at anchor in San Pedro Bay, off Leyte. During those vital but unglamorous duties, she had been reclassified from a high-speed minesweeper to a miscellaneous auxiliary, AG-109, on 5 June 1945.

Zane was decommissioned there on 14 December 1945 and sold on 22 October 1946 her hulk was scrapped on 3 March 1947. Zane (DMS-14) received six battle stars for her World War II service. In addition, she received the Navy Unit Commendation for her services at Guadalcanal in 1942 and 1943


USS Wickes (DD-75)

The Wickes class was the oldest class of the so-called "flushdeckers" to see service in World War II. Its direct predecessor was Destroyer 1916, the Caldwell class, from which no ship survived to participate in the Pacific War. The Wickes class resulted from the peculiar requirements the war made in the U.S. ship-building industry. Early in 1916, Congress had passed an act calling for the enlargement of the fleet to comprise enough warships to be able to deal with all foes, in the words of the time, a "fleet second to none". Part of the orders called for the ten Omaha class light cruisers, another for six Constellation class battlecruisers (later to become the foundation for Lexington and Saratoga), and the new destroyer class was to operate with these ships, necessitating a maximum speed resmbling theirs - roughly 35 knots.

The Caldwell design set the general outline of the new destroyer. In the older ship, the previously employed forecastle, the drop after the deckhouse, and through horizontal main deck after that, was abandoned in favor of a different solution giving more strength to the ship, with a flush main deck sloping from bow to stern, so as to keep the relative heights of the previous forecastled destroyers, and a sloped keel to retain the necessary submergence of propellors in a very shallow-draft hull. The new design came out, thanks to there being effectively more steel used, somewhat heavier than the 1,000-ton classes before it, but would probably be a better, steadier sea-boat, even if wetter on the bows.

The resultant Caldwell class of six ships served, when the necessity arose of greatly increasing destroyer production, as the basis for the new design. The Wickes class, 50 destroyers of which were authorized in the 1916, 20 of which were also funded under the FY17 appropriations. Also providing for "Naval Emergency Funds", Congress left the President (Woodrow Wilson) to chose to built additional destroyers virtually at his discretion. By May 1916, 61 of the new ships had been laid down.

The new ships carried the same armament as the previous Caldwell class, which carried the same armament as the 1,000 tonners, alas with the higher speed in mind possessed greater power, and slightly greater displacement. Furthermore, the gun arrangement somewhat differed from the previous 1,000 tonners, with one on the stern, one on the bow, and one on each side on the deckhouse between the second and third funnels. Otherwise similar, the new class was sufficiently close to the previously built destroyer that there were few problems with the yards that were to build the ships. Two yards drew up the final designs, Bath Iron Works and Bethlehem Steel, each choosing different boiler and turbine contractors. Bethlehem's choice of Yarrow boilers proved unfortunate, since the Yarrows deteriorated quickly. Furthermore, the differences in propulsion systems (there were ships without geared turbines and ships with them, four different boiler manufacturers and three for turbines) and workmanship resulted in greatly varying endurances in the ships, the Bath ships generally longer-ranged than their Bethlehem cousins.

In the course of World War I, 111 Wickes class ships were constructed, most too late to see service in that war.


WICKES DD 75

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Wickes Class Destroyer
    Keel Laid June 26 1917 - Launched June 25 1918

Struck from Naval Register January 8 1941

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USS Wickes (DD-75)

The Wickes class was the oldest class of the so-called "flushdeckers" to see service in World War II. Its direct predecessor was Destroyer 1916, the Caldwell class, from which no ship survived to participate in the Pacific War. The Wickes class resulted from the peculiar requirements the war made in the U.S. ship-building industry. Early in 1916, Congress had passed an act calling for the enlargement of the fleet to comprise enough warships to be able to deal with all foes, in the words of the time, a "fleet second to none". Part of the orders called for the ten Omaha class light cruisers, another for six Constellation class battlecruisers (later to become the foundation for Lexington and Saratoga), and the new destroyer class was to operate with these ships, necessitating a maximum speed resmbling theirs - roughly 35 knots.

The Caldwell design set the general outline of the new destroyer. In the older ship, the previously employed forecastle, the drop after the deckhouse, and through horizontal main deck after that, was abandoned in favor of a different solution giving more strength to the ship, with a flush main deck sloping from bow to stern, so as to keep the relative heights of the previous forecastled destroyers, and a sloped keel to retain the necessary submergence of propellors in a very shallow-draft hull. The new design came out, thanks to there being effectively more steel used, somewhat heavier than the 1,000-ton classes before it, but would probably be a better, steadier sea-boat, even if wetter on the bows.

The resultant Caldwell class of six ships served, when the necessity arose of greatly increasing destroyer production, as the basis for the new design. The Wickes class, 50 destroyers of which were authorized in the 1916, 20 of which were also funded under the FY17 appropriations. Also providing for "Naval Emergency Funds", Congress left the President (Woodrow Wilson) to chose to built additional destroyers virtually at his discretion. By May 1916, 61 of the new ships had been laid down.

The new ships carried the same armament as the previous Caldwell class, which carried the same armament as the 1,000 tonners, alas with the higher speed in mind possessed greater power, and slightly greater displacement. Furthermore, the gun arrangement somewhat differed from the previous 1,000 tonners, with one on the stern, one on the bow, and one on each side on the deckhouse between the second and third funnels. Otherwise similar, the new class was sufficiently close to the previously built destroyer that there were few problems with the yards that were to build the ships. Two yards drew up the final designs, Bath Iron Works and Bethlehem Steel, each choosing different boiler and turbine contractors. Bethlehem's choice of Yarrow boilers proved unfortunate, since the Yarrows deteriorated quickly. Furthermore, the differences in propulsion systems (there were ships without geared turbines and ships with them, four different boiler manufacturers and three for turbines) and workmanship resulted in greatly varying endurances in the ships, the Bath ships generally longer-ranged than their Bethlehem cousins.

In the course of World War I, 111 Wickes class ships were constructed, most too late to see service in that war.


The Low Countries or, in the geographic sense of the term, the Netherlands (de Lage Landen or de Nederlanden, les Pays Bas) is a coastal region in northwestern Europe, consisting especially of the Netherlands and Belgium, and the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Meuse, Scheldt, and Ems rivers where much of the land is at or below sea level.

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday (known as Shrove Tuesday).


Compatible Upgrades

Performance

At first glance, Wickes might appear a downgrade from Sampson, particularly given her low health pool. While she is slightly more fragile than her predecessor, she makes up for it by retaining Sampson’s handling characteristics while gaining about 5 knots worth of top speed.

More importantly than that, Wickes moves up from Sampson’s twin double-tube launchers on each side of the ship to twin triple-tube launchers. Combined with the better damage from her upgraded Torpedo module, it is a huge increase in firepower. Wickes is a tremendous threat to enemy capital ships she's allowed to close with however, now she can simply wipe them out with a single well-aimed salvo of torpedoes as opposed to Sampson’s steady "death by a thousand cuts" method. Her main battery is virtually unchanged from Sampson the guns are the same, and she retains the unusual gun placement that prevents her from getting more than three barrels on target at once.

Overall, Wickes packs more firepower into a hull that is just as fragile as her predecessor, while continuing to encourage clever positioning and sneak attacks from behind cover in order to maximize damage from her deadly torpedo armament.

  • Excellent maneuverability.
  • Quick turret traverse speed.
  • Able to drop waves of torpedoes from both sides.
  • Low detection range.
  • Gun reload is a on the slow side.
  • Virtually no armor (as is typical of destroyers).
  • Guns are arranged such that only 3 can be brought to bear on a target at a time.
  • Torpedoes are out-ranged by both German and Japanese counterparts (G-101 and Wakatake, respectively).
  • Anti-aircraft armament is non-existent.
  • Even less health than Sampson.

Research

Availability of researchable upgrades for Wickes is as follows:

  • Hull: Upgrade to Hull (B) for a few more hit points and slightly more AA. Research of this module unlocks progression to Clemson.
  • Torpedoes: Upgrading to the Bliss-Leavitt Mark 9's provides Wickes’s torpedo armament with a major boost in damage and a little more range on her fish.
  • Gun Fire Control System: Upgrade to Mk3 mod. 2 for an extra 10% range on the main battery.

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Lambert Wickes--born sometime in 1735 in New England--was appointed to the Continental navy on 22 December 1775 and probably received his commission as a captain in the Navy in early 1776. Designated as number 11 on the Continental Navy's seniority list, Wickes was given command of the 16-gun brig Reprisal.

The Committee of Secret Correspondence of Congress, by arrangement with the Marine Committee, issued orders for Capt. Wickes to proceed to the West Indies in Reprisal and bring out munitions for use by General Washington's army. in addition, Wickes was to transport William Bingham to his post, the French possession of Martinique, as agent for the American colonies.

Reprisal passed down the Delaware River from Philadelphia during the latter part of June 1776. While en route, Reprisal went to the aid of the harried Continental 6-gun brig Nancy--bound from St. Croix and St. Thomas with 386 barrels of gunpowder--which was being chased by six British men-of-war. In order to save Nancy, her captain ran her aground. Reprisal and Lexington--the latter under the command of Capt. John Barry--kept boats from HMS Kingfisher at bay and succeeded in landing some 200 barrels of the precious powder. In this engagement, Wickes' brother Richard was killed while serving as third lieutenant in Reprisal.

Clearing the Delaware capes on 3 July, Reprisal, under Wickes' sterling seamanship, captured a number of prizes in the West Indies and had a sharp engagement with HMS Shark, beating her off and escaping into port.

On 24 October 1776, Wickes was ordered to France with Benjamin Franklin as passenger. During the voyage, Reprisal captured two brigs and reached Nantes on 29 November where the ship's important passenger disembarked. Setting sail in January 1777, Wickes took Reprisal to sea on a cruise which took her to the Bay of Biscay and the mouth of the English Channel. On 5 February, his ship captured the British merchantman Lisbon Packet after a hard action of 40 minutes duration. During the battle, Reprisal suffered two officers seriously wounded and one man killed.

During the remainder of this foray against British shipping, Wickes took five additional prizes and left them at Port Louis. Wickes moved Reprisal to L'Orient, but was ordered to leave the port in 24 hours by the French government--the port authorities apparently stirred to action by bitter remonstrances from the British government. Wickes, however, claimed that Reprisal had sprung a leak and needed to be careened for hull repairs. Wickes proved to be skillful at gaining time as, on several occasions, he thwarted the intentions of the French government to have him sail.

In April 1777, the Continental vessels Lexington and Dolphin joined Reprisal and constituted a squadron under Wickes' command. Setting sail from St. Auzeau on 28 May, the ships cruised around Ireland in June, July, and August during one phase of the voyage, the three ships captured 15 ships in five days. On 14 September, Wicks left France in Reprisal, in company with Dolphin, bound for home. Around 1 October, Reprisal foundered off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, with the loss of all hands except the cook.

Louis H. Bolander, the assistant librarian at the Naval Academy, wrote an article in 1928, entitled "A Forgotten Hero of the American Revolution." Appearing in Americana, in April 1928, the article closed with a fitting epitaph for Capt. Lambert Wickes: "Thus closed a career distinguished for patriotism, gallantry and humanity, for not a single charge of cruelty or harshness was ever breathed against him by any one of his many prisoners. Franklin, who knew him well, said of him, 'He was a gallant officer, and a very worth man.'"

(DD-578: dp. 2,050 l. 376'1", b. 39'8", dr. 13'0" s. 35 k. cpl. 273 a. 5 5", 6 40mm., 7 20mm., 10 21" tt,. 2 dct., 6 dcp. cl. Fletcher)

The second Wickes (DD-578) was laid down on 15 April 1942 at Orange, Tex., by the Consolidated Steel Co. launched on 13 September 1942 sponsored by Miss Catherine Young Wickes, the great-great-grandniece of Lambert Wickes and commissioned on 16 June 1943, Lt. Comdr. William Y. Allen, Jr., in command.

Departing New Orleans on 13 July, Wickes sailed for Cuban waters and reached Guantanamo Bay three days later. She conducted shakedown training until 11 August, when she set sail for Charleston, S.C., where she commenced her post shakedown availability.

Wickes then trained into the autumn, ranging from Trinidad, in the British West Indies to Casco Bay Maine, and from Norfolk, Va., to Argentia, Newfoundland, from 1 September to 6 November. Between drills at sea, the ship underwent brief periods of repair in the navy yards at Boston and Norfolk.

On 6 November, Wickes departed the Boston Navy Yard in company with the small aircraft carrier Cabot (CVL-28) and sister destroyer Bell (DD-587)--their destination: the Canal Zone. Transiting the Panama Canal between 12 and 15 November, the destroyer reached San Diego, Calif., on the 22d, but pushed on for the Hawaiian Islands and reached Pearl Harbor on the 27th. Over the ensuing days, the destroyer exercised in those local waters, conducting antisubmarine and antiaircraft drills. On several occasions during this training, her routine was interrupted by orders to rendezvous with and augment the screens of various task groups returning from the operations which wrested the Gilbert Islands from Japan.

Wickes--in company with sisterships Charles J. Badger (DD-657) and Isherwood (DD-520)--departed Pearl Harbor on 10 December 1943 and set a course for the Aleutian Islands. Over the next few months Wickes operated in the Aleutians. To her commanding officer and crew, the duties performed seemed "uneventful," their "greatest battles," he recalled were fought against the elements and the "dreary monotony of Aleutian duty."

Such an enervating routine was interrupted by three bombardments conducted by Task Force (TF) 94 against the Kuril Islands, Paramushiro and Matsuwa. The first raid hit Paramushiro on 4 February 1944 and marked the first time that Wickes made contact with the enemy. She bombarded Japanese targets in the town of Kurabuzaki on the southern tip of the island.

Early in March, Wickes--in company with other units of TF 94--made another sweep into Japan's backyard. On the lookout for Japanese shipping as they steamed through the Sea of Okhotsk, the task force found slim pickings before again shelling targets on Paramushiro on 4 March. Another bombardment was slated to take place there, but unfavorable weather made it impossible.

Two months later, Wickes' guns once more joined in a cannonade against Japanese facilities on Paramushiro and at Matsuwa, on 26 May and 13 June, respectively. Darkness and fog presented difficulties for the American forces but did not constitute insurmountable difficulties. On 2 August while TF 94 was again steaming to shell Matsuwa, Wickes made visual contact with a "snooper," a Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bomber. On van picket station, the destroyer opened fire on the intruder--the ship's first antiaircraft action. Unfortunately, the plane managed to escape and, together with the worsening weather, nullified TF 94's chances of making an undetected approach to Matsuwa. The bombardment was accordingly cancelled.

Wickes' tour in one of the most difficult operating areas on the globe finally ended when she "very happily" departed Adak, Alaska, on 7 August, headed south in company with other units of Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 49. Reaching San Francisco on 16 August, Wickes moored at Pier 36. There, she received minor repairs from the facilities and workmen of the Matson Navigation Co., under the eye of the Assistant Industrial Manager, Mare Island Navy Yard. During the refit, the ship received a "dazzle" camouflage pattern, designed to confuse observers as to the ship's heading and speed.

Underway from the west coast upon completion of repairs and alterations, Wickes set a course for Pearl Harbor once more, in company with Kimberly (DD-521), Young (DD-580), and William D. Porter (DD-579)--other units of DesRon 49. Reaching Hawaiian waters, Wickes spent the first two weeks of September engaged in supporting landing rehearsals at Lahaina Roads, Maui, "in preparation for forthcoming operations." While in port between exercises at sea, Wickes received additional radar gear while alongside Yosemite (AD-19), in preparation for the ship's slated role as a fighter-director ship

Thus newly outfitted, Wickes left Pearl Harbor on 15 September, as part of Task Group (TG) 33.2, the group slated to hit the island of Yap. Reaching Eniwetok, in the Marshalls, on the 25th, the destroyer spent the next two days replenishing fuel and provisions. Resuming her voyage on the 28th, Wickes reached Manus, in the Admiralties, on 3 October. En route, the ship crossed the equator for the first time.

However, changing operational requirements resulted in the cancellation of the Yap invasion. Wickes was thus reassigned to the 7th Fleet and earmarked for participation in the assault on the island of Leyte. She remained at Manus until 14 October, conducting general upkeep and engaging in gunnery and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training.

Wickes--with a fighter-director team embarked-- departed the Admiralties on 14 October. As a screening unit of task group "Baker"--TG 79.4--a transport group, the destroyer reached Leyte Gulf according to plan, on D day, 20 October. She then proceeded to her assigned radar picket station near the center of the gulf and assumed duties as picket and fighter-director ship.

Over the next four days, Wickes remained on that station as the invasion--the first step in the liberation of the Philippines--unfolded. She frequently saw Japanese aircraft--particularly in the area where the transports were congregated--but none came within range of her guns. She even made one good sound contact, on the 22d, and dropped an 11-charge pattern but observed no positive results.

Wickes witnessed the Battle of Surigao Strait from a faraway vantage point in the pre-dawn darkness of 25 October. "It is no exaggeration," recorded her historian, "to state that this engagement was exciting even from a distance." During the rest of her time on station, Wickes' fighter-director team evaluated the air situation, controlling the protecting combat air patrol (CAP) overhead on the first two days of the landings, 20 and 21 October. During the first afternoon, the Wickes-directed CAP splashed a "Zeke" or "Zero" carrier-borne fighter.

Subsequently clearing Leyte Gulf, Wickes served as screen commander for a 12 ship group of LST's headed for New Guinea. The group, Task Unit (TU) 79.14.9, reached Hollandia, arriving without incident on 1 November. Wickes dropped anchor soon after her arrival and remained there through the 4th.

Wickes subsequently spent most of November in screening operations, escorting a transport group during all phases of its replenishment run to Leyte. Transports and cargo ships, TG 79.15, were screened to Noemfoor Island and during the loading operations that ensued. She then escorted them to Leyte, where they were unloaded on the 18th. She then escorted the auxiliaries back to Seeadler Harbor, Manus, where she arrived on the 25th.

Wickes departed Manus on the 28th, bound for Torokina, Bougainville, in the Solomons escorting the troopships of Transport Division 38. En route, she touched at Finschhafen on the 29th during the division's stopover to embark troops and reached Torokina on 1 December.

Wickes remained at Torokina, Empress Augusta Bay, until the 15th, patrolling the outskirts of that body of water in company with her sisterships of DesRon 49 The next day, she began the return trip to the Admiralty Islands but stopped in the Huon Gulf for a landing exercise to prepare for her next slated operation. She finally reached Manus on the 21st. The destroyer spent Christmas in port and replenished her logistics requirements until the 27th.

Underway on that day, Wickes proceeded to Luzon for the assault at Lingayen On the approach run, the ship--screening tractor groups "Able and Baker" of TF 79--steamed with TU 79.11.3. Embarked was a new fighter-director team taken on at Manus.

The northbound run proved largely uneventful, except for what the ship's historian called "a moderate amount of heckling" by enemy aircraft day and night. Again, Wickes proved exceptionally adept at fighter-direction duties. Her team vectored CAP planes to oncoming enemy planes, and they accordingly splashed four "Tojo" fighters into the waters off Luzon on the morning of 8 January 1945

The ship herself did not fire upon any enemy planes until reaching Lingayen Gulf itself the following day, 9 January, when she fired at a pair of attacking planes driving them off but not splashing them. That same evening, Wickes departed the coast of Luzon with her charges, screening the unloaded ships as they headed out of the battle area.

About one-half hour before sunrise on the morning of 10 January, a Japanese plane--a single-engined fighter--pushed over in a dive and dropped a bomb which exploded off the destroyer's starboard side, close aboard. Fragments, scything through the air, wounded 15 sailors topside and punctured the ship with a few small holes.

That brush with the enemy, and the light damage inflicted by the attacker, did not keep the ship off the "front lines," for she was soon back in action again, operating on antisubmarine patrols in Leyte Gulf during most of the time between 13 and 25 January.

On 26 January, she sortied as part of TG 78.3 and took station as escort and fighter-director ship for the passage of the task group through the Mindanao and Sulu Seas, en route to Luzon, for landings on the west coast in the vicinity of San Felipe, Zambales Province. The landings themselves took place two days later, meeting no opposition and calling for no bombardment. Friendly natives, happy to see their liberators, came out in bancas and other craft to greet the Americans warmly. On the 30th, Wickes stood in readiness during another unopposed landing--the one made at Grande Island, in Subic Bay. For the next two weeks, the destroyer was based on Subic Bay, operating in the waters off southwestern Luzon. During that period, she made a short run to Mindoro and back, escorting for convoys of landing craft each way.

Meanwhile, preparations were being made for assaults on Bataan and Corregidor--the scene of the humiliating disasters for the United States and her Filipino allies three years before. Minesweeping operations commenced on 13 February. At sunset that day, Wickes joined her sistership Young in supporting the thinly armored "sweepers" off Manila Bay, retired with them that night, and returned with them the next morning.

As the ships worked their way into an area between Corregidor and Carabao Islands, Japanese shore batteries emplaced on those islands and on Caballo began to lob shells at the minecraft and their escorts. Wickes teamed with Young to deliver vigorous counter-battery fire, knocking out the pugnacious guns. Other destroyers and cruisers also participated in the silencing of the enemy emplacements, but Wickes' historian modestly recorded, "No claim is made by Wickes to have done the job single-handed, but it is certain that this ship's gunfire was accurate and effective, and contributed materially toward the successful result and protection of the minesweepers who were able to proceed with their task unmolested for the remainder of the day." Nevertheless both Wickes and Young had some close shaves, as the enemy landed some shells close aboard but fortunately did not hit either ship.

On the morning of the 15th, Wickes shelled Japanese positions in Mariveles Harbor, just prior to the landings there. She then stood by to render gunfire support for the troops as they went ashore. However, when no opposition developed, the destroyer took up a patrol station, on watch for submarines. Meanwhile, throughout the day, 7th-Fleet destroyers and cruisers--assisted by planes--continued giving Corregidor a pasting.

Between 0400 and daylight on the 16th, Wickes steamed in company with Picking and Young, to intercept "suicide boats" that had penetrated Mariveles Harbor. Many drifting mines revealed themselves with the wash of dawn--but no suiciders. Wickes destroyed one mine with gunfire and was about to destroy others when minesweepers arrived on the scene and relieved the destroyer of that duty.

Wickes then proceeded to conduct another shore bombardment mission--this time against the beaches on Corregidor over which the assault was to pass. Paratroops drifted down and landed on the top of the island as part of the many-faceted attack designed to destroy the enemy units heavily entrenched there. When the troops commenced landing, Japanese guns opened up from caves on the rocky island. Wickes replied with counter-battery rounds against Corregidor and Caballo Islands, maneuvering to keep Caballo covered for the remainder of the day.

Late on the afternoon of the 16th Wickes--in company with Picking and Young--was detached from that duty. "By all standards," recounted the ship's historian when reviewing the Philippine operations, "this operation was the most interesting one the Wickes ever took part in." It had afforded the ship the opportunity to observe, closely, the activities of other units: paratroops, heavy bombers, minesweepers, and ground troops alike. "All hands felt that at last the Wickes had produced some results and definitely accomplished something after months of more or less routine duties," "Fire from enemy shore batteries," he went on, "added just the right amount of hazard and provided the first real test of the ship under fire."

However, there would be quite enough "hazard," in the ship's future operations. Inexorably, the mighty American Navy bore down upon the shores of Nippon itself. Yet every step that the American armada took closer to the Japanese home islands increased the intensity of the enemy's resistance.

For Wickes, upon conclusion of her support of the Corregidor assaults, there was a tender availability awaiting her in Leyte Gulf. After those repairs, Wickes --in company with Luce (DD-522) and Charles J. Badger--escorted the heavy cruisers Portland (CA-33) and Minneapolis (CA-36) to Ulithi, in the Carolines departing Philippine waters on 2 March and returning eight days later on the 10th.

Wickes participated in the landing practices in Leyte Gulf for the next operation on the American timetable, the assault on Okinawa Gunto. From 13 to 16 March the forces slated to take part in that thrust trained and rehearsed for the upcoming event. Activities during those days of training included duty in the tractor group "George" screen--TG 51.7--fire support drills, and ASW patrols around the transport area--all skills that would be very much needed.

After replenishing fuel, ammunition, and provisions and receiving additional fighter-director equipment, Wickes--with a new fighter-director team embarked-- sortied for Okinawa on 19 March with TG 51.7.

Upon her arrival off Okinawa on the 26th, Wickes acted as a fire support vessel, supporting the landings by scheduled bombardments on Yakabi Shima, Kerama Retto but there was no opposition on that island that required additional naval gunfire. Commencing on 26 March and continuing through 4 May, Wickes conducted regular radar-picket and fighter-director duties on the various stations off Okinawa. During that period, the CAP, vectored to the enemy by Lt. (jg.) James R. Baumgartner, USNR, the senior fighter-director officer embarked, engaged 42 enemy aircraft, destroyed eight, and damaged four.

Late on the afternoon of 22 April, the Wickes-directed CAP scored their most signal success. On Radar Picket Station 14, about 70 miles northwest of Okinawa, Wickes vectored Marine fighters from Yontan Field to a large raid approaching from the northward. The flying Leathernecks knocked down 26 Japanese planes, probably splashed another pair, and damaged four.

After later turning over her fighter-director team to Gainard (DD-706), on 4 May, Wickes alternated duty on the antiaircraft screen protecting the transports off Hagushi beach with antisubmarine patrols. She also supervised underway fueling operations for a day. She then underwent a period of needed upkeep to have her boilers cleaned.

During the 51 days Wickes spent off Okinawa, she took enemy aircraft under fire no less than 14 times, and was, four times, the object of attention from kamikazes. Her gunners claimed five "kills" from the suiciders' ranks, and one "probable." Two of the downed enemy aircraft managed to crash close enough to send pieces of themselves onto the ship's fantail--fortunately doing no damage. On one occasion, one of the kamikazes attempted to torpedo the ship, but its "fish" also missed. In addition, Wickes may have saved the hospital shin Relief (AH-1) from serious damage when she deflected, with her gunfire, a suicider attempting to crash into the ship-of-mercy.

Until 10 April, Wickes patrolled her picket stations alone, without support. After that time, a landing craft or another destroyer was always present. Other incidental occurrences that came up during the ship's time off the embattled isle of Okinawa included the rescue of five men from a raft from the fast transport Dickerson (APD-21), fishing out a crashed fighter pilot from the fleet carrier Bennington (CV-20) and exploding a drifting mine with gunfire. Remarkably, in contrast to some of her sisterships that suffered grievous damage at the hands of the suicidal kamikaze, Wickes suffered only three casualties: all wounded when a plane strafed the ship.

Wickes departed the Okinawa area on 15 May, bound for Ulithi, while the campaign continued on. She screened a convoy of auxiliaries and merchantmen to the Western Carolines, reaching her destination on the 21st. She then nested alongside the destroyer tender Prairie (AD-16) and received a 10-day availability. The time spent there at the sprawling, busy, advance base was, truly, "a welcome rest" after the long hours of general quarters and alerts that were part and parcel of duty off Okinawa. "Although all hands had gained a great deal of confidence in our ability to handle air attacks," wrote the ship's historian, "it was difficult, after more than a month of picket duty, not to feel like fugitives from the law of averages, as so many other ships had been hit."

Wickes--her availability alongside Prairie completed by early June--departed Ulithi on 7 June, escorting another slow convoy. Her destination was again Okinawa. She safely reached there with her charges on the 13th and took on board another fighter-director team. In company with two or three supporting destroyers, Wickes then returned to the picket lines. Most enemy air activity then took place nocturnally.

Her second stay at Okinawa proved briefer than the first. The ship headed for Saipan on the 23d of June with a slow convoy but with onward routing approved to Pearl Harbor. Reaching Saipan on the 29th, Wickes departed that same day, bound for the Hawaiian Islands in company with Picking and Hall (DD-583).

Making port at Pearl Harbor on 7 July, Wickes' time in Hawaiian waters proved brief, for, on the 8th, she was bound "stateside," her bow "very happily pointed" toward the Golden Gate. She made the last leg of the voyage in company with her old companion Picking, and two other ships, Sproston (DD-577) and Brackett (DE-41). All ships arrived on the morning of 14 July and proceeded to the Naval Ammunition Depot at Mare Island to unload ammunition. Upon completion of that task, Wickes got underway for Hunters Point tying up at pierside at sunset, with 47 days' availability ahead of her.

Within a day or two after arrival, DesRon 49 was dissolved and Wickes was reassigned to DesRon 58. The war in the Pacific, though, ended before the destroyer completed her scheduled overhaul on 31 August 1945.

With the end of the war, however, it soon became evident that with the massive shipbuilding programs that had come along during hostilities there was a surplus of ships for anticipated postwar needs. Along with the decommissioning and scrapping of many of the older fleet units, some of the newer ships were decommissioned and placed in reserve.

Wickes was among the latter. Completing her overhaul by early September of 1945, the ship conducted refresher training exercises into the autumn and winter. Her service career was growing short. She was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 20 December 1945. She never returned to active duty, even during the Korean War when many of her sisterships were pulled out of mothballs and recommissioned. Struck from the Navy list on 1 November 1972, her hulk was later expended in ordnance tests.


WICKES DD 578

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Fletcher Class Destroyer
    Keel Laid 15 April 1942 - Launched 13 September 1942

Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each name of the ship (for example, Bushnell AG-32 / Sumner AGS-5 are different names for the same ship so there should be one set of pages for Bushnell and one set for Sumner). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.

Postmarks

This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each name and/or commissioning period. Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
 
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.


Watch the video: World of Warships - USS Wickes Something Wickes This Way Comes


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