In 1940 the United States traded fifty mothballed WW1 Destroyers to England in exchange for land rights in areas of the British Empire. Were any of those fifty ships credited with sinking an Axis military vessel?

  • 2
    The Wikipedia link you provided has links to each ship's battle history. I glanced through a few and found that most had engaged U-boats and torpedo boats (aka E-boats).
    – jfrankcarr
    Commented May 27, 2012 at 5:22
  • @jfrankcarr I was checking through there as well. As I was looking, I also wondered if they held records from their history in WW1, but the details are sketchy. Commented May 27, 2012 at 6:39
  • Is there anything to get back in 2040? Commented May 27, 2012 at 18:39
  • @Major Stackings: Those destroyers were completed in the early 1920s, and didn't see service in WWI. Completing hundreds of destroyers that were not of the best design (the late war British V&Ws were much better) right after a war is one of the USN's dumber moves. Commented May 29, 2012 at 12:20

3 Answers 3


Yes, U boats. For a fuller explanation read "Hitler's U Boat War - The Hunters 1939 -1949" by Clay Blair. Below is an excerpt.

"One of the convoy escorts, the ex-American four-stack destroyer Montgomery, merely a month out of her overhaul and upgrade, spotted Marcel and attacked with guns and depth charges. The attack was successful; Marcel sank with all hands. She was the first Axis submarine to fall victim to one of the American warships transferred to the Royal Navy in the destroyer deal."

  • 1
    T.E.D. I don't think it correct to edit my answer with a link to a commercial organisation. Its available from a number of vendors both online and not and I believe I gave enough information for the questioner to find the book should they wish without promoting a particular vendor. Any link to a third party should have been posted as a comment. Your edit to my post suggests my support for that organisation and that was not what I intended when I posted my answer.
    – user995689
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 9:53
  • I tend to agree that it isn't appropriate to link to a commercial vendor. While I can appreciate the intention to provide easier access to a more complete accounting of the information, I'm pretty confident that anyone could find the actual book themselves. Commented May 29, 2012 at 15:45
  • Just for future reference, if you actually own this book, it would be helpful if you could give a specific example from the book itself. This answer as it stands is not very complete and would benefit greatly from such an example. Commented May 29, 2012 at 15:46
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    @StevenDrennon Though I agree that finding books can be easy there are exceptions. Sometimes multiple publishings of that book, with small differences provided within, do occur. Without the ISBN or the specific link to the book you are referencing it can become confusing and even misleading. I am referring to Books that have the same title and author and have been republished with small changes and/or additions. I have found this to be true especially with historical references as new information has been made available to the author.
    – E1Suave
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 2:26
  • 1
    Here is a link to another question which I just converted to a community wiki. Most of the answers provide links to openlibrary.org, which in turn provides links to a number of vendors. I think this is a better way of handling these types of situations. history.stackexchange.com/q/1623/85 Commented May 30, 2012 at 14:16

HMS Campbeltown was a lend-lease destroyer with a critical role in the St Nazaire Raid aka "The Greatest Raid of All".

The raid was to destroy the Normandie dry dock in Western France, the only one large enough to repair German capital ships. Losing this dry dock meant the Germans could not send large capital ships out into the Atlantic as commerce raiders as they did the Bismark.

HMS Campbeltown was selected for her expendability. She was altered to look like a German destroyer, heavily armored, and had 4.5 tons of explosives set in concrete in her bow. Her mission was to bluff or fight her way past the defenses, ram the dry dock doors, abandon ship, and explode.

There is a well produced documentary on the raid which you may wish to watch before reading how it turned out. History spoilers!

The mission was successful, at an enormous cost, and Hitler's battleships never entered the Atlantic again, particularly the enormous Tirpitz. Instead, she was continuously harassed, damaged and eventually destroyed in Scandinavian waters.

It doesn't exactly follow the letter of your question, but it shows those destroyers weren't sitting around rotting somewhere and made a contribution to the war effort.


HMS Ludlow, Jan Visser photo

Generally served either as minelayers or convoy escorts. Their net effect was more as a deterrent. relatively little success against U-boats with a few notable exceptions.

These destroyers were collectively known within the Royal navy as the "Town class" and were provided by USA in five groups.

1st group:

G.68 HMS Lewes - engaged E-boats Nov 42

2nd group

G.27 HMS Leeds - engaged E-boats Feb 44

G.57 HMS Ludlow

3rd group

I.42 HMS Campbeltown (rammed docks St Nazaire March 1942)

I.20 HMS Caldwell

I.23 HMS Castelton

I.35 HMS Chelsea (to Russia as Derzki 1944) - engaged unknown U-boat Feb 42

G.05 HMS Lancaster - Minelaying duties Icelandic waters

G.19 HMS Leamington (to Russia as Zhguchi 1943) - sank U-207 1941, U-587 1942

G.42 HMS Lincoln (to Russia as Druzni 1943)

G.76 HMS Mansfield

G.95 HMS Montgomery - engaged Admiral Scheer Nov 1940

G.88 HMS Richmond (to Russia as Zhivuchi 1944)

I.52 HMS Salisbury

I.95 HMS Wells

4th group

I.04 HMS Annapolis

I.17 HMS Bath -sunk by U-204

I.08 HMS Brighton (to Russia as Zharki 1944)

I.21 HMS Charlestown

I.49 HMS Georgetown (to Russia as Zhostki 1944)

I.24 HMS Hamilton

G.08 HMS Newark

G.47 MHS Newmarket

G.54 HMS Newport

I.57 HMS Niagra

I.07 HMS Roxburgh (to Russia as Doblestni 1944)

I.15 HMS St Albans (to Russia as Dostioni 1944) - Minelaying + sank U-401

I.65 HMS St Clair

I.12 HMS St Mary - Minelaying off Iceland

5th group

H.46 HMS Belmont

H.64 HMS Beverley - sunk by U-188

H.72 HMS Bradford

H.81 HMS Broadwater - sank U-boat Oct 1941, herself sunk next day

H.90 HMS Broadway - helped to capture U-110, sank U-89 1943

H.82 HMS Burnham

H.94 HMS Burwell

H.96 HMS Buxton

I.05 HMS Cameron

I.28 HMS Chesterfield - attacked U-268 1943

I.45 HMS Churchill (to Russia as Deiatelnyi 1944)

I.14 HMS Clare

G.60 HMS Ramsey

G.71 HMS Reading

G.79 HMS Ripley

G.58 HMS Rockingham - Lost by mine off Scotland 1944

I.81 HMS St Croix - sank U-87, sunk by U-90

I.93 HMS St Francis

I.80 HMS Sherwood

I.73 HMS Stanley - sank U-131 and U434, then sunk herself

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