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DD-1 Bainbridge

The US Navy destroyer program originated from analysis of the Chilean Civil War of 1894 and the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 during which fast torpedo craft were used with devastating results to larger ships. At the breaking out of the war in 1898 Spain had a very formidable fleet of torpedo-boat destroyers. They were large enough to keep at sea with a fighting fleet - a small torpedo boat cannot do this - and given enough speed and gun-power to overtake and destroy the smaller torpedo boats ; hence the name torpedo-boat destroyer.

The war by no means settled the merits of the torpedo-boat destroyer, for the Spaniards had not used theirs as the designers had intended. Their large size unfit them for attack in the daytime, and whenever they have rashly undertaken this they have met with disaster. At the Battle of Santiago, 3 July 1898, the Spanish Navy used destroyers against the US squadron, though both were sunk -- the Navy realized that these ships could well have carried out their mission and, impressed with the speed and handling of these ships, the American destroyer program was accelerated.

During the Spanish-American War, it became apparent that a ship was needed to defend against torpedo boats. Along came the first version of the destroyer. Bainbridge (Torpedo-boat Destroyer No. 1) was the lead ship of this class, though the first ship to be commissioned in this class was Decatur II (DD 5) in May 1902. This was the U.S. Navys first class of a new type of small warshipthe torpedo-boat destroyer. In the 1880s, the game-changing self-propelled torpedo was invented, forcing the worlds navies to find a defense for fleets approaching hostile coasts defended by torpedo boats.

One answer was a small gun-armed ship, larger than the torpedo boat itself and capable of limited operations with a fleet on the high seas. Thus, the torpedo-boat destroyer was born. The larger, more versatile, later versions were known simply as destroyers. Technological advances, notably the triple-expansion steam engine, allowed the larger ship type to be designed and built for both missions. There were 13 ships of the Bainbridge Class, some of which served in the Philippines until 1917, in the Mediterranean during World War I, in the Atlantic as part of the Coast Squadron, and as guards in the Panama Canal.

Nine Bainbridge (later designated DD-1) class torpedo boat destroyers were laid down 1899-1900 at four different shipyards. All were commissioned during 1902-03. The first of these ships to be commissioned was USS Decatur (Torpedo-Boat Destroyer No. 5), on May 19, but the honor of being the first American destroyer is usually given to USS Bainbridge (Torpedo-Boat Destroyer No. 1), which the Navy commissioned on Nov. 24.

These destroyers had a flat stern with no after deadwood, the bottom rising from about the deadflat section in almost a plane surface, so that the draft of the hull itself at the stern was only a few inches. The beam at the stern was greater than in other types and the entire above water afterbody very full. The advantages of the design are two-fold : to prevent racing of the propellers and to reduce the diameter of the turning circle. In a following sea, the stern keeps close to the water, since a drop of the sea of only a few inches leaves the entire weight of the stern unsupported, so that it follows the water very quickly.

In the same way a rising sea, in lifting only a few inches over the full-bodied quarter, greatly increases the buoyancy of the after part of the vessel and the stern responds immediately. The general result is that the stern sticks to the water, and racing of the propellers and the probability of pooping are reduced to the lowest degree possible with a vessel of the size. The reduction in the turning circle results from the absence of deadwood, the stern offering very little resistance to lateral motion through, or rather over, the water. When the rudder is put over, the stern simply slides along the surface of the water.

The small turning circle arising from these conditions, while extremely advantageous from the point of view of handling in confined areas in smooth water, becomes objectoinahle in a seaway, since the very reasons which make it possible to turn the vessel sharply, also make it impossible to keep her from yawing in rough water. In a heavy following sea, this yawing becomes so great that it is very difficult to steer a steady course, and "broaching-to" may result, with all its attendant dangers. Such a vessel, when a heavy following sea commences to rise under the stern, is thrown bodily off by the advancing and rising sea as she presents her quarter to it in yawing; with the result, in an extreme case, of bringing her beam to it just in time to receive the breaking crest aboard.

The "Daring" type boiler was a modification of the "Speedy" type, necessitated by the demand for a greater power in a given space in torpedo boat destroyers, and embodies certain improvements which experience showed to be advisable. This type was fitted on the "Bainbridge," "Paul Jones," "Truxton," and "Hopkins" classes of destroyers, and to high-powered torpedo boats, like the "Farragut" and "Stringham." The large steam drum Y was retained, but the two water cylinders are replaced by one central drum, into the top of which most of the generating tubes are expanded. In addition, there was a smaller water cylinder on each side, connected by a few rows of tubes, which serve chiefly as insulating walls or sides of the boiler. There were two furnaces, one on each side, the grates of which can be made longer than before, because the large outside downtakes are replaced by a series of smaller ones inside of the boiler casing. As the furnaces are higher, a longer length of grate can be coaled efficiently to the fire in each nest, form a closed wall, to the fire in each nest, form a closed wall, except for the openings below, as in the " Speedy " type. Similarly, a wall of tubes is formed on each side of the heart-shaped opening, the openings being left at the top.

These ships were quickly made obsolete by subsequent advances and new destroyer classes. The Bainbridge Class was a government design, and proved to be the most successful of the first four classes of Destroyers for the USN. On 24 February 1916, the Navy Department decided that destroyers numbered 1 through 16 were "no longer serviceable for duty with the fleet at which point they were redesignated "coast torpedo vessels". However, they served patrol and convoy escort duties during World War I.

Chauncey (DD-3) collided with the British merchant SS Rose on 19 November 1917 about 110 miles west of Gibraltar and sank taking twenty-one souls including her captain. The remainder were decommissioned in the summer of 1919 and all were sold to Joseph G. Hitner of Philadelphia, Pa. in early January 1920 for scrapping.

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