Very similar in design to the Porter (DD-356) class, two Somers class destroyers were introduced in the FY1935 shipbuilding program and three more in FY1936. They were given the powerplant of the Mahan (DD-364) class with modifications relative to the battleship New Mexico (BB-40) powerplant refit and double reduction gear which allowed for greater speed and range than the Porter class (4,250nm at 20 knots). These were destroyer leaders with a powerful armament of four twin 5-inch/38 dual purpose guns and a deadly torpedo broadside of twelve torpedoes (three quad mounts). They had a simplistic appearance with a pole mast and one stack.
Anti aircraft armament pre-war consisted of two quad 1.1-inch AA guns and two .50-cal machine guns. Their inherent instability led to reduction of topside weight in 1942 by removing topside weight in the form of their 1.1-inch AA and one torpedo tube mounting. Six single 20mm AA guns were added as well as surface/air search radars in 1942. In 1943, the No.3 gun mount (a twin 5-inch gun) was removed and one twin 40mm and two single 20mm AA guns added on several of the ships.
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