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Topic review - Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans
Author Message
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
USS BUCHANAN had a single quad 1.1-in mount installed on the starboard side. These photos aren't very good for details, they are significant more for the historical nature of the event. Other photos existing showing the quad mounted in place ... and NO Mk 51 directors or any other directors at this time.
Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:09 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Rick E Davis wrote:
On a recent trip to NARA I went into one of the USN photo collections, 80-CF, that I had not been in before. There were not many ship photos and the subjects varied quite a bit. But, there were a series of small size photos taken during the initial landings on Guadalcanal in August 1942 by a photographer onboard one of the transports who also went ashore. Although these two images are not of very good quality (I'm guessing he used a 35-mm camera with high-speed film), they are historically significant in showing USS BUCHANAN (DD-484) off Guadalcanal and only described as being taken "after the initial landings".

Image

Image


Is that a quad 1.1" in he aft, starboard tub? It is difficult to tell what AA weapons are mounted back there.

MB
Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:09 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Sorry it has taken me a while to say thanks for the help. Have actually been spending a lot of time on the model and have not been on line much. Was not satisfied with some of the work I did so I took it apart and stripped it and started over. Thanks for the tip on the Wadsworth, a great help!
Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:14 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
I don't know of any USS LAFFEY (DD-459) specific drawings available that would be guaranteed to be accurate.

Even photos of USS LAFFEY are pretty few in number.

However, there are quite a few nice images of her almost twin sister USS WOODWORTH (DD-460). Many of which I have posted here.
Post Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:11 am
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Am new to the site and have returned to ship building after wandering off into other areas. Have noted some plan drawings of Benson/Gleaves class ships. Noted drawings of USS McCalla. Am looking for drawings of Laffey if there is anything out there.
Thanks for any help. Have enjoyed this thread and learned quite a bit too You guys are some serious researchers!
Post Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:54 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Wow - that's neat. That will certainly be a unique model when finished.
Post Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:27 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
In March and April of 1944 the USN authorized the augmenting of the AA armament for sixteen units of the original BENSON-GLEAVES group of destroyers operating in the Mediterranean during the Italy campaign as a counter to increased German Air attacks on Allied shipping. The result was an unique configuration that lasted for less than a year and is seldom seen in photos. The most noticeable feature was a platform for four 20-mm guns installed in place of the aft torpedo tubes. Less noticeable was the installation of two single Mk III 40-mm guns.

I suggested to Steve to make a 3-D printed version of this platform with four 20-mm ready service ammo lockers for use on BENSON-GLEAVES class units and ordered one for a project I have to model one of the GLEAVES class units that had this platform installed by altering one of the DML BENSON-GLEAVES class 1/350 scale kits. Below are two images showing where this platform goes.

Image

Image

I'm very pleased with the item and recommend it for anyone interested in modeling this unique configuration. Depending on which DML BENSON-GLEAVES class kit you use, some fitting will be required. The platform was simply installed over the foundation of the removed aft Torpedo Tube mount. In the photos it isn't clear exactly the interface connection that the platform had with the ship. It looks to me the the platform "deck" was more or less even with the midships deckhouse once installed. I decided to install the platform as seen above. Support stanchions, two per side, were installed along the deck edge to support the platform. See attached images below.

As for some background as to which BENSON-GLEAVES units had this unique armament configuration.

After the Anzio Landings the German attacks of Allied ships started to be more effective with new weapons and tactics being used. One of the countermeasures implemented by the USN was to augment temporarily the anti-aircraft armament of destroyers and destroyer escorts assigned to duty in the Med with more 20-mm and single hand-operated 40-mm guns.

For sixteen units of the original group of BENSON-GLEAVES class units (DD-421 through 443) assigned to four Destroyer Divisions, DesDiv 13, 14, 21, and 25), four extra 20-mm and two US Army type single 40-mm guns (Mk III) were authorized for installation in March and April 1944. The Repeat BENSON-GLEAVES classes had seven 20-mm guns already, compared to the four 20-mm guns of the original BENSON-GLEAVES units, and were considered to not need additional weapons.

The four extra 20-mm guns were installed on a temporary platform that replaced the aft torpedo tubes. Whereas the two single 40-mm guns were installed on the main deck amidships between the twin 40-mm mounts and the 20-mm platform, one per side. A very poor location with limited firing arc. But, did provide additional 40-mm fire at low-altitude targets like German torpedo bombers.

Of the sixteen units, at least seven and maybe as many as eight units had the additional 20-mm and 40-mm guns installed in theater at Oran by USS VULCAN (AR-5). The remaining units had the additional armament installed at New York Navy Yard.

The units involved with this program were:

DesDiv 13
DD-421 BENSON … additional guns installed at NYNY March 1944
DD-422 MAYO … in addition to Battle Damage repairs, the additional guns installed NYNY August 1944
DD-423 GLEAVES … additional guns installed at NYNY April 1944
DD-424 NIBLACK … additional guns installed at NYNY April 1944
DD-431 PLUNKETT … in addition to Battle Damage repairs, the additional guns installed NYNY April 1944

DesDiv 14
DD-425 MADISON … additional guns installed by USS VULCAN by 11 April 1944
DD-426 LANSDALE … additional guns installed by USS VULCAN by 6 April 1944
DD-427 HILLARY P. JONES … additional guns installed by USS VULCAN by 6 April 1944
DD-428 CHARLES F. HUGHES … additional guns installed by USS VULCAN by 29 March 1944

DesDiv 21
DD-429 LIVERMORE … additional guns installed by USS VULCAN by 22 April 1944
DD-430 EBERLE … unknown if additional guns installed by USS VULCAN in May 1944, but likely were
DD-432 KEARNY … additional guns installed by USS VULCAN by 25 April 1944
DD-440 ERICSSON … additional guns installed by USS VULCAN by 25 April 1944

DesDiv 25
DD-419 WAINWRIGHT (SIMS class unit authorized three single 40-mm guns in place of her aft torpedo tubes, no extra 20-mm guns)
DD-437 WOOLSEY … additional guns installed at NYNY April 1944
DD-438 LUDLOW … additional guns installed at NYNY April 1944
DD-439 EDISON … additional guns installed at NYNY April 1944

While in this configuration, USS LANSDALE was attacked by German aircraft less than two weeks after USS VULCAN installed the added armament at Oran. During the attack on her, LANSDALE shot-down two attacking German aircraft. The platform and single 40-mm guns were removed and the aft torpedo tubes reinstalled in late 1944 and early 1945 from the remaining units as they returned for yard periods and as the German aircraft threat diminished in the Med following the Southern France invasion and allied advance in Italy

Below are a couple of the few available overhead images that show this augmented armament. Earlier in this thread, I posted other images of USS NIBLACK in this configuration. I came across additional dead overhead images of both USS NIBLACK and USS MAYO last year at NARA.

On USS NIBLACK (DD-424), on 9 April 1944, the single 40-mm guns can just be made out on the main deck between the platform and the twin 40-mm mounts.

Image

On USS MAYO (DD-422), on 15 August 1944 after her Battle Bamage from February 1944 has been repaired, the single 40-mm guns have not yet been installed, but the K-Guns formerly in these locations have been relocated further aft, just forward of the twin 40-mm mount platforms.

Image

In this close-crop view of USS GLEAVES at NYNY, the support stanchions, relocated K-Gun, and single 40-mm locations can be seen.

Image
Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:47 am
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
On a recent trip to NARA I went into one of the USN photo collections, 80-CF, that I had not been in before. There were not many ship photos and the subjects varied quite a bit. But, there were a series of small size photos taken during the initial landings on Guadalcanal in August 1942 by a photographer onboard one of the transports who also went ashore. Although these two images are not of very good quality (I'm guessing he used a 35-mm camera with high-speed film), they are historically significant in showing USS BUCHANAN (DD-484) off Guadalcanal and only described as being taken "after the initial landings".

Image

Image
Post Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:45 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
In the case of BUCHANAN (and any ship during WWII) when you are trying to model the ship will influence the paint used/required.

Ms 12R(mod) more or less disappeared in the Pacific in late 1942 and early 1943 as ships were repainted into Ms 21. Ships were constantly being touched up, sometimes with different paint in areas than what was originally applied.

Close-up photos of the Pacific Ms 12R(mod) painted ships are fairly rare compared to 1943 onwards.
Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:56 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Thanks for the reply, Rick. I have had a heck of a time finding any definitive pictures. I have looked at three builds of the Buchanan on this site and even they did not finish the model the same way. I also understand that the ship's "finish" could change while out to sea. It could look one way when it left a port and could be different when it arrived at another.

Thanks again. I'm sure I will be asking more questions in the future.
Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:42 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
In general everything that gets painted on the ship follows the camo rules for that scheme. But, painting was done by individuals and some variations occurred. For some areas of ships, like sloped surfaces and gun barrels, it was difficult to determine where one paint "should" end and another begin. Small items in general would be painted one color, but could be painted in two different colors. The best bet is to try and get as many reference photos of your subject ship and use best judgment.
Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:26 am
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Hi guys, I'm a complete newbie to ship modelling and am a little overwhelmed at the moment. I have a question that very well may rank up there as one of the dumbest questions ever asked. I'm just trying to learn my way around this corner of the hobby and find that when I think I have something figured out, I have 10 more questions...lol.

Here goes. I am building the Buchanan with the Measure 12 modified scheme. I understand the general concept of painting the vertical and horizontal surfaces in their appropriate color. My question is on the very small parts, do you paint them likewise? For example, bitts and chocks. Should I paint the tops of the bitts and chocks deck blue and the vertical surface the measure 12 colors? I have tried searching for the answer but have had no luck. Thanks for any help!
Post Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:02 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
I was making that post more to clarify the differences between the two types of radar, since apparently it wasn't well understood. I did not state anywhere that any BENSON-GLEAVES units received the Mark 12 radar equipment.

Interesting to note about the "GFE" concept. I had never heard of that. It actually clarifies things for me as now I know there's a mark and mod for every type of antenna and mount somewhere out there.
Post Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:42 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
NO BENSON-GLEAVES had Mk 12 radar on the Mk 37 director!!!!

The early Taper-Backed directors COULD NOT support the Mk 12 radar electronics due to lacking the space needed for it ... period. On the battleships with the early Mk 37 directors, the housings were modified to support Mk 12 radar.

The USN installed Mk 22 radar on the Mk 4 radars on "SIMS-BENSON-GLEAVES" classes, but it wasn't a success and didn't last long. As soon as the Mk 28 radar was available it replaced the Mk 4/22 combo on the Mk 37 directors.

A reasonable Mk 4 radar antenna can be made from a PE Mk 12 antenna by leaving off the side brackets and increasing the radius of the two antenna arcs.

The building yards DIDN'T EVER modify the radar antennas. ALL RADAR was "Government Furnished Equipment" (GFE) as was other electronics, weapons and fire control. The government contracted directly with the radar manufacturers and shipped the GFE to the yards for installation. The FD (Mk 4) radar system (including antennas and mounts) went through mods throughout the war to fix issues as they were discovered.

Some FLETCHERS had just the Mk 12 radar throughout the war. The Mk 12 was available several months before the Mk 22 radar was available starting installation in the Spring of 1944. Several FLETCHER's with just the Mk 12 radar went off to war before the Mk 22 could be installed. The USN started retrofitting the Mk 22 to the Mk 4 radar on the SIMS-BENSON-GLEAVES class units in the late Summer 1944 and then Mk 28 radar started to be installed in about December 1944.
Post Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:17 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
MatthewB wrote:

Just as something that you might want to look at.

There was a difference between the Mk. 4 Fire Control Radar on the Mk. 37 Director, used earlier in the war, and the Mk. 12 Fire Control Radar used later.

The Mk. 4 seems to have been "Taller" than the Mk. 12, and looks like it was a touch wider (which would not be seen in profile, but the height would be).

This has been eating at me since I learned of it, given no one made a freaking Mk. 4 Radar in 1/700.

MB


It's helpful to understand that "Mark 4" and "Mark 12" were designations for the "radar equipment", and not for the antennas themselves, which is what concerns us as modelers or artists. The "Mark 4" designation included the antenna, the antenna pedestal, and the equipment inside the director (CRT displays, etc) used by the crew (and probably some other components I'm forgetting).

The USN seemed to designate antennas using a different system. A long time ago I found a large PDF of the "Antenna Catalog Vol.III" that contained stat blocks (and sometimes illustrations or photos) of various radar, radio, and IFF antennas. This document lists the antenna associated with the Mark 4 radar equipment as the "66AAH", and the Mark 12 antenna as the "66AFF". The Mark 12 66AFF antenna included the small parasitic element for lobe suppression which is not often shown in drawings or model kits.

This is the "standard" Mark 4 "FD" installation (aboard McCALLA). Some of these antennas on other ships did not seem to include the vertical stabilizer bars on each end of the parabolic cylinder; I assume this was probably something each yard did differently. The dipoles are visible in the base of the parabolic cylinders.

Image

Another shot (this antenna's stabilizing bars seem to extend to the end of the perforated reflector - another variation):

Image

One other interesting thing to note is that the antenna mounts changed over the course of the war. Most of the early installations I've found had mounts with a "vertical" rear brace for the cross-leveler axis point (as below), while the later versions looked like the photo above - with a "simplified" mounting arrangement. Again, I suspect this was something that varied between units and we can only guess at the reasons it was done.

This is cut from a photo of WASHINGTON (BB-56) at the New York Navy Yard on August 18th, 1942. The different mounting arrangement is visible.

Image

An illustration I found somewhere of the same:

Image

Now, onto the Mark 12. Friedman states that the Mark 4 was not particularly good for blind firing and so the Mark 12 was developed and introduced. You can identify the Mark 12 by its solid side plates (where the Mark 4 had cutouts) and the smaller center antenna supported by heavy vertical rods (the parasitic lobe suppression element). The antenna for the Mark 12 radar equipment is designated "66AFF" in the Antenna Catalog.

A "complete" Mark 12 installation also included the Mark 22 Mod. 0 "orange peel" height finder attached to the right side of the 66AFF radar. This allowed the director to engage low-flying targets much more easily.

Not all Mark 12 installations included the Mark 22. It was added as time/supplies/yard periods allowed.

Image

Image

Dimensionally, the Mark 12 66AFF antenna is about 2' smaller vertically than the Mark 4 66AAH antenna.

MatthewB wrote:
Oh.... And one other point.

On the Benson-class ships (I would need to check if it is only the Originals, or if the Repeats are included), you have the Bulwarks on the Aft Deckhouse too far forward.

They did not come all the war to the forward Bulkhead of the aft Deckhouse, but stopped about 28" short of the forward Bulkhead, and there were ladders leading to the top of the Aft Deckhouse, Port-and-Starboard, just forward of the Bulwarks.

I discovered the flaw in the Dragon Models Kit for their Bensons, while doing the Laffey and Farenholt, both of which have this property on the Aft Deckhouse (The Ladders displacing the Bulwarks aft, slightly).

It makes for an annoying alteration to have to make on these kits, which seem to be a direct copy of the Aaron War Blueprints from Floating Drydock.

MB


This is a good suggestion and not sure how I missed it, given I combed over that photo so many times... I'll correct soon. :doh_1:
Post Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:30 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Colosseum wrote:
As soon as I posted this, I skimmed back through the thread and found the answer (not sure how I missed it)...

Quote:
Both LAFFEY and WOODWORTH were completed and operated with the one quad 1.1-in mount (in the starboard tub) and one single 20-mm mount (in the portside tub), plus four 20-mm mounts. LAFFEY was lost in this configuration, WOODWORTH was upgraded in May-June 1944 to the standard two twin 40-mm mounts, seven 20-mm configuration.


Corrected here, but this brings me to another question: how were the splinter shields for LAFFEY constructed? They are obviously much smaller than others I've seen.

Image



Oh.... And one other point.

On the Benson-class ships (I would need to check if it is only the Originals, or if the Repeats are included), you have the Bulwarks on the Aft Deckhouse too far forward.

They did not come all the war to the forward Bulkhead of the aft Deckhouse, but stopped about 28" short of the forward Bulkhead, and there were ladders leading to the top of the Aft Deckhouse, Port-and-Starboard, just forward of the Bulwarks.

I discovered the flaw in the Dragon Models Kit for their Bensons, while doing the Laffey and Farenholt, both of which have this property on the Aft Deckhouse (The Ladders displacing the Bulwarks aft, slightly).

It makes for an annoying alteration to have to make on these kits, which seem to be a direct copy of the Aaron War Blueprints from Floating Drydock.

MB
Post Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:25 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Colosseum wrote:
As soon as I posted this, I skimmed back through the thread and found the answer (not sure how I missed it)...

Quote:
Both LAFFEY and WOODWORTH were completed and operated with the one quad 1.1-in mount (in the starboard tub) and one single 20-mm mount (in the portside tub), plus four 20-mm mounts. LAFFEY was lost in this configuration, WOODWORTH was upgraded in May-June 1944 to the standard two twin 40-mm mounts, seven 20-mm configuration.


Corrected here, but this brings me to another question: how were the splinter shields for LAFFEY constructed? They are obviously much smaller than others I've seen.

Image



Just as something that you might want to look at.

There was a difference between the Mk. 4 Fire Control Radar on the Mk. 37 Director, used earlier in the war, and the Mk. 12 Fire Control Radar used later.

The Mk. 4 seems to have been "Taller" than the Mk. 12, and looks like it was a touch wider (which would not be seen in profile, but the height would be).

This has been eating at me since I learned of it, given no one made a freaking Mk. 4 Radar in 1/700.

MB
Post Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:14 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Thanks Rick! That's exactly what I was after. I had found a cropped version of the bridge but nothing of the fantail.

I have a copy of that book on the way. Looking forward to it... I've already got Steve's book on BUCHANAN (which I used to make some drawings of AARON WARD, BUCHANAN, and MCCALLA) and it's great.

Anyway, here's a compilation of all the BENSON/GLEAVES units I've drawn, hopefully these can be of some use to somebody:

BENSON class:

DD-459 LAFFEY (September 1942)
Image

DD-491 FARENHOLT (August 1942)
Image

GLEAVES class:

DD-433 GWIN (April 1942)
Image

DD-434 MEREDITH (June 1942)
Image

DD-483 AARON WARD (August 1942)
Image

DD-484 BUCHANAN (May 1942)
Image

DD-484 BUCHANAN (June 1944)
Image

DD-484 BUCHANAN (September 1945)
Image

DD-488 MCCALLA (January 1945)
Image
Post Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:46 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
If you don't have it, I would suggest that you get a copy of Steve Wiper's BENSON-GLEAVES Class Destroyers book, Profile #12 if you plan on doing several of the BENSON-GLEAVES class. There are photos of many of the BENSON-GLEAVES class units in their MS 12R(mod) camo, including USS FARENHOLT. Steve doesn't have as many views as I have located at NARA, but he does have quite a few of the better images.

Image

Image
Post Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:13 am
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Benson/Gleaves class (DD) fans  Reply with quote
Photo evidence is the only absolute proof I will go with when making these drawings. ;) Never model kit lineart, slapped-together Squadron/Signal profiles, or mass-produced waterline drawings from Conways or Janes. Even the illustrations in Friedman's fall short sometimes. I use Floating Drydock plans to plot (not trace) the base hull and superstructure with correct dimensions (and even find errors in these sometimes) and then add details and make changes based on photo research. This is the only way to produce an accurate drawing. Over the years I've discovered that most of the "trusted" sources available contain many, many errors. I pride myself on producing drawings that are more accurate than anything else I've found...

Anyway, the next project is FARENHOLT as of August, 1942, with its experimental Measure 12 camouflage. Are there any photos of the starboard side available? I have one that I must have pulled from this thread (it's labelled DD492AftDeckhouse-19Jul42), and it looks like a detail shot taken from a larger image.

Image

I have the excellent portside shots of FARENHOLT at this time but am wondering about the stbd side. Any help is appreciated.

Cheers
Ian

edit: I now realize I posted the shot from DD-492 BAILEY (d'oh) - however I also have a closeup (probably also from this thread) of the starboard side of FARENHOLT from April of 42:

Image
Post Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 11:11 pm

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