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USS Dobbin (AD-3) on 4 June 1927
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Class: DOBBIN (AD-3)
Design Navy AD-3
Displacement (tons): 7,938 light, 12,450 full
Dimensions (feet): 483.8' oa, 460.0' pp x 61.0' wl x 24.4' mx, 24.2' mn
Original Armament: 8-5"/51 4-3"/50
Later armaments: 8-5"/51 3-3"/50 (1926: AD-3; 1936: AD-4); 8-5"/51 4-3"/50 (1941);
4-5"/51 4-3"/50 4-1.1"Q 8<10-20mm (1942: AD-4); 4-5"/51 4-3"/50 16<18- 20mm (1943: AD-3);
2-5/51 4-3"/50 4-40mmT 12-20mm (1945: AD-4)
Complement: 514 (1929)
Speed (kts.): 16
Propulsion (HP): 7,000
Machinery: Parsons geared turbine, 1 screw
||9 Jul 19
||23 Dec 19
||5 May 21
||23 Jul 24
||6 Dec 19
||23 Apr 21
||12 Oct 23
||2 Sep 24
||27 Sep 46
||22 Jan 47
||24 Dec 46
||4 Aug 50
||22 Oct 46
||22 Jan 47
||21 Nov 46
||10 Feb 48
FY 1918 (AD-3), 1919 (AD-4). The Naval Appropriation Act for FY 1917 that became law on 29 Aug 16 authorized a three-year building program of ten battleships, six battle cruisers, ten scout cruisers, fifty torpedo-boat destroyers, nine fleet submarines, fifty-eight coast submarines, one experimental (Neff) submarine, and two gunboats. To support these combatants it also authorized three fuel ships (oilers), one repair ship, one transport, one hospital ship, two destroyer tenders, one fleet submarine tender, and two ammunition ships. Sixty-six of these ships including one fuel ship, the hospital ship, and one ammunition ship were to be begun during FY 1917, the others were to be funded and begun during the following two fiscal years. AD-3 was funded in FY 1918 (Act of 4 Mar 17) and AD-4 followed in FY 1919 (Act of 1 Jul 18). Both were named on 18 Oct 18. Funding for AD-3 was increased in FY 1920 (Act of 11 Jul 19) to permit the commencement of construction.
On 19 Oct 16 the General Board forwarded to SecNav characteristics common to all fleet auxiliaries that might be included in the FY 1918 building program, and on 18 Oct 16 it forwarded the special characteristics that it recommended for the FY 1918 destroyer tenders. These two documents were slightly modified versions of characteristics first issued in 1913 for the FY 1915 building program soon after MELVILLE (AD-2) had been designed and largely repeated in 1914 and 1915 for FY 1916 and 1917. The speed of all new fleet auxiliaries (ammunition, fuel, hospital, repair and supply ships, destroyer and submarine tenders, and transports) was to be at least 14 knots sustained, their steaming radius was to be 8,000 miles at 10 knots, and they were to have twin screws housed under the stern except that the tenders were to have single screws. (The Board added this exception in 1915 out of concern that destroyers or submarines moored alongside might damage twin screws.) The destroyer tenders were to be completely equipped to meet the ordinary demands of 18 modern destroyers (raised from 16 in 1915) and were to have a minimum deep load draft compatible with other characteristics and good sea-going qualities. They were to have an armament of 8-5" guns and 4-3" anti-aircraft guns and two above water launching torpedo tubes for use in testing torpedoes, mounted at about the same level as on destroyers. Their masts were to be fitted with booms capable of handling weights up to 10 tons.
The Bureau of Construction and Repair began preliminary design work on the destroyer tender of the 1918 building program at the end of 1916 using Supply Ship No. 1 (BRIDGE) as the basis. The Bureau had in hand a letter of 25 Aug 16 from the Commanding Officer of MELVILLE outlining some lessons learned from that ship, including the need for better lighting and more lathes in the machine shop and more space in the foundry, the blacksmith shop, and the coppersmith shop. The designers tried to arrange the hull of the supply ship so as to fulfill the requirements of the characteristics of the destroyer tender while making as little change in structure as possible, but they were unable to obtain the desired headroom throughout the area of the machine shop without changing the sheer of the ship and consequently rearranging all decks. The spaces assigned to the various shops were not as large as recommended by MELVILLE although most were considerably larger than the similar spaces in that ship. The same twin-screw propulsion machinery as used on the ammunition ship was adopted as the basis for the design of the destroyer tender. It would give a speed of slightly more than 16 knots, well over the 14 knots in the characteristics. The designers used the 350-man crew of MELVILLE as an estimate for the new ship and included an armament of 8-5" and 4-3"/50 AA guns. The resultant preliminary design, with a full load displacement of 8,500 tons and a light displacement of 5,164.4 tons, was completed on 27 Mar 17. On that date BuC&R asked the General Board to allow the use of twin screws in the design, explaining that the Bureaus wanted to use the type of geared turbine machinery that had been successfully applied to the ammunition and hospital ships of the 1917 program (AE-1 and AH-1 types). This machinery could be expected to give the tender a speed of 16 knots, and the shape of waterline and upper body contemplated were such that the two propellers would be completely housed. The General Board, attracted by the 16-knot speed and the assurance of protection for the screws, concurred on 11 Apr 17.
BuC&R, however, evidently soon decided that too much had been sacrificed to squeeze the destroyer tender characteristics into the supply ship hull, and by early October 1917 it was using the larger hull of Transport No. 1 (HENDERSON) instead. This twin-screw ship had finer lines aft, and the Bureau decided to revert to a single screw so that the propeller might be well housed under the stern and protected from destroyers moored alongside. The modifications to the hull structure were relatively minor, including deleting a superstructure level (which lowered the bridge by 8 feet) and moving the machinery spaces 24 feet aft in connection with the change from two shafts to one. The biggest change was the addition of numerous torpedo protection bulkheads below the third deck. Although not required by the characteristics, the Bureau felt these were necessary because of the large cargo of torpedoes and ammunition on board. On 13 Oct 17 the Bureau forwarded the general arrangement plan to SecNav for approval. As of 26 Oct 17 the design had hull dimensions of 460' length and 61' beam and an emergency condition (similar to full load) displacement of 11,861 tons at 23.05' draft. Procurement of the ships then encountered major delays, and the circular of requirements for bidders was not distributed until around January 1919. No acceptable bids having been obtained, the two ships were assigned to Navy Yards for construction later in 1919 and were finally commissioned in 1924. Trial speeds for the completed ships were 16.19 knots for AD-3 and 16.44 knots for AD-4. When completed DOBBIN replaced DENEBOLA (AD-12) in the active force and WHITNEY similarly replaced BRIDGEPORT (AD-10).
In September 1924 the armament of AD-3 included 2 tubes at frame 61 (forward of amidships, just forward of the 2 6-pdr saluting guns) for use in adjusting torpedoes. These were probably in the torpedo shop, which was on the 3rd deck between frames 57 and 65. They seem to have been removed circa the late 1920s. In September 1924 AD-3 carried her full armament of 8-5" and 4-3"AA, of which 1 was forward, 2 amidships, and 1 aft. AD-3 landed one of her 3"/50 guns at the New York Navy Yard in 1926 and AD-4 landed one of hers in 1936. AD-3 re-embarked her 4th 3"/50 in February 1941 and AD-4 re-embarked hers in May 1942.
||To buyer 5 Sep 50, scrapped by 6 May 52.
||To buyer 18 Mar 48, scrapped by 21 Sep 48.
Compiled: 30 Apr 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012