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20)DD 381 SOMERS

Photo. Wikipedia


Displacement 2767 Tons (Full)

Launched July 30 1938 and commissioned November 9 1938.

Decommissioned October 19 1945.

Stricken November 1 1945.

Fate: Sold November 24 1947and broken up for scrap.

Dimensions, 381' (oa) x 36' 11" x 12' 5" (Max)

Armament 8 x 5"/38AA (4x2), 8 x 1.1" AA, 2 x 0.5" MG 12 x 21" tt.(4x3).

Machinery, 52,000 SHP; General Electric Geared Turbines, 2 screws.

Speed, 37 Knots.

Range 7500 NM@ 15 Knots.

Crew 294.

On the morning of 6 November 1941, DD 381 Somers and Omaha (CL-4) came upon a ship midway between the prominences of South America and Africa. Throughout 1942. Somers cruised the South Atlantic between Brazil and Trinidad, patrolling and escorting convoys to rendezvous points off Trinidad. On 21 November 1942, Somers had her second encounter with a German blockade runner. Early that morning, Cincinnati (CL-6) contacted an unidentified merchantman. The group changed course to intercept her, and Somers was dispatched to investigate personally.

The mystery shin identified herself as the Norwegian merchant ship SS Skjilbred, but gave no further information. Somers closed the suspicious ship and made fruitless attempts to communicate with her. When Somers had closed to about 1900 yards, fires broke out on Skiilbred's bridge and boats were lowered. Somers immediately called a boarding party away, but before they could reach Skjilbred, three heavy explosions rocked the merchantman.

The boarding party clambered aboard, but the fire and flooding were beyond control, so they left the stricken ship taking only some evidence indicating that she was the German merchantman Anneliese Essberger. At 0711, the blockade runner slipped beneath the waves, and the survivors were taken on board Milwaukee (CL-5). In January 1943, Somers left her patrols in the South Atlantic to perform a special mission. On the 5th, she got underway from Recife, Brazil, in company with Memphis (CL-13) and headed for Bathurst Gambia.

There, Memphis served as flagship for President Roosevelt during the Casablanca Conference between Churchill and Roosevelt; and Somers provided screening and escort services for the flagship. Somers remained at Bathurst from 10 to 27 January 1943 then moved on to Dakar, Senegal, where she rendezvoused with the task group escorting the French ships Richelieu and Montcalm, to the United States. This task group stood out of Dakar on 30 January 1943 and headed west. During the evening of 8 February, Somers and Montcalm were detached from the main group and headed for Philadelphia. They anchored in Delaware Bay on the evening of the 10th and moored at Philadelphia the next day.

On 13 February, the destroyer departed Philadelphia and steamed independently to Charleston, S.C., for two weeks of availability at the navy yard. On the 28th, she got underway to return to South Atlantic patrol duty, this time out of Trinidad, B.W.I. Throughout 1943, Somers patrolled the South Atlantic for German blockade runners and guarded the sea lanes from German submarines. She also escorted convoys from the Caribbean area to Bahia and Recife, in Brazil.