20 February 2019

USS Somers (DD-381): Strength in Numbers

USS Somers is the lead ship of her class of five destroyers, which featured more efficient boilers and increased firepower over the preceding Porter-class. Soon, War Thunder captains will have the chance to take command over another new destroyer coming to the American naval tree with the upcoming update 1.87!

Briefly: A new, highly mobile and well-armed American destroyer, featuring impressive torpedo broadside.

 

History

In the mid 1930s, the U.S. Navy ordered the construction of the Somers-class destroyers. Although initially intended to only be repeats of the preceding Porter-class, the availability of a more economical power plant, developed for the Mahan-class, resulted in the Somers design being modified to facilitate this new power plant and being made into a new class entirely.

As a result of using the new power plant, great savings in weight and space were made, allowing for the use of just a single funnel, which made it possible to install a third torpedo launcher on the ship’s aft. Despite these changes however, the design remained overweight and top heavy. Nevertheless, construction commenced, with the lead ship of the class, USS Somers (DD-381) being laid down in June 1935 and commissioned into service in December 1937.

USS Somers (DD-381) spent most of her early service period assigned to various missions in the Atlantic. On one instance, the ship was tasked with transporting a consignment of gold from London to New York in 1938.

During WW2, USS Somers continued operating in the Atlantic, occasionally intercepting German blockade runners and briefly operating off the coast of West Africa in early 1943. In 1944, USS Somers took part in the invasion of Normandy as well as the allied landings in Southern France in the Mediterranean theater.

USS Somers’ final missions are marked with convoy escort duties as part of several transatlantic voyages. In May 1945, USS Somers returned to U.S. waters and underwent overhauls in August, before being decommissioned from active service in October. In May 1947, USS Somers was taken apart for scraps, marking the end of her service life of almost 10 years.

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In War Thunder, USS Somers will be a new addition to the American destroyer line of rank III, coming soon to player ports with the release of update 1.87. Unlike other, more versatile, American destroyers already present in the game, USS Somers will not only be one of the fastest destroyer available to American captains, but also the one that’s most heavily focused on ship-to-ship engagements, as reflected by its very respectable armament.

Speaking of USS Somers’ armament, it most certainly represents one of the ship’s key features. Being fitted with a primary armament consisting of eight 5’’ (127mm) cannons spread across four dual Mk.22 turrets, Somers is definitely one of the most well armed American destroyers, at least as far as primary armament is concerned.

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However, the Mk.22 turrets on USS Somers reduce (to a certain degree) the efficiency of the anti-aircraft role due to their much more limited firing angles, compared to later models of the turret which can be found on the Sumner-class for example. In addition, Somers’ anti-air complement is only able to provide basic protection from avian predators as it only consists of two quad 1.1’’ (28mm) cannons know as the “Chicago Piano” and two single .50 cal Browning machine guns.

Fun Fact: For a certain time, destroyers of the Somers class possessed the largest torpedo broadside of any warship until this record was beaten by later Japanese destroyers.

USS is still a threat to enemy aircraft thanks to rounds with radio fuse for the main calibre, it still remains a force to be reckoned with for other warships. Beside its already impressive primary armament, Somers’ threat to hostile ships is further emphasized by the presence of its three quadruple 533mm torpedo launchers

At the time of their introduction, Somers-class destroyers were truly something special for the U.S. Navy due to their use of a new type of steam turbine which utilizes superheated steam at high pressure. While this tech would soon become standard for many new American warships, USS Somers enjoyed the benefits of the new technology which gave the ship a large operating range, and more importantly for War Thunder, a very good top speed of 37.5 knots (69 km/h). Thanks to this, USS Somers will be the fastest American destroyer available to players after its introduction.

USS Somers is scheduled to arrive to player ports with the release of the upcoming update 1.87 in the near future. In the meantime, stay tuned to the news for more information on exciting new stuff coming in War Thunder’s next major update. Until then, calm seas captains!


Previous devblogs:

PBM-3 Mariner
PBM-3 Mariner
Leningrad
Leningrad

 

 

 

 

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