Built by Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Kearny, NJ. Laid down January 17, 1938. Launched February 4, 1939. Commissioned August 11, 1939. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as USS Hammann under the command of Arnold E. True.
After a shakedown cruise off the East Coast, participated in training operations off both the East Coast and West Coast.
At the start of the Pacific War on December 7, 1941 Hammann was operating off Iceland and returned to Norfolk to refuel and resupply then departed on January 6, 1942 crossing via the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean and arrived at San Francisco on January 22, 1942.
On February 25, 1942 joined Task Force 17 (TF 17) bound for the South Pacific. During March 1942 conducted training off New Caledonia then proceeded to the Coral Sea. On April 20, 1942 arrived at Tongatabu Harbor off Tonga on April 20, 1942 then seven days later departed for the Coral Sea and as a screening destroyer for USS Lexington (CV-2).
Battle of the Coral Sea
During the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 4, 1942 Hammann rescue two downed carrier pilots off Guadalcanal. Unable to land motor vessels due to rough seas, the pilots were recovered using lines. Afterwards, an attempt was made to destroy their aircraft but rough seas made it impossible.
Afterwards, returned to screening Lexington.
On May 8, 1942 Lexington and Hammann came under attack by Japanese carrier aircraft including torpedo bombers and dive bombers. During the attack, Hammann provided anti-aircraft fire and a dive bomber dropped a bomb that exploded only 200 yards astern from the destroyer. Lexington
was damaged and fired came under control until an internal explosion at 1:00pm resulted in the ship being abandoned. When the carrier was abandoned, Hammann, USS Morris (DD-417)
and USS Anderson (DD-411) helped rescue the crew. Afterwards, proceeded to Pearl Harbor arriving May 27, 1942 and underwent repairs and returned to sea three days later to join the Battle of Midway.
Battle of Midway
On June 4, 1942 Hammann was part of the destroyer screening force for USS Yorktown (CV-5) providing anti-aircraft fire against attacking Japanese carrier aircraft. During the attacks, Yorktown was hit and abandoned in the early afternoon, Hammann rescued survivors from the sea including Captain Buckmaster transferred him to USS Astoria (CA-34). On June 5, 1942 during the monring, Hammann participated in efforts to save the stricken carrier to attempt to tow her to safety for repairs.
On June 6, 1942 Hammann came alongside Yorktown to transfer a damage control party and provided support including fire hoses and electricity. Meanhwile at noon, Japanese submarine I-168 fired four torpedoes at the carrier, one missed two passed under Hammann and hit Yorktown. The fourth torpedo hit Hammann midship breaking the destroyer in half and causing the destroyer to jackknife and sink bow first in only four minutes. After the sinking, there was an underwater explosion, likely from the depth charges exploding. A total of 80 of the crew died in the sinking and explosion.
Hammann received two battle stars for her service in World War II. Afterwards, Commander Arnold True earned the e Navy Cross and a Distinguished Service Cross for his role in the Battle of the Coral Sea and Battle of Midway.
Survivors from Hammann were rescued by USS Benham (DD-397) and USS Balch (DD-363).
- USS Hammann (DD-412)
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August 4, 2020