The Fletcher Class


The Fletcher Class of destroyers in the US Navy were the most widely used in any navy during the World War II period. There were 175 of them built during a two and a half year period during the war. The Fletchers were a well liked "Tin Can" by officers and men alike. Some Commanders thought them to be the Perfect Fighting Destroyer. They were all considered Sister Ships, but no two were exactly alike. They were all flush deckers whereas earlier classes had a raised forecastle deck. There were two distinct differences in ships of the class. Earliest Fletchers had a rounded front wheel house with open bridge wings and a high gun director; later ones had a squared off wheel house with open bridge forward and on both sides; the gun director was also lowered to help alleviate the top heavy tendency of the class. There were a few ships that were outfitted with an aircraft catapult, but it didn't work out very well and they were later outfitted like the others.
Early in the war the Fletchers were the first destroyer class to be equipped with Combat Information Centers (CIC's). They were located just below the bridge at main deck level and varied in size and equipment layout.