Length: 381' 0-1/2" overall; 372' design waterline.1

Beam: 36' 6" molded maximum; 36' 6-1/2" outside of plating at design waterline.1

Freeboard: 23' 8" at bow; 12' 6-1/2" at stern.1

Displacement: 1,850 long tons design; 2,131 long tons to design waterline.1

Draft: 11' 5-1/2" mean; 13' 2-1/4" full load.3

Torpedo Armament: 8 x 21" torpedo tubes in two centerline trainable mounts.

Main Gun Armament: 8 x 5-inch/38 caliber rapid fire guns in four twin base ring mounts.

Anti-aircraft armament: 1938: 4 x 0.50 caliber machine guns; 1945: 2 x 40mm Bofors in one twin mount; 6 x 20mm Oerlikon in single mounts.

Propulsion: 4 x Babcock & Wilcox boilers; 400 psi, 645° F.;geared turbines; 50,000 shp; 2 shafts.3

Designed Speed: 36.5 knots.2

Fuel bunkerage: 635.33 tons full load (95%).1

Endurance: 7,800 nm at 12 knots.3

Designed Complement: 13 officers; 193 enlisted.3

As built, the eight ships of the Porter class were, in effect, enlarged versions of the Farraguts, with an improved machinery arrangement and an increased main battery. Their tripod mainmasts, after superstructure and superfiring 5-inch twin mounts forward and aft gave them a balanced, cruiser-like look.

Heavy armament on an 1,850-ton displacement meant twin 5-inch/38s; but no twin turret had been developed that could elevate above 35 degrees. Thus, the new class entered life with a main armament of eight single-purpose guns.

Like the Farraguts, the Porters mounted eight 21-inch torpedo tubes in two centerline mounts. They could also carry eight torpedo reloads in special containers abeam the after stack—although reloading under way was awkward at best.

Four ships were initially funded for FY 1934. In May 1933, however, two months after his innauguration with a focus on relieving the depression by putting the nation back to work, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which funded eight Porters (plus sixteen Mahans, four cruisers and carriers Yorktown and Enterprise).


McDougal, Winslow and Moffett operated in the Atlantic throughout World War II while in the Pacific, Phelps, Selfridge, Porter and Balch entered the war as flagships of DesRons 1, 4, 5 and 6 respectively. Phelps and Selfridge were at Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Porter class

Balch screened Enterprise during the Tokyo Raid of April 1942. The next month, Phelps was at the Battle of the Coral Sea, where she helped scuttle Lexington. Both were at Midway and at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

Porter was torpedoed and lost at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in October 1942; Selfridge was torpedoed but saved in the night action at Vella Lavella a year later. Phelps was damaged by shore battery fire off Saipan in June 1944.

Clark served in the Pacific until December 1942, then was transferred to the Panama Canal Zone and ended her wartime career in the Atlantic.

The others served out the war without further loss and, except for McDougal and Winslow, were scrapped soon thereafter.

1 Bureau of Construction and Repair’s General Information book for USS Porter.
2 Bauer and Roberts.
3 Friedman.