Nicholson (DD 442) in April 1942.
The original ships proved top-heavy and seriously lacking in anti-aircraft defense. The result was a proliferation of modifications.

To reduce topweight, the No. 3 5-inch gun was landed on some ships, as had been done in preceding classes, leaving a total of four 5-inch/38s. The two quintuple torpedo tube mount arrangement was retained in these ships—in some cases (e.g., Grayson) until 1945, when it was replaced by 40mm quad Bofors.

Initially, six .50 cal. machine guns were added, bringing the total to twelve. Later, as they become available, 20mm single mounts replaced the 0.50 cal. machine guns, bringing these anti-aircraft armament of these ships in line with new 1941-42 construction.