CUS Belmont (DD-1917+)


Back to Commonwealth Union of America ship list:


Over 120 of these destroyers were mass produced from the first one being completed in 1917 to the last in 1921. The one thing this showed to the world was that when the CUA decided to go to war, it provided its armed services with the right tools in very short order. Having overproduced the class the CUA Navy had to resort to a rotation policy where squadrons would be in service for three years before being laid up and then refitted after two and a half years ready for the third year renewal of service. After five years this policy came into full force and lasted for the next 18 years. New destroyers were added to the Navy and the Belmonts from being the frontline units started to fill the second line duties.

The original armament was four of the 4" 50/cal guns, the fore mount with a shield, the rest open mounts. A single 3" AA guns was mounted on the quarterdeck.The 3" AA was an early casualty being replaced with four Browing .5" machine guns for AA weapons, while the quarterdeck was used for more and larger depth charge racks. In other refits the single 4" were given shields where necessary and the mounting upgraded to an AA mount. As front line units the massive torpedo armament of twelve 21" tubes were retained. It was not till the decline to second line duties did the class start to shed these mountings.

From 1937 the oldest units started to be refitted to a Destroyer Escort level (though the DDE designation did not enter service till 1941). This was done due to the level of turmoil breaking out over the world. China and Japan were fighting, The Spanish were fighting their Civil War. The Germanic States were adding the European minnows to their hegemony. Russia was squabbling with Roumania and Hungary over Bessarabia and other border disputes. South America was simmering with Argentina stirring its neighbours and baiting Britain over the Falkands. The League of Nations was showing itself to be a toothless piece of paper. War loomed in the near future. The last war had shown the great need for destroyer sized vessels to shepherd the slow merchantmen from the Americas accross to Britain.

Four squadrons had been processed to DDE's when war did break out. June 1940 and Britain was requesting to purchase escort vessels of which they were desperately short of. 50 of the Belmont class ships that were in the laid up cycle were quickly refurbished and 'sold' to the British. The British had to supply the crews to pick up the ships and sail them to Britain for further service. The Germanic States cried 'foul' over this and other advantages that Britain seemed to be getting from the CUA. The CUA government replied that it was happy to sell to the Germanic States anything it wanted, the Germanic States just had to pay for it when it picked it up and took it away - with its own transports, the same as the British did.


Displacement 1,300 tons std 1,700 tons full load
Length 310 ft
Breadth 32 ft
Draught 11 ft
Machinery 2 shaft steam turbines, 30,000shp
Speed 34 knots
Range 4500 miles at 15 knots (900 nm at 32 knots)
Armour Nil
Armament As built

4 x 4" (4x1)

1 x 3" AA (1x1) removed 1925

4 x 0.5" mg (4x1)

1937 Modernisation

2 x 4" (2x1)

2 x 40mm (1x2)

7 x 20mm (7x1)

Torpedoes 12 x 21" (4x3) 3 x 21" (1x3)
Complement 140
Notes CUA Belmont


Four piper type destroyers laid up awaiting their turn for refit and rotation. The 50 ships for the UK came from this type of storage facility.


Back to Commonwealth Union of America ship list: