The Farragut-class, USS Aylwin (DD-355), 1942 is a rank I American destroyer with a battle rating of 4.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.79 "Project X" as part of the fleet closed beta test.
Survivability and armour
This vessel has no armour. That being said, its spread out crew can take a few hits from low calibre guns, but rounds above 130 mm will cause massive damage. Aylwin also can have her ammunition destroyed very easily if a fire rages for too long, or her ammo is not wetted and ventilated.
Aylwin has a decent top speed and can cruise to around 60 km/h. It does have a very poor speed change time though, which is to be expected, but this is made up for by its decent ability to dodge shells, when positioned correctly.
Modifications and economy
Aylwin has a total of 4 x single 5"/38 Mark 12 guns arranged in a balanced manner. These guns are rapid firing compared to earlier destroyers (13 rounds/minute) and have a very quick rate of traverse (25 degrees/second). However, due to low muzzle velocity, it can be difficult to aim at distant targets. Past around 7,000 meters the shells will take over 10 seconds to land and tracking shell splashes will be challenging.
Like the other American 5"/38 Mark 12 guns, Aylwin has the AAC Mark 34 HE shell as stock. The Common Mark 32 SAP and the AAVT Mark 31 HE-VT shells are available as upgrades. Making good use of the VT shell will mean that hostile aircraft stand little chance against you. HE shells will make quick work of light craft such as torpedo boats and sub chasers. HE can also be used against destroyers as they lack armour, while SAP can be used against cruisers with armour protection. Just be aware that at longer ranges and at significant angles the SAP will be ineffective against armour plating.
Aylwin has access to 8 x 20 mm Oerlikon cannons for her anti-aircraft defences. 2 of them are just forward of the bridge, four of them are just behind the smoke funnels, and the last 2 are just in front of the after main battery mounts. These provide a wide range of fire and can make short work of aircraft that stray too close. They can be effective against hostile torpedo boats, but if these are firing at surface targets it is highly likely that you will have torpedoes headed your way.
The 20 mm Oerlikon cannon has access to 3 different ammunition belts: Universal, HE, and AP.
- Universal: HEF-T · HEF-I · AP-T
- HE: HEF-T · HEF-I · AP-T · HEF-I
- AP: AP-T · AP-T · AP-T · HEF-I
The torpedo armament on Aylwin is less than the preceding Clemson (DD-213) but it is more versatile as both of the quadruple 21" (533 mm) launchers are mounted on the centreline amidships. Due to the tight spaces on-board the ship, you do have to give significant broadside to fire the torpedoes so be aware of your surroundings.
The Aylwin uses the Mk.15 steam turbine torpedo with a default setting of 5,500 meters at 45 knots. This can be modified to an extended range of 9,150 meters at a reduced speed of 33.5 knots. Each torpedo has a warhead of 224 kg TNT which can make short work of an enemy destroyer providing the hit is not on an extremity. Cruisers may take more than one, but even a single torpedo can be devastating to a larger ship.
Upon unlocking the "Bomb mortar" upgrade you can equip 4 x Mk.6 depth charges which are projected from mortars. These are positioned near the aft end of the ship, right in line with the No.3 turret. These weapons have an extremely limited range (only a few hundred meters off each side of the ship) and would only be used during a close-in brawl. Keep in mind that the depth charges do take a few seconds to fly through the air and sink before they detonate, so be aware of timing their firing.
Each Mk.6 depth charge has an explosive charge of 136 kg TNT which will obliterate any small craft and deal significant damage to a larger ship.
Usage in battles
The first US destroyer with five inch guns, Aylwin is a major upgrade from the Clemsons, boasting one of the best DPMs at her tier. Unfortunately this comes at the price of a small broadside and a non-existent armour profile. Thus Aylwin has two roles depending on game time and preference:
Mid Range Sniping
Due to her powerful cannons, Aylwin can decimate ships at medium to close range. Unfortunately, due to her guns having somewhat poor velocity, at ranges exceeding 6,000 km, Aylwin's guns become harder to land shots with. At shorter ranges, her lack of anti-fragmentation armour punishes you for getting caught in enemy cross fire, as retreating can take some time. Hence at a medium ranges, Aylwin should use her high rate of fire, and powerful guns to lock down cap zones, and support more protected destroyers such as Fletchers as they push up. This does not mean that Aylwin cannot cap, but does mean that one must be very mindful of enemy destroyers when using Aylwin, as not getting hit is a vital for this vessel.
Especially good when up-tiered or when being used as a second or third spawn, Aylwin's decent(ish) anti-air defence of eight 20 mm cannons is actual quite potent. Though low calibre, their ability to fire almost constantly as well their decent placement makes fighting Aylwin in an aircraft very risky. Naturally this AA is only good at short range, so one must always look out for air dropped torpedoes and low flying bombers, but it can still deter and often destroy even the most potent of attackers. In addition, Aylwin's main battery has an proximity-fused shell that can be researched. As it is radio controlled, it will always burst very near to where your gun distance is set, allowing you to use your high fire rate to tear down aircraft at longer ranges. This firepower can also help deal with short range gun and torpedo boats. As many players tend to bring these light craft in around the end game, when capping gets more fierce and most first spawns are destroyed, sailing into a contested area and letting your 20 mm cannons fire is still a feasible idea. Unfortunately, Aylwin is quite vulnerable to frigates, which the Germans, Japanese and especially Soviets have a lot of, so use your main guns and keep these close range monsters as far away as possible.
Pros and cons
- Great rate-of-fire (ROF) and quick turret traverse
- Agile when fully upgraded
- Anti-aircraft capabilities are great once you combine the ROF and turret traverse with VT proximity fuse shells
- 20 mm guns are decent at shooting down planes
- Decent torpedo firing arcs
- 20 mm gun rounds have slow velocity and can be dodged by attentive pilots
- No armour
- Aft guns have no protection; easily disabled or destroyed
- Has a large bridge which is prone to be disabled
The design of the Farragut-class destroyers can be dated back to 1928 when the United States Navy General Board began to outline what the next class of destroyers would look like. As no construction of destroyers had taken place in the United States after the Clemson-class destroyers from 1919-1921, the General Board was able to start from scratch. The idea was to have a destroyer and a destroyer leader, both at 1,500 tons, to serve in flotillas together with one or two of the leaders commanding a group of standard destroyers. By November of 1930, the concept had changed into a 1,375-ton and 1,500-ton destroyer with a 1,850-ton leader, each using the 5 inch/25 guns as the main armament. A much heavier torpedo armament was chosen and a change was made for the leader to have a possibility for 5-inch twin mounts, and later the Bureau of Ordnance had developed the 5 inch/38 dual purpose gun which was incorporated into the designs. Further changes to the designs and addition of ASW equipment meant that by the end of 1931 the design was considered completed. The 1,500-ton design became DD 348-355, the Farragut-class, and the 1,850-ton design became DD 356-363, the Porter-class leaders. In the end, a total of 8 Farragut-class destroyers were built from 1932 to 1935 with the majority of them being commissioned into service in 1935.
USS Aylwin (DD-355) was named after the officer John Cushing Aylwin who had served in the War of 1812. The first assignment for the Aylwin was to tour Europe and she took part in fleet exercises in 1936 and 1937. On 7 December 1941, Aylwin was sitting in port at Pearl Harbor when Japanese planes flew overhead to begin their attack. Aylwin was one of the first ships to steam out and fire back, and later met up with the Enterprise strike group out at sea the following day. A few days later the Commander of the ship had congratulated the crew, as only around half of them were on board and they had still carried out all of their tasks without him. Aylwin would take part in many major engagements throughout the war, such as being with the ANZAC forces in 1942, the Gilbert and Marshall Islands Campaign in 1943, the Marianas Islands in 1944 and the invasion of Okinawa in 1945. She was decommissioned in October 1945 and sold for scrap the following year. USS Aylwin earned 13 Battle Stars for her service in World War II.
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- Norman Friedman, U.S. Destroyers (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004), p. 78.
- Norman Friedman, U.S. Destroyers (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004), p. 79.
- "Aylwin III (DD-355)," Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History and Heritage Command, Published June 1, 2016, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/aylwin-iii.html
|Philadelphia Navy Yard|
|Gun Destroyers (DD)||USS Aylwin|
|Clemson-class||USS Welborn C. Wood · USS Barker · USS Litchfield|
|Fletcher-class||USS Fletcher · USS Bennion · USS Cowell|
|Porter-class||USS Porter · USS Phelps · USS Moffett|
|Allan M. Sumner-class||USS Sumner|