The Fletcher-class, USS Fletcher (DD-445), 1942 is a rank II American destroyer with a battle rating of 4.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.79 "Project X" as part of the fleet closed beta test.
Survivability and armour
The Fletcher actually has decent survivability for a ship of its class. It has a decent crew count for a ship of its BR (273 crewmembers), though it is mediocre when compared to the German destroyers which typically have upwards of 320 crew. However, what the Fletcher does have is a main armour belt composed of 13 mm of anti-fragmentation armour. This may not seem like much, but it can actually shatter most low-calibre High-Explosive rounds, and potentially even destroyer-calibre weapons! However, keep in mind that most late-stage American destroyers, such as the Sumner, also have access to a main armour belt. As well, don't rely on your armour to tank damage, as most high-calibre HE shells will still cause serious damage to your ship's compartments.
In terms of critical components, some of the ship's vital parts are hidden underneath the waterline. The ammo racks are all under the waterline, and the rear rack is completely enveloped by a fuel tank. The massive engine compartment is partially underwater, but will easily be hit by any incoming HE shells. The main risk to the Fletcher are its first-stage ammo racks - each of the guns have a first-stage ammunition storage carrying 25 rounds of ready-use ammo. Because these first-stage storages are directly beneath the guns, any hit from an HE shell could detonate the ammo, resulting in severe (or perhaps fatal) damage to your ship.
The Fletcher has decent mobility for a ship of its size, and is capable of reaching 36 knots (65 km/h) maximum forward speed in RB. Though this is lower than some contemporaries such as the Tashkent (which is capable of a crazy 42 knots!), it is more than enough to get the Fletcher where it needs to go. Rudder shift time and turn time are all acceptable, too.
|Game Mode||Upgrade Status||Maximum Speed (km/h)|
Modifications and economy
The Fletcher carries a rather powerful main armament and is a step up from the preceding Farragut. Armed with 5 x single 5"/38 Mk.12 guns which fire faster than before, the Fletcher can easily gun down opponents provided the captain aims accurately. The arrangement of the guns is essentially the same as found on the Farragut, however, an extra gun is placed behind the torpedo tubes, but is facing forward. With a maximum of 22 rounds per minute (just under 3 second reload time) the cannons are able to put out a large amount of damage, but the shells do still retain the lofty trajectory at longer ranges. Once within around 7,000 meters, it will much easier to hit a target and deal consistent damage.
Fletcher uses the same ammunition as the earlier ships, with the AAC Mark 34 shell being the default. Available for upgrade is the Common Mark 32 SAP shell and the AAVT Mark 31 HE-VT shell. The VT shells are just as powerful as before and having 5 of them flying towards a target just further ensures that a hit could be critical or even lethal. Because of the rank where the Fletcher is situated, there is an increased chance of seeing the early light cruisers which can have formidable armour, so if you find yourself in need of some extra punch the SAP could be just what you need.
The Fletcher has a secondary armament of a single twin 40 mm Bofors L/60 Mark 1 mount which is located in an elevated position in between the main guns near the aft section of the ship. This location provides a very wide arc of fire (-15 degrees/+88 degrees) along with clear vertical firing angles. This mount can be devastating if it hits an aircraft and can make short work of smaller torpedo boats which come in too close looking for a kill shot.
The 40 mm Bofors L/60 Mark 1 has three available belts:
- Universal: AP-T / HEFI-T / AP-T / HEFI-T
- HE: HEFI-T / HEFI-T / HEFI-T / AP-T
- AP: AP-T / AP-T / AP-T / HEFI-T
The anti-aircraft armament for Fletcher is 6 x 20 mm Oerlikon Mk.II cannons. These are spread along the ship with two of them being near the bridge and facing forward with the other four being on the main deck amidships which gives a balanced level of coverage. Combined with the 40 mm Bofors L/60, these can give a decent level of short range defence and can easily take out aircraft which stray by and fail to evade. These guns can also be the last line of defence against small boats if necessary.
The 20 mm Oerlikon Mk.II cannons on Fletcher come only with a Default belt:
- Default: HEF-T / AP-T / HEF-T / AP-T
The torpedo armament on Fletcher is 2 x quintuple launchers carrying the 21" (533 mm) Mk.15 torpedo. The launchers are amidships and grouped together, but the tight spaces mean that you do need to manoeuvre the ship a bit to launch the torpedoes at their intended targets. The standard setting for the torpedo is 5,500 meters at 45 knots and by using the Torpedo Mode upgrade it can be modified to 9,150 meters at 33.5 knots. A single hit on a ship from one of these torpedoes will either be severely crippling or outright destroy it. Having 10 torpedoes allows for a wide range saturation attack with the increased range, or a wall at closer ranges.
After unlocking the Bomb Mortar upgrade, you have the option to equip 6 x Mk.6 mortar depth charges. With three on each side of the ship near the aft main battery mounts, this ship has more than the Farragut. These weapons have a very limited and short-range but can be highly destructive in a close-quarters duel if their deployment is timed correctly.
Usage in battles
Considered one of many strong destroyers on the American tech tree, the Fletcher is most effective in gunning down its targets and maintaining that pressure on enemy destroyers. With the 5 main cannons and its quick rate of fire, even if one of these cannons gets destroyed, it will still be able to maintain its fire power with the remaining four. Altogether giving enemies a hard time when they're in range. The most favoured maps for the Fletcher will be maps that will have multiple island cover as you will be able to take advantage of your speed of 40 knots and decent turn speed to swiftly attack a target and escape if needed. The torpedoes come in handy by locking down choke-points and common paths for players, making a long range attacks on the AI ships in encounter games, or forcing enemy ships to dodge.
As for play style, it can be used for hit and runs against other enemy destroyers and PT boats that are looking to capture objectives. When faced against cruisers, the Fletcher does have the rate of fire and shells to fight back. However, your anti-fragmentation armour will not be enough to prevent the powerful punch of large HE shells or AP shells that even early cruisers will use against you so it is highly advised to avoid larger ships.
Pros and cons
- Main battery has a very high ROF and quick turret traverse
- VT shells are very effective against aircraft
- Single twin 40 mm Bofors provides decent defence against aircraft
- Decent speed and manoeuvrability
- Anti-fragmentation armour provides moderate protection from splinters and near misses
- No armour, direct hits will cause damage, just depends on how much
- Torpedo firing arcs are less effective
One of the most prolific ships during World War II 175 ships of the Fletcher-class destroyer was commissioned between 1942 and 1944. The designed proved so successful that it continued to serve into the Korean and Vietnam war. The Fletcher class saw widespread use across the pacific theatre and was highly successful due to its long operational range and a high degree of flexibility that made it able to tackle almost any task.
Being the first generation of ship designed after the collapse of the Washington and London Naval treaties, the Fletcher was designed to be larger and carry more armament than previous destroyers. Due to the increased threat of air targets, the fletcher was also given substantial Anti-Aircraft armaments, which became very useful against the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
During World War 2, nineteen Fletcher class destroyers were sunk while 6 were damaged to such a degree that repair was not carried out
The last Fletcher Class destroyer was decommissioned in 2001 from the Mexican Navy, which gives it an impressive service record of almost 60 years.
- Other Fletcher-class destroyers:
- USS Cowell (DD-547)
- USS Bennion (DD-662)
- JDS Yūgure (DD-184) - Formerly USS Richard P. Leary (DD-664)
- Friedman, Norman. US Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History (revised edition, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2004), pp.111-112.
- Friedman, Norman. US Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History (revised edition, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2004), pp 117-119
- Destroyer History Foundation. (n.d.). Fletcher Class - 2,100-ton destroyers in WWII. Retrieved October 2019, from http://destroyerhistory.org/fletcherclass/.
|Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company|
|Gun Destroyers (DD)||USS Somers · USS Fletcher · USS Sumner|
|Cruiser, Light (CL)||USS Atlanta|
|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|