USS Jacob Jones (DD-61)

USS Jacob Jones
USS Jacob Jones (DD-61)
Name:USS Jacob Jones
Namesake:Jacob Jones[1]
Yard number:150[3]
Laid down:3 August 1914[1]
Launched:29 May 1915[1]
Sponsored by:Mrs. Jerome Parker Crittenden[1]
Commissioned:10 February 1916[1]
Fate:sunk by SM U-53, 6 December 1917[1]
General characteristics
Class and type:Tucker-class destroyer
  • 1,060 long tons (1,080 t)[2]
  • 1,205 long tons (1,224 t) fully loaded
Length:315 ft 3 in (96.09 m)[1]
Beam:30 ft 6 in (9.30 m)[2]
Draft:9 ft 8 in (2.95 m)[2]
Speed:30 knots (56 km/h)[1]
Complement:99 officers and enlisted[1]

USS Jacob Jones (Destroyer No. 61/DD-61)[Note 1] was a Tucker-class destroyer built for the United States Navy prior to the American entry into World War I. The ship was the first U.S. Navy vessel named in honor of Jacob Jones.

Jacob Jones was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding of Camden, New Jersey, in August 1914 and launched in May of the following year. The ship was a little more than 315 feet (96 m) in length, just over 30 feet (9.1 m) abeam, and had a standard displacement of 1,090 long tons (1,110 t). She was armed with four 4-inch (10 cm) guns and had eight 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes. Jacob Jones was powered by a pair of steam turbines that propelled her at up to 30 knots (56 km/h).

After her February 1916 commissioning, Jacob Jones conducted patrols off the New England coast. After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Jacob Jones was sent overseas. Patrolling the Irish Sea out of Queenstown, Ireland, Jacob Jones rescued the survivors of several ships, picking up over 300 from the sunken Armed merchant cruiser .

On 6 December, Jacob Jones was steaming independently from Brest, France, for Queenstown, when she was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-53 with the loss of 66 men, becoming the first United States destroyer sunk by enemy action.[4] Jacob Jones sank in eight minutes without issuing a distress call; the German submarine commander, Kapitänleutnant Hans Rose, after taking two badly injured Jacob Jones crewmen aboard his submarine, radioed the U.S. base at Queenstown with the coordinates for the survivors. The Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Dedham, Massachusetts is named for the ship.[5]

Design and construction

Jacob Jones was authorized in 1913 as the fifth ship of the Tucker class which, like the related O'Brien class, was an improved version of the Cassin-class destroyers authorized in 1911. Construction of the vessel was awarded to New York Shipbuilding of Camden, New Jersey, which laid down her keel on 3 August 1914. Ten months later, on 29 May 1915, Jacob Jones was launched by sponsor Mrs. Jerome Parker Crittenden (née Paulina Cazenove Jones), a great-granddaughter of the ship's namesake, Commodore Jacob Jones (1768–1850), a U.S. Navy officer during the War of 1812.[1] As built, Jacob Jones was 315 feet 3 inches (96.09 m) in length and 30 feet 6 inches (9.30 m) abeam and drew 9 feet 8 inches (2.95 m). The ship had a standard displacement of 1,060 long tons (1,080 t) and displaced 1,205 long tons (1,224 t) when fully loaded.[2]

Jacob Jones had two Curtis steam turbines that drove her two screw propellers, and an additional steam turbine geared to one of the propeller shafts for cruising purposes. The power plant could generate 17,000 shaft horsepower (13,000 kW) and move the ship at speeds up to 30 knots (56 km/h).[1][2]

Jacob Jones' main battery consisted of four 4-inch (102 mm)/50 Mark 9 guns,[1][6][Note 2] with each gun weighing in excess of 6,100 pounds (2,800 kg).[6] The guns fired 33-pound (15 kg) armor-piercing projectiles at 2,900 feet per second (880 m/s). At an elevation of 20°, the guns had a range of 15,920 yards (14,560 m).[6]

Jacob Jones was also equipped with eight 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes. The General Board of the United States Navy had called for two anti-aircraft guns for the Tucker-class ships, as well as provisions for laying up to 36 floating mines.[2] From sources, it is unclear if these recommendations were followed for Jacob Jones or any of the other ships of the class.