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Hull Number: DD-426

Launch Date: 10/20/1939

Commissioned Date: 09/17/1940



Data for USS Benson (DD-421) as of 1945

Length Overall: 347' 10"

Beam: 36' 1"

Draft: 13' 6"

Standard Displacement: 1,620 tons

Full Load Displacement: 2,525 tons

Fuel capacity: 2,912 barrels


Four 5″/38 caliber guns
Two 40mm twin anti-aircraft mounts
Two 21″ quintuple torpedo tubes


16 Officers
260 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 Bethlehem Turbines: 47,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 36.7 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

Philip Van Horne Lansdale, born 15 February 1858 in Washington, D.C., graduated as Passed Midshipman from the Naval Academy 18 June 1879. Commissioned ensign 1 June 1881, he served on Asiatic, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific stations. Promoted to lieutenant 15 May 1893, he became executive officer of Philadelphia upon her recommissioning at San Francisco 9 July 1898.

After visiting Honolulu for ceremonies which transferred the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States, Philadelphia, flagship of Rear Adm. Albert Kautz, Commander, Pacific Station, arrived Apia, Samoa, 6 March 1899. An unstable political climate, created by rival native factions and spurred on by German intrigue, erupted into open hostility during the month. A combined American and British naval force sought to keep the peace, but insurgent natives attacked American and British consulates late in March.

In retaliation a British and American landing party, supported by friendly natives, set out from Apia 1 April on a reconnaissance mission to drive off the rebels under Chief Mataafa. With Lieutenant Lansdale in command of the Americans, the expeditionary force dispersed the natives. While returning to Apia, the force was ambushed and a brisk battle ensued.

While protecting the evacuation of a mortally wounded machinegunner, Lieutenant Lansdale was seriously wounded, his right leg shattered by an enemy bullet. Aided by two enlisted men, Ensign J. R. Monaghan carried him until he dropped from exhaustion. Despite Lansdale-s plea, -Monny, you leave me now, I cannot go any further,- Ensign Monaghan remained beside the fallen lieutenant. With only one rifle between them, they were soon overrun by pursuing natives; both brave officers died on the spot in heroic performance of their duty.


Sunk by German aircraft NW of Anzio, It., 4/20/1944

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, July 1997

USS LANSDALE was the second BENSON laid down to Bethlehem Shipbuilding’s specifications at Boston Navy Yard. Her construction began on December 19, 1938 and she had required nearly a year to complete. She would not be commissioned until September 17, 1940.

DD-426 was named for Philip Van Horne Lansdale. LT Lansdale was assigned the task of dispersing rebel natives who had begun an uprising in Apia, on what later became American Samoa. Returning from an apparently successful mission, LT Landsdale and his men were ambushed. As he attempted to rescue his seriously wounded machine gunner, he was hit himself. Lansdale was carried by two men and his second in command, Ensign J. R. Monaghan, until the men could proceed no further. The ensign refused to abandon Lansdale and both officers were ultimately overrun and killed by the attackers.

After her commissioning, LANSDALE was immediately pressed into service for the neutrality patrol in the Caribbean. The destroyer operated between Charleston, South Carolina and the islands to the south for nearly three months, before being transferred north. She would escort three Iceland-bound convoys by the remainder of 1941. The declaration of war found LANSDALE escorting her charges and she was immediately recalled to Boston to prepare for operations in the “shooting war.”

DD-426 entered into an almost bewildering career of escort assignments. It seems she was everywhere, Alternating between screening battleships and cruisers, she protected tankers on the dangerous British Isles-Caribbean route, and troop convoys bound for North Africa. Her efficient anti-submarine-tactics helped to defend convoy UC-1 against at least half a dozen veteran U-boats off the Azores in February 1943. By the time she was transferred to the Mediterranean, LANSDALE was a efficient, well-regarded fighting vessel.

The destroyer could attest to the ferocity of the air attacks in the Mediterranean. The Luftwaffe used Cape Bengut on the coast of Algeria as a rendezvous Point. Convoys passing the point could expect to receive the full attention of enemy bombers from Italian air bases, flown by crews well trained in anti-shipping raids. LANSDALE helped to protect convoy UGS-37 from as many as twenty-five aircraft on the evening of April 11-12, 1944. Effective defensive measures, including a smoke screen and intense anti-aircraft fire protected the convoy from loss, while the attackers returned to their bases minus four of their number.

Six days later, LANDSDALE was assigned to protect convoy UGS-38, yet another huge convoy. Task Force 66, composed of twelve destroyer escorts, the Coast Guard cutter USS TANEY (WPG-37), LANSDALE, and six Allied naval vessels, were to protect the eighty-five merchant vessels and two Navy tankers. The Coast Guard cutter USS DUANE (WPG-33) was already with the convoy.

The escort had been carefully prepared for their role. LANSDALE and two destroyer escorts had been equipped to jam robot bomb transmissions. The Allies had learned through bitter experience that the transmissions used by German bomber crews to guide their robot bombs could be effectively jammed with the appropriate equipment, and numbers of escorts had been trained by the spring of 1943. CDR W. H. Duvall, the task force commander, emphasized the need for fire discipline. LANSDALE, along with the Dutch anti-aircraft cruiser HEEMSKERCK, would protect the post beam of the convoy. The collection of ships proceeded at about eight knots along the North African coast. Although several alarms had been raised during the day on April 20, the convoy was still untouched as it approached Cape Bongut.

Luftwaffe aircraft attacked the convoy in the growing darkness, approaching from the landward side, so that the escort’s radar would be useless. The big Junker JU-88 attack aircraft of the first wave skimmed the water, then turned tightly to approach the convoy from ahead. Almost immediately S. S. PAUL HAMILTON erupted from a torpedo hit and disappeared in an explosion that sent debris and flames more than a thousand feet in the air. No crewmen survived. S. S. ROYAL STAR was also to go down in the first attack.

LANSDALE had monitored German robot bomb transmissions from an attack on a convoy passing one hundred miles to the north and immediately began jamming German control frequencies. Even at that distance, German crews were frustrated in their attempts to use the new weapon and the unseen convoy was protected. The same attackers however were also assigned to attack UGS-38.

The destroyer bore the brunt of the third wave to attack the convoy. Five Heinkel HE-111’s roared in from the port side of the convoy track and hit the tin can from two directions. Briefly, the destroyer seemed to be holding her own against overwhelming odds, but the swarm of attackers would prove to be too much. Junkers JU-88s from the second wave turned their attention on LANSDALE. Accurate gunnery accounted for two raiders but not before the second had launched her torpedo at a range of less than 500 yards. The “tin fish” ripped into the destroyer’s forward fire room and opened both sides of the stricken vessel to the sea. Her back broken, rudder jammed, and listing to port, the destroyer steamed in a circle at thirteen knots.

LANSDALE’s crew refused to quit. Two more aircraft launched torpedoes at the stricken ship, but both missed and one aircraft was destroyed for her attempt. Still, the ship’s plight grew worse. With such extensive damage, even LANSDALE’s superb damage control procedures were to no avail. Listing reached forty-five degrees and LCDR D. M. Swift, LANSDALE’s skipper ordered the ship abandoned. Ton minutes later, the destroyer assumed a list of eighty degrees and began to break up. Escorts were able to rescue much of the crew, but forty- seven officers and men went down with DD-426.

USS LANSDALE DD-426 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

The second Lansdale (DD-426) was laid down 19 December 1938 by Boston Navy Yard; launched 30 October 1939; sponsored by Mrs. Ethel S. Lansdale; and commissioned 17 September 1940 at Boston, Lt. Comdr. John Conner in command.

After shakedown in the Caribbean, Lansdale departed Boston 18 January 1941 for neutrality patrol duty in the Caribbean. She cruised off Cuba, the Virgin Islands, Martinique, and the British West Indies before returning to Boston 6 March. After escort training along the Atlantic coast, she screened transports from Charleston, S.C., to Argentia, Newfoundland, in late June, then departed Argentia 30 June on a neutrality-patrol run to Iceland. During the remainder of the year she made three escort runs between Newfoundland and Iceland. En route to Hvalfjordur, Iceland, when the United States entered the war against the Axis, she steamed to Boston 15 to 24 December.

Lansdale escorted seven troopships from New York to Key West. 22 to 27 January 1942 before arriving Casco Bay, Maine, 1 February to serve as plane guard for Wasp (CV-7). For the next 6 months ASW patrols and escort run carried her from the eastern seaboard to Iceland, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and the Gulf of Mexico. From 8 to 21 May she patrolled the Atlantic between Puerto Rico and Bermuda with Savannah (CL-42) and Juneau (CI-52), after which she resumed convoy screening out of Norfolk.

On 9 August Lansdale joined a convoy out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, bound for northern Ireland. Arriving Lisahally the 18th, she returned as escort from Greenock, Scotland, to New York 27 August to 5 September. After escorting another convoy from New York via Halifax to northern Ireland, she returned to New York 10 to 21 October as screen for Arkansas (BB-33), then departed 2 November with Task Force 38 to escort convoy UGF-2 to north Africa. Arriving Safi, French Morocco, 18 November, she patrolled approaches to Safi and Casablanca until 22 December when she sailed for New York in a convoy of 41 transports and six escorts.

Reaching New York 10 January 1943, she underwent overhaul until 30 January when she departed with a convoy for northern Ireland. She reached Londonderry 9 February, joined with units of the 42d British Escort Group, and departed 15 February to escort tankers from the United Kingdom to the West Indies. As the convoy steamed south of the Azores on the 23d, a German wolf pack of six to 10 submarines made early morning and late night attacks that sank three tankers and damaged two others. Lansdale made several ASW counterattacks without known results but two nights later she hit a submerging U-boat with 5-inch gunfire. Although scattered night attacks continued until the 27th, prompt, aggressive counterattacks by American escorts prevented further losses.

Lansdale arrived Port-au-Spain, Trinidad, 6 March as escort for SS Maasyerk before proceeding 8 to 9 March to Curacao, Netherland West Indies, for more escort duty. From 20 March until 6 October she made eight escort runs between the Caribbean and the United Kingdom, three convoy runs between Curacao and New York, and periodic escort and patrol runs to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Continuing escort duty out of Norfolk, Lansdale made a run to Casablanca and back between 3 November and 17 December before sailing again for north Africa 13 January 1944. She reached Casablanca 1 February and continued the next day via Oran and Algiers to Tunis where she arrived the 10th. After escorting Brooklyn (CL-40) to Algiers, she arrived Pozzouli, Italy, 14 February for operations off the Anzio beachhead. Until returning to Oran 22 to 26 March, she searched for German submarines and screened Philadelphia (CL-41) during fire support and shore bombardment operations from Naples to Anzio.

Lansdale departed Oran 10 April and joined convoy UGS-37, composed of 60 merchant ships and six LSTs, bound from Norfolk to Bizerte. At 2330 on 11 April some 16 to 25 German Dornier and Junkers bombers attacked the convoy off Cape Bengut, Algeria. During the next hour the planes lit the night with flares and struck at the tightly formed convoy with torpedoes and radio-controlled bombs. Although Holder (DE-401) took a torpedo hit amidships, warning of an impending attack, an effective smokescreen, and massive, accurate antiaircraft fire repulsed the enemy planes. While losing four planes, the Germans failed to sink a single ship.

Leaving UGC-37 on 12 April, Lansdale escorted three merchant ships from Oran to westbound convoy UGS-36. Then she sailed from Oran 18 April to join UGS-38 the next day. Stationed off the port bow of the Bizerte-bound convoy, she served as a “jam ship” against radio-controlled bombs, in addition to screening against U-boats. As the ships hugged the Algerian coast during first watch 20 April, they approached approximately the same position off Cape Bengut where the Luftwaffe had attacked UGS-37 on 11 to 12 April. Though warned of possible attack during the afternoon and evening, the ships had little chance to avoid the strike unleashed by the Germans shortly after 2100.

Attacking as twilight faded, the enemy planes, flying close to shore and low over the water, evaded radar detection until they were almost upon the convoy. Some 18 to 24 Junkers and Heinkel bombers struck in three waves, minutes after Joseph E. Campbell (DE-70) of the outer screen reported, “they are All around me…they are enemy, they are enemy.”

The first wave of about nine JU-88s attacked from dead ahead. Their torpedoes damaged SS Samite and detonated high explosives on board SS Paul Hamilton, blowing her out of the water and killing all 580 men on board. The second wave of about seven Junkers hit the starboard flank of the convoy and damaged two more merchant ships, one fatally. And the third, consisting of about five HE-111s, bore down on the convoy-s port bow, Lansdale’s station.

Silhouetted by the explosion of Paul Hamilton at 2104, Lansdale was attacked from both port and starboard by planes from two and possibly three waves. As Heinkels approached on the port bow and launched two torpedoes that missed, Lansdale turned to starboard to repel five JU-88s which had veered seaward from the convoy. Her guns hit one as it passed down the starboard side; but, as it splashed well astern, another launched a torpedo 500 yards on the starboard beam before passing over the forecastle under heavy fire and splashing on the port quarter.

The torpedo struck the starboard side forward about 2106, wrecking the forward fireroom and opening both sides to the sea. Almost split in two, Lansdale immediately took a 12° list to port. Her rudder jammed 22° right, and she steamed at 13 knots in a clockwise circle.

At 2112 she again came under attack. Two bombers launched torpedoes on the beam and broad on the bow to port but both missed the still-turning ship. Despite the increasing list, her guns splashed one of the planes as it turned away from the ship.

At 2120 the course of the ship straightened out, but the list increased steadily. Within 2 minutes it reached 45° despite the valiant efforts of her crew to control the battle damage. Her skipper, Lt. Comdr. D. M. Swift, ordered her abandoned when he feared the stricken ship might roll “completely over.” By 2130 the list had increased to 80° and the destroyer began to break up. Five minutes later she broke in half, and the stern section quickly sank. The forward section sank 20 minutes later as Menges (DE-320) and Newell (DE-322) began rescue operations.

The two destroyer escorts swept the water from 2155 until 0330 the next morning searching for survivors. Menges picked up 115 men, including two German fliers who were shot down either by Lansdale or Newell. Newell rescued 119 survivors, including Lieutenant Commander Swift. Forty-seven officers and men were carried down with Lansdale.

Lansdale received four battle stars for World War II service.