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FRAM'd Gearing Destroyer Models

Decals and photo-etching included. About 13" long.
You will be able to build all the FRAM'd Gearings.
DC001 Resin kit 139.95


By A. D. Jensen

The GEARING-class (DD-710) destroyers were basically a stretch-version of the ALLEN M. SUMNER class (DD-692) featured in our July-August-September 1988 newsletter. They were barely distinguishable from their predecessors, unless a GEARING and a SUMNER were side by side. Then, the greater length of the GEARING’s hull amidships was obvious. The navy acknowledged the similarity, referring to the two classes in official navy publications as SUMNER Class (Short Hull) and SUMNER Class (Long Hull). As originally designed the GEARINGs had the following characteristics:

Length overall: 390’-6"
Extreme beam: 41’-6"
Displacement: 2,425 tons Standard

Three, twin 5-inch/38 caliber gun mounts
Two, quadruple 40-mm and two, twin 40-mm gun mounts
Ten, single 20-mm gun mounts
Two, quintuple 21-inch torpedo tubes
Two depth charge release tracks (for 600 pound Charges)
Six, single K-Gun depth charge throwers (for 300 pound Charges)

Four boilers
Two sets geared turbines
Two shafts/screws
Shaft horsepower: 60,000
Speed: 35 knots

Officers: 11
Enlisted: 325


After World II, new Soviet submarines, engineered and built using the technology of the German Type-XXI U-boats, began to appear. This emerging Soviet submarine threat roused considerable concern among the free-world navies. Using experience gained by confrontations with the German "wolf packs" during the Battle of the Atlantic, the U.S. Navy developed new antisubmarine warfare (ASW) weapons and sonars. The GEARINGs offered an ideal platform for testing the new systems. To that end, a number of them were converted specifically for that purpose and became escort destroyers (DDE). They mounted trainable hedgehog and Weapon Able projectors and a new omni-directional sonar.

The operational experience gained from these special ASW-type destroyers was valuable in the navy’s development of two major antisubmarine warfare systems during the 1950s: the Antisubmarine Rocket (ASROC) and the Drone Antisubmarine Helicopter (DASH) standoff weapons. Although the GEARING hulls provided an adequate platform, they were aging and needed major overhaul and reconstruction to accommodate the new weapons systems. After careful analysis of the situation, the Secretary of the Navy initiated the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) program. Besides extensively refurbishing their hulls and machinery, the ships received a completely new superstructure. Following their modernization, the GEARINGs presented a more boxlike, yet modern, silhouette.

The FRAM program consisted of two levels of modernization. Whereas most of the GEARINGs received the more extensive FRAM I reconstruction, a few underwent the somewhat less extensive FRAM II program. The latter, with a few exceptions, were those ships that had been converted from DDEs and DDRs. The FRAM I GEARINGS received both ASROC and DASH systems. To compensate for the weight of the ASROC system, they lost one of their twin 5-inch gun mounts. FRAM II, on the other hand, was developed primarily for the SUMNERs because they did not have enough hull length amidships to accommodate the ASROC system. They kept all three of their 5-inch gun mounts.

The GEARINGs were the last World War II destroyers built by the U.S. Navy, and many of them served well into the 1970s. Stricken from U.S. Navy lists, a number of them continued their service in foreign navies. They survived because they were large enough to adapt to the changing requirements of new weaponry and tactics. To say they were superb ships is perhaps an understatement.

Copyright 1999 by Tin Can Sailors, Inc. All rights reserved.