Look at all those four-stackers

I happened upon this image while searching for a picture of USS Ward yesterday:

Destroyers laid up at San Diego, California, circa late 1922

At least 65 destroyers, many of them Wickes-class and Clemson-class ships, not needed. 1200-1300 tons each, with four 4″ guns, one 3″ gun, and a dozen torpedo tubes. 35 knots maximum speed. Not bad for pre-1920 tin cans.

They built 267 ships between those two classes in the years 1917 through 1920.

Today’s US Navy consists of around 280 ships. The big building plan is to get it all the way up to 313 over the next ten years.

Now, I’m not saying that we would really want 267 small, cheap, fast, multirole surface combatants. Why would we want that when we can have a couple dozen small, expensive, fast, multirole surface combatants?

Full caption of the image below:

Photographed at the end of 1922, with at least 65 destroyers tied up there. Ships present are identified as (left to right, in the right diagonal row): Stansbury (DD-180); MacKenzie (DD-175); Renshaw (DD-176); Howard (DD-179); Gillis (DD-260); Tingey (DD-272); McLanahan (DD-264); Swasey (DD-273); Morris (DD-271); Bailey (DD-269); Tattnall (DD-125); Breese (DD-122); Radford (DD-120); Aaron Ward (DD-132) — probably; Ramsey (DD-124); Montgomery (DD-121); and Lea (DD-118). (left to right, in the middle diagonal row): Wickes (DD-75); Thornton (DD-270); Meade (DD-274); Crane (DD-109); Evans (DD-78); McCawley (DD-276); Doyen (DD-280); Elliot (DD-146); Henshaw (DD-278); Moody (DD-277); Meyer (DD-279); Sinclair (DD-275); Turner (DD-259); Philip (DD-76); Hamilton (DD-141); Boggs (DD-136); Claxton (DD-140); Ward (DD-139); Hazelwood (DD-107) or Kilty (DD-137); Kennison (DD-138); Jacob Jones (DD-130); Aulick (DD-258); Babbitt (DD-128); Twiggs (DD-127); and Badger (DD-126). (left to right, in the left diagonal row): Shubrick (DD-268); Edwards (DD-265); Palmer (DD-161); Welles (DD-257); Mugford (DD-105); Upshur (DD-144); Greer (DD-145); Wasmuth (DD-338); Hogan (DD-178); O’Bannon (DD-177); and — possibly — Decatur (DD-341). (Nested alongside wharf in left center, left to right): Prairie (AD-5); Buffalo (AD-8); Trever (DD-339); and Perry (DD-340). Minesweepers just astern of this group are Partridge (AM-16) and Brant (AM-24). Nearest ship in the group of destroyers at far left is Dent (DD-116). The others with her are unidentified. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.