This message was broadcast at 0143 on August 9, 1942 by the USS Patterson, which along with sistership, USS Bagley, was an escort for USS Chicago and HMAS Canberra. These ships, plus HMAS Australia, comprised the Southern Force off of the newly invaded island of Guadacanal. As Samuel Eliot Morison stated in The Struggle for Guadacanal, Volume V in his epic History of United States Naval Operations in World War II; the Patterson was "…the only American ship that was properly awake…". Unfortunately for the allies, the Imperial Japanese Navy force under Rear Admiral Gunichi Mikawa had already launched their first salvo of the deadly Long Lance torpedoes five minutes earlier. Although Patterson was the first allied ship to see the threat and broadcast a warning, it was too late to stop disaster from overwhelming the Southern Force in the Battle of Savo Island. Six of the seven allied destroyers involved in this battle (Bagley, Blue, Helm, Ralph Talbot, Patterson & Jarvis) were of the Bagley class. 

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USS Patterson was one of the eight sisterships of the Bagley class. The class was the fifth class of 1,500-ton destroyers to be authorized for the USN during the 1930s. The Bagley class was preceded by the Farragut (DD-348) class of 1931-32, the Mahan (DD-364) class of 1933, the Gridley (DD-380) class of 1934, and the Dunlap (DD-384) class of 1934, which was a modified Mahan. All eight of the class were authorized in 1934 and laid down in 1935. The Gridley designed by Bethlehem Steel and the USN designed Bagley inaugurated the navy’s infatuation with one-stack destroyer designs. One stack resulted in more usable deck space. The two classes also introduced the 16 tube torpedo battery, two four tube mounts on each side. In March 1935 it was believed that using gyros would permit "curved ahead fire", allowing all 16 torpedoes to be fired in one salvo. This along with fears that torpedoes fired from centerline mounts might not clear the sides of the ship, prompted the creation of the 16 tube, Gridley, Bagley & Benham destroyer classes. The Bagley class also had another very noticeable characteristic, it’s massive stack. Not only was the slab sided stack the largest fitted on a WWII US destroyer, the four trunks leading into the stack were of a uniquely angular and massive appearance.

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The eight ships in the class made up DesRon 4 and were at Pearl Harbor, when it was attacked. Ships of the class were credited with sinking two midget submarines during the attack. After Pearl Harbor it was quickly realized that all classes of ships would have to have significant upgrades to their AA fits. By November 1942 it was determined that the Bagleys would receive one twin 40mm Bofors on the aft crew shelter and six single 20mm Oerlikons, mounted three around the bridge and three around the stack. With the campaign for the Philippines in 1944, the Navy rethought its AA plans in light of the new Kamikaze threat. Every class of destroyer had an Emergency AA augmentation plan designed for it. The plan for the Bagleys was published June 8, 1945 and involved removal of all torpedo tubes, all single 20mm guns and the aft crew shelter. In return the ships were to receive two quad Bofors, two twin Bofors and two twin Oerlikons. However, the war ended before any of the class was so modified. 


LAID DOWN: July 23, 1935 at Puget Sound Navy Yard; LAUNCHED: May 6, 1937; COMMISSIONED: September 22, 1937; DECOMMISSIONED: November 8, 1945;

STRICKEN: February 25, 1947

DIMENSIONS: Length (OA); 341 feet 4 inches; (WL) 334 feet; Beam; 35 ½ feet; Draught; 19 2/3 feet

DISPLACEMENT: 1,407 tons (light ship); 1,624 tons (standard); 2,025 tons (full load)

ARMAMENT: four (4x1) 5 "/38 cal guns; sixteen (4x4) 21" torpedo tubes; AA fit- four .50 cal MG (original), two (2x1) Bofers 40mm and six (6x1) Oerlikon 20mm guns (1943-1945)

PERFORMANCE: four boilers, 46,00 shp (design), 47,191 shp (Bagley on trials); Speed: 37 knots (design), 36.8 knots (Bagley on trials); Range: 6,500 miles at 12 knots; Tactical Diameter: 880 yds

COMPLEMENT: 8 Officers, 150 (Other Rates)


All of the class fought exclusively in the Pacific. Rather surprisingly, considering their involvement in the Guadacanal Campaign with its’ attrition rates, only three of the class were lost during the war. The first loss was Jarvis, which was last seen by US forces clearing the scene of the Battle of Savo Island, in an attempt to reach a safe port for repairs. She wasn’t seen again. After the war it was determined that she was sunk by a Japanese air strike. Blue was torpedoed in the stern by the Japanese destroyer, Kawakaze, August 22, 1942 and scuttled the next day as the Japanese bore down for what became the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Henley was lost to torpedoes on October 3, 1943. By then she was part of MacArthur’s Navy, the 7th Fleet, operating out of Buna. She was on a sub sweep with two other destroyers, Reid & Smith, when she was hit amidships by a submarine’s torpedo fired by Ro 108. Henley went down in 15 minutes but 241 men out of the 258 in the crew were saved. Notice how the crews size which had started at 158, increased dramatically with the war an increase in AA armament.   

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In early 1942 Patterson with the rest of the class participated in carrier raids against Wake, the Gilberts, Marcus and the Marshall Islands. She served in the Guadacanal Campaign until March 1943, when the Squadron was transferred to the 7th Fleet. She operated in the New Georgia and New Guinea area and on August 25, 1943 she sank the submarine, Ro 35. In July 1944 Patterson and her surviving sisters were with the 3rd Fleet for the Marianas Campaign and the Philippine Campaign in October. The class now made up DesRon 6 and fought at Leyte Gulf, Lingayen Gulf and Okinawa. Patterson was scrapped in 1947. (History of the Class is from US Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History by Friedman and Destroyers of World War Two by Whitley.

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I built the USS Patterson straight from the box with no modifications. Larry Johnson of Nashville, Tennessee took the same Iron Shipwright kit and modified it to portray USS Mugford, sister-ship to Patterson, as the ship appeared when commissioned in 1937. I think everyone can agree that Larry has done a fantastic job in making this conversion. Larry’s conversion of this kit is indicative of the versatility of Iron Shipwright’s kit. Thank you Larry, for letting me use your photos and publish your list of modifications.

List of Modifications

1. Removed main deck spray shields aft of forecastle
2. Reworked bridge windows to square configuration
3. Replaced bridge roof to original configuration
4. Added .50 cal machine guns (2 below bridge, 2 aft deckhouse)
5. Added original portholes to hull
6. Relocated Gun Guard from #2 gun to forward of #1 gun
7. Added direction finder loop and platform below bridge
8. Added additional lifeboat, cradles and davits
9. Added torpedo rails under lifeboat cradles
10. Replaced torpedo workshop w/ spud locker/fan-house and searchlight platform amidships
11. Added catwalk from fan-house to aft uptake
12. Reshaped #3 gun-house, reduced 40mm tub to original size, added exhaust pipe and locker
13. Drilled out hawse pipes and attached anchors directly to chains
14. Omitted 40mm and 20mm armament, K-Guns
15. Rigged according to as built plans
16. Painted in std. Navy Gray #5 and Deck Gray #20

The Iron Shipwright model of
USS Patterson is of the same very good standard as that found in their model of USS Russell, Sims Class Destroyer. (Click for review of the IS USS Russell) There are blemishes in the kit but everything is easily fixed. The one-piece full hull comes with a significant portion of the fore and aft superstructure cast to the hull. I personally like this approach as it simplifies construction and creates fewer chances to "goof" in building the model. Deck hatches, doors, ammo lockers and other deck fittings are also cast integral with the hull. One thing I quickly noticed was the two pieces of machinery between B turret and the bridge, which were cast as part of the hull. They look like generators but could not be because of their exposed position. I have concluded that they are air blowers of some type. Whatever they are, they add a unique point of interest for this model. The only blemishes that I found on the hull were pinhole voids along the bottom of the hull. This is common with IS kits because of their resin pour process and are quickly filled and smoothed. There was no other damage to the hull. There is one omission. The kit does not have bollards cast as part of the hull. The plates are there but not the posts. You would have to add them with plastic rod. I mentioned this to Jon Warneke of Commanders and he told me that this was a design decision. The bollards were apparently very prone to damage. The decision was to let the modeler make the posts from plastic rod so that they would be uniform.  

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Of the small parts one piece immediately becomes the focus of attention, the large slab-sided stack with its’ massive angular trunking. The stack is the focal point of the whole model and it has been executed in excellent fashion by Iron Shipwright. It is cast on a wafer of resin, which must be sanded off from the stack. The two trunks in front of the stack split apart and have a triangular crawl space beneath them. I found the stack with its’ trunking to be an extremely attractive architectural feature. The large trunked funnel gives the ship an almost Japanese appearance. The rest of the smaller parts were almost error free. One AA tub had a small void that I filled with superglue gel, propellers & anchors needed some minor repairs and the aft portion of one bridge level had a slight warp. I found the twin Bofors especially well done. 

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Assembly is very straightforward. When placing the stack, use white glue as there is a small amount of leeway and it needs to be aligned correctly. White glue will give you more than enough time to make the minor adjustments. The bridge (figure 29C) was not flush with the face of the main superstructure (figure 29B). To get it to be flush you have to remove about one millimeter from the two supports under the aft bridge deck. Most of the parts lock into place with no alignment worries. Another bonus is that there is minimum cleanup on the parts, mostly removal of minimal flash on some of the smaller parts. Placement of the boat davits was easily accomplished by looking at their placement positions in relation to the stack. However, it would have been better if IS had placed locator holes on the deck for the two davits. The only additions to the model were the use of 42 links per inch anchor chain from ModelExpo and the use of stretched sprue for the rigging.

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The Patterson comes with three PE frets. One is a fret with a generous amount of railing and vertical ladders. The two other frets contain the ship specific parts. As with Russell the frets have parts for other classes of US destroyers as well as the parts for Patterson. All are very well done and fit perfectly. The IS photo-etch appears to be more rugged than most without loss of delicacy to the individual parts. I really like this, as I tend to knock-about the PE during construction. The radars, aft life raft supports and inclined ladders are especially nice. You really have to have a major error to mess up one of the IS inclined ladders. 

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In 1944 most of the warships of the USN adapted dazzle camouflage schemes of various patterns. These patterns were designed to confuse the observer as to the identity, speed and direction of movement of the ship. The five surviving Bagleys all received dazzle schemes at this time. Patterson was the only one of the class to receive Ms. 32/2c. The other four, Bagley, Mugford, Ralph Talbot & Helm, all received Ms. 31/1d. Floating Dockyard carries camouflage pattern sheets for dazzle schemes. Shown above are port and starboard patterns of Ms. 32/2c. The sheet (CF-107) contains much more than these profiles. Also included are the deck camouflage plan, and the pattern of front and rear faces for turrets and superstructure. At $2 per sheet, these sheets are an excellent value. Floating Dockyard has a wide variety of camouflage sheets available. An outstanding site for the camouflage designs used by the USN in WWII is John Sheridan’s USN Warship Camouflage 1941-1945 (http://www.shipcamouflage.com/warship_camouflage.htm).

The instructions are of the current CAD drafted variety. They are twelve pages in length with a one-page history, one page resin parts laydown/matrix, two pages of PE parts laydown/matrix, seven pages of assembly instructions, and one page for a rigging diagram and camouflage information. They are very competent in guiding you through the assembly of this model. However, there are some omissions. They do not give a length for the propeller shafts. I cut mine at 7/8th an inch. They don’t show attachment of a small platform at the front starboard base of the funnel, even though the PE fret has the part. No Mark 51 directors are shown on the bridge wings, even though you get the parts. The instructions were especially weak in showing locations for vertical ladders. They showed three positions when there is a least fourteen they didn’t show. Ladders not shown are those located at the port rear face of the forward 5 inch gun houses; at the starboard rear of the bridge leading up to the director top deck; at the port front face of the crew shelter leading up to the Bofors position; up the front face of the foremast; up the front face of the stack to starboard of the steam-pipes connecting the two stack platforms; up the fore face of the search-light deckhouse; up the fore edge of the rear deck house; and those up to the 20mm tubs. These positions were ascertained by studying several photos of ships of the class in the 1943-1945 time frame.  

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This kit is a winner. It is easy to assemble, has minimal defects and is very well designed. About the only thing missing is the anchor chain. I believe this kit is suitable for any modelers’ first resin kit and has all of the detail necessary to satisfy any veteran builder. With its’ dominating massive stack, the Iron Shipwright kit of
USS Patterson builds into a very distinctive and unique model.