USS Buchanan (DD-131)

Buchanan off the Panama Canal, c.May, 1936. Photo in the collection of the US Naval historical Center.

Laid Down

USS Buchanan (DD-131) was a Wickes-class destroyer commissioned 20 January, 1919. In reserve between 1922 and 1930, she was transferred to the Royal Navy in 1940 as part of the Destroyers for Bases agreement, and recommissioned as HMS Campbeltown (I42). Campbeltown was assigned to Atlantic Convoy duty until 1942, when she underwent special modifications. Assigned as the main star of the St. Nazaire Raid, Campbeltown was filled with explosives on a delay timer, and was rammed into the Louis Joubert drydock, the only such dock the Germans could use to berth their battleship, Tirpitz, on the Atlantic coast. Ten and a half hours later, Campbeltown exploded, heavily damaging the dock, which would not be put back into service until 1948.

Bonus Photos

Campbeltown plowed into the drydock in St. Nazaire, 28 March, 1942, shortly before exploding. Photo in the collection of the German Federal Archives.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Reportedly, just before the Campbeltown exploded, her captain, Lieutenant Commander Sam Beattie was being interrogated by a German naval officer who was saying that it wouldn't take very long to repair the damage the Campbeltown has caused. Just at that moment, she went up. Beattie smiled at the officer and said, 'We're not quite as foolish as you think!'