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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Robert H. Smith (MMD 23)

Call sign:
November - Kilo - Lima - Zulu

Allen M. Sumner Class Destroyer/Robert H. Smith Class Light Minelayer:

  • Laid down 10 January 1944 as DD-735 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
  • Launched 25 May 1944
  • Reclassified as a Light Minelayer, DM-23, 19 July 1944
  • Delivered and commissioned USS Robert H. Smith (DM-23), 4 August 1944
  • Decommissioned 29 January 1947 at San Francisco, CA and laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Diego Group
    Naval Vessel Register of 1 January 1949 lists plan for decommissioning and placing in reserve as December 1946
  • Reclassified as a Fast Minelayer, MMD-23, 1 January 1969
  • Struck from the Navy Register 26 February 1971
  • Sold for scrap 1 November 1973 by the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service.


  • Displacement 2,380 t.(lt), 3370 t.(fl)
  • Length 376' 6"
  • Beam 40' 10"
  • Draft 18' 10"
  • Speed 34 kts.
  • Complement 363
  • Armament: Three twin 5"/38 dual purpose gun mounts, six twin 40mm gun mounts, eleven 20mm guns, two .50 cal. machine guns, two depth charge tracks and four depth charge projectors
  • Propulsion: Four Babcock and Wilcox boilers, two 60,000shp General Electric Corp. geared turbines, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Robert H Smith 13k Namesake: Robert Holmes Smith, born in Harrellsville, N.C., 8 August 1898, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy 6 June 1919. After duty in various surface ships, he served with the Submarine Service for 17 years. He commanded Bonita (SS-165), was an instructor at the New London submarine school, a member of the Naval Academy staff, Submarine Gunnery Officer with the Bureau of Navigation, Navigation Officer in Pennsylvania (BB-38), and Chief of Staff for Submarine Division, Atlantic Patrol Force. Following promotion to captain, he commanded Sperry (AS-12) in the Pacific from May 1942 to January 1943, and was Commander of Squadron 2, Pacific Submarine Fleet, when he died in an airplane crash in California 21 January 1943 Tommy Trampp
    Photo added 26 June 2020
    Robert H Smith 164k
    Robert H Smith 188k Underway with her mines visible amidships on tracks that lead over her stern
    National Archives photo 80-G-237956
    Robert Hurst
    Robert H Smith 53k c. 1944
    Bureau of Ships photo
    Robert H. Smith 49k Viewed from the port side in Boston Harbor on 18 September 1944, in camouflage 32/25d. The colors are dull black, ocean gray and light gray
    National Archives photo 80-G-383858, courtesy of C. Lee Johnson, Ships of the U.S. Navy in WWII “Dazzle” Camouflage
    Mike Green
    Robert H. Smith 171k Aerial photo of Robert H. Smith in the Atlantic on 22 September 1944, in camouflage 32/25d scheme. Notice the mines loaded in the racks. The added mine racks have caused the loss of torpedo tubes and the movement of depth charge projectors up to the 01 level where the after torpedo tubes had been. Photo taken by squadron ZP-11
    National Archives photo 80-G-280079, courtesy of C. Lee Johnson, Ships of the U.S. Navy in WWII “Dazzle” Camouflage
    Robert H. Smith 284k Aft and forward plan views of Robert H. Smith at Mare Island on 27 June 1946. She was under going repairs at the yard from 30 April to 1 July 1946.
    U.S. Navy photos 2222-46 and 2223-46
    Darryl Baker
    Robert H. Smith 266k

    Commanding Officers
    01CDR Henry Farrow, USN - USNA Class of 1926
    Awarded two Silver Stars (1943/1945) and the Legion of Merit with Combat V (1945) - Retired as Captain
    4 August 1944 - 11 May 1945
    02CDR Wilbur Haines Cheney, Jr., USN - USNA Class of 1934
    Awarded the Silver Star (1945) and the Legion of Merit (1942) - Retired as Captain
    11 May 1945 - 19 January 1947
    03LT Theodore McElhone Gilliland, USN - USNA Class of 1944
    Retired as Commander
    19 January 1947 - 29 January 1947
    Courtesy of Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves and Joe Radigan

    View the Robert H. Smith (DM-23)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    NavSource Destroyer Pages, USS Robert H. Smith (DD-735)
    Back to the Main Photo Index Back to the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back to the Fast Minelayer (MMD) Photo Index

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    This page created by Gary P. Priolo and maintained by Joe Radigan
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