The present study describes how the effect of direction of welding is useful to minimize distortion in submerged arc welded double-sided fillet joints. In present work, angular distortion of 12 mm thick double-sided fillet welds was measured for same direction and reverse direction welding. It has been observed that the maximum magnitude of the angular distortion for reverse direction fillet welding is lower. Thermal history in horizontal and vertical plate of fillet welds was also measured for both same direction and reverse direction welding. After welding, the fillet welds were sectioned, polished and etched to measure the effect of direction of welding on weld bead geometry. To predict the temperature distribution and thermal history, a finite element (FE) elasto-plastic thermo-mechanical model has been developed for submerged arc welded double-sided fillet welds by using moving distributed heat source. The three-dimensional FE thermal model was verified by comparing peak temperature obtained with experimental values. The model results matched fairly well with experimental results with a variation of 6 percent for sample 1 and 7.5 percent for sample 2 for the maximum values of distortion, and a variation of 2-8 percent for peak temperatures in horizontal plate and 9 percent in web plate. © 2016, Korean Society of Steel Construction and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.