Osprey's British Destroyers 1939-45


Angus Konstam


Osprey Publishing


$18.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softcover
ISBN: 978-1-4728-2580-3

One of the most widely used warship types in WWII was the destroyer. They were widely used for ASW work, convoy protection, screening for the fleet and for shore bombardment during amphibious landings to name a few of their attributes.

The British relied on its navy to keep the nation supplied with food and materials by protecting convoys from submarines. So it needed a lot of small, relatively fast ships to do this job. While corvettes were capable enough there were times when larger ships were needed. During WWII a number of destroyer types were developed and built. Some were fast and fairly heavily armed to help with fleet protection. Others were more geared towards convoy protection and ASW. As such, they did not need to be quite a speedy, but did need to carry a viable number of depth charges and ASW equipment so often had to forego a lot of guns and the torpedo tubes that were the norm for most other destroyers.

As is often the case, there were classes which only saw a very small amount of combat, the majority having been completed post war. There were also classes which were pretty well decimated early in the war when the enemy was the strongest. Most of the earlier builds were upgraded as improved equipment was brought on line while others were re-purposed for other tasks (such as mine-laying or fast troop transport).

Trust the British to give somewhat boring names to its ship classesk so outside of the Tribal and Battle classes we have things like J,K,& N class, W&Z class and all the other numbers in between. Thanks to running out of letters of the alphabet, the class after the Z was the C class.

Typical of the series, we are given a background on these ships as well as information on each of the classes that includes the ships built and their basic history. Upgrades and differences in classes are covered as well. We also get something of a combat history. Though it is really impossible to go into any real depth, it does provide some of the more interesting actions. In all, it is a great book that provides not only a primer on the type for tyros, but is a good read in its own right. Well worth picking up. 

December 2017

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