Osprey's Soviet Destroyers of World War II


Alexander Hill


Osprey Publishing


$18.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 48 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softcover
ISBN: 978-1-4728-2256-7

Having hit the big boys when it comes to doing books on WWII navy ships, Osprey now turns to one of the lesser known subjects. In this case it is WWII Soviet destroyers. Prior to the fall of the tsar, Russia had a very respectable navy. Its ships were modern and capable, though perhaps it could have used better leadership. When the Soviet Union came into being, much of the military fled as did many of those who knew anything about building ships. What was left over from the war was basically left to rust as the Soviets did not have the funds to do anything in terms of building ships.

After the end of the Soviet civil war, plans were made to build new ships. The Soviets were basically in need of coastal defense and so their ships were constructed with that in mind. They needed ships in four major areas; the Baltic, North seas, Black Sea, and on the Pacific. So a construction program was developed to provide destroyer type ships as the major focus as they were inexpensive (relatively), and could provide the sort of weapons in terms of guns and torpedoes needed. However, Soviet shipbuilding was behind those of other nations. Their ships were unable to meet speed requirement, were fuel thirsty, did not have modern armament, were generally poor sea keepers, and were totally lacking in modern electronics.

This became very evident once the war started as the ships had nought but depth charges and passive listening devices to detect German submarines. No Sonar (Asdic) and no Radar. Even after getting some systems from the Allies, Soviet copies were not that good and their technicians were ill trained to accurately use them. Things changed after the war, but that is another story. During the war a rather large number of ships were lost to a number of factors including submarines, surface ships, storms and many to mines.

February 2018

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