As the only history of U.S. destroyers based on internal, formerly classified papers of the U.S. Navy, the book is vital reading for all who have served on board these ships and for all who would like to understand the origins of the present destroyer force and its future.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, destroyers have been all-purpose ships, indispensable in roles large and small – from delivering the mail at sea to screening other vessels and, where larger ships were not present, forming the front line in battle. This title details the 169 ships of ten classes introduced in the 1930s: early 1,500-tonners and 1,850-ton destroyer leaders designed to conform to the 1930 London Naval Treaty, plus the successor 1,570-ton Sims class and 1,620and 1,630-ton Benson and Gleaves classes. In wartime, most 1,500-tonners and leaders initially saw front line duty in the Pacific but were relegated to secondary assignments as newer vessels arrived; while the later 1,620and 1,630-tonners became the standard destroyers of the Atlantic War. This volume reveals the fascinating design story behind these pioneering classes – from the constraints of peacetime treaties to advances in propulsion engineering, and wartime modifications. With an operational overview of their service and tables listing all ships by class, builder, and initial squadron, this is the definitive guide to the pre-war US destroyer classes.
Few if any 20th century warships were more justly acclaimed than the destroyers of the U.S. Navy's Fletcher class. Admired as they were for their advanced and rakish design, it was their record as workhorses of the Pacific War that placed them among the most battle-tested and successful fighting ships of all time. This title describes the Fletchers and their Allen M. Sumnerand Gearing-class derivatives, their machinery, armament, and construction, with a listing of all 343 ships by hull number and builder. It features an operational history of the 287 ships commissioned during World War II, which traces the evolution of night surface action tactics in the Solomon Islands and the parallel development of the Combat Information Center; the drive across the Pacific and liberation of the Philippines with tables showing the rapid introduction of new squadrons; and the radar pickets' climactic stand against kamikaze aircraft at Okinawa. With summaries of losses and decorations and specially commissioned artwork, this is a definitive book on the wartime US destroyer classes.
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The transition to modern war at sea began during the period of the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Spanish-American War (1898) and was propelled forward rapidly by the advent of the dreadnought and the nearly continuous state of war that culminated in World War I. By 1922, most of the elements that would define sea power in the 20th century were in place. Written by one of our foremost military historians, this volume acknowledges the complex nature of this transformation, focusing on imperialism, the growth of fleets, changes in shipbuilding and armament technology, and doctrines about the deployment and use of force at sea, among other factors. There is careful attention to the many battles fought at sea during this period and their impact on the future of sea power. The narrative is supplemented by a wide range of reference materials, including a detailed census of capital ships built during this period and a remarkable chronology of actions at sea during World War I.