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Super Destroyers (Hardback)

From the Torpedo Boat Era to the Dominant Surface Warship of Today

Maritime > Naval Maritime > Seaforth Publishing Photographic Books

By Robert C Stern
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 200 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526777454
Published: 30th May 2024

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From the very beginnings of torpedo craft, all naval powers have seen the occasional need for larger, more powerful or in other respects special designs that stand outside the contemporary norms for flotilla craft. The driving forces were often different from country to country and varied over time, but all the resulting ships may be conveniently defined as ‘super destroyers’.

This book is a history of these out-of-the-ordinary vessels, the specific conditions that produced them, and their impact on naval warfare, especially during the two world wars. Notable highlights of this story include the introduction of ‘destroyer leaders’ during the Great War, the Japanese ‘Special type’ of the late 1920s, the British ‘Tribal’ class, German ‘Narviks’, and the interwar Franco-Italian rivalry that produced some of the fastest of all super destroyers. By the end of the Second World War only the largest designs seemed adequate, so although built in quantity the US Gearing class were effectively super destroyers by the standards of the day and pointed the way to the future..

A final chapter explores the way that after 1945 the big destroyer slowly evolved into the contemporary all-purpose warship – whether described as cruiser, destroyer or frigate – that has become the dominant surface combatant in the world’s navies.

Although it concentrates on exceptional designs, in broader terms the book provides a valuable overview of destroyer development as a whole so will be of interest to any warship enthusiast and historian.

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 Robert C Stern

About Robert C Stern

Robert C. Stern has been writing naval history for more than thirty years, during which time he has published four major works and numerous monographs for the history buff and modeler.

His major works include Type VII U-boats and The Lexington Class Carriers, both of which were technical analyses of important warship types, and Battle Beneath the Waves: The U-boat War, which was a collection of stories of of U-boat warfare from the two World Wars.

His most recent work is Destroyer Battles - Epics of Naval Close Combat accounts dramatic engagements in the history of destroyer warfare.

His other main interest is photography, which can be seen at www.stern-photography.com. He lives in Cupertino, CA, with his wife Beth and two uninterested cats.

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