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Tribals, Battles & Darings (Hardback)

The Genesis of the Modern Destroyer

Seaforth Naval Photographic Books Colour Books

By Alexander Clarke
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 100 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526772909
Published: 30th March 2021

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The ships that dominate so much of the history of the Royal Navy in the Second World War are more often than not the carriers or battleships – Ark Royal, Warspite, Hood – and rarely do ships smaller than cruisers move centre stage. Apart that is from one class, the Tribal class destroyers, heroes of the Altmark incident, of the battle of Narvik, and countless actions across all theatres of operation. Yet there has been surprisingly little written about these critical ships, still less about their wartime successors, the Battle class, or their postwar incarnations, the Daring class.

This book seeks to rectify this by describing the three classes, each designed under different circumstances along destroyer lines but to general-purpose light cruiser form, from the interwar period through to the 1950s, and the author explains the procurement process for each class in the context of the needs and technology of the times. Taken together these classes represent the genesis of the modern general-purpose destroyer, breaking from the torpedo boat destroyer form into a self-reliant, multi-purpose combatant capable of stepping up to the cruiser’s traditional peacetime patrol missions whilst also fulfilling the picket and fighting duties of the wartime light cruiser or heavy destroyer.

This is the first work to analyse these three classes side by side, to examine their conception, their creation and their operational stories, many heroic, and provide an insight into ship design, operation and culture; and in doing so the book aims to contribute a better understanding of one of the most significant periods in the Royal Navy’s history. In its clear description of the genesis of the modern destroyer, this book will give the reader a clearer picture of its future as well. Historians, professionals and enthusiasts will all enjoy this wide-ranging and detailed study.

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About Alexander Clarke

ALEXANDER CLARKE’s background includes a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, where he studied as part of the Laughton Naval History Unit, under the supervision of Prof Andrew Lambert, as well as a family history of service in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II, and a father who was a naval architect. This is his first book and is a product of more recent research focusing on Tribal class destroyers, on their impact on the Royal Navy, and on how the RN adapted to a changing world.

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