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British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War Hardcover – December 1, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Norman Friedman is one of America's most prominent naval analysts and the author of more than thirty books covering a range of naval subjects, from warship histories to contemporary defense issues, including Network-Centric Warfare and Naval Firepower. He lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591140811
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591140818
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 9.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,255,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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The drawings and photos are first rate and well covers the topic of destroyer development.
Hanuman
This book covers development of a torpedo boat destroyer, which has evolved to become a critical and integral part of any navy in the last century.
Roman Kosoy
The book represents what a good book should be - a pleasure to hold, a pleasure to read, and a source of solid information.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Frigate may have been around in the days of Nelson but not the Destroyer. Towards the end of the 19th century, Britain's mastery of the seas remained uncontested. Not since the days of Trafalgar (1805) had any navy or combined navies dared to threaten that supremacy. These, however, were years of great change with the arrival of the Dreadnought battleship making the entire British Fleet obsolete at a stroke. Other nations could now build their own ships at the same rate as Great Britain and, therefore, finally challenge the one country they all wished to see removed from power.

Then came the motorised torpedo. This device could be fired from a very small vessel and carry sufficient explosive to sink the largest warships afloat. By comparison to the money, time, resources and technology required to produce a single Battleship, the torpedo and, most important of all, the means of delivering that weapon to its intended target, was relatively inexpensive. Consequently, small craft capable of the high speeds required to get close enough to deliver the torpedo were born. Torpedo-catchers, Torpedo Gunboats and even the Torpedo-boat Destroyer were some of the names used until the latter was finally reduced to "Destroyer" and a whole new type of craft entered the Navies of the world. As a type of ship (not to be confused with "Class." There are different classes of Destroyer, just as there are different classes of Aircraft Carrier), the development and continual improvement of all aspects of the Destroyer was far more rampant within the Royal Navy as she sought to defend and protect her role as "Ruler of the waves." This is the story of that development and of the vessels which were introduced along the way.
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Format: Hardcover
It could well be argued that Great Britain, as the premier sea power as a global empire, began its decline after World War II when the U.S. achieved its own world-wide naval preeminence. In "British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War, military history and naval analyst Norman Friedman presents his many years of research in providing an original and meticulous history of the British Royal Navy's combat ship, the destroyer. Beginning with its predecessors and prototypes from the 1880s through the First World War and on to the 1930s before turning the focus on British destroyers during the Second World War, this compendium is superbly enhanced with numerous photographs as well as accurately detailed ship plans drawn by A. D. Baker III. Of special note is the development of the torpedo as both an offensive and defensive naval weapon and hallmark of destroyer armaments. Of considerable interest is the history of how the British utilized American provided destroyers. With a select bibliography, extensive notes, a Data List of ship specifications, a listing of the ships with their building dates and ultimate fates, and a comprehensive index, "British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War" is a seminal contribution to personal, academic, and community library Military Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is no doubt that Norman Friedman belongs to the foremost naval analysts in the world. His work on individual ship types of the USN belongs among the classical reference sources for all students of naval history and naval operations. It is with the greatest pleasure that I welcome Dr. Friedman's foray into the realm of Royal Navy. The now complete, two volume set devoted to RN's destroyers ("British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War" and "British Destroyers & frigates: The Second World war and After" BRITISH DESTROYERS AND FRIGATES: The Second World War and After) is unquestionably the most authoritative analysis of the development and employment of these ships currently available anywhere. It is also the first work of this type that fills the gap left by Edgar March's classic "British Destroyers: 1892 - 1953" ...Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Bradfield on July 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been studying the history of warship development for more than thirty years. Unfortunately I have no access to primary documents, so I have to take the word of others. For someone in my position it is vital that sources cite their own sources, so I can get at least a glimpse of what the original documents had to say. I've long relied on books like Conway's and Jane's, and taken part in many arguments over which is more accurate. Conway's Warship series has been a great delight over the years.

Where the development of the destroyer is concerned I've been a fan of David Lyons' 'The First Destroyers' since the day I bought it. It cites many primary sources, making it invaluable to any serious student of the subject. I had long hoped that Mr. Lyons would continue with sequels, and was saddened to find that he had passed away without accomplishing that task.

Now the man some consider the greatest naval historian of them all has tackled the subject, and Norman Friedman's 'British Destroyers: From Early Days to the Second World War' does not disappoint. Dr. Friedman starts with the development of the early torpedo boats of various nations and carries through the development of the earliest torpedo-boat destroyers, the First World War and then to the eve of the Second World War. He not only gives detailed descriptions of each class of ship, he also gives excellent explanations of why each class was created, citing the writings of various admirals, directors and lords discussing and even arguing over what direction the next step of small British warship should be. He quotes the experiments undertaken by then-commander of the Mediterranean forces Admiral Jacky Fisher concerning destroyer deployment and use, and how those tests affected British policy concerning the small ships.
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