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US Destroyers 1942-45: Wartime classes (New Vanguard) Paperback – April 20, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dave McComb is a management consultant specializing in business process development. A lifelong student of World War II destroyer history, he has in recent years promoted the subject extensively via the web and numerous articles. He is president of the Destroyer History Foundation, which he organized in collaboration with World War II shipmates for the purpose of making original source documents accessible and preserving their perspectives and collections.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Vanguard (Book 165)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; First Edition edition (April 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846034442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846034442
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this second book of American destroyers of WWII Dave McComb continues the conciseness and clarity of his previous U.S. Destroyers 1934-45: Pre-war Classes with a book that covers the FLETCHER, ALLEN M. SUMNER, and GEARING Classes. McComb includes discussion of design criteria and an excellent detailed description of the technical differences among the three classes and individually among sub-classes and includes data from the various builders.

Coupled with Paul Wright's ability to enhance with his remarkable paintings of ships and actions, the book is both eminently readable and informative. It provides a rare opportunity for naval historians, modelers, and enthusiasts to have so much information in one relatively thin volume. Though in the standard, short-survey, Osprey Publishing military book format, the book is complete and includes descriptions of major engagements as they relate to these ships and their suitability to meet the parameters for which they were designed and built.

U.S. Destroyers 1942-45: Wartime Classes belongs in the library of every naval historian, professional or amateur, as one of the best handy references ever produced.
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Although constrained by the Osprey New Vanguard Series format and page limitations, this book is as packed as are the ships that it describes with information and features. Development of the Fletcher class and its immediate successors is analyzed in detail, from the need to overcome the stability limitations of the Arms Limitations Conference destroyer classes, to the evolution of the Combat Information Center through lessons learned in combat operations, as well as the continued increase in anti-aircraft capability in response to the sudden entry of the kamikaze threat in the Pacific theater.

Although the Fletcher class was the largest class of U.S. Navy Destroyers, comprising 175 ships built from 1941 to 1945 and comprising several subclasses, author David McComb provides a full accounting of each ship by hull number, name, shipyard, bridge configuration, and identifies armament variations for the Fletchers, as well as their successors, the Sumner and Gearing classes. He also identifies the design specifications for each of the three classes of destroyers covered by this book, as well as the initial squadron assignment of each ship and an overall operational history for all three classes of ships, including identification of the squadrons present at each major operation..

To achieve this thorough analysis and description of these classes, this book is brimming with comprehensive charts, as well as photographs, a two-page cutaway full-color drawing of the USS Laffey, a Sumner class ship, historically coorect artists’ renderings of the ships in action, and color profiles illustrating variations in their camouflage schemes.

Additionally, a combat history of the classes is provided that illustrates the important roles these vessels played throughout the war.
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Format: Paperback
Well written book. The author does a commendable job in covering both the technical and operational aspects of the three classes of destroyers in this group. The book only suffers due to the constraints of the Osprey format, e.g. a limited number of pages to pack in the words, photos and drawings. Artwork is good, choice of photos does a good job of portraying technical details, life aboard the ship and operational issues (decks awash in a storm or underway replenishment for example) and both compliment the text well.
This Army tanker thoroughly enjoyed reading about the type of ship his father served on (the Vesole, a Gearing class)
A great start for digging into the subject.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This books describes in great detail the genesis of the Fletcher Class destroyers which entered service at the start of World War II and the two following classes, Allan M. Sumner and Gearing. Information is extensive and flows well throughout the book. The photos are excellent and useful for model enthusiasts as well.

One problem I saw with the layout of the book is that the cut away views of the various ship classes are bound into the book so that the middle of the drawing is essentially unviewable. It would have been much better if this page was designed to fold out of the book so that the entire ship can be viewed. For this design flaw, I downgraded the book to 4 stars - otherwise it would have been 5.

It is a very useful book and I encourage any with an interest in US naval vessels to add it to their library.
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I own this and the companion "U S Destroyers, Prewar Classes." Both are published by Osprey and are 48 pages long, so don't expect comprehensive coverage of the ships. But it is a nice inexpensive introduction. It has some nice color profile drawings of the classes in various configurations.

There is also a table at the end showing how the ship's secondary armament varied as the war progressed. When I first began researching Fletcher class destroyers I was confused by numerous, conflicting descriptions of the ship's 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft battery. The table in this book shows how the number of these guns evolved from just a few to as many as 14 40mm and 12 20mm barrels as aircraft (and later kamikazes) became the primary threat.
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