British Destroyers 1939-45

Pre-war Classes by Angus Konstam (New Vanguard No.246)

The Royal Navy had no shortage of destroyers when we entered the Second World War in September 1939. However, the bulk of them were rather old (some of them were First World War vintage) or had been produced in peacetime and as such were lagging behind the more modern German, Italian and Japanese destroyers. Despite the new Tribal-class destroyers entering the Royal Navy from 1938, there was no other choice but to press these older pre-war vessels into service. They served all over the world and with some success especially against the U-boat threat.

Ex-Royal Navy officer Angus Konstam has produced more than 60 books for Osprey, ably assisted here by illustrator Tony Bryan. The first of two about British Destroyers in the New Vanguard series, this book contains a number of unpublished photographs (courtesy of the Stratford archive) and a number of colour profiles and artwork including a nice painting of H-Class destroyers at The First Battle of Narvik and a colour cutaway of HMS Greyhound.

The book is broken down into four main chapters named The Destroyers of the Royal Navy; Inter-War Destroyer Design; The Destroyer Classes and Destroyers in Action. The design section covers function, role, modifications, weaponry, sensors, habitability and appearance. The classes chapter is crammed (the main bulk of the book) with sections on Admiralty, Shakespeare, Scott, V, W, A to H and I-Class destroyers.       

This is a great little book and don’t be put off by its size; it really is filled with detailed but very readable information on a very interesting subject. Thanks to Osprey for our review copy which will be available from 20 April 2017.


ISBN: 978-1-4728-1636-8


Price: £10.99

Pages: 48

Format: Softback – 184mm x 162mm

Publisher: Osprey Publishing