The US Navy's most modern destroyers as it entered World War II were 100 ships from eleven classes introduced in the 1930s: 1,500-tonners and 1,850-ton destroyer leaders designed to conform to the 1930 London Naval Treaty, plus the successor 1,570-ton Sims class and the first-commissioned 1,620- and 1,630-tonners of the Benson and Gleaves classes. Collectively, these destroyers carried the Navy through the war’s first year when the outcome was in doubt: while most 1,500-tonners and leaders were assigned to front line duty in the Pacific before being relegated to secondary assignments, the later Bensons and Gleaves became the standard destroyers for Atlantic and Mediterranean operations and remained prominent in the Pacific throughout the war. This volume describes the fascinating design story behind these developmental classes – from the constraints of peacetime treaties to advances in propulsion engineering and wartime modifications. With an operational overview of their service and tables listing all 169 ships by class, builder, and initial squadron, this is a definitive guide to the pre-war US destroyer classes.
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. The author lives in Bolton Landing, NY.
Praise for US Destroyers 1934-45: Pre-war classes…
"Although the topic of US Destroyers is seemingly well covered, McComb's data reveals new and more accurate dimension and configurations information, never before published. Meticulously researched and Illustrated, this book is a must for anyone interested in US Destroyers. This book is the first volume in a series covering US Destroyers." - Justin Taylan, Pacific Wrecks (January 2010)
"This book is in the standard 48 page format that British publisher Osprey uses for many of their publications on ships and aircraft. It is interesting to see the company add American ships to their lists of publications and I don't think they could have done better than to publish this excellent reference work by the brilliant amateur destroyer historian, Dave McComb. This first of at least two such books by McComb, U.S. Destroyers 1934-45 covers in great detail the ships of the pre-war classes including the Treaty Classes and the Post Treaty Classes, namely: Farragut, Porter, Mahan, Dunlap, Bagley, Gridley, Somers, Benham, Sims, Benson and Gleaves. McComb provides the reader with important background on the design of each and how they differed, allowing us to envision the fast-paced evolution of destroyers as pressures to build more and better ships mounted as war clouds gathered.
Coupled with the artwork of noted British naval artist Paul Wright, McComb does much with his 48 pages and provides for us a book unparalleled for being brief, accurate and actually entertaining among reference publications. I can recommend this book to everyone who has an interest in the ships of the pre-war period as probably the handiest reference you'll ever find." - Terry Miller, Tin Can Soldiers - National Association of Destroyer Veterans (January 2010)
"The text is supported by a nice 'cutaway' diagram that shows just how cramped these destroyers were internally, with so much space taken up by the large engines needed to give them their high speeds. There is also a good selection of colour side-plans, which illustrate both the key design changes that took place and the various paint schemes that were used." -John Rickard, historyofwar.com (January 2010)
"If you're a fan of United States Destroyers, this will be a welcome addition to your library. Osprey is to be complimented on choosing this subject... This book honors their service and keeps part of their history for future generations." -Les Walden, IPMS (March 2010)
"This is a book which should be included in the library of every naval historian, every Navy buff who has an interest in the Tin Can navy,and certainly in the library of every active duty destroyerman, and every retired sailor who served in destroyers. I extend my admiratiion and best wishes to Dave McComb for a job exceedingly well done." -Captain Charles R. Calhoun, USN (Ret.)