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British Destroyers 1939–45: Pre-War Classes

British Destroyers 1939–45: Pre-War Classes Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review December 2017 Title British Destroyers 1939–45: Pre-War Classes
Author Angus Konstam Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2017 ISBN 9781472816368
Format 48 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.00


Angus Konstam kicks-off a two-part study of World War II Royal Navy destroyers in British Destroyers 1939–45: Pre-War Classes – number 246 in Osprey's huge "New Vanguard" range.

Britain entered the Second World War with a sizeable, but largely obsolescent destroyer fleet. And these would temporarily hold their own against Axis enemies with newer, larger, more capable, and better-armored counterparts.

After introductory notes and general comments, Konstam recaps "inter-war destroyer design" factors – including role, weaponry, "habitability", and appearance.

Osprey's slim study then segues through 15 destroyer classes, each section conveniently concluding with tabular summaries of the warships with specifications:

  • Admiralty R-class destroyers
  • Admiralty S-class destroyers
  • Shakespeare- and Scott-class destroyer leaders
  • V- and W-class destroyers
  • V- and W-class (WAIR) conversions
  • V- and W-class destroyers (long-range escorts)
  • V- and W-class destroyers (unconverted)
  • A-class destroyer prototypes
  • A- and B-class destroyer leaders
  • A- and B-class destroyers
  • C- and D-class destroyers
  • E- and F-class destroyers
  • E- and F-class leaders
  • G-, H- and I-class destroyers
  • G-, H- and I-class destroyer leaders

Entries include, for instance, builder, launch and commission dates, and fates. Photos, extended captions, action paintings, selected bibliography and index augment the effort. Modelers will certainly appreciate the color profiles.


My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!