US Flush-deck Destroyers 1916-1945
Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review copy!
Mark Lardas is a real “rocket scientist” who has worked on Space Shuttle analytics and navigation. He is also an accomplished author with at least ten books on naval topics, and a model maker as well. See his website for more details (www.marklardas.com).
New Vanguard 259 covers the large number of WW I era US Navy destroyers known as the flush-deckers and four-pipers, another overlooked topic. Like other Osprey books, this issue is 48 pages (not counting the front/back covers) – enough for an excellent synopsis of design, characteristics and historical highlights of these warship classes.
This book provides three one-page illustrations of specific actions, three one-page illustrations of side and overhead views of specific ships, and the usual Osprey full-page cutaway drawing of a typical Clemson class destroyer. Many B&W photographs abound, although small. The book is sectioned into an Introduction followed by a fine review on destroyer origins in the late 1800s, and their evolution up to WW I, which is where the flush-deckers appeared. The three classes were similar, so were lumped together for an Operational History section covering their WW I, Between-Wars, WW II and beyond service. The last section is of variants, of which there were many interesting ones, some not yet seen in kits. The coverage does this class of obsolete-when-built destroyers proud, fairly describing their strengths and weaknesses. This volume is important because flush-deckers were the only destroyers in the US Navy from WW I to 1932, and formed the bulk of destroyer forces up to the start of WW II. Many naval leaders in World War II served on flush-deckers, setting the stage for their success. Tactics and much operational experience were gained that led to successful destroyer designs later.
This book touches on the wide array of conversions and uses for these still-useful vessels. For modelers, this volume has illustrations of several unique and some familiar ships that are a good start for building interesting models, now that 1/700 scale renditions of the major variants of flush-deckers are available.
US Flush-deck Destroyers 1916-1945 delivers a lot of information in a quick and easy read, with engaging photographs and color illustrations. This book is an excellent primer for those interested in learning about this large class of destroyers that morphed into other roles, and aided England in her Darkest Hour. I look at this volume as a good starting point to catalog and bring to life an overlooked subject, and I look forward to more naval books by Mark Lardas.
- Figure 1: Front cover of US Flush-deck Destroyers 1916-1945 showing one of the Green Dragon ships – green-camouflaged transport versions off Corregidor.
- Figure 2: Back cover of US Flush-deck Destroyers 1916-1945.
- Adcock A. US Destroyers In Action. Part 3. Warships Number 21. Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton, TX, 2004. ISBN 0-89747-473-2
- Reilly JC. United States Navy Destroyers of World War II. Blandford Press, Poole, UK, 1983. ISBN 0-7137-1026-8
- Ross A. The Destroyer Campbelltown. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1990. ISBN 1-55750-725-2
- Whitley MJ. Destroyers of World War Two. An International Encyclopedia. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1988. ISBN 0-87021-326-1