Town Class Destroyers: A Critical Assessment
By John Henshaw
Hardcover in dustjacket, 96 pages
Publisher: The Crowood Press UK August 2018
Dimensions: 9.0 x 0.2 x 12 inches
By the summer of 1940 the Second World War was looking bad for Great Britain. England stood alone, and the German U-boat fleet seemed poised to sever the sea trade which was the life-blood of the war effort and the economy in general. In addition, the merchant ship convoys were desperately short of escort ships to protect them, the Royal Navy lost eleven destroyers during ten days in July alone. On 02SEP40 the United States agreed to loan fifty obsolete flush deck destroyers to Great Britain in exchange for leases of several base facilities. The transferred destroyers were re-named for towns common to both the US and England, thus the “Town Class” Lend-Lease destroyers were born.
The strength of this book is the line drawings which are rendered in CAD to the scale of 1:350 with profile and plan views for each ship. They tell the story of the various modifications made to each vessel to adapt to changing mission requirements and operational necessities. These are reinforced with detailed captions and with short chapters describing particulars of their collective service. There is also a chapter of the conversions made to flush-deckers in US service, the drawings in this section are to 1:500 scale.
This is a good book, one which could have been made into a great book with a little more effort. The photographs used are small and poorly reproduced, better images can easily be found on line. The interesting subject of the camouflage of these ships is given only very brief coverage and then only shows the starboard profiles of six vessels. Oddly, the drawings here are reproduced in black and white.
Overall a good book for line drawings to easily compare the differences in these destroyers, but one which stops short as an overall reference.