German Destroyers of World War II, Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke

German Destroyers of World War II, Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke

A total of forty-two destroyers saw service with the German navy during the Second World War, forty of German construction and two captured warships, all of the German ships produced during the period of Nazi rearmament.

I like the format of this book. Because the destroyers normally served together in flotillas, the authors provide a chronological account of the main naval actions that involved destroyers, before then moving on to the ship-by-ship histories. This greatly reduces the amount of repetition that would be required in a straight ship-by-ship account. A similar approach is taken to the technical details of the ships - instead of following the standard approach, with each class of ship given its own chapter, here Koop focuses on individual topics such as armament or machinery and traces the changes in them from the first post-First World War ships to the last wartime production. 

Gerhard Koop, the author of the text, served in the German Army during the Second World War, and on occasion his wartime bias does creep into the text (his version of the Altmark incident will be rather unfamiliar to British readers). In contrast he is unusually willing to criticise the design of the ships, the way that they were used and the way that they were crewed, so we get an unbiased technical and service history of these busy (if rather accident prone and unreliable ships).

The excellent text is supported by a very good selection of plans and an even better collection of photographs of the destroyers.

Technical Data
Differences, Modifications, Conversions
Flotillas, Flotilla Commanders and the Führer der Zerstörer
The Second World War
Individual Ship's Careers
Photo Gallery: The Zerstörer
Photo Gallery: Requisitioned Destroyers
Photo Gallery: Zerstörer Life
Camouflage Schemes

Author: Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 224
Publisher: Seaforth
Year: 2014 edition of 1995 original

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