The German Navy only built around forty destroyers before and during the Second World War, all of them evolved from the original Type 1934 design. We begin with a look at the design of these ships, revealing that the design was actually rather flawed, with unreliable engines, and very poor seaworthiness that meant that the earlier examples in particular had disappointing endurance and all of them suffered from low availability. Ironically this was a result of an attempt to introduce a whole series of advanced elements in the design, from the type of engines used to the shape of the hull.
This book is aimed firmly at the modeller. There is thus a large section reviewing the available kits for these destroyers, and the accessory packs to improve the accuracy of the kits, as well as a showcase, showing a series of impressive models. There is also a list of changes made to each ship over time (mainly to the anti-aircraft armament, which had to be increased as the threat from airpower became clearer during the Second World War).
One significant gap is a lack of even the briefest combat history of these ships. There is a single page list that gives launch dates, commission dates, builder and fate, but that’s all. That prevents this being a comprehensive account of these ships, and would also have been of interest to a modeller wanting to place their model in a particular campaign. Otherwise this appears to be a good guide for the modeller, with plenty of technical details and a good range of illustrations and plans to allow particular ships to be modelled at various times in their lives.
Z39 in Close-up
Author: Robert Brown
Year: Pen & Sword