Destroyer (formerly known as a destroyer) - a fast, multi-purpose medium-sized ship, designed for tasks such as protecting your own units, fighting aviation, submarines and other enemy units.
The first ships of this class were built at the end of the 19th century to combat torpedo boats. As the means of naval warfare developed, such as planes and submarines, destroyers received stronger and more diverse armaments, becoming universal units. During World War II, there was a development of more specialized classes of escort destroyers and frigates. In the post-war period, the destroyers' armament was supplemented by missiles. Nowadays, they are the largest combat units in the fleets of many countries.
Beginnings of the class
The class of destroyers as ships designed to combat torpedo boats and protect fleet teams from them was established at the end of the 19th century. The first units dedicated to these tasks were established in the mid-1880s. The British "Swift" and "Rattlesnake", belonging to the classes called torpedo boat catchers (literally "torpedo catchers") and torpedo gunboats, are considered to be the ancestors of the destroyers.
The first ship to be classified as a torpedo boat destroyer ("torpedo boat destroyer") was the "Havock", launched in 1894, although several other designs, such as the Spanish "Destructor" or the Japanese "Kotaka", similar to the "Havock" in terms of armament or displacement, but not having all the design features of destroyers.
The British "Havock" and other British units built according to similar plans turned out to be a revolutionary structure and soon fleets of other countries began introducing ships of this class. At the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, British shipyards, such as Yarrow Shipbuilders, Thornycroft or John Brown & Company, specialized in the construction of destroyers, soon the German Schichau shipyard, located in today's Elbląg, which companies manufactured ships for fleets, joined them. other European countries. The first generation destroyers usually had a displacement of just over 300 tons and a top speed of around 27 knots. Typical ships of this generation are:
French type Durandal
D 10 (the first German ship of this class, British construction) and the Type S 90 (completely German design)
Italian "Fulmine", Lampo types (built in Germany) and Nembo
Japanese Ikazuchi and Murakumo types built in Great Britain. Successive generations of destroyers had more and more displacement, which improved their performance, range and improved service conditions for their crews. As relatively cheap units, they were often used to test new technologies and technical innovations, with the leading British units, for example, the "Viper" was the world's first turbine-powered vessel, and the Cricket-class ships were the first ships with diesel-fired boilers. The British E-type units are considered to be the first successful seagoing destroyers.
It quickly turned out that apart from the basic task of fighting torpedo boats, destroyers could perform many other tasks by increasing their displacement and armament power. Even before World War I, they carried out effective torpedo attacks on enemy ships and carried out reconnaissance, e.g. destroyers were actively used by both sides in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904–1905. The armament of the first destroyers consisted of 4-6 guns of caliber 47 to 88 mm and several (usually 2) torpedo tubes. British-built destroyers typical of that period, used e.g. by Japan in 1904, were armed with 1 76 mm gun, 5 57 mm guns and 2 torpedo tubes.