destroyer(redirected from Destroyer (ship))
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See E. Brookes, Destroyer (1962); E. J. March, British Destroyers: A History of Development 1892–1953 (1966); Jane's Fighting Ships (pub. annually since 1897).
a class of surface warships first used on the eve of World War I and designed to fight torpedo boats, conduct reconnaissance, defend battleships and cruisers, and carry out torpedo attacks on large ships. The first destroyers had displacements of 1,000–1,500 tons and maximum speeds of 35–36 knots (64–66 km/hr). They were armed with 8–12 torpedo launchers and three or four artillery guns with calibers ranging from 100 mm to 120 mm. During the war, the role of the destroyers was expanded, and they were fitted with additional artillery guns and with mechanisms for releasing antisubmarine depth charges.
In World War II, destroyers were used to protect transport convoys and tactical units of large naval vessels from attack by aircraft and light surface ships. They were also used to destroy submarines and to lay minefields. After the war, with the development of missiles and atomic weapons, the destroyer class of vessels evolved into separate classes of medium-tonnage, narrow-purpose warships with antiaircraft and antisubmarine capabilities. Vessels of the US Navy’s Coontz class are representative of the modern destroyer. Such vessels have a displacement of 5,800 tons and travel at speeds of up to 34 knots. They are equipped with one 127-mm gun, two triple torpedo launchers, and one 8-tube rocket launcher.