Squadron Signal Publications
US Destroyers in Action Part 3
Warship #21

By Al Adcock
color by Don Greer, illustrated by David Gerbhardt and Darren Glen
reviewed by Timothy Dike
Squadron Signal publications has added another book to their In Action series for the modeler. This one covers the prewar and early war destroyers build before and during the war. This book covers the Somers, McCall, Sims, Benson, Livermore and Ellyson classes. However the book erroneously refers to the McCall class when in fact the McCall was a member of the Gridley class. The Benham class destroyers are grouped in with the "McCall class" and the author appears to have confused the Gridley and Benham classes here. The Gleaves class is identified as Livermore class, however this is a common mistake based on early writings. I am not sure about the Ellyson class, I can find no documentation that it was anything other than a Gleaves class modified to DMS configuration. For more information on Destroyer Classes refer to the official US Navy Destroyer website.
As with their other book, this one begins with and overview of destroyer design and development. A history of the destroyer is told in word and pictures showing the early type that led up to these classes. There are chapters devoted to each class with photo's and line drawings that illustrate the main differences in each successive class. The pictures are of better quality in this book than in some of the past ones.  click images
to enlarge
My favorite feature is the centerfold with the color drawings of the destroyers in plan and elevation. Don Greer has done a nice job in showing the ships in their camouflage colors. However I notice the the USS Laffey is drawn wrong. The Laffey never carried the twin 40 mm guns shown in the drawing. She carried one single 20 mm gun and one quad 1.1 gun on her aft superstructure right up to her loss on November 13th 1942. The Buchanan is also drawn incorrectly. The illustration shows her with exposed funnel trunking under her 36" searchlight platform. She also did not have the squared off front on the structure under the bridge. The bridge wings also lack the notches where the 24" searchlights are mounted. This is disappointing that such obvious errors have crept into this book. An otherwise great rendering is ruined by using the wrong views.

The photo's give a general idea of what each class was like and how they were modified throughout the war.

A plan and elevation is provided for the Benson, but does not appear to match her at any time during her career. The elevation drawing appears to be copied from the AD Baker III's  drawing of the McClanahan that appears in US Destroyers An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. The plan view looks OK for the above mentioned McClanahan, but the aft twin 40 mm guns are drawn undersize and appear smaller than the single 20 mm guns. 
I have always been a big fan of these books and have most of them. But with all the errors in this book I can not recommend it for a good reference. It is poorly researched and misleading. With a retail price of $9.95 it is a nice collection of photo's but the plans and class identification are a big disappointment. Available from your local hobby shop or direct from Squadron Mail order.

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