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JohnPJones

Torpedo Boat Destroyers

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1. I differentiate between TBDs and DDs because technology and roles tend have pretty big differences.

2. Let’s see your favorite or favorite class of TBD.

 

for me its the second USS Truxtun.

my former ship being the current Truxtun I feel obligated to choose it, but it was fairly well armed for its size, so can’t hate on it.

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7 minutes ago, JohnPJones said:

1. I differentiate between TBDs and DDs because technology and roles tend have pretty big differences.

2. Let’s see your favorite or favorite class of TBD.

 

for me its the second USS Truxtun.

my former ship being the current Truxtun I feel obligated to choose it, but it was fairly well armed for its size, so can’t hate on it.

Well, Torpedo Boat Destroyers and Destroyers are essentially the same thing.  The term was shortened to just "Destroyer" around the end of the 1890's and early 1900's.  There really is no effective difference between the two.  

As far as early destroyers go, I kind of like the Bainbridge which was the first destroyer class of the USN.  

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12 minutes ago, BB3_Oregon_Steel said:

Well, Torpedo Boat Destroyers and Destroyers are essentially the same thing.  The term was shortened to just "Destroyer" around the end of the 1890's and early 1900's.  There really is no effective difference between the two.  

As far as early destroyers go, I kind of like the Bainbridge which was the first destroyer class of the USN.  

There is a pretty big difference between them...just like there’s a pretty big difference between DDs and DDGs.

 

destroyers could conduct effective NGFS, had some sort of AA weapons,  conducted actual independent operations etc.

yes destroyers evolved from TBDs and the name became destroyer, but they’re not the same, just like the destroyer evolved into the guided missile destroyer.

for both a TBD and a DDG they have formal classification that is not Destroyer, but are called destroyers as a colloquialism or slang.

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These guys are described as destroyers but they are more similar to a torpedo boat do to their main armament (At least in my opinion) 

Resultado de imagen para Huszár-class destroyer

Huszár class from the Austrian Navy. 

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Just now, JohnPJones said:

There is a pretty big difference between them...just like there’s a pretty big difference between DDs and DDGs.

 

destroyers could conduct effective NGFS, had some sort of AA weapons,  conducted actual independent operations etc.

yes destroyers evolved from TBDs and the name became destroyer, but they’re not the same, just like the destroyer evolved into the guided missile destroyer.

for both a TBD and a DDG they have formal classification that is not Destroyer, but are called destroyers as a colloquialism or slang.

Sorry, I'm afraid your wrong about that. 

Early torpedo boat destroyers, like the Truxtun you mentioned, were all reclassified as destroyers and the term "Torpedo Boat Destroyer" faded away.  After the early years of the 1900's, you see term Torpedo Boat Destroyer disappear and the term Destroyer being applied to not just the newly built vessels but to the earlier vessels as well. 

Further evidence.  Ships of different types within a classification system generally receive different designations.  For example the all gun Forrest Shermans were given the DD classification while Guided Missile Destroyers, like the Kidds recieved the DDG designation. 

Bainbridge is DD-1, Truxton is DD-14. Smith is DD-17, Fletcher is DD-445 etc.  

What differentiates a Torpedo Boat from a Destroyer/Torpedo Boat Destroyer of the period is that TB's carried only very light gun batteries, at best capable of self defense against other exceedingly small torpedo boats.  Destroyers carried not only the torpedo armament of a Torpedo Boat but also a far more capable gun battery designed to destroy torpedo boats or other destroyers.  

The terminology for Destroyers began to change as they replaced Torpedo Boats and Torpedo Gunboats in the fleets of the world.  As Torpedo Boats faded into tertiary duties or extinction the whole meaning of "Torpedo Boat" in a Destroyer's name ceased to have any relevance so the term was shortened to Destroyer. 

I guess I'd ask, if you see an actually dividing line in capabilities or mission, what do you consider to be the dividing line between them and, other than age and size (brought about by further development), what were destroyers capable of that torpedo boat destroyers are not. 

 

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42 minutes ago, MS406france1940 said:

These guys are described as destroyers but they are more similar to a torpedo boat do to their main armament (At least in my opinion) 

Resultado de imagen para Huszár-class destroyer

Huszár class from the Austrian Navy. 

The Austo Hungarians elected to use a 66mm gun rather than the 75mm 3 inch gun in most of their early destroyer designs as did the French.  Austrian and French DD's didn't adopt larger weapons until just before WWII in their new construction. They also tended to make their destroyers smaller and more manuverable, with an average displacement from around 400 to 800 tons while the British and Americans tended to build larger vessels to deal with conditions in the Atlantic and Pacific.  

The torpedo tube layout shown here is two centerline single tubes which was very common until you begin to approach WWI at which point you begin to see destroyers with dual tube launchers and the refit of older destroyers with the same (for example, the USS Smith swapped out her single tube launchers show in WOWS for three dual tube launchers just before WW I).  

Anyway, yes these are small compared to WOWS destroyers but they are much larger and more capable than the torpedo boats built by these nations which hovered around 100 to 200 tuns, carried mostly 37 mm to 57mm guns at most.  One must remember that small guns in WOWS doesn't mean small to these much earlier vessels where a 3 inch gun was considered to be pretty powerful stuff and weren't supplanted by larger weapons until just before WW I. 

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Considering sailors in the Spanish American war used the term torpedo boat interchangeably for torpedo boats and TBDs I’d say yes the TBD is very different from a destroyer.

 

as for what couldn’t the TBDs do that a destroyer could I already mentioned several things in a previous post...

also most of the Bainbridge and the Truxtun classes guns were 57mm guns two 3” and six 57mm...

Edited by JohnPJones

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Sorry, JPJ, but I think that you're just plain wrong.  The term "torpedo boat destroyer" transitioned into simply "destroyer".  Any claims to the contrary are just plain wrong.  Were the old TBDs different than the ships that became DDs less than a decade or 2 later? Surely.  But that doesn't invalidate the fact that the etymology of the naval term "destroyer" comes from the naval term "torpedo boat destroyer".  This isn't about what the ships themselves could do.  It's about etymology.

 

It's also worth noting that naval terminology can be rather fluid and changing at times.  During the 1970's, IIRC, the USN didn't have any cruisers to speak of compared to the USSR's navy.  So what did the USN do?  They changed the terminology of what they called ships.  United States Navy 1975 ship reclassification

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The TBD and DD are the same thing militarily speaking.  The TBD had its' origin in a design criteria to have sufficient endurance to operate with the fleet to screen it from  and combat torpedo boats (TB's).  Now, one could argue that the later, much more capable types of destroyer were something far more than mere "TBD's".  But the same could be said of later battleships compared to the Dreadnought.  That does not mean they are some new class of vessel.  The term "torpedo boat destroyer" was merely shortened to "destroyer".  there is no functional difference between the two.  However, like any other class of vessel, over time they did become larger, faster, better armed and capable of more mission types.  Just like cruisers, battleships, carriers and submarines have done over the years.

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I'd caution people against saying that the term 'Torpedo Boat Destroyer' simply faded away into 'Destroyer'.

 

While this is certainly true in English, for many other countries the term is still used to describe even modern DDGs, simply having never changed.

 

That being said, with the evolution of time there is certainly a clear difference in capability when these ships increased darastically in displacement just before WWI. Most notable was the change to a uniform armament of 'large' caliber guns - 102mm - instead of one larger gun and many smaller-caliber weapons like 65mm or 76mm 'anti-torpedo boat' guns.

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I would note that even in the modern era DDG's are still destroyers.  That are Guided Missile Destroyers, but destroyers none the less.  Sort of like how a CVN is still a carrier (CV), just a nuclear powered version.  The G was added in an era when there were two distinct styles of destroyer, gun armed and missile armed.  Lastly, the fluidity of ship classification should be considered.  Once, cruisers were CA (heavy) and CL (light), later, all gun armed cruisers were to be designated as CA's...while missile armed cruisers would be CG's (and CGN's for the nuke powered versions).  The TBD designation suffered a similar fate in most fleets and they were simply rolled into other classifications from what it looks like to me.  Though I am sure some likely maintained the designator for longer than others.

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49 minutes ago, Phoenix_jz said:

I'd caution people against saying that the term 'Torpedo Boat Destroyer' simply faded away into 'Destroyer'.

 

While this is certainly true in English, for many other countries the term is still used to describe even modern DDGs, simply having never changed.

 

That being said, with the evolution of time there is certainly a clear difference in capability when these ships increased darastically in displacement just before WWI. Most notable was the change to a uniform armament of 'large' caliber guns - 102mm - instead of one larger gun and many smaller-caliber weapons like 65mm or 76mm 'anti-torpedo boat' guns.

Well, if a "Destroyer" isn't a shortening of Torpedo Boat Destroyer, then what is a "Destroyer" a destroy of?  A destroyer of all ships?  A destroyer of submarines and frigates?  A destroyer of airpower?  A general-purpose destroyer of war material?  These modern "destroyers" seem to barely resemble the historical classification they've been given.  What's stopping us from calling the Zumwalt a 2nd Rate Ship of the Line here?

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There was a brief period (around the early 1900's, with exceptions) where torpedo boats were fairly distinct in being torpedo-heavy but very gun poor, and torpedo boat destroyers could be relatively gun heavy but torpedo poor.

A destroyer was then big enough to have cake and eat cake.

Examples of early torpedo boat destroyers might include the British Havock, Daring and Ferret classes of ~1895 which could be configured with only a single torpedo tube, but 6 guns for anti-torpedo boat work. There's a general trend of some heavy gun, low torpedo destroyers in that period, especially those with low caliber guns good only for attacking torpedo boats.

By WWI you see ships which have settled down on fewer but heavier guns which are suitable to attacking both destroyers and larger ships and a generally more equal ratio of guns to torpedo-tubes. The Laforey's with 3x102 and 2x2 TT are pretty solidly in the destroyer category for the time.

 

The Italian Spica class and similar of the 1930's are an interesting case, on about 600-800 tons and armed with 4x1 TT and 3x1 100mm guns by WWI standards they're destroyers really, but by WWII where a destroyer would be more in the 1,500-1,800 or bigger category they're not so much. There was also a political/treaty size restraint involved.

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A good example of Torpedo Boats was in Operation Dynamo; the Schnell Boots are (Motor) Torpedo Boats.  Torpedo Boat Destroyers, TBDs, were developed to combat the MTBs, which were fast small boats that were strictly to put torpedoes into bigger, more cumbersome ships.  This explains it pretty well:

" New warships were designed to specifically counter the torpedo boats. The first were the “torpedo cruisers” which were effectively light cruisers with smaller calibre weapons that were more effective in destroying the small torpedo boats. These vessels were largely a failure however because they were too slow to be able to intercept the torpedo boats and lacked the range to properly support the fleet. Therefore a new warship type was proposed that was smaller yet again but fast and potently armed. These were the torpedo boat destroyers."

https://defenceoftherealm.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/torpedo-boat-destroyers-the-first-destroyers/

and

http://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/01/14/a-look-at-the-evolution-of-the-u-s-navy-destroyer/

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/dd-tbd.htm

http://www.destroyers.org/shipinfocenter/early-destroyer-history.htm

http://www.naval-history.net/PhotoZHinds.htm

a fun side note:

http://strangevehicles.greyfalcon.us/TR.htm

Edited by ExploratorOne
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5 hours ago, Sventex said:

Well, if a "Destroyer" isn't a shortening of Torpedo Boat Destroyer, then what is a "Destroyer" a destroy of?  A destroyer of all ships?  A destroyer of submarines and frigates?  A destroyer of airpower?  A general-purpose destroyer of war material?  These modern "destroyers" seem to barely resemble the historical classification they've been given.  What's stopping us from calling the Zumwalt a 2nd Rate Ship of the Line here?

I think you're misinterpreting what I'm saying, at least, if I'm understanding you correctly.

I'm not talking about the evolution of terminally - I'm simply talking about the word in different languages and how much it does or does not change.

Much of international naval literature has been dominated by the Anglo-American perspective, which means the English language tends to be the 'linga franca' for terminology. However, this can also lead to very misleading ideas when it comes to terminology as each language has its own quirks in describing things.

Destroyers are a prime example of this. Destroyer is a shortening of 'TBD' in English, and it essentially replaced the term outright as torpedo boats dropped out of use (having become redundant due to destroyers being more capable of performing the job of a TB). This is something that happening in English... but necessarily other languages. The roles of the ship changed, but the same name used to describe them never changed. A modern destroyer like those of the Orizzonte-class, or the Arleigh Burke-class, is still a cacciatorpediniere in Italy. The French continued to predominantly use the term contre-torpilleur to described destroyers, and I'm pretty sure the Dutch use the same old term. 

 

Terminology changes significantly with what language you use. For example, France doesn't use the term 'destroyer' (rather, contre-torpilleur) to describe their 'destroyers' anymore. All their surface combatants are dubbed 'Frigates' (after all, there are no more torpedo-boats to destroy! :Smile_teethhappy:). Their main combatants are 'First-Rate Frigates', and then you have lesser types.

For example, their list of first-raters consists of;

  • Georges Leygues-class (4500 tons, ASW)
  • Cassard-class (4500 tons, AAW)
  • Horizon-class (7050 tons, AAW)
  • Aquitaine-class (6000 tons, ASW - FR-FREMM)
  • La Fayette-class (3600 tons, GP)

And then there are the lesser 'Second class' types, made up purely of the Floreal-class (2950 tons, 'Surveillance).

The Floreal and La Fayette all carry the NATO 'F' designation for being considered Frigates, while almost all the First-Rate Frigates are considered destroyers. This results in interesting cases where their FREMM carry the 'Destroyer' designation on the NATO system because of this, whereas the Italian FREMM, rated as Frigates by the Marina Militare, carry the 'Frigate' designation - and they're actually heavier than the French FREMM! 

 

To stress how purely lingual this is; the Floreal-class would be considered Corvettes at best by most other navies, as would the La Fayette-class. The Horizon are destroyers, but the Aquitaine would rank as a Frigate under most systems, while the Cassard and Leygues might be a bit up in the air (but are probably best described as destroyers and frigates respectively due to role).

 

Modern ships have strayed far away from what old designations would be used for, at least for surface combatants. Cruisers essentially don't exist - unless the Type 055 class triggers a Pacific cruiser-grab race in the US and Japan to at least have something with an impressive name to face down the new cruisers (sort of like how the US went so far as reactivating the Iowa's to counter the Kirov-class cruisers). Destroyers are capital ships for most navies, currently only the US, Chinese, Russian, Indian, and Japanese navies operate 10 or more destroyers (Although Japanese destroyers might be more likely to be rated Frigates in other navies...). Far from their WWII versions, which torpedoed larger ships, fought other destroyers, submarines, and in general ran around as escorts, Destroyers nowadays are meant to primarily be the main AAW platform for their fleet, while Frigates are the ASW and Anti-Ship platforms.

To answer your question, nothing is stopping you from referring to the Zumwalt as a Party hat while the Burke is a Silver Spoon. There are terms generally used throughout international community - destroyer (unless you're France), frigate, carrier, LHD, LHA, etc, etc... however there's not much existing to actually define those terms, and not even NATO standardizes it within their member states.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, ExploratorOne said:

A good example of Torpedo Boats was in Operation Dynamo; the Schnell Boots are (Motor) Torpedo Boats.  Torpedo Boat Destroyers, TBDs, were developed to combat the MTBs, which were fast small boats that were strictly to put torpedoes into bigger, more cumbersome ships.  This explains it pretty well:

The Schnell/E-boats are quite a bit different to the original 'Torpedo Boats'. E-boats are <100t, which is typical for most MTB/PT/MAS etc. Those ships were also usually built of wood, and had virtually no ocean going capability.

 

The original torpedo boats quickly grew into 150-300t steel-hulled ships such as the Japanese Hayabusa class used at Tsushima in 1905. The WWI equivalent of the E-boat was the tiny ~10 ton Coastal Motor Boat. The first torpedo boat destroyers were designed to counter those barely-sea-going ships, not the wooden cockleshells.

Edited by mofton

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3 hours ago, mofton said:

The Schnell/E-boats are quite a bit different to the original 'Torpedo Boats'. E-boats are <100t, which is typical for most MTB/PT/MAS etc. Those ships were also usually built of wood, and had virtually no ocean going capability.

 

The original torpedo boats quickly grew into 150-300t steel-hulled ships such as the Japanese Hayabusa class used at Tsushima in 1905. The WWI equivalent of the E-boat was the tiny ~10 ton Coastal Motor Boat. The firstOnee torpedo boat destroyers were designed to counter those barely-sea-going ships, not the wooden cockleshells.

Not sure if you had a chance to look at any of the links in my post, but I learned quite a bit from them along the lines of what you are saying.  One of the links in my post has the history of German MTBs, including the Fast Boats, I thought the last link was fascinating - it described their last design which the USN used as the basis for their hydrofoil program.  There is also a link comparing the different MTBs throughout history for each nation.

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One other thing to remember, a hull designation means nothing except to the particular navy using it.  If navy A calls a vessel a frigate (FF) it is a frigate as far as they are concerned, every other navy will view the vessel according to their own theories.

As was mentioned, the British and American systems are something of the golden metewand when it comes to sea power because they were and are the top dogs at sea.   But even within those navies there has been a great deal of change and adjustment over the years.  The Alaska's were designed under the CC designation and then labeled as CB's.  The Bainbridge's started out as TBD's and were changed to first D's then DD's.

Heck, even the Constitution has been through the classification lottery.  From no designator to IX-21 and back to no designator.

Then, you have the way the navy looks at the ships of other nations.  Sometimes, they just use whatever classification the owner uses, you say it is a battleship then we label it as a battleship...  But other times they don't.  The Scharhorst class for example...  Ordered as battlecruisers, then designated as battleships by Germany.  America, France and Holland said, "ok, they are battleships".  Britain...well they said, "nope, it's a battlecruiser".

Designations have two roles to fill.  One is military in nature, a way to say what ships you and a potential enemy have.  The other role is more political, a way to pump up morale in your own nation or to portray the ship as something else (as a greater or lesser threat for example) by an enemy nation for their own propaganda purposes.

So really, what is the difference between a TBD and a DD?  It depends on how you are using the terms.  But generally, in the American and British systems, they two were initially the same thing.  Now in the modern era, the two would be grossly different, as the DDG's of the modern era are more like capital ships or at least major surface ships rather than minor elements of the fleet.

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On 6/2/2018 at 6:20 AM, Phoenix_jz said:

I'd caution people against saying that the term 'Torpedo Boat Destroyer' simply faded away into 'Destroyer'.

 

While this is certainly true in English, for many other countries the term is still used to describe even modern DDGs, simply having never changed.

 

That being said, with the evolution of time there is certainly a clear difference in capability when these ships increased darastically in displacement just before WWI. Most notable was the change to a uniform armament of 'large' caliber guns - 102mm - instead of one larger gun and many smaller-caliber weapons like 65mm or 76mm 'anti-torpedo boat' guns.

Well for the sake of completeness, most early destroyers carried at least two larger weapons, usually two 3 inch guns, one forward and one aft, and generally supported by around four smaller guns (usually around 57 mm) with two to each side. As the size of destroyers began to increase, so to did their gun battery first by replacing the 57mm guns on each side with 3 inch guns and then by replacing the forward and aft 3 inch guns with 4 inch weapons. 

Just before WW I, navies began to realize that the 3 inch gun was underpowered against the larger destroyers which began to appear and this spurred a number of navies to adopt the 4 inch rifle instead and to rearm older destroyers with this weapon.  Still, many destroyers and even some early Scout Cruisers fought throughout WW I using the 3 inch rifle as their main batter weapon. 

Also to be clear, there wasn't really a "Jump" in the size of destroyers just prior to WW I.  Typical Destroyer sizes generally started out at around 500 tons, then the need for greater speed and better seakeeping qualities generally required and increase in size to around 600 to 800 tons.  By the beginning of WW I the need for destroyers which could exceed 30 knots or so required even powerful turbines which drove the size of most classes to or near the 1,000 ton level (French, Austrian and German DD's tended to be smaller but the progression remains the same).  This was an evolutionary progression of the type not the genesis of a new type of vessel.    

Thanks for the info on how the term "Destroyer" is used in some naval circles.  However it should be noted that in such a case, there is no functional difference between a Destroyer or a Torpedo Boat Destroyer since the terms seem to be interchangeable. 

 

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Does that mean a torpedo boat and a TBD and thus a DD are the same because in the USN at least during the Spanish American war TBDs were pretty regularly referred to as torpedo boats.

if you’d like a source I’ll have to crack open my book on the battles for Santiago and manila to get you an accurate title and page number

I’m not trying to argue there wasn’t an evolution from one to the other, just that there’s a distinct difference to me.

 

by the time the ‘torpedo boat’ part was officially dropped from ship classifications new designs receiving that designation were quite different in their specifications and uses than the ships formally designated as TBDs.

 

Reimagine a battle of Samar scenario in an 1880s-1890s context.

 

instead of Jeep carriers think protected cruisers fleeing from armored cruisers and battleships.

the DDs and DEs has guns of a caliber that could actually do damage to cruisers, meanwhile could a  TBD’s 3” or 57mm gun’s actually damage an armored cruiser?

 

Edited by JohnPJones

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