An exhaustive history of the Canadian destroyer warship, a portal into the development of the nation’s navy as a whole.
In a way, the history of the Canadian destroyer long predates the introduction of the ship into the Canadian navy. It started with the invention of torpedo technology in 1866, nearly half a century before the Royal Canadian Navy even existed. The new coal-powered Torpedo Destroyers that resulted were small but nimble and potentially capable of countering an attack from a much larger, comparatively lumbering opponent. Headed into World War I, quick on the heels of the RCN’s inception, there was an imminent need for a warship that could effectively fight German naval forces, including its U-boats and submarines. The RNC emerged from World War II as a leader in anti-submarine technology and warfare, and its anti-submarine destroyer was its signature contribution to the war effort. In the 1960s, the Canadian navy was confronted with two new challenges: it had to replace an aging fleet of anti-submarine ships and also needed to produce larger destroyers that better fulfilled its mission as a member of NATO. In the wake of the Cold War, and after the redrawing of the military landscape affected by the engagements in the Middle East post–9/11, the Canadian military accepted the need for more generous budgets to maintain battle readiness as well as the capability to engage simultaneously on multiple war fronts. Campbell (Before the Crash, 2017) is a former reservist for the Canadian Forces, which explains his boundlessly patriotic enthusiasm, but nothing could fully account for the implacable diligence of his scholarship. He masterfully describes the Byzantine configuration of a warship: “Modern warships are a complex collection of weapons, sensors, defense and propulsion systems—and that doesn’t even take into account the variety of ‘hotel’ services required to support a crew on a deployment.” However, the author’s microscopic attention to detail can become onerous, and sometimes the larger historical picture gets overtaken by a swarm of minutiae. This will be an invaluable resource for military scholars, but it’s far too technical for a more general readership.
A breathtaking display of erudition that targets the scholarly expert.