In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from the response of navies to the threat posed by the torpedo boat. Growing from earlier defensive developments, the "torpedo boat destroyer"(TBD) first appeared as a distinct class of warship when HMS Havock and HMS Hornet were commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1894. By the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, TBDs were "large, swift, and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats." Although the term destroyer had been used interchangeably with the terms "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term torpedo boat destroyer had been generally shortened to simply "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War.

Prior to World War II, destroyers were light vessels with little endurance for unattended ocean operations; typically a number of destroyers and a single destroyer tender operated together. After the war, the advent of the guided missile allowed destroyers to take on the surface combatant roles previously filled by battleships and cruisers. This resulted in larger and more powerful destroyers more capable of independent operation.

At the beginning of the 21st century, destroyers are the heaviest surface combatant ships in general use, with only three nations (the United States, Russia, and Peru) operating the heavier class cruisers and none operating battleships or true battlecruisers. Modern destroyers, also known as guided missile destroyers, are equivalent in tonnage but vastly superior in firepower to cruisers of the World War II era, capable of carrying nuclear missiles. Guided missile destroyers such as the Arleigh Burke class are actually larger and more heavily armed than most previous ships classified as guided missile cruisers, due to their massive size at 510 feet (160 m) long, displacement (9200 tons) and armament of over 90 missiles.

Read more about Destroyer:  Early History, Torpedo Boat Destroyers, World War I, Inter-war, World War II, Post-war, Modern Destroyers, Future Destroyers

Other articles related to "destroyer, destroyers":

HMS Hogue (D74)
... HMS Hogue (D74) was a Battle-class destroyer of the Royal Navy that was commissioned during the Second World War ... After being commissioned on 24 July 1945, Hogue joined the 19th Destroyer Flotilla of the British Pacific Fleet ... and refitted, Hogue returned to service in 1957 with the 1st Destroyer Squadron in the Home and Mediterranean Fleets ...
HMS Lydiard (1914)
... HMS Lydiard was a Laforey class torpedo boat destroyer of the Royal Navy ... She served in World War I with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, and fought at the Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1914, where she was credited with torpedoing the German light cruiser SMS Mainz ... in 1916, where she formed part of the 9th Destroyer Flotilla, along with fellow Laforey class destroyers Liberty, Landrail and Laurel, supporting Admiral Beatty's Battlecruisers ...
Future Destroyers
... The last US Navy Spruance-class destroyer in service, USS Cushing, was decommissioned on September 21, 2005 ... DD(X), also called Zumwalt class, is much larger than traditional destroyers, being nearly three thousand tons heavier than a Ticonderoga-class cruiser (c.12,500 tonnes, larger than most heavy cruisers from ...
HMS Dunkirk (D09)
... HMS Dunkirk (D09) was a later or 1943 Battle-class fleet destroyer of the British Royal Navy (RN) ... In the year of her commissioning, Dunkirk joined the 4th Destroyer Flotilla of the Home Fleet ... duties of HMS Broadsword, a Weapon-class destroyer of the 7th Destroyer Squadron, based in the Mediterranean, which had experienced some engine problems ...
HMS Trafalgar (D77)
... HMS Trafalgar (D77) was a Battle-class destroyer of the Royal Navy (RN) ... In 1958, Trafalgar became the leader of the 7th Destroyer Squadron, having spells with the Home and Mediterranean Fleets ... return to the UK in 1961 she was accidentally rammed by her sister-ship HMS Solebay, Captain(D) 1st Destroyer Squadron, thus delaying her return to the ...

Famous quotes containing the word destroyer:

    The supreme, the merciless, the destroyer of opposition, the exalted King, the shepherd, the protector of the quarters of the world, the King the word of whose mouth destroys mountains and seas, who by his lordly attack has forced mighty and merciless Kings from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same to acknowledge one supremacy.
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    Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986)