Since the beginning of the 20th century, destroyers have been all-purpose ships, indispensable in roles large and small – from delivering the mail at sea to screening other vessels and, where larger ships were not present, forming the front line in battle. This title details the 169 ships of ten classes introduced in the 1930s: early 1,500-tonners and 1,850-ton destroyer leaders designed to conform to the 1930 London Naval Treaty, plus the successor 1,570-ton Sims class and 1,620and 1,630-ton Benson and Gleaves classes. In wartime, most 1,500-tonners and leaders initially saw front line duty in the Pacific but were relegated to secondary assignments as newer vessels arrived; while the later 1,620and 1,630-tonners became the standard destroyers of the Atlantic War. This volume reveals the fascinating design story behind these pioneering classes – from the constraints of peacetime treaties to advances in propulsion engineering, and wartime modifications. With an operational overview of their service and tables listing all ships by class, builder, and initial squadron, this is the definitive guide to the pre-war US destroyer classes.