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Destroyer escort USS Kyne (Cannon class)

The French term Escorteur (Escort Ship) appeared during the Second World War to designate a warship, of a medium or light displacement, whose mission was to protect ocean convoys and naval squadrons from attacks by submarines. This role was in general handled by a destroyer escort such as the Buckley and Cannon classes built in the United States, or a Hunt-class destroyer built by the United Kingdom, or even a River class built by the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The Imperial Japanese Navy used the designation kaibokan for this type of ship.

The escorteurs of the French Navy

Main article: List of Escorteurs of the French Navy

Frigate of the FNFL Escarmouche
(River-class frigate)

In the immediate aftermath of the war, to fulfill the task of naval escorts, the French Navy was limited to a fleet of torpilleur and contre-torpilleur (otherwise known as destroyers), along with a number of avisos. They were later joined by several naval ships of German and Italian origin awarded as war reparations, and several escort bâtiments originated from the United Kingdom and the United States, all under different designations:

Two ex-Italian light cruisers, Châteaurenault[1] and Guichen,[2] would bear their designation of escorteur d'escadre (Squadron Escorteur) from 1955 until their disarmament in 1962 and 1963.

Construction of a new fleet

During the years 1950–1960, France reconstituted the navy with the assistance of the United States which contributed most of the rebuilding program. Following certain hesitations, the term « escorteur » was finally chosen for this new type of warship, instead of the traditional « torpilleur » or « contre-torpilleur », which were abandoned.

The four families of escorteurs

The designation of « escorteur » is no longer used in the French Navy. The designation has been replaced by that of frigate, aviso or patrol boat.

See also

References

Sources