Captain Class (1942) DE

In 1941 as part of lease/lend, the USA agreed to build convoy escorts for the Royal Navy as the US had no surplus vessels of that type. The resulting type was the US Destroyer Escort (DE). 

The basic requirements were for a speed of at least 20kts, length of 300ft for ocean deployment and a good radius of action. The same as the new British Frigate type. 

The US Navy stipulated that to speed construction the DE would have to conform to normal US shipbuilding practice and be fitted with readily available equipment. 

As the only suitable power units available in any quantity were medium powered diesel engines of 1,500 BHP, this meant either;
A)   Four units to each shaft and complicated gear train;
B)  Diesel-Electric drive with each unit powering a generator that supplied current to electric motors. 

The Diesel-Electric solution was chosen. But following the US entry into the war the supply of diesel engines was inadequate. So, as an emergency measure the power was halved from 4 units totalling 12,000 shp, to 2 units producing 6,000shp. With the loss of 3kts in speed being accepted. 

Also the hull was lengthened by 16ft to allow an alternative turbo-electric machinery to be installed.

So lease/lend DE's were produced in two types Captain Class (1942) Diesel-Electric and Captain Class (1942) Turbo-Electric types. 

Apart from the difference in length both were very similar. They were classed as Frigates in Royal Navy service, at the end of the war all surviving vessels were returned to the US Navy.

A total of 78 DE's of both types were transferred to the Royal Navy.


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This page last edited - 16 April, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.