Escort vehicle

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A destroyer escort and an escort aircraft carrier in the North Atlantic in 1944

The term escort vehicle describes various types of warships whose main task is to escort merchant ships and other warships. The different types of escort vehicles developed starting in the First World War in view of the threat from submarines . Other names are depending on the size escort boat and escort ship .

Name and tasks

The frigate USS Hawes (FFG-53) and other warships escorting a tanker in the Persian Gulf in 1987

The names of warship types are not generally binding and change over time. In addition to vehicles, the escort task of which results from the type designation, there are other types of ships that are primarily used for escort tasks.

The tasks of escort vehicles include the defense against submarines , aircraft and mines, especially when protecting convoy trains .

German language area

Fleet companion F 1

In the German-speaking area, the fleet attendants of the Navy from 1935 onwards are the first warships whose type designation includes the escort task. They belonged to escort flotillas, in which, in addition to the fleet escorts, other vehicles, including captured torpedo boats, were used for escort tasks.

A distinction was made between various escort ships for minesweepers , speedboats and submarines , which had no protective tasks but served as a logistical basis, such as the Tsingtau speedboat escort ship

Frigate Emden of the type escort boat 55, later class 120

The German Navy acquired six vessels under the name and in establishing Chaser 55 , who in the 2nd Escort Squadron summarized. Shortly after the ships were commissioned, the designation was changed to class 120 frigate , while the squadron kept its name until it was decommissioned in 1988.

English speaking area

In the nomenclature of the English Marines escort vessels are using the term Escort referred. It is also found in the related ship there again identifiers in which the escort task by the letter E is indicated for example in the identification DE for escort destroyers ( Destroyer Escort ). In addition to these, the escort aircraft carriers (CVE) and the submarines (PCE) are among the best-known types of escort vehicles in English-speaking countries.

The frigate USS Thomas C. Hart (FF-1092) put into service as Destroyer Escort DE-1092

Because the type designations of the United States Navy were sometimes confusing, there was an adaptation in 1975 in which most destroyer escorts were renamed frigates.

French language area

The French Navy introduced after the Second World War a number of different escort vessels under the name Escorteur into service. A distinction was made between the types escorteur d'escadre , escorteur rapide , aviso escorteur and escorteur côtier , the former corresponding to destroyers and the latter to submarine hunt boats.

Types of escort vehicles

During the past century there have been escort vehicles of different sizes, names and equipment. Some ships specialized in clearing sea ​​mines , such as the British Bird class. The majority of the escort vehicles were used against submarines and were equipped with sonar systems for location and depth charges for combat. Modern escort vehicles have a multitude of weapon systems, including mostly missiles against aircraft and ships and anti-submarine torpedoes and helicopters against submarines.

Escort aircraft carrier

The escort aircraft carrier USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116) with Sikorsky HO4S-3 anti-submarine helicopters during a 1954 anti-submarine exercise

The largest escort vehicles were the escort aircraft carriers. The ship type originated in World War II , when the Allies needed a large number of aircraft carriers for submarine hunting and converted merchant ships into light aircraft carriers. The escort aircraft carriers were relatively slow and inefficient, so that they were gradually retired after the end of the war and the type disappeared from the fleets.

Small escort vehicles

HMS Quantock, a Hunt- class sloop

In addition to the escort aircraft carriers, there were a number of different types of smaller vehicle types specifically intended for escort tasks, the names of which are not strictly differentiated from one another. The British Royal Navy designated small escort vessels for anti-submarine and mine countermeasures since the First World War as a sloop . The historical names frigate and corvette came into use from the late 1930s. At the beginning of the Second World War, the name Korvette was introduced for sloops specialized in anti-submarine hunting. Some larger ships previously known as sloops were later listed as frigates, such as the British Hunt class . Three of them were later designated in the German Federal Navy as school frigates and later as companions .

Modern air defense frigate Hamburg , class 124

In the more recent understanding, frigates and corvettes are multi-purpose combat ships that are particularly suitable, but not limited to, escort duties.

Wismar submarine of the Volksmarine, here after 1990 under the flag of the German Navy

U-hunting boats are smaller warships up to the size of a corvette, which are specially equipped for the task of fighting submarines. The type was created in the First World War on the basis of converted fish steamers such as the ASW trawlers of the Royal Navy. In Germany, during the Second World War, a large number of civilian ships, mainly those used in fishing, were converted into submarine hunting boats and combined in submarine hunting flotillas.

Both the Federal Navy and the People's Navy had the submarines. In the People's Navy they were referred to as UAW ships.


  • Jürgen Gebauer, Egon Krenz: Marine Encyclopedia. 4th revised edition. Brandenburg publishing house. Berlin 1998. ISBN 978-3-87748-657-3

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Jürgen Gebauer, Egon Krenz: Marineenzyklopädie. 4th revised edition. Brandenburg publishing house. Berlin 1998. ISBN 978-3-87748-657-3
  2. a b [1] German Maritime Institute . Marine Glossary , Preliminary Note 2, accessed June 25, 2018
  3. German Naval Archives. Escort flotillas , accessed June 25, 2018
  4. Wolfgang Harnack: The destroyer flotilla of the German Navy from 1958 to today. Köhler, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-7822-0816-1 .
  5. a b Navweaps. USN Ship Designations accessed June 25, 2018
  6. ^ Jean Moulin and Robert Dumas, Les Escorteurs d'escadre , Marines éditions Nantes, 1997. ISBN 2-909675297
  7. Les escorteurs rapides (French) accessed on June 26, 2018
  8. New Zealand History Royal NZ Navy's Bird-class ships , accessed July 1, 2018.
  9. ^ Definition of sloop at , accessed on July 1, 2018
  10. ^ Sloop at July 1, 2018
  11. ^ Siegfried Breyer, Gerhard Koop: The ships, vehicles and planes of the German Navy 1956 until today. Munich 1996, ISBN 3-7637-5950-6 .
  12. ^ German Maritime Institute. Naval Glossary , Definition Frigate Retrieved July 1, 2018
  13. ^ German Maritime Institute. Marine Glossary , Corvette Definition, accessed July 1, 2018
  14. Württemberg State Library Stuttgart. Chronicle of the Naval War Retrieved July 1, 2018


  1. ^ ASW: Anti Submarine Warfare
  2. ^ UAW: Anti-submarine defense