The French term escorteur (French: Escorteur) appeared during the Second World War to designate a naval warship, referring to an average or light displacement, which had for mission to protect the oceanic convoys and squadrons from attacks coming from submarines. This role was in general handled by a destroyer escort such as the Buckley and Cannon classes built in the United States, or the Hunt-class destroyer built by the United Kingdom, or even the frigates of the River class built by the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The Imperial Japanese Navy used the denomination of Kaibokan for this type of naval ship.

The escorteurs of the French Navy

L'Escarmouche 1944 IWM FL 4094
Frigate of the FNFL Escarmouche
(River-class frigate)

In the immediate of the war, to fulfill the tasks of naval escorts, the French Navy was limited to a list of torpilleur and contre-torpilleur (otherwise known as destroyers) . Added was several naval ships of German and Italian origin recuperated at title of damages of the war, and several escort bâtiments originated from the United Kingdom and the United States, all under different designations:

The two light Italian cruisers Châteaurenault (D606)[1] and Guichen (D607)[2] would bear their namesake of squadron escorteur starting 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

  • 18 Squadrons Escorteurs: 12 T 47 class , 5 T 53 class, 1 T 56 class: bâtiments of 3,000 tons, length 128 to 132 metres (420 to 433 ft), vocation anti-ship, anti-submarine, anti-aerial, picket radar flotilla navigation. They formed until the end of 1980s, the backbone forces of high-seas of the French Navy. For NATO, those were destroyers.
  • 18 Rapid Escorteurs : Type E50 and Type E52; lighter bâtiments of 1,500 t, length 99 metres (325 ft), vocation anti-submarine, types E50, E52A, E52B. For NATO, those were frigates.
  • 9 Avisos Escorteurs : Commandant Rivière class; bâtiments of 2,100 t, length 103 metres (338 ft) , vocation anti-submarine and anti-ship. For NATO, those were frigates.
  • 14 Costal Escorteurs : ( 3 Le Fougeux class and 11 L'Adroit class; bâtiments of 400 t, 52 metres (171 ft) length. For NATO, those were patrol boats and submarine chasers.
EE Surcouf D621
Squadron escorteur
Le Bourguignon F769
Rapid escorteur
Le Bourguignon
Commandant Bourdais
Aviso escorteur
Commandant Bourdais
Le Fringant P640
coastal escorteur
Le Fringant

The designation of « escorteur » is no longer adopted by the French Navy. The designation was replaced by those of frigates or destroyer, aviso or patrollers.

See also


  1. ^ Le Châteaurenault sur le site
  2. ^ Le Guichen sur le site


  • Jean Moulin, Rober Dumas, Les Escorteurs d'escadre, Marines éditions Nantes, 1997 ISBN 2-909675297
Amenities ship

An amenities ship is a ship outfitted with recreational facilities as part of a mobile naval base. Amenities ships included movie theaters and canteens staffed by mercantile crews of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service. These ships were intended to provide a place where British Pacific Fleet personnel could relax between operations.

Ammunition ship

An ammunition ship is an auxiliary ship specially configured to carry ammunition, usually for naval ships and aircraft. An ammunition ship′s cargo handling systems, designed with extreme safety in mind, include ammunition hoists with airlocks between decks, and mechanisms for flooding entire compartments with sea water in case of emergencies. Ammunition ships most often deliver their cargo to other ships using underway replenishment, using both connected replenishment and vertical replenishment. To a lesser extent, they transport ammunition from one shore-based weapons station to another.

Coastal minesweeper

Coastal minesweeper is a term used by the United States Navy to indicate a minesweeper intended for coastal use as opposed to participating in fleet operations at sea.

Because of its small size—usually less than 100 feet in length—and construction—wood as opposed to steel—and slow speed—usually about 9 or 10 knots—the coastal minesweeper was considered too fragile and slow to operate on the high seas with the fleet.

Minesweeping, in conjunction with fleet activities, was usually relegated to the diesel-driven steel-hulled AM-type minesweepers, later to be replaced by the wood-hulled MSO-type minesweeper with aluminum engines.

Coastal submarine

A coastal submarine or littoral submarine is a small, maneuverable submarine with shallow draft well suited to navigation of coastal channels and harbors. Although size is not precisely defined, coastal submarines are larger than midget submarines, but smaller than sea-going submarines designed for longer patrols on the open ocean. Space limitations aboard coastal submarines restrict fuel availability for distant travel, food availability for extended patrol duration, and number of weapons carried. Within those limitations, however, coastal submarines may be able to reach areas inaccessible to larger submarines, and be more difficult to detect.

Commandant Rivière-class frigate

The Commandant Rivière class was a class of frigates built for the French Navy in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Labeled "aviso-escorteur" (fr: "sloop-escort"), they were designed to perform the role of overseas patrol in peacetime and anti-submarine escort in wartime.Four similar ships were built for the Portuguese Navy as the João Belo class.

Destroyer tender

A destroyer tender, or destroyer depot ship in British English, is an auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to a flotilla of destroyers or other small warships. The use of this class has faded from its peak in the first half of the 20th century as the roles of small combatants have evolved (in conjunction with technological advances in propulsion reliability and efficiency).

French destroyer Maillé-Brézé (D627)

Maillé-Brézé is a T 47-class destroyer (escorteur d'escadre) of the French Navy. She was built by Arsenal de Lorient in Lorient, commissioned on 4 May 1957 and named after the French admiral Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé (1619–1646).

General stores issue ship

General stores issue ship is a type of ship used by the United States Navy during World War II and for some time afterwards.

The task of the general stores issue ship was to sail into non-combat, or rear, areas and disburse general stores, such as canned goods, toilet paper, office supplies, etc., to ships and stations.

Guard ship

A guard ship is a warship assigned as a stationary guard in a port or harbour, as opposed to a coastal patrol boat which serves its protective role at sea.

Light aircraft carrier

A light aircraft carrier, or light fleet carrier, is an aircraft carrier that is smaller than the standard carriers of a navy. The precise definition of the type varies by country; light carriers typically have a complement of aircraft only one-half to two-thirds the size of a full-sized fleet carrier. A light carrier was similar in concept to an escort carrier in most respects, however light carriers were intended for higher speeds to be deployed alongside fleet carriers, while escort carriers usually defended convoys and provided air support during amphibious operations.

List of destroyers of France

The following is a list of destroyers of France. 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. The Fantasque was the fastest destroyer class ever built.

List of escorteurs of the French Navy

The escorteurs of the French Navy were light naval warships used for convoy protection during and after the Second World War.

The earliest escorteurs in the French Navy were purchased from the British Royal Navy and the United States Navy. After the war, these were supplemented by former German and Italian vessels transferred to French control as war reparations.

After the war, the term escorteur replaced that of torpilleur and contre-torpilleur traditionally used by the French Navy. However, in the 1970s, the designation of escorteur ceased to be used and was replaced with that of frigate, destroyer, aviso or patroller.

Merchant raider

Merchant raiders are armed commerce raiding ships that disguise themselves as non-combatant merchant vessels.

Mine countermeasures vessel

A mine countermeasures vessel or MCMV is a type of naval ship designed for the location of and destruction of naval mines which combines the role of a minesweeper and minehunter in one hull. The term MCMV is also applied collectively to minehunters and minesweepers.


A minehunter is a naval vessel that seeks, detects, and destroys individual naval mines. Minesweepers, on the other hand, clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of mines. A vessel that combines both of these roles is known as a mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV).

Ocean boarding vessel

Ocean boarding vessels (OBVs) were merchant ships taken over by the Royal Navy for the purpose of enforcing wartime blockades by intercepting and boarding foreign vessels.

Repair ship

A repair ship is a naval auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to warships. Repair ships provide similar services to destroyer, submarine and seaplane tenders or depot ships, but may offer a broader range of repair capability including equipment and personnel for repair of more significant machinery failures or battle damage.

Shin'yō-class suicide motorboat

The Shinyo (震洋, Shin'yō, "Sea Quake") were Japanese suicide motorboats developed during World War II. They were part of the wider Japanese Special Attack Units program.

Submarine tender

A submarine tender is a type of depot ship that supplies and supports submarines.

Aircraft carriers
Patrol craft
Fast attack craft
Mine warfare
Command and support


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