Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater. A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. I plan on walking on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. You can contact me at:

More on the USS SLATER (

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What is a DE?

DE refers to type of Naval Ship - the Destroyer Escort. The design is based basically scaled down Destroyer of the 1940s that was optimized for North Atlantic Convoy Duty. More information is available on the USS Slater Web Site and on the Wikipedia Entry for Destroyer Escorts.

Traditionally, in navy slang a Destroyer is referred to as a tin-can. Earlier this year I gave a tour that included a Destroyer sailor who served in WWII who referred to the Destroyer Escort in navy slang as a half-can. This is accurate in a simplistic sense.The Destroyer Type was originally called a Torpedo Boat Destroyer, and it was always characterized by high-speed and practically no armor (no armor -> tin-can slang). A full scale destroyer in early WWII had steam turbine power plant with approximately 60,000 horsepower, and a top speed of 38 knots. The cost was approximately 6-7 million. The DE design is based on British experience with specialized convoy escorts that were developed to deal specifcally with the U-Boat menace (Corvettes and Hunt Class Frigates). Since merchant ships of the day rarely exceeded 15 knots, and convoys (which could only move as fast as the slowest ship in the convoy) typically moved at 5-10 knots, the high speed capability was largely wasted. By designing a ship to match the U-Boat surface speed of 21 knots, the construction cost could be trimmed in half (to 3 1/2 Million). The savings came largely by using a smaller power plant, instead of 60,000 HP the USS Slater has four 1,500 HP diesel engines.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

My dad was a radar operator on the USS Haverfield, DE393. I hope someday to visit the Slater to get a real idea of the size. From the photos I've seen they are fairly small and I can hardly believe there were 200+ sailors on those things. He has said that the 2 worst things were trying to stay in your bunk on rough seas and climbing up to brush the salt off the radar antenna. Anyway he is 89 now and never did want to travel the world after the war.