USS OReilly DE 330
The O'Reilly was named after Lt. Edward J. O'Reilly of Chicago. Lt. O'Reilly was aboard the Astoria (CA-34) when she went down in the Eastern Solomons on August 9, 1942. The O'Reilly was officially commissioned on December 28, 1943.
The O'Reilly was an Edsall Class DE based on its 4
Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines. In 1943, a Destroyer Escort cost the taxpayer about
$6,000,000 each (although estimates and figures do vary depending on your source). 85,
Edsall Class DE's were completed during the war, in comparison to 504 DEs of all
classes constructed, many sent to England.
The O'Reilly was an Edsall Class DE based on its 4 Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines. In 1943, a Destroyer Escort cost the taxpayer about $6,000,000 each (although estimates and figures do vary depending on your source). 85, Edsall Class DE's were completed during the war, in comparison to 504 DEs of all classes constructed, many sent to England.
|U.S.S O'Reilly DE-330 Specs:||Weapons & Systems||Crew Accommodations|
The Destroyer Escort was designed for use by the British to protect shipping in the Atlantic from German submarines. Many of the ships systems reflect the British Navy's design. The DE was an escort ship, but was designed to be a submarine killer, which is reflected in its type of weapons. While the DE had the capacity to fire anti-aircraft rounds it was not well armed for defense from aerial attack. While not as heavily armed as a destroyer, the DE had superb maneuverability.
The Destroyer Escort developed 6 classes by
the end of the war. Ship class was largely due to engine type or weapons systems
The Destroyer Escort developed 6 classes by the end of the war. Ship class was largely due to engine type or weapons systems differences.
Destroyer Escort Classes:
Evarts GMT, General
Motors diesel-electric tandem drive
Evarts GMT, General Motors diesel-electric tandem drive
Buckley TE, Turboelectric drive
Cannon DET, Diesel-electric tandem drive
Edsall FMR, Fairbanks-Morse diesel reduction gear drive
Rudderow TEV, Turboelectric drive with 5 guns
John C. Butler WGT, Westinghouse geared turbine drive
Some notable DEs: The USS England, DE 635. In May 1944, the England sank 5 submarines in 12 days and the crew was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, a feat not outdone by any other WW-II ship. Sadly, the England was struck by a kamikaze in July 45, 37 crewmen were killed, 25 injured. The USS Buckley, DE 51. The Buckley engaged a surfaced U-boat, U-66, and eventually rammed the sub. While entangled, the men of the Kriegsmarine swarmed out of their sub with small arms and attacked the crew of the Buckley. The crew fought back and drove the German sailors off.
While the DEs were intended to battle with submarines a small group of DEs and Destroyers DDs (Taffy-3) tangled with Japanese battleships and cruisers in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. As the landing beaches and small carriers only defense the small ships traded blows with ships many times their size. 14-inch shells from the battleships would punch holes through the little DEs and not explode. The DEs battled back with every five-inch shell they had.
The O'Reilly first escorted a convoy from Venezuela to North Africa and the ports in Oran and Algiers in March 1944. After two more similar voyages and one from New York, the O'Reilly was in for repairs during September.
Off again on convoy duty September 20th for England (this corresponds with the departure of the 84th Division for Europe). On its second crossing the O'Reilly encountered a German U-boat (submarine). After a brief engagement the men of the Kreigsmarine slipped away with unknown results. As a historical note, the O'Reilly never lost a ship under its protection during convoy duty.
Recommended reading for the Destroyer Escort enthusiast:
Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts by Bruce H. Franklin
The Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts by Bruce H. Franklin
Little Ship, Big War, The Saga of DE 343 by Edward P. Stafford
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