The Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts, by Bruce Hampton Franklin, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis,Md., 1999, $39.95.
Entering service in 1943 and spending the rest of World War II in the shadow of larger ships, American destroyer escorts ended up sinking more Axis submarines than any other type of escort vessel. The 154 Buckley-class destroyers represented the second largest class of major warships built in the United States and the greatest number to be Lend-Leased to Britain’s Royal Navy. Their combat exploits began on May 6, 1944, when the namesake of the class, Buckley, rammed U-66 and then, as German crewmen swarmed aboard her–probably with the intention of surrendering–sounded the order to “repel boarders” for the first time on an American warship since 1815. After an exchange of gunfire, grenades and even hurled coffee cups, the ships parted and U-66 sank, after which Buckley rescued 36 survivors.
Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts is the first comprehensive treatment of these important vessels. It includes a complete rundown on the service careers of each vessel, British and American, and a listing of each of the 36 German and 11 Japanese submarines sunk by these little ships. Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts is a useful reference for readers interested in anti-submarine warfare or naval history in general and, hopefully, will encourage similar treatments of the other classes of these small but hard-working sea warriors.