The Destroyer Escort was a new American World War 2-era warship development encompassing surface vessels charged with convoy escort and, principally, submarine-hunting duties in open seas. These blue water designs were relatively fast, as they had to keep up with convoys and race down enemy submarines, and were given inherently good endurance and sea-keeping qualities to make the long ocean journeys required in wartime. The Rudderow-class of the United States Navy (USN) was one such group of warships and some 252 total vessels were originally planned (and 268 originally ordered). Their arrival in the United States Navy (USN) inventory provided the service with a dedicated, formidable submarine-hunting platform but, in the end, just twenty-two were completed (including lead ship USS Rudderow) as some 180 were cancelled with the end of the war and a further fifty-four served in the high-speed transport role. The class was succeeded by the John C. Butler-class.
One of the chief improvements of the class over preceding model destroyer escorts was the substitution of older 3" /50 caliber primary guns with newer 5" /38 caliber guns given far better reach and penetration at range as well as overall better performance in naval combat. Another added benefit stemmed from the speed provided by the turbo-electric engine arrangement.
USS Rudderow (DE-224) was laid down on July 15th, 1943 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard and launched on October 14th of that same year. Name after Thomas Wright Rudderow, a navy man and ultimately a World War 1 and World War 2 veteran, USS Rudderow was formally commissioned on May 14th, 1944 to take part in naval actions concerning the Second World War (1939-1945).
The design displaced 1,475 tons under standard load and up to 1,700 tons under full load. Dimensions included a length of 306 feet, a beam of 37 feet and a draught of 13 feet. Power was from a turbo-electric drive engine arrangement which produced 12,000 horsepower and drove multiple shafts under stern. The warship could reach speeds of 24 knots in ideal conditions. Aboard were 221 sailors.
Armament was led by 2 x 5" /38 caliber main guns in single-gunned mountings. There were 2 x 40mm Bofors automatic cannons in twin-gunned mountings for the air defense role and this battery was backed by 10 x 20mm Oerlikon cannons in single-gunned mountings. The vessel was also outfitted with a single triple-tubed 21" (533mm) torpedo launcher, a single "Hedgehog" anti-submarine mortar, 8 x K-gun depth charge projectors and 2 x Depth charge racks.
USS Rudderow completed her trials off the American East Coast in mid-1944 and was used in the Atlantic Theater as a submarine hunter. She traversed the Panama Canal in October and formed with the 7th Fleet at New Guinea in November. From there came additional convoy escort sorties until January of 1945 to which point she was relocated to the Philippines. She assisted in and around the archipelago into May. She then underwent critical repair work.
In June of 1945, the warship set sail once more and continued in the escort role. One such endeavor was in accompanying forces to Okinawa before returning to Philippine waters for the end of the war. With the Japanese surrender in August 1945 and the end of the war arriving, she was returned to American home waters in January of 1946. In March of that year she was placed in reserve and eventually saw decommissioning in January of 1947.
However, she was able to avoid the scrapman's torch a little while longer for, in May of 1957, she was assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet where she rested until given up for good in November of 1969. She was scrapped in October of 1970.
For her service, the warship was awarded with two Battle Stars and the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Philippine Liberation Medal.