After a few weeks of thinking, I have come to the decision of making a series of articles about the class of ships in the Philippine Navy. I’m going to start with the class of the current flagship, the Cannon Class Destroyer Escorts or the Datu Kalantiaw Class Frigates.
The Cannon Class Destroyer Escorts (CCDE) are Anti – Submarine Warfare (ASW) ships created during the 2nd World War. Its lead ship is the USS Cannon (DE – 99) commissioned on September 26, 1943 at Wilmington, Delaware. Its main mission is to escort cargo ships transiting the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean during the 2nd World War. Of the one hundred sixteen ships ordered, forty four were cancelled and seventy two were completed, of the seventy two, six were directly commissioned to the Free French Navy.
The CCDE’s are also known as DET’s or Diesel Electric Tandem Drive because of their four GM Mod. 16-278A diesel engines with electric drive which propels the ship to a top speed of 21 knots. At an economical speed of 12 knots, its maximum range is 10,800 nautical miles. Its standard displacement is 1,240 tons, and 1,620 tons fully loaded, with length of 306 feet and beam length of 36 feet. Its standard armament are three 3 inch guns (76mm), two 40 mm AA Guns, eight 20 mm AA Guns, eight depth charge projectors, one hedgehog depth charge projector and two depth charge racks. It has a complement of fifteen officers and two hundred and one enlisted men.
CANNON CLASS SHIPS OF THE PHILIPPINE NAVY
There are five CCDE’s in the Philippine Navy. The USS Amick (BRP Datu Sikatuna PF – 5), The USS Atherton (BRP Rajah Humabon PF – 11), The USS Booth (BRP Datu Kalantiaw PS – 76), The USS Muir (DE-770) and the USS Sutton (DE-771). Of the five CCDE’s, 3 were commissioned by the Philippine Navy. USS Muir and USS Sutton were cannibalized for spares to keep the three commissioned ships afloat. A brief history of the three commissioned ships follow:
BRP DATU KALANTIAW (PS – 76)
BRP Datu Kalantiaw (PS – 76) is the first CCDE to be commissioned in the Philippine Navy. She originally served in the Atlantic Ocean as USS Booth (DE – 170) during World War 2, escorting UGS and GUS convoys. She served in the Pacific theater of operations in the middle of 1945 until she was decommissioned in the year 1946. After being reconditioned in New York, she was loaned to the Philippines in 1967 and was officially sold on 1978. She became the BRP Datu Kalantiaw (PS – 76) and was the flagship of the Philippine Navy until she was driven aground by Typhoon Clara in September 1981. It was called “one of the worst disasters in the history of the Philippine Navy”, having 79 of the 97 crew were dead.
BRP DATU SIKATUNA (PS – 77/PF – 5)
BRP Datu Sikatuna (PS – 77/PF – 5) was commissioned in the US Navy as the USS Amick (DE – 168), she also served in the Atlantic Ocean during World War 2, escorting transatlantic convoys. Transferred to the Pacific Fleet in the middle of 1945, she was the ship which accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese Forces in Palau. It happened in the Amick’s wardroom. She was transferred back to the Atlantic Fleet on December 1945 and remained semi – active until her decommissioning in 1947. In mid1955, she was transferred to the Japanese Maritime Self – Defense Force (JMSDF) as JDS Asahi (DE – 262). Together with USS Atherton now JDS Hatsuhi (DE – 263) they were the first ships of the JMSDF. She was decommissioned and returned to the US Navy in 1975. In 1976 she was sold as Excess Defense Articles to the Republic of the Philippines after being laid up in Japan. She, together with her sister ships, BRP Rajah Humabon and BRP Datu Kalantiaw, they formed the backbone of the Philippine Navy. She was decommissioned in 1989. She became a scrap hulk for her sister ship BRP Rajah Humabon.
BRP RAJAH HUMABON (PS – 78/PF – 11)
The BRP Rajah Humabon was commissioned in the US Navy in 1943 as USS Atherton. She was mostly assigned in the Atlantic Ocean conducting patrols and anti – submarine operations. She was credited to sinking the German U – Boat U – 853 on May 9, 1945. In mid – 1945 she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet until she was decommissioned and put on reserve on December 10, 1945. For her service she was awarded one Battle Star. On June 1955, the USS Atherton was transferred to the Japanese Maritime Self – Defense Force (JMSDF) and was renamed the JDS Hatsuhi (DE-263). Together with her sister ship JDS Asahi (DE – 262), they became the JMSDF’s first warships. On June 1975, they were decommissioned and returned to the US Navy. As of now she is the flagship of the Philippine Navy and the only remaining Cannon Class DE in the world still in active duty