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The French term escorteur (French: Escorteur) appeared during the Second World War to designate a naval warship, referring to an average or light displacement, which had for mission to protect the oceanic convoys and squadrons from attacks coming from submarines. This role was in general handled by a destroyer escort such as the Buckley and Cannon classes built in the United States, or the Hunt-class destroyer built by the United Kingdom, or even the frigates of the River class built by the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The Imperial Japanese Navy used the denomination of Kaibokan for this type of naval ship.
In the immediate of the war, to fulfill the tasks of naval escorts, the French Navy was limited to a list of torpilleur and contre-torpilleur (otherwise known as destroyers) . Added was several naval ships of German and Italian origin recuperated at title of damages of the war, and several escort bâtiments originated from the United Kingdom and the United States, all under different designations:
During the years 1950–1960, France reconstituted the navy with the assistance of the United States which contributed most of the rebuilding program. Following certain hesitations, the term « escorteur » was finally chosen for this new type of warship, instead of the traditional « torpilleur » or « contre-torpilleur », which were abandoned.