|The USS England was a Buckley Class
Destroyer Escort, one of several types built with ASW (anti submarine warfare)
in mind. With the U-boat threat in the Atlantic and the Japanese sub threat
in the Pacific, as small escort ship was needed to protect the convoys.
The England was launched 26 September 1943 by Bethlehem Steel Co., San
Francisco, Calif., and commissioned 10 December 1943.
She arrived at Espiritu Santo 12 March 1944 from San Francisco, Pearl Harbor, Funafuti, and Guadalcanal. She took up escort duty between Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal, occasionally sailing to Noumea, and once to the Marshalls. On 18 May 1944, with two other destroyers, England cleared Port Purvis on a hunt for Japanese submarines during a passage to Bougainville. During the next 8 days, she was to set an impressive record in antisubmarine warfare, never matched in World War II by any other American ship, as she hunted down and sank I-16 on 19 May, RO-106 on 22 May, RO-104 on 23 May, RO-116 on 24 May, and RO-108 on 26 May. In three of these cases, the other destroyers were in on the beginning of the actions, but the kill in every case was England's alone. Quickly replenishing depth charges at Manus, England was back in action on 31 May to join with four other ships in sinking RO-105. This superlative performance won for England a Presidential Unit Citation, and the assurance from the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral E. J. King, "There'll always be an England in the United States Navy." His pledge was fulfilled 6 October 1960, when DLG-22 was assigned the name England. Through the summer of 1944, England sailed throughout the northern Solomons, providing the escort services necessary for the building up of bases, preparations for the renewed assaults on Japanese territories to the north, and provision of supplies to garrison forces on the islands of the southwest Pacific. In August, she underwent repairs at Manus, and between 24 September and 15 October voyaged from the Treasury Islands to Sydney, Australia. From the Treasuries, she sailed guarding a convoy to Hollandia, where she arrived 18 October, and on the 26th got underway on the first of two voyages to escort reinforcement convoys to newly invaded Leyte. She returned to Manus and local escort duty 2 December. From 2 January 1945, England escorted convoys between Manus and Ulithi, the major base for operations of the carrier task forces, and later to be the staging point for the assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The escort vessel sailed to Kossol Roads in February, bringing in a convoy later routed on to the Philippines, then resumed her duty on the Manus-Ulithi sealanes. She sailed from Ulithi 23 March for the preinvasion bombardment of Okinawa, returned to Ulithi to join the screen of two cruisers, guarding them back to Okinawa to join the 5th Fleet just after the initial assault on 1 April. Between 6 and 17 April, she voyaged to Saipan screening unladen transports, then took up a screening and patrol station north of the Kerama Retto. On 9 May 1945, while on station, England was attacked by three Japanese dive bombers. Her antiaircraft fire set the first of these flaming, but the plane crashed England on her starboard side, just below the bridge. The kamikaze pilot had remembered his instructions to knock out the ship's nerve center and kill as many as possible of her officers. With the bomb of the plane exploding just after the crash, England's men began a dangerous race against time, to quench the fires and save their ship, while combat air patrol shot down the two other attackers. She was able to make Kerama Retto under tow, with 37 of her men killed or missing and 25 wounded. England sailed on to Leyte, where she received temporary repairs to put her in shape for the long voyage home. On 16 July 1945, she arrived at Philadelphia for permanent repairs and conversion to a high-speed transport. The end of the war, however, halted this work, and she was decommissioned 15 October 1945 and sold 26 November 1946. In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, England received 10 battle stars for World War II service quite a record for any Destroyer Escort.
|The hull is molded as a waterline hull with a choice of either full lower hull or flat waterline base both molded in red plastic. The upper hull is pretty well molded with some nice chock detail along the edges. These can be drilled out for a more realistic appearance. The shape appears accurate and the sides are smooth. There is no hull plate detailing, but this is preferable in this scale to most modelers.||Click images
|The main deck is well molded and fits nicely into the upper hull. I would have preferred that the openings in the hull had been not all the way through the deck, but that is minor. Also the anchor chain is molded onto the deck making it hard for superdetailers to add realistic scale chain.|
|Bridge parts came out pretty good with splinter shields fairly thin and with an almost imperceptible draft to the vertical sides. Flag bags are molded onto the bridge platform, but look pretty good. The bridge face has two odd shaped portholes due to the way they were molded from the front. This can probably be fixed by drilling the holes out.|
|These parts include the mid superstructure and various platforms. Detail is pretty good and doors are consistently detailed. There are some doors that are hinged backwards. The hinges on a door should be located on the side toward the bow. The depth charge arbors are molded onto the walls. They look pretty good, but I would rather have these as separate parts. The stack is well detailed, but mine arrived damaged. I noticed this too late to get a replacement in time for this review. I will update these pictures when my replacement part arrives.|
|Most of the weapons are found on this sprue. They are pretty good for plastic, yes the barrels are a little on the thick side, but they still look better than the weapons supplied in other kits. The 20 mm gun even looks pretty good with it's separate shield. The K-guns are a bit simplistic, but acceptable considering their small size. Some other items like the cable reel even look good for plastic. The boat davits look good too.|
|A brass photo etch fret is included with depth charge racks for the stern and sides. A radar antenna is also included that is a big improvement over the plastic one. The etching is not as good as aftermarket suppliers provide, but a welcome addition to this kit. The parts are even simple enough that a beginner may even be able to tack them.|
|A simple stand is included for full hull display.|
|The decals include flags, hull numbers, and stack emblems all well registered. These flags have the correct 48 stars for a WW2 ship!|
|A 10 page instruction booklet is included to guide you
through a step by step assembly process. The parts are all called out and
placement is well illustrated throughout. A nice color sheet is included
with camouflage markings for the ship and aircraft. Paint colors are called
out as well.
This ship is a welcome addition to the 1/350 line. It is affordable and the detailing is improved over earlier kits. I hope to see more Destroyer Escorts of other classes in the future from Trumpeter. You can find this kit at most any well stocked hobby shop. It is listed as TSM-5305 1/350 Buckley Class Destroyer USS England DE635 with a list price of $32.95. If your hobby shop does not carry Trumpeter kits have them contact Stevens International or try their Hobby Shop Locator to find one.