Le Fantasque-class destroyer

The Le Fantasque class of six large, very fast destroyers was ordered under the French naval programme of 1930. They served in World War II for both Vichy France and the Free French Forces.[2]

The original purpose of these large French destroyers, and the earlier Chacal class, was to operate with battleship and cruiser forces, although they were not restricted to this. The Italian Navy, the Regia Marina, reacted by building the Capitani Romani-class cruisers. The class was assigned to the Force de Raid when war was declared.[3] Those ships that later sailed with the Allies were classed as light cruisers.

Le Fantasque
Le Fantasque, on trials after re-fitting, in Casco Bay, Maine, on 13 June 1943.
Class overview
Name: Le Fantasque class
Operators:
Preceded by: Vauquelin class
Succeeded by: Mogador class
Completed: 6
Lost: 2
Retired: 4
General characteristics [1]
Type: Destroyer
Displacement:
  • 2,569 long tons (2,610 t) standard
  • 3,200–3,400 long tons (3,300–3,500 t) full load
Length: 132.40 m (434 ft 5 in)
Beam: 11.98 m (39 ft 4 in)
Draught: 4.30 m (14 ft 1 in)
Propulsion:
  • 4 × Penhoët boilers
  • 2 × Parsons or Rateau engines
  • Geared turbines, 2 shafts
  • 74,000–81,000 shp (55,000–60,000 kW)
Speed:
  • 45 knots (83 km/h; 52 mph) (40 kn (74 km/h; 46 mph) nominal)
  • 37 kn (69 km/h; 43 mph) after refit
Range:
  • 1,200 km (750 mi) at 34 kn (63 km/h; 39 mph)
  • 6,600 nmi (12,200 km; 7,600 mi) at 17 kn (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Complement:
  • 10 officers
  • 210 sailors
Armament:

Ships in the class

  • Le Fantasque (10, X101, X103, D610), launched 15 March 1934, scrapped 2 May 1957
  • Le Malin (9, 8, X82, X102, X02, D612), launched 17 August 1933, scrapped February 1964
  • Le Terrible (12, 11, 12, X103, X101, D611), launched 30 November 1933, scrapped June 1962
  • L'Indomptable (15, 7, X81), launched 7 December 1933, scuttled Toulon 27 November 1942
  • L'Audacieux (11, 12, 11, X102), launched 15 March 1934, severely damaged at the Battle of Dakar, repaired, sunk 7 May 1943 at Bizerte by Allied bombing
  • Le Triomphant (8, 9, X83, H02, X104, X04, D613), launched 16 April 1934, stricken December 1954

Notes

  1. ^ Conway p268
  2. ^ Conway p268
  3. ^ Rohwer, Jürgen; Hummelchen, Gerhard (1992). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 5. ISBN 1-55750-105-X.

References

  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • Jordan, John & Moulin, Jean (2015). French Destroyers: Torpilleurs d'Escadre & Contre-Torpilleurs 1922–1956. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-198-4.
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.

External links

French destroyer L'Audacieux

L'Audacieux ("The audacious one") was one of six Le Fantasque-class large destroyers (contre-torpilleur, "Torpedo-boat destroyer") built for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) during the 1930s. The ship entered service in 1935 and participated in the Second World War. When war was declared in September 1939, all of the Le Fantasques were assigned to the Force de Raid which was tasked to hunt down German commerce raiders and blockade runners. L'Audacieux and two of her sister ships were based in Dakar, French West Africa, to patrol the Central Atlantic for several months in late 1939. They returned to Metropolitan France before the end of the year and were transferred to French Algeria in late April 1940 in case Italy decided to enter the war. She screened French cruisers several times as they unsuccessfully hunted for Italian ships after Italy declared war in June.

After most of French Equatorial Africa had declared for Free France in August, L'Audacieux and two of her sisters escorted a force of cruisers sent to Dakar in September to intimidate the colonies into rejoining Vichy France. The British and Free French sent a force to persuade French West Africa to join the Free French and the Battle of Dakar began when the garrison rejected their entreaties. The Vichy French destroyers were initially given a defensive role, but L'Audacieux was ordered to conduct a reconnaissance mission. She encountered an Australian cruiser at close range and drifted onto the shore after her power was knocked out. The ship was salvaged in early 1941 and was slowly repaired enough to reach French Tunisia for permanent repairs in mid-1942. Captured when the Germans occupied Tunisia six months later, she was sunk when the Germans evacuated in May 1943. Refloated once more at the end of the year, she was deemed not worth repairing and was cannibalized for spare parts. Her wreck was scrapped in 1947.

French destroyer L'Indomptable

L'Indomptable ("The indomitable one") was one of six Le Fantasque-class large destroyers (contre-torpilleur, "Torpedo-boat destroyer") built for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) during the 1930s. The ship entered service in 1935 and participated in the Second World War. When war was declared in September 1939, all of the Le Fantasques were assigned to the Force de Raid which was tasked to hunt down German commerce raiders and blockade runners. L'Indomptable made one sortie into the Skaggerak in April 1940 and was then transferred to French Algeria in late April 1940 in case Italy decided to enter the war. She screened French cruisers several times as they unsuccessfully hunted for Italian ships after Italy declared war in June.

The ship was assigned to the Vichy French Forces de haute mer when it was formed after the French surrender in June. L'Indomptable was scuttled in Toulon when the Germans tried to occupy Vichy France in November 1942. Heavily damaged during Allied air raids, the ship was not salvaged during the war; her bow was raised in mid-1945 and used to replace the bow of one of her sister ships. Her wreck was broken up in 1950.

French destroyer Le Fantasque

Le Fantasque ("The capricious one") was the lead ship of her class of six large destroyers (contre-torpilleur, "Torpedo-boat destroyer") built for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) during the 1930s. The ship entered service in 1935 and participated in the Second World War. When war was declared in September 1939, all of the Le Fantasques were assigned to the Force de Raid which was tasked to hunt down German commerce raiders and blockade runners. Le Fantasque and two of her sister ships were based in Dakar, French West Africa, to patrol the Central Atlantic for several months in late 1939. They returned to Metropolitan France before the end of the year and were transferred to French Algeria in late April 1940 in case Italy decided to enter the war. She screened French cruisers several times as they unsuccessfully hunted for Italian ships after Italy declared war in June.

After most of French Equatorial Africa had declared for Free France in August, Le Fantasque and two of her sisters escorted a force of cruisers sent to Dakar in September to intimidate the colonies into rejoining Vichy France. The British and Free French sent a force to persuade French West Africa to join the Free French and the Battle of Dakar began when the garrison rejected their entreaties. The destroyers were given a defensive role, laying a smoke screen to protect the cruisers as they engaged the British ships. Le Fantasque was still in Dakar when French West Africa joined the Free French in late 1942. She was then modernized in the United States, in early 1943 and returned to the Mediterranean mid-year where she spent the next year searching for Axis shipping with two of her sisters. In between raids, the ship supported the French occupation of Corsica in September and provided naval gunfire support during Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France in mid-1944.

After the war Le Fantasque was sent to French Indochina in late 1945–1946 to provide support for the French forces there. After returning to Metropolitan France in mid-1946, she was intermittently active until mid-1950. Deemed uneconomical to repair at that time, the ship was placed in reserve until she was stricken in 1953. Le Fantasque was scrapped in 1958.

French destroyer Le Malin

Le Malin ("The malign one") was one of six Le Fantasque-class large destroyers (contre-torpilleur, "Torpedo-boat destroyer") built for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) during the 1930s. The ship entered service in 1935 and participated in the Second World War. When war was declared in September 1939, all of the Le Fantasques were assigned to the Force de Raid which was tasked to hunt down German commerce raiders and blockade runners. Le Malin and two of her sister ships were based in Dakar, French West Africa, to patrol the Central Atlantic for several months in late 1939. They returned to Metropolitan France before the end of the year and were transferred to French Algeria in late April 1940 in case Italy decided to enter the war. She screened French cruisers several times as they unsuccessfully hunted for Italian ships after Italy declared war in June.

After most of French Equatorial Africa had declared for Free France in August, Le Malin and two of her sisters escorted a force of cruisers sent to Dakar in September to intimidate the colonies into rejoining Vichy France. The British and Free French sent a force to persuade French West Africa to join the Free French and the Battle of Dakar began when the garrison rejected their entreaties. The destroyers were given a defensive role, laying a smoke screen to protect the cruisers as they engaged the British ships. Le Malin was refitting in Casablanca, French Morocco, when the Allies invaded French North Africa in late 1942. Badly damaged during the attack, the ship received temporary repairs before she was sent to the United States for permanent repairs and modernization in mid-1943. She returned to the Mediterranean at the beginning of 1944 where she spent the rest of the year searching for Axis shipping with two of her sisters. In between raids, the ship provided naval gunfire support during Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France in mid-1944. Le Malin had her bow severed during a collision in December and repairs took almost a year to complete.

The ship was only intermittently active for the rest of the 1940s, but was modernized to serve as an escort for French aircraft carriers in 1951. She accompanied one of them to French Indochina to provide support for the French forces there before returning in mid-1952 and was reduced to reserve upon her return. After many years in secondary roles, Le Malin was stricken in 1964 and finally scrapped in 1977.

French destroyer Le Terrible

Le Terrible ("The terrible one") was one of six Le Fantasque-class large destroyers (contre-torpilleur, "Torpedo-boat destroyer") built for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) during the 1930s. The ship entered service in 1936 and participated in the Second World War. When war was declared in September 1939, all of the Le Fantasques were assigned to the Force de Raid which was tasked to hunt down German commerce raiders and blockade runners. Le Fantasque and two of her sister ships were based in Dakar, French West Africa, to patrol the Central Atlantic for several months in late 1939. They returned to Metropolitan France before the end of the year and were transferred to French Algeria in late April 1940 in case Italy decided to enter the war. She screened French cruisers once as they unsuccessfully hunted for Italian ships after Italy declared war in June.

Le Terrible was present when the British attacked French ships in July, but was not damaged. She was sent to Dakar at the beginning of 1941, but was being refitted in French Morocco when the Allies invaded French North Africa in late 1942. The ship was badly damaged and was sent the United States for repairs and to be modernized in mid-1943. Le Terrible was sent to the Mediterranean at the beginning of 1944 where she spent the rest of the year searching for Axis shipping with two of her sisters. In between raids, the ship provided naval gunfire support during Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France, in mid-1944. She was badly damaged in a collision in December and spent the next year under repair.

The ship was only intermittently active for the rest of the 1940s, but was modernized to serve as an escort for French aircraft carriers in 1952–1953. She was decommissioned in mid-1955 after which she briefly became a training ship and was reduced to reserve at the end of 1956. Le Terrible was stricken in 1962 and scrapped the following year.

French destroyer Le Triomphant

Le Triomphant ("The triumphant one") was one of six Le Fantasque-class large destroyers (contre-torpilleur, "Torpedo-boat destroyer") built for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) during the 1930s. The ship entered service in 1935 and participated in the Second World War. When war was declared in September 1939, all of the Le Fantasques were assigned to the Force de Raid which was tasked to hunt down German commerce raiders and blockade runners.

List of shipwrecks in May 1943

The list of shipwrecks in May 1943 includes ships sunk, foundered, grounded, or otherwise lost during May 1943.

List of shipwrecks of France

This is a list of shipwrecks located in or off the coast of France.

Yugoslav destroyer Split

The Yugoslav destroyer Split was a large destroyer designed for the Royal Yugoslav Navy in the late 1930s. Construction began in 1939, but she was captured incomplete by the Italians during the invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941. They continued to build the ship, barring a brief hiatus, but she was not completed before she was scuttled after the Italian surrender in September 1943. The Germans occupied Split and refloated the destroyer later that year, but made no efforts to continue work. The ship was scuttled again before the city was taken over by the Yugoslav Partisans in late 1944. Split was refloated once more, but the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was able to do little with her before the Tito–Stalin Split in 1948 halted most work. Aid and equipment from the United States and the United Kingdom finally allowed her to be completed 20 years after construction began. She was commissioned in July 1958 and served as the navy's flagship for most of her career. Split became a training ship in the late 1970s after a boiler explosion. She was decommissioned in 1980, and scrapped six years later.

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