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FRENCH NAVY, Part 2 of 2
Destroyers, Submarines

by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

FS Justice, predreadnought battleship (MaritimeQuest,, click to enlarge)  




Part 1



Pre-dreadnought battleships

Coast defence ships

 Armoured cruisers

Protected cruisers

ex-Torpedo cruisers

 Seaplane carriers


Part 2







see also


25 French Sailors commemorated in a New York Cemetery


Louis Bechennec, Fireman, French Navy, including Serbian Evacuation





Austro-Hungarian Navy

French Navy

Hellenic or Greek Navy

Imperial Japanese Navy

Turkish or Ottoman Navy

United States Navy






August 1914 Strength (83)
Approximately 24 in Mediterranean with 1st Armée Navale

35. DURANDAL class, DURANDAL, FAUCONNEAU (falconet), HALLEBARDE (halberd), 3 ships - 300t, 26 knots, 1-6.5cm/6-4.7cm/2-38cm tt, 52 crew, 1899-1900

36. FRAMÉE class, EPÉE (sword), PIQUE (pike), YATAGAN (Turkish dagger), 3 ships, 1 lost - 315t, 26 knots, 1-6.5cm/6-4.7cm/2-38cm tt, 48 crew, 1900-01.

Class nameship Framée (Frankish lance) sunk in 1900

YATAGAN, 3rd November 1916, English Channel off Dieppe, France - collision with British steamship 'Teviot'. "Yatagan" spent the war as a fishery protection vessel and was on these duties when rammed and sunk. Some sources date her loss on the 4th November, suggesting the night of the 3rd/4th.

37. PERTUISANE class, ESCOPETTE (carbine), FLAMBERGE (sword), PERTUISANE (halberd), RAPIERE (rapier), 4 ships - 305t, 1-6.5cm/6-4.7cm/2-38cm tt, 52 crew, 1902-03

38. ARQUEBUSE class, ARQUEBUSE (arquebuse), CARABINE (rifle), CATAPULTE (catapult), MOUSQUET (musket) and others, 20 ships in total, 2 lost - 300t, 1-6.5cm/6-4.7cm/2-38cm tt, 60 crew, 1902-04

Carabine, damaged date unknown, Mediterranean - collision with with British steamship "Mentor". Towed to Palermo, Sicily and patched up for voyage to Bizerta, Tunisia where she was stricken

CATAPULTE, 18th May 1918, Mediterranean near Bizerta, Tunisia - collision with British steamship "Warrimoo". Other sources place her loss location further west off Bone, Algeria

MOUSQUET, 28th October 1914, Malay waters, off entrance to Penang harbour in Strait of Malacca (5-38’N, 100-25’E) - gunfire of German cruiser "Emden". On patrol off north entrance to Penang harbour during the Allied ocean-wide hunt for the German cruiser "Emden". Among the ships at anchor was Russian cruiser "Zhemchug". As "Emden" totally surprised and sank her, "Mousquet" returned to the sound of gunfire and was herself destroyed by the "Emden’s" guns around 07.44hrs; many of her crew died including the CO, Lt Théroinne

39. CLAYMORE class, CLAYMORE (claymore sword) and others, 13 ships in total - 350t, 28 knots, 1-6.5cm/6-4.7cm/2-45cm tt, 60 crew, launched 1905-08

40. BRANLEBAS class, BRANLEBAS (clear for action!), ETENDARD (standard) and others, 10 ships in total, 2 lost - 340t, 27 knots, 1-6.5cm/6-4.7cm/2-45cm tt, 60 crew, launched 1907-09

BRANLEBAS, 30th September 1915, southern North Sea, off Nieuport, West Flanders, Belgium - mined. Serving with the North Sea flotillas. The 1919 "Jane’s Fighting Ships" locates her loss further west off Dunkirk, France  

ETENDARD, 25th April 1917, English Channel off Dunkirk - torpedoed by German destroyers. Blown up and sunk with all hands  

41. SPAHI class, CARABINIER (rifleman), SPAHI (Algerian soldier) and others, 7 ships in total, 1 lost - 530t, 28 knots, 6-6.5cm/3-45cm tt, 78 crew, launched 1908-11

CARABINIER, 13th/15th November 1918, Eastern Mediterranean off Latakia, Syria - stranded and scuttled under Turkish gunfire. Ran aground on the 13th and destroyed two days later on the 15th, even though the Ottoman Empire had formally surrendered to the Allies

42. VOLTIGEUR class, TIRAILLEUR (skirmisher), VOLTIGEUR (rifleman), 2 ships - 450t, 28 knots, 6-6.5cm/3-45cm tt, 77 crew, launched 1908/09

43. CHASSEUR class, CAVALIER (cavalryman), CHASSEUR (light infantry), FANTASSIN (foot-soldier), JANISSAIRE (soldiers of Turkish origin), 4 ships, 1 lost - 450t, 28 knots, 6-6.5cm/3-45cm tt, 78 crew, launched 1909/10

FANTASSIN, 5th June 1916, Central Mediterranean off the island of Fano, south of the Straits of Otranto in the Ionian Sea - collision with French destroyer "Mameluk'.  Rammed at night during a submarine hunt, "Fantassin" was finished off by gunfire from the older destroyer 'Fauconneau'.

44. BOUCLIER class, BOUCLIER (small shield), BOUTEFEU (cannon linstock), CIMITERRE (scimitar), DAGUE (dagger), FAULX (scythe), FOURCHE (pitchfork) and others, 12 ships in total, 4 lost - 800t, 30 knots, 2-10cm/6-6.5cm/4-45cm tt, 80 crew, launched 1910-12

BOUTEFEU, 15th May 1917, southern Adriatic Sea off Brindisi, SE Italy - mines laid by German "UC-25". In the 15th May 1917 "Otranto Action", Austrian cruisers raided the drifters patrolling the Otranto anti-U-boat barrage. In support of them the Austrians and Germans carried out a number of actions including laying U-boat mines off Brindisi. Protecting the British drifters was a patrol of one Italian and three French destroyers (less the "Boutefeu" with engine trouble). Allied warships, including two British light cruisers sailed to intercept the Austrian forces and the "Dartmouth" was torpedoed and badly damaged by the German "UC-25" which had already laid the mines off Brindisi. As "Boutefeu" sailed to assist, she struck one of the mines just after clearing the Brindisi boom, was blown in half and sank within two minutes.

DAGUE, 24th February 1915, southern Adriatic Sea in Antivari Roads - drifting mine. "Dague", on duty off the port of Antivari through which Allied supplies passed for Montenegro, was the first French warship lost in the Adriatic  

FAULX, 18th April 1918, Southern Adriatic Sea in the Straits of Otranto - rammed by French destroyer "Mangani". Both destroyers were part of a force of seven or eight Italian and French destroyers escorting three Italian battleships from Brindisi to Taranto. In the Strait of Otranto, "Mangani’s" steering broke down and she collided with and sank "Faulx". An hour later in the Ionian Sea, the Italian destroyer 'Carini' rammed and sank 'Benedetto Cairoli' (some sources date the Italian collision on the 10th)

FOURCHE, 23rd June 1916, southern Adriatic Sea, east of Otranto in the Strait of Otranto - 1 torpedo from Austrian "U-15". "Fourche" was in company with Italian AMC 'Città di Messina" when the latter was hit by "U-15" and sank. The destroyer attacked with depth-charges, and believing the submarine destroyed, started to pick up survivors from the AMC. Hit by another torpedo, the Brindisi-based "Fourche" was cut in half  

45. BISSON class, BISSON, MANGANI, RENAUDIN (Napoleonic war captain) and others, 6 ships in total, 5 completed by August 1914, 1 lost - c 760t, 30 knots, 2-10cm/4-6.5cm/4-45cm tt, 80 crew, launched 1912-14

Bisson took part with Italian AMC 'Città di Messina" in the sinking of Austrian submarine "U-3" in the Strait of Otranto on the 13th August 1915. In May 1917, with "Bouclier" class destroyers "Boutefeu" (sunk), "Cimiterre" and "Commandant Rivière" she took part in the Allied naval action which followed the Austrian cruiser attack on the Otranto Barrage drifter line

Mangani and the British "Shark" on the 10th November 1918, were the first Allied ships to anchor off Constantinople on passage through to the Black Sea

RENAUDIN, 18th March 1916, southern Adriatic Sea, off Durazzo (Durres), Albania - torpedoed by Austrian "U-6". On a sweep from Brindisi across the Adriatic with other Allied ships, "Renaudin" was hit by one of the few Austrian submarines available for operations. As with other French destroyer losses, she also was cut in two.

Wartime Additions (30)

46. ENSEIGNE ROUX class, ENSEIGNE ROUX, MECANICIEN PRINCIPAL LESTIN, 2 ships - 850t, 30 knots, 2-10cm/4-6.5cm/4-45cm tt, 80 crew, launched 1915

47. AVENTURIER class, AVENTURIER (adventurer), INTRÉPIDE (intrepid), OPINIÂTRE (obstinate), TÉMÉRAIRE (reckless), 4 ships - 930t, 32 knots, 4-10cm/4-45.7cm tt, 140 crew, launched 1911.

Argentine Navy orders taken over in August 1914 and completed with French armament

48. ARABE class, ARABE (Arabian) and others, 12 ships in total - 680t, 29 knots, 1-12cm/4-7.6cm/4-45cm tt, 86 crew, launched 1917.

All built in Japan

49. Greek NIKI class, NIKI and others, 4 ships in total, 1 lost - See Greek Navy for details.

Seized in 1916, served in French Navy 1917-18

50. Greek THYELLA class, THYELLA and others, 4 ships in total - See Greek Navy for details.

Seized in 1916, served in French Navy 1917-18

51. Greek AETOS class, AETOS and others, 3 ships in total - See Greek Navy for details.

Seized in 1916, served in French Navy 1917-18



August 1914 Strength (55)

52. SIRENE class, ESPADON (swordfish), SILURE (silurus), SIRENE (mermaid), TRITON (the sea-god), 4 boats, 155/215t, 9/5 knots, 4-45cm external torpedoes, 13 crew, launched 1901

53. AIGRETTE class, AIGRETTE (egret), COGOGNE, 2 boats - 180/255t, 9/6 knots, 4-45cm external torpedoes, 14 crew, launched 1904

54. OMEGA - 305/410t, 10/6 knots, 2-45cm tt/4-45cm external torpedoes, 22 crew, launched 1905

55. ÉMERAUDE class, ÉMERAUDE (emerald), OPALE (opal), RUBIS (ruby), SAPHIR (sapphire), TOPASE (topaz), TURQUOISE (turquoise), 6 boats, 2 lost - 390/425t, 11/9 knots, 6-45cm tt, 21 crew, launched 1906-08

SAPHIR, 15th January 1915, Turkish waters in the Dardanelles Narrows, off Nagara Point - probably ran aground. A month after British submarine "B.11" reached almost as far as Chanak in the Dardanelles and sank guardship "Mesudiye", "Saphir" was the first to try to break right through to the Sea of Marmara. She passed Chanak and got as far as Nagara Point against the fierce currents and after passing under ten lines of mines before her luck ran out. At this point, sources vary. She probably ran aground trying to avoid the minefields, surfaced and and was either scuttled or destroyed by shore batteries. In some sources she was mined. Many of her crew were lost, reportedly 14 men killed and 13 survivors. Other sources date her loss on the 17th January 1915

Of the four unhandy French boats that attempted to reach the Sea of Marmara in 1915, only one made it - "Turquoise" (following). Two more - "Joule" and "Mariotte" - were lost trying to break through before "Turquoise" succeeded

TURQUOISE, 30th October 1915, Turkish waters in the Dardanelles Narrows, off Nagara Point - probably ran aground. After successfully reaching the Sea of Marmara, "Turquoise" (Lt Ravenel or Ravene?) was forced to turn back for her base at Mudros in the Aegean because of mechanical defects. Returning through the Dardanelles, the strong currents ran her aground on the southern shore at Nagara Point right under a Turkish fort. To save the lives of his crew, Lt Ravenel surrendered and "Turquoise" was captured intact. All the crew of 25 were saved and taken prisoner. Unfortunately confidential papers and charts were not destroyed, and a notebook or chart (sources vary) revealed information about a rendezvous with the British "E-20". A week later, on the 5th November "E-20" was ambushed and sunk by German U-boat "UB-14". In other accounts, she was damaged by Turkish shore batteries and beached; ran aground and hit; or sunk by the gunfire of Turkish warships. Her date of loss is also given as the 31st October.

Turquoise was refloated on the 3rd November 1915 and incorporated into the Turkish Navy as 'Mustadieh Ombashi', but never recommissioned.

56. CIRCÉ (Circe, mythology), lost - 350/490t, 11/7 knots, 6-45cm external torpedoes/1-4.7cm, 22 crew, launched 1907

CIRCÉ, 20th September 1918, southern Adriatic Sea, off Kattaro (Kotor) - torpedoed by Austrian 'U-47' (ex-German 'UB-47'). "Circé" was on anti-submarine patrol at the time; one survivor picked up  

57. PLUVIOSE class, FLORÉAL (from flowering - eighth month of First Republic calendar), FRESNEL (19th cen physicist), MONGE, PLUVIOSE (from rainy - eighth month .... ), PRAIRIAL (from meadow - ninth month .... ) and others, 17 boats in total, 4 lost - 400/550t, 12/8 knots, 1-45cm tt/6-45cm external torpedoes, 24 crew, launched 1907-10

FLORÉAL, 2nd August 1918, northern Aegean Sea - collision with British armed boarding steamer "Hazel". Two locations are given - off Salonika, NE Greece or off Mudros on the island of Lemnos; all 26 crew were saved

FRESNEL, 5th December 1915, southern Adriatic Sea off the mouth of the Bojana River, northern Albania - ran aground and destroyed by Austrian forces. On patrol off the Albanian coast, "Fresnel" ran aground at night in heavy fog on a sandbank off the Bojana. Her crew made every effort to free her but without success. At daylight she was sighted by an Austrian light force including cruiser "Novara" and four destroyers returning from a raid along the coast between Bojano and San Giovanni de Medua (Shengjin), north Albania where they sank a number of ships. Destroyer 'Warasdiner' (or 'Varasdinier') took off "Fresnel’s" crew and finished her with gunfire. All 26 crew were saved. Other sources give two varying accounts of her loss - (1) "Fresnel" was surprised further north off Cattaro by Austrian aircraft, attacked by the 'Warasdiner', beached, abandoned and blown up; and (2) torpedoed further south off Durazzo by Austrian destroyers.  

MONGE, 29th December 1915, south Adriatic Sea, south of Cattaro (Kotor) - Austrian warships. An Austrian force of new scout cruiser 'Helgoland' and five 'Tatra' class destroyers sailed from the advance southern Austrian base of Cattaro late on the 28th to attack Durazzo and interfere with the evacuation of Serbian forces. On passage they sighted the "Monge" early on the 29th on patrol to the south of Cattaro. Destroyer "Balaton" opened fire, rammed and sank her. Before the Austrian operation was over, two of the "Tatra" destroyers were lost on mines. The 1919 "Jane’s Fighting Ships" attributes her loss to ramming by the cruiser "Helgoland" off Cattaro.

PRAIRIAL, 28th/29th April 1918, English Channel off Le Havre, northern France - collision with British steamship 'Tropic'. She was run down and lost on the night of the 28th/29th April;19 men lost and seven survivors. Some sources date her loss on the 25th.  

58. BRUMAIRE class, BERNOULLI (18th cen Swiss scientist), BRUMAIRE (from wintry - second month of First Republic calendar), CURIE (19th/20th cen Polish/French physicists), FOUCAULT (19th cen physicist), JOULE (19th cen English physicist) and others, 16 boats in total, 4 lost - 400/550t, 13/8 knots, 1-45cm tt/6-45cm external torpedoes, 29 crew, launched 1911-13

Bernoulli took part in the Allied naval action in May 1917 which followed the Austrian cruiser attack on the Otranto drifter line, firing at the escaping destroyer "Balaton" but missing

BERNOULLI, 13th February 1918, southern Adriatic Sea, off Durazzo (Durres), Albania - probably Austrian mines. Date of loss is approximate; sunk with all hands. The 1919 "Jane’s Fighting Ships" attributes her loss to an Austrian U-boat on the 13th February 1918.  

CURIE, 20th December 1914, northern Adriatic Sea, in Pola naval base - damaged by defences and scuttled. "Curie" (Lt Dupetit-Thouars, descendant of the Napoleonic war admiral), was caught in the Pola nets trying to break into the main Austrian base. She was refloated and recommissioned into the Austrian navy as "U-14". Returned to France in 1918

FOUCAULT, 15th September 1916, central Adriatic Sea, ten miles off Cattaro (Kotor) - bombed by Austrian Navy flying boats. Caught by flying boats or seaplanes L-132 and L-135, "Foucault" was the first submarine sunk at sea by aircraft. The two aircraft landed, took the survivors on board and waited for a torpedo-boat to arrive.

JOULE, 1st May 1915, Turkish waters, in the Dardanelles Narrows - Turkish mines.  On the 25th April, the first Allied submarine, Australian "AE-2", broke through to the Sea of Marmara although she only survived until the 30th. Next day, and following the loss of "Saphir" in mid January, "Joule" was the next French boat to try and fail. She attempted to negotiate the ten lines of mines guarding the final few miles to Chanak, but detonated one or more and was lost with all hands

59. ARCHIMEDE (3rd cen BC Greek mathematician & "engineer") - 600/810t, 14/10 knots, 1-45cm tt/6-45cm external torpedoes, 26 crew, launched 1909.

Reciprocating steam engines for surface propulsion  

60. MARIOTTE, (17th cen physicist) - 530/630t, 14/11 knots, 4-45cm tt/2-45cm external torpedoes, 29 crew, 1911

MARIOTTE, 27th July 1915, Turkish waters in the Dardanelles, off Chanak in the Narrows - Turkish net defences and shore batteries. By now two French boats ("Saphir" and "Joule") had been lost trying to break through to the Sea of Marmara. Setting out on the 26th, "Mariotte" sailed to join the successful British "E.14" now on her third patrol in the Marmara. "Mariotte" safely passed under the lines of mines, but off Chanak was trapped in the anti-submarine net newly installed by the Germans. Forced to surface, she was shelled by the shore defences and scuttled. One source gives the date as the 25th July. British "E-7" was stopped and sunk by the same nets in September 1915

61. AMIRAL BOURGOIS - 555/735t, 13/8knots, 4-45cm tt, 25 crew, launched 1912

62. CHARLES BRUN - 355/450t, 13/7 knots, 2-45cm tt/4-45cm external torpedoes, 24 crew, launched 1910.

Experimental boat 

63. CLORINDE class, CLORINDE, CORNÉLIE, 2 boats - 415/570t, 13/9 knots, 8-45cm external torpedoes, 29 crew, launched 1913

64. GUSTAVE ZÉDÉ class, GUSTAVE ZÉDÉ, NÉRÉIDE (Nereid, mythology), 2 boats - c 850/1100t, c 17/11 knots, 6-45cm tt/2-45cm external torpedoes/1-7.5cm/1-4.7cm, 47 crew, launched 1913/14.

Gustave Zédé, 24th August 1916, Adriatic area - battery explosion. Gray reports her sunk with 4 men dead and 36 survivors. She was not stricken until 1937, and was presumably refloated and returned to service. Also in other sources, Gustave Zédé was steam-powered until after the war.

Wartime Additions (c 19)

65. AMPHITRITE class, AMPHITRITE (Amphitrite), ARIANE (Ariadne, both from mythology) and others, 8 boats in total, 1 lost - 415/610t, 13/9 knots, 8-45cm external torpedoes, 29 crew, launched 1914-16

ARIANE, 19th June 1917, central Mediterranean, north of Bizerta, North Africa - torpedoed once by German coastal minelayer "UC-22". "Ariane" was off the entrance to the Gulf of Bizerta undergoing sea-trials after repairs when she was sunk

66. BELLONE class, BELLONE (Bellona), GORGONE (Gorgon), HERMIONE (Hermione, all from mythology), 3 boats - 525/790t, 14/9 knots, 8-45cm tt/1-7.5cm gun, 38 crew, launched 1914-17

67. DUPUY DE LOME class, DUPUY DE LOME, SANÉ, 2 boats - 830/1290t, 17/11 knots, 8-45cm tt/2-7.5cm guns, 43 crew, launched 1915/16

68. DIANE class, DAPHNÉ (Daphne), DIANA (Diana, both from mythology), 2 boats, 1 lost - 635/890t, 17/11 knots, 10-45cm tt/1-7.5cm, 43 crew, launched 1915/16

DIANE, 11th February 1918, North Atlantic, off La Pallice, western France in Bay of Biscay - internal explosion, cause unknown. Escorting a four-masted sailing ship, "Diane" went down at night with the loss of all her crew. The 1919 "Jane’s Fighting Ships" places her loss around the 10th March 1918 in the English Channel.

69. ARMIDE class, AMAZONE (Amazon), ANTIGONE (Antigone, both from mythology), ARMIDE, 3 boats - 460/670t, 17/11 knots, 4 or 6-45cm tt/1-4.7cm or 7.5cm, 31 crew, launched 1915-16.

Two Greek and one Japanese boats building in France and requisitioned  

70. ex-German "UB.18" class coastal submarine, ROLAND MORILLOT (ex-German "UB.26") - 265/290t, 9/5 knots, 2-50cm tt/1-5cm gun, 22 crew, launched 1915.

Scuttled off Le Havre, northern France in April 1916, refloated and commissioned into the French Navy in August 1917

 71. JOESSEL/FULTON class, FULTON (early 19th cen US steamship builder), JOESSEL, 2 boats - 870/1250t, 16/11 knots, 8-45cm tt/2-7.5cm guns, c 50 crew, launched 1917/19.

Only Joessel was launched during the war

72. LAGRANGE class, LAGRANGE (18th cen mathematician), LAPLACE (18th cen astronomer & mathematician), REGNAULT, ROMAZOTTI, 4 boats - 920/1320t, 16/11 knots, 8-45cm tt/2-7.5cm guns, 47 crew, launched 1917-24.

 Only two launched during the war


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