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France's Duquesne class Cruisers

Photos

Duquesne with the destroyer Le Fortune in Alexandria Harbor, on April 24, 1942:
Duquesne with the destroyer Le Fortune in Alexandria Harbor, on April 24, 1942
Imperial War Museum, A-9938
Duquesne with the cruiser Suffren (right) in Alexandria Harbor, on April 24, 1942:
Duquesne with the cruiser Suffren (right) in Alexandria Harbor, on April 24, 1942
Imperial War Museum, A-9941
Tourville in Alexandria Harbor on April 24, 1942:
Tourville in Alexandria Harbor on April 24, 1942
Imperial War Museum, A-9939

Design

The 1924 Program ordered two ships of the Duquesne class that would fall under the 10,000 ton Washington Treaty restrictions for cruisers. To stay within the limits it was decided to sacrifice armor protection.

The order for production was given on July 1, 1924.

Aircraft

The aircraft that were carried, in order of use, were the Gourdou-Leseurre GL-812, Gourdou-Leseurre GL-832, and the Loire-Nieuport 130.

Armament

They were to be armed with 8" guns but the French didn't have any so they had to be designed from scratch.

  Shell Weight Rate of Fire Range Elevation
8", 20.3 cm L/50 M1924 127 kg, 134 kg 4 rpm 31,000 m  

Conversions to Carriers

In 1935 consideration was given in converting the Duquesne class into light carriers but this was abandoned in favor of building the Joffre class carriers.

Ships

Duquesne

  • Manufacturer: Arsenal de Brest, Brest, Brest Navy Yard
  • October 30, 1924: Laid down.
  • December 17, 1925: Launched.
  • 1928, December 6, 1928: Completed.
  • July 3, 1928: At Le Havre for naval review.
  • November 1929: Flagship of 1st Light Division of the 1st Squadron based in Toulon.
  • October 1931: Sailed to United States for 150th Anniversary of Battle of Yorktown.
  • 1932 - 1938: Based in Toulon with the 1st Light Division and 3rd Light Division.
  • 1938 - September 1939: With gunnery school.
  • January 25, 1940: Sailed to Dakar.
  • April 1940: Hunted for German raiders.
  • May 1940: Flagship of 2nd Cruiser Division of Force X in Alexandria.
  • June 12 - 13, 1940: Sortie into Adriatic.
  • June 24, 1943: Sailed around Cape Horn to Dakar.
  • April 1944: Member of 1st Cruiser Division doing anti-blockade duties.
  • May 1944: Arrived in Clyde to be used as replenishment ship during Operation Neptune (naval support of Normandy Invasion).
  • December 1944: Member of Group Lorraine tasked with bombardment of German Atlantic Coast fortresses in France.
  • June - December 1945: Refit at Brest.
  • 1945: Torpedo tubes, aircraft, and catapult removed.

Tourville

  • Manufacturer: Arsenal de Lorient, Lorient, Lorient Navy Yard
  • March 4, 1925, April 14, 1925: Laid down.
  • August 24, 1926: Launched.
  • 1928, December 1, 1928: Completed.
  • April 5, 1929 - December 24, 1930: Sailed on world cruise.
  • 1934: Member of 3rd Light Division.
  • August 1936 - May 1937: Evacuated refugees from Spanish Civil War.
  • January - August 1939: Refit at Toulon.
  • August 1939: Member of 2nd Cruiser Division in Toulon. Participated in searches in Mediterranean for German merchantman.
  • December 8 - 26, 1939: Sailed from Bizerte to Beruit. 22 ships were inspected along way.
  • January 20 - February 7, 1940: Sailed from Toulon to Beruit. Escorted(?) gold shipment.
  • July 1940 - 1943: Demilitarized in Alexandria.
  • 1943 - June 1944: Member of 1st Cruiser Division in Dakar.
  • June 1944: Refit at Bizerte.
  • November 1944: Refit at Toulon.
  • December 1944: Became base ship for escorts.
  • 1945: Torpedo tubes, aircraft, and catapult removed.

 

Usage

Both were used for patrol duties in 1939 - 1940 but were demilitarized after the surrender of France. In 1943 they rejoined the Allies.

 

Specifications

  Duquesne class
Crew 605
Displacement 10,000 tons
Displacement - Loaded 11,200 tons, 12,200 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 626' 8", 626' 9"
191 m
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars 607'
185 m
Beam 62' 3", 62' 4", 62' 6"
19 m
Draft / Height 20' 9", 23'
6.32 m
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed 33 knots, 33.75 knots
Range at 13 knots 3,000 nautical miles
Range at 15 knots 4,500 nautical miles
Range at 29 knots 1,600 nautical miles
Range at 30 knots 1,900 nautical miles
Armament 8": 8
8", 20.3 cm L/50 M1924 twin turrets: 4
Anti-Aircraft 3", 7.5 cm: 8
3" L/60 M1922: 8
40 mm: 8
37 mm twin mounts: 4
37 mm M1925 twin mounts: 4
20 mm: 16
13.2 mm machine guns: 12
Torpedo Tubes 21.7": 4 tubes in 3 mounts, 3 tubes in 2 mounts
Aircraft 2
Armor  
Belt - Main 1"
Control Tower 1"
3 cm
Deck 3 cm
Magazine 1"
3 cm
Turrets 1"
3 cm
Engines  
Boilers Guyot: 9
Guyot du Temple: 9
Shafts 4
Turbines Rateau-Bretagne geared
Rateau-Bretagne SR geared
Rateau-Chantiers de Bretagne geared
HP 120,000
Oil 1,820 tons, 2,070 tons

Sources:

  1. Cruisers of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1995
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  3. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site