French aviso D'Entrecasteaux
Model of D'Entrecasteaux Musée de la Marine de Paris
|Career (France)||French Navy|
|Propulsion:||2 Diesel engines 3,200|
|Armament:||3 x 138mm guns model 1927 (single mountings)
4x37mm AA guns (single mountings)
6x13.2 mm machine guns
capable of carrying 50 mines
D'Entrecasteaux was an Bougainville-class aviso of the French Navy launched in 1931. The ship was designed to operate from French colonies in Asia and Africa. She was posted at Madagascar, under Vichy French control during World War II.
During Operation Ironclad D'Entrecasteaux fought against the entire British Fleet involved in the landing operations for 36 hours, before finally being damaged and beached. While the other French surface ship, the auxiliary cruiser Bougainville, was destroyed along with 3 submarines during the initial attacks, D'Entrecasteaux managed to dodge torpedoes and escape from the harbour at Diego Suarez.
The sloop managed to avoid damage from various bomb and torpedo attacks and continued to fight throughout the day. It escaped destruction because its shallow draft allowed it to see the torpedoes pass by underneath.
The British battleship HMS Ramillies fired a few salvoes at her with no effect. However, on May 6, 1942, she was finally damaged during another Swordfish attack. The ship started to slowly take on water and was beached before she could sink. An officer and 15 sailors were killed during the attacks.
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