French cruiser Algérie

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Algérie
Algerie-1.jpg
The Algérie
Career (France)
Name: Algérie
Namesake: French Algeria
Builder: Brest Dock Yard
Laid down: 19 March 1931
Launched: 21 May 1932
Commissioned: 15 September 1934
Fate: Scuttled at Toulon on 27 November 1942. Scrapped 1949.
General characteristics
Displacement: 10,000 tons (standard)
13,641 tons (full load)
Length: 186.2 m (611 ft)
Beam: 20 m (66 ft)
Draught: 6.15 m (20.2 ft)
Propulsion: 4-shaft Rateau-Bretagne SR geared turbines
6 Indret boilers, 84,000 shp
Speed: 31 knots (57 km/h)
Range: 8,700 nautical miles (16,110 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 748
Armament: 8 203mm/55 Modèle 1931 guns (4 × 2)
12 100 mm/45 DP guns (6 × 2)
8 37 mm AA guns (4 × 2)
(from 1941: 16 37 mm)
16 13.2 mm AA (4 × 4)
(from 1941: 36 13.2 mm)
6 550 mm torpedo tubes (2 × 3)
Armour: main belt 120 mm (4.75in)
transverse bulkheads: 70 mm (2.75in)
longitudinal bulkheads: 40 mm (1.5in)
main deck: 80 mm (3in-1in)
turrets: 95 mm (3.75in) (faces), 70 mm (2.75in) (sides and roofs)
control tower: 70 to 95 mm (2.75in-3.75in)
torpedo bulkhead
Aircraft carried: 3-Loire-Nieuport 130 seaplanes, 1 catapult (removed 1941)

The Algérie was a French heavy cruiser that served during the early years of World War II. She was built in response to the Italian Zara class cruisers, incorporating better armour than previous French cruisers. One of the last of the so-called "Treaty Cruisers," she was considered one of the best designs commissioned by any of the naval powers. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Algérie was a well-armored ship.[citation needed]

Algérie started World War II as flagship of the 1st Cruiser Squadron which also included the cruisers Dupleix, Foch, Duquesne, Tourville, Colbert and destroyers from the 5th, 7th and 9th Contre-Torpilleur divisions. The Algérie, Dupleix, the battle cruiser Strasbourg and the British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (95) were based in Dakar in French West Africa, while searching for the German Graf Spee.

In March 1940, after refitting at Toulon, she accompanied the battleship Bretagne to Canada, with 3,000 cases of French gold. In April, Algérie returned to the Mediterranean and when Italy declared war on France, she helped shell Genoa in June.[1] Her last mission before the French surrender was as a convoy escort.

After the French defeat in 1940, Algérie remained with the Vichy fleet based at Toulon. Her only mission for the Vichy navy was to escort the battleship Provence back to Toulon, as the battleship had been summarily repaired after the damages received during the British attack on Mers-el-Kébir in 1940. In 1941, her secondary and anti-aircraft weaponry was strengthened and in 1942, she was fitted with the early French-built radar.

She was still there when the Germans invaded the so-called "Free Zone" on the 27 November 1942. She was scuttled in the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon. Demolition charges were set on the ship. The Germans tried to persuade her crew that scuttling was not permitted by Armistice provisions; her captain requested the Germans to wait until his superior could advise, as the fuses were lit. When Admiral Lacroix finally arrived, he ordered the ship evacuated; as the Germans were preparing to board, he told them that the cruiser was about to explode. She was blown up and burned for 20 days.

The Italians raised her in sections on 18 March 1943. The remains were bombed and sunk again on 7 March 1944, and were finally raised and broken up for scrap in 1949.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rohwer, Juergen; Huemmelchen, Gerhard (2005), Chronology of the war at sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two (3rd ed.), London, England: Chatham Publishing, p. 28, ISBN 1-59114-119-2 
  2. ^ Warship International, No. 3, 1997, p. 310.