La Melpomène-class torpedo boat

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Class overview
Name: La Melpomène
Completed: 12
Lost: 6
General characteristics
Displacement: 610 tons standard, 834 tons full load
Length: 81 m
Beam: 10.5 m
Draught: 2.65 m
Propulsion: Geared turbines, 5 boilersgiving 55000 SHP, 2 shafts
Speed: 34.5 knots
Complement: 8 officers, 94 men
Armament: 2x 100 mm (3.9 in) guns

2 x 37 mm /50 DCA - 3.7 cm Mod 1933 AA guns
2 x 13 mm/50 DCA - 1.3 cm Mod 1927 machineguns

3 x 550 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes

The La Melpomène class was a group of 12 French torpedo boats built from 1933 to 1935.[1][2] The La Melpomène class was one of the fastest ships of the time because they could achieve a maximum speed of 34.5 knots; although the French built the ship as torpedo boats, due to their size and structure, the class is considered a light destroyer.

Ships in class[edit]

After serving with Marine Nationale, the ships of the La Melpomène class saw service in World War II with Kriegsmarine, Marine Nationale de l´Armistice (Vichy French Navy), Regia Marina, Free French Navy, Royal Navy and United States Navy.[3]

Ship Builder Commissioned Fate
La Melpomène AC de Bretagne, Nantes 12 November 1936 Sold in 1950
La Pomone AC de la Loire, Nantes 6 December 1936 see below
La Flore AC de Bretagne, Nantes 17 November 1936 Sold in 1950
L'Iphigénie AC de la Loire, Nantes 21 November 1936 see below
La Bayonnaise C Maritimes du Sud Ouest, Bordeaux 7 April 1938 see below
Bombarde AC de la Loire, Nantes 1 August 1938 see below
L'Incomprise AC Seine Maritime, Le Trait 12 March 1938 see below
La Poursuivante AC de France, Dunkirk 10 November 1937 see below
La Cordelière AC Augustin-Normand, Le Havre 11 November 1937 see below
Branlebas AC Augustin-Normand, Le Havre 10 March 1938 Foundered off Eddystone in 14 December 1940
Baliste AC de France, Dunkirk 14 May 1938 see below
Bouclier AC Seine Maritime, Le Trait 6 August 1938 see below

Service histories[edit]

  • La Melpomène was in a British port in June 1940. After brief service with the Royal Navy, she was transferred into FNFL (Free French) service. At the war's end she returned to France and in 1950 was sold for scrap.
  • La Pomone was in Vichy service after June 1940. Seized by the Italians at Bizerta, in November 1942, she became the Italian FR42, and the German TA10 in May 1943. In action against HMS Eclipse near Rhodes, she was badly damaged, and scuttled on 27 September 1943.
  • La Flore was in a British port in June 1940. She was transferred into FNFL (Free French) service. At the war's end she returned to France and in 1950 was sold for scrap.
  • L'Iphigénie was in Vichy service after June 1940. Seized by the Italians at Bizerta, in November 1942, she became the Italian FR43, and the German TA11 in May 43. She was sunk in action at Piombino, 10 September 1943.
  • La Bayonnaise was scuttled in Toulon on November 27, 1942, to avoid her capture. The ship was raised by the Italians and renamed FR44. She was repaired, but was taken over by the Germans after the Italian armistice and were renamed TA13. As TA13 she was scuttled on 23 August 1944.
  • Bombarde was in Vichy service after une 1940. She was seized by the Italians at Bizerte in November 1942, entering into Italian service as FR41. However, she was once again captured by the Germans during the Italian armistice of September 1943, and were renamed TA 9. As TA 9 she was sunk by US aircraft off Toulon, 23 August 1944.
  • L'Incomprise was seized by the British at Portsmouth after the Fall of France. She served with the Free French Forces. At the war's end she was decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1950.
  • La Poursuivante was in Vichy service after June 1940. She was scuttled in Toulon on November 27, 1942, to avoid her capture, leaving her a total constructive loss.
  • La Cordelière was seized by the British at Portsmouth on 3 July 1940; she was returned to serve with Free French Forces. At the war's end she was decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1950.
  • Branlebas was seized by the British at Portsmouth on 3 July 1940; The Branlebas was retained by the Royal Navy but foundered 25 miles off Eddystone on 14 December 1940.
  • Baliste was in Vichy service after June 1940. She was scuttled in Toulon on November 27, 1942, to avoid her capture. The ship was raised by the Italians and were renamed FR45. She was taken over by the Germans after the Italian armistice and was renamed TA12. As TA12 she was sunk by Allied aircraft on 22 August 1943.[4]
  • Bouclier was seized by the British at Portsmouth on 3 July 1940; She was first transferred to Royal Dutch Navy and renamed as HNLMS Bouclier, but was returned to the French forces in January 1941. At the war's end she was decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1950.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "La Melpoméne class Torpedo boats - Allied Warships of WWII". uboat.net. 1940-12-14. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  2. ^ "France - Torpedo boats - class LA MELPOMÉNE - Warships 1900-1950". Warshipsww2.eu. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  3. ^ "La Melpomène torpedo boats (1936 - 1938) - French Navy (France)". Navypedia.org. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  4. ^ Other sources give Baliste's loss date as 24.11.43

Sources[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Marc Saibène: Les Torpilleurs Légers Francais 1937-1945. Librairie de la Mer, Marines Editions, Paris, 2004, ISBN 978-2-9153-7913-6
  • Carles Salou: Les Torpilleurs de 600 tW du Type 'La Melpomène'. Lela Presse, Outreau, 2004, ISBN 2-914017-22-7

External links[edit]