French cruiser Primauguet (1924)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other ships with the same name, see French ship Primauguet.
La Motte-Picquet, sister of Primauguet
Name: Primauguet
Namesake: Hervé de Portzmoguer
Builder: Arsenal de Brest
Laid down: 16 August 1923
Launched: 21 May 1924
Commissioned: 1 April 1927
Fate: Destroyed in harbour, 8 November 1942
General characteristics
Class and type: Duguay-Trouin-class cruiser
  • 7,249 tons (standard)
  • 9350 tons (full load)[1]
Length: 181.30 m (594 ft 10 in) overall
Beam: 17.50 m (57 ft 5 in)
Draught: 6.14 m (20 ft 2 in), 6.30 m (20 ft 8 in) full load
Propulsion: 4-shaft Parsons single-reduction geared turbines; 8 Guyot boilers; 102,000 shp (76,000 kW)
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h)[1]
Range: 3,000 nautical miles (6,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 27 officers, 551 sailors
Aircraft carried:

Primauguet was a French Duguay-Trouin-class light cruiser built after World War I and destroyed by US naval gunfire from the battleship Massachusetts. She was named after the 15th century Breton captain Hervé de Portzmoguer, nicknamed "Primauguet".


Primauguet was commissioned in April 1927 and immediately commenced a seven-month world cruise, returning in mid-December. The pattern of extended cruises was maintained until April 1932, when she was stationed in the Far East until a refit in January 1936. The Far East posting was resumed in November 1937 until she was relieved by the cruiser Suffren and returned to France.

The first months of World War II were spent on Atlantic patrols, convoy escort and surveillance of Axis shipping. On 1 April 1940, she sailed for Fort-de-France in the West Indies, to replace the cruiser Jeanne d'Arc. She operated in Dutch West Indies waters, intercepting merchant ships. On 6 May 1940, Primauguet, under the command of Vessel Captain Pierre Goybet, relieved the British sloop Dundee off Aruba and, at the Dutch surrender, she landed forces to secure the oil installations. Primauguet returned to Dakar on 12 June 1940, after the French surrender.

Primauguet remained with the Vichy French Navy after the French surrender in 1940. She brought a part of the French Gold Reserve of Banque de France in Africa. Primauguet was at Dakar in July 1940 during the Royal Navy's attack on the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir.

She was sent to escort an oiler in support of three La Galissonnière-class cruisers of the 4th Squadron. They were on an operation to Libreville, in French Equatorial Africa, to counter Free French activity. In the Bight of Benin, the French force was intercepted by the British cruisers Cornwall and Delhi. After negotiations, Primauguet was ordered to turn back to Casablanca by Admiral Bourague, aboard Georges Leygues.

On 8 November 1941, she began a refit in Casablanca and was not fully operational when the Naval Battle of Casablanca began in November 1942. She was shelled by the US battleship Massachusetts and cruiser Wichita, the two largest ships of the opposing American force. Primauguet returned fire despite the odds. Massively outgunned, she was badly damaged and suffered many casualties with 45 crew dead and more than 200 wounded. The ship burnt out overnight, and was beached on a reef near of the shore; the wreck was destroyed by tides a few days later and became a total loss.


  1. ^ a b O'Hara, Vincent P. (2007). The U.S. Navy Against the Axis: Surface Combat, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. p. 141. ISBN 9781591146506.