French destroyer L'Audacieux

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Name: L'Audacieux
Launched: 14 March 1934
Commissioned: 8 August 1936
Reclassified: Training ship (April 1941)
Captured: 27 November 1942, by Germany
Fate: Sunk on 7 May 1943
General characteristics
Class and type: Le Fantasque-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,570 tonnes
Length: 132.40 m (434.4 ft)
Beam: 11.98 m (39.3 ft)
Draught: 4.30 m (14.1 ft)
  • 4 Penhoët boilers
  • 2 Parsons or Rateau engines
  • 74,000 to 81,000 hp
  • 2 propellers
Speed: 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph)
Range: 1,200 km (650 nmi; 750 mi) at 34 knots (63 km/h; 39 mph)
Armament: 5 × 138 mm (5.4 in) guns

L'Audacieux ("The audacious one") was a large destroyer (contre-torpilleur, "Torpedo-boat destroyer") of the French Navy used during the Second World War.


L'Audacieux was launched on 14 March 1934, and commissioned on 8 August 1936. The Le Fantasque-class destroyers were assigned to the Force de Raid when war was declared.[1] In October 1939, with her sister ships Le Terrible and Le Fantasque, the L'Audacieux captured the German cargo ship Santa Fé and took part in the pursuit of the "pocket battleship" Graf Spee. In November and December of the same year, she also conducted patrols in the North Atlantic.

In March 1940, she took part in anti-submarine patrols in the Mediterranean, from her base at Casablanca. In May of the same year, L'Audacieux was attacked by German planes several times, but was not hit. On 29 May, after taking part in Operation Dynamo, L'Audacieux collided with the destroyers Frondeur and Boulonnais off Dunkerque, and was sent for repairs in Brest until 13 June. On 18 June, L'Audacieux, together with Léopard and Courbet, patrolled Cherbourg. On 3 July, L'Audacieux took part in the battle of Mers-el-Kebir, engaging British aircraft. She attempted to launch torpedo attacks on British heavy fleet units, but was retired to cover Strasbourg during her retreat to Toulon. On 23 September, she took part in the Battle of Dakar; after being heavily damaged by gunfire from HMAS Australia, she had to be beached. She was refloated in February 1941; however, she was too badly damaged for repair and was immobilized as a training hulk.

L'Audacieux was taken over by the Germans on 27 November 1942, the day that the French fleet was scuttled at Toulon harbor, and was renamed ZF-5. She was towed to Bizerte, Tunisia, on 4 May 1943, to be repaired, but she was sunk by British planes three days later.

The hulk was refloated in December 1943 and used as a source of spares for her surviving sisters. The remains were sold for scrap in August 1948 and broken up at Sfax.


  1. ^ Rohwer, Jürgen; Hummelchen, Gerhard (1992). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 5. ISBN 1-55750-105-X. 
  • Couhat, Jean Labayle; (1971). French warships of World War II. London: Ian Allan. p. 57. ISBN 07110-0153-7