French destroyer Maillé Brézé (1931)

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For other ships of the same name, see French ship Maillé Brézé.
Milan 1936-1937.jpg
A sister-ship of the Maillé Brézé
Career (France)
Name: Maillé Brézé
Namesake: Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé
Builder: Ateliers et Chantiers de St Nazaire-Penhoet
Launched: 9 November 1931
Commissioned: 6 April 1933
Fate: Lost by accidental explosion 30 April 1940, Greenock, Scotland
Status: Scrapped 1956
General characteristics
Class and type: Vauquelin-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,400 tonnes (2,362 long tons)
Length: 129 m (423 ft 3 in)
Beam: 11.84 m (38 ft 10 in)
Draught: 4.97 m (16 ft 4 in)
Propulsion: Geared turbines, 4 boilers, 64,000 shp (47,725 kW)
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 3,650 nmi (6,760 km; 4,200 mi) at 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 220 officers and men
  • 5 × single 138 mm (5.4 in) Model 1927 guns
  • 4 × 27 mm (1.1 in) AA guns
  • 4 × 13 mm (0.51 in) AA guns
  • 7 × 550 mm (22 in) torpedo tubes (1 × 3, 2 × 2)

Maillé Brézé was a Vauquelin-class destroyer of the French Navy lost in an accidental explosion during World War II.

On 30 April 1940, at 14:15, as Maillé Brézé was anchored at the Tail of the Bank off Greenock, a torpedo tube misfunctioned and launched an armed torpedo on the deck, setting fire to the fuel tanks and the forward magazine, which however did not explode.

At 15:15, the crew abandoned ship due to the danger of explosion, except for numerous sailors trapped in the mess hall. Around 16:30, a few sailors returned to the ship to flood the aft magazine, and by 19:30 the fire was controlled by the Greenock firemen. By that time, Maillé Brézé was so low in the water that she began sinking before she could be towed, and she went down with those still trapped in the forward part. The accident killed 25 and wounded 48.[1]

She was raised in 1954 and broken up by 1956.[2] The wreck currently visible opposite Greenock (and thus not to be confused with the Maillé Brézé) is that of the MV Captayannis which sank in 1974.


The memorial to the Free French forces on the Lyle Hill in Greenock is often wrongly said to be for the Maillé Brézé but there is no mention of her or her crew at all either on or near it, the sinking having occurred before the Free French forces came into being a few months later. There is a somewhat more modest memorial to the lost crew of the Maillé Brézé at Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey, England.[3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Buxton, Ian (1992). "Question 6/89". Warship International (Toledo, OH: International Naval Research Organization) XXIX (1): 101. ISSN 0043-0374. 
  3. ^ French Destroyer Maille Breze - Memorial

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