French destroyer Le Terrible

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French destroyer Le Terrible, post-war
Name: Le Terrible
Builder: Chantiers Navals Français, Caen
Laid down: 1931
Launched: 30 November 1933
Commissioned: 1 May 1936
Reclassified: March 1943
Fate: scrapped June 1962
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 (55,000 to 60,000 kW)
  • 2 propellers
  • 45 knots (83 km/h; 52 mph) (40 nominal)
  • 37 knots (69 km/h; 43 mph) after refit
  • 1,200 km (650 nmi; 750 mi) at 34 knots (63 km/h; 39 mph)
  • 6,600 km at 17 knots
  • 10 officers
  • 210 sailors

Le Terrible ("The terrible one") was a large destroyer (contre-torpilleur, "Torpedo-boat destroyer") of the French Navy in service during World War II.


Le Terrible was launched in 1933 and displaced 2,570 tonnes with 74,000 HP. She became the fastest destroyer ever when she reached 45.1 knots during trials in 1935.[1]

The Le Fantasque-class destroyers were assigned to the Force de Raid when war was declared.[2] On 25 October 1939, along with her sister-ship French destroyer Le Fantasque, Le Terrible captured the German cargo ship Santa Fe.

She took part in the battle of Mers-el-Kebir on 3 July 1940, exiting the harbour and engaging the British fleet. She attempted to torpedo large British units, but was recalled to escort the French battleship Strasbourg back to Toulon.

Le Terrible took part in the Battle of Dakar in September 1940.

Shortly after Operation Torch, French West Africa and its fleet, including Le Terrible, rejoined the Allies. In March 1943, she entered a major refit and modernization in Boston, where she was fitted with two radars, a new ASDIC, new anti-air weaponry and other improvements. She was then reclassified as a "light cruiser" to match Allied standards, and was sent to the Mediterranean theater of war.

She took part in Allied invasion of Italy, bombarding shore targets and repelling German planes. On 13 December 1943, she landed 250 men in Ajaccio.

In 1944, she formed the 10th Light Cruiser Division along with her sister-ships Le Fantasque and Le Malin, attacking Axis convoys in swift night actions in the Adriatic Sea including defeating a German convoy just off Ist island in February 1944.[1] In August, she took part in Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of south France.

In December, she was heavily damaged in a collision with Le Malin, which left her under repair until 1945.

After the war, Le Terrible was put in the reserve, and reclassified as a "swift escort" to match NATO standards, with pennant number D611. She served as an escort to the French aircraft carriers La Fayette, Bois Belleau and Arromanches.

From 1956, she was used as a training ship in Brest, and she was eventually scrapped in June 1962.


  1. ^ a b Greene, Jack, O'Hara, Vincent P;. Spencer C. Tucker, ed. World War II at sea : an encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, LLC. pp. 7, 282. ISBN 978-1-59884-457-3. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  2. ^ 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.