French ship Impétueux (1787)

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Scale model of Achille, sister ship of French ship Impétueux (1787), on display at the Musée de la Marine in Paris.
French Navy EnsignFrance
Name: Impétueux
Namesake: Impetuous
Builder: Rochefort
Laid down: 1786
Launched: 25 August 1787
Commissioned: 1788
Decommissioned: 1 June 1794
United Kingdom
Name: Impétueux
Acquired: 1 June 1794
Fate: Destroyed by fire on 24 August 1794
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Téméraire-class ship of the line
  • 1,966 tonnes
  • 3,260 tonnes fully loaded
Length: 55.87 metres (183.3 ft) (172 pied)
Beam: 14.90 metres (48 ft 11 in)
Draught: 7.26 metres (23.8 ft) (22 pied)
Propulsion: Up to 2,485 m2 (26,750 sq ft) of sails
Armour: Timber

Impétueux was a Téméraire class 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy.

She took part in the Glorious First of June in 1794. During the battle, HMS Marlborough became tangled with Impétueux. Badly damaged and on the verge of surrender, Impétueux received a brief reprieve when Mucius appeared through the smoke and collided with both ships.[2] The three entangled ships continued exchanging fire, all suffering heavy casualties with Marlborough and Impétueux losing all three of their masts. This combat continued for several hours. Captain Berkeley of Marlborough had to retire below with serious wounds, and command fell to Lieutenant John Monkton, who signalled for help from the frigates in reserve.[3] Robert Stopford responded in HMS Aquilon, which had the assignment of repeating signals, and towed Marlborough out of the line as Mucius freed herself and made for the regrouped French fleet to the north. Impétueux was in too damaged a state to move at all and sailors from HMS Russell soon seized her.[4]

The Royal Navy intended to take into service as HMS Impetueux, but she was destroyed in an accidental fire at Portsmouth on 24 August 1794 and so was never commissioned. During the battle of The Glorious First of June, the Royal Navy had also captured her sister ship America, which it renamed HMS Impetueux in 1795.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clouet, Alain (2007). "La marine de Napoléon III : classe Téméraire - caractéristiques". (in French). Archived from the original on 23 March 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  2. ^ Padfield, Peter (2000) [1976]. Nelson's War. Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Military Library. p. 33. ISBN 1-84022-225-5. OCLC 43500487.
  3. ^ James, William (2002) [1827]. The Naval History of Great Britain, Volume 1, 1793-1796. London: Conway Maritime Press.
  4. ^ Tracy, Nicholas (Ed.) (1998). The Naval Chronicle, Volume 1, 1793-1798. London: Chatham. ISBN 1-86176-091-4. OCLC 60158681.