French submarine Saphir
Saphir in port in Toulon
|Builder:||Arsenal de Toulon|
|Laid down:||October 1903|
|Launched:||6 February 1908|
|Completed:||10 December 1910|
|Identification:||Pennant number: Q44|
|Fate:||Scuttled, 15 January 1915|
|Class and type:||Émeraude-class submarine|
|Length:||44.9 m (147 ft 4 in) (o/a)|
|Beam:||3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)|
|Draft:||3.8 m (12 ft 6 in)|
|Test depth:||40 m (130 ft)|
|Complement:||2 officers and 23 crewmen|
|Armament:||6 × 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes (4 × bow, 2 × stern)|
After its launch, Saphir was assigned to the Mediterranean. In 1913, it joined a squadron based in Bizerte, Tunisia, to defend the region. In late 1914, it moved closer to the Dardanelles to reach its base in Tenedos to participate in monitoring and blockade of the straits.
On 13 December 1914, a British submarine, the B11, was able to enter the straits and sink a Turkish battleship, the Messudiyeh. On 15 January 1915, to follow the example of B11 and without prior orders, the commander of Saphir, Lt Henri Fournier, tried to force the entrance of the straits. Diving under the minefield, off Chanak, a leak occurred in the Saphir. Forced to surface under fire from enemy guns, the commander gave the order to destroy the code documents and to sink the submarine. Located at 1500 m from the coast, the crew tried to gain ground by swimming. The survivors who did not perish from cold (13 of 27 men and the two officers did not survive) were recovered by two boats of the Turkish army and transferred, after interrogation, to prisons including the one in Afyonkarahisar. Some were soon after taken as prisoners to camps Asia Minor where they managed to escape.
There was a French citation for officers and sailors of the Saphir submarines
The submarine Saphir and Curie and fell gloriously in battle are brought to the agenda of the Naval Staff. In his affliction seeing succumb as valiant servants of the country, the commander reminds everyone how the army should be proud to have in its ranks of officers and crews also capable of heroic actions as those were completed by these brave buildings whose names remain in the maritime splendor. Honor and glory to the officers and crews of the Saphir and Curie, they deserved well of the Motherland.
- Couhat, Jean Labayle (1974). French Warships of World War I. London: Ian Allen. ISBN 0-7110-0445-5.
- Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal (1985). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
- Garier, Gérard (2002). A l'épreuve de la Grande Guerre. L'odyssée technique et humaine du sous-marin en France (in French). 3–2. Bourg-en-Bresse, France: Marines édition. ISBN 2-909675-81-5.
- Garier, Gérard (1998). Des Émeraude (1905-1906) au Charles Brun (1908–1933). L'odyssée technique et humaine du sous-marin en France (in French). 2. Bourg-en-Bresse, France: Marines édition. ISBN 2-909675-34-3.