Talk:French submarine Surcouf

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Quote "Another rumor associated with this event is that, on 1 January 1942, an American destroyer was sent to Saint-Pierre to restore it to Vichy control".That doesn't make any sense, or does it? -- 790 22:50, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

I rewrote that paragraph. Does it make sense now? ➥the Epopt 14:32, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm afraid it doesn't, because Vichy France was allied with Nazi Germany. I don't see why U.S. troops should have wanted them to regain control of anything. From whom, anyway? The Germans? But they invaded Vichy France not before November 1942. Also, there's a whole lot of Saint-Pierres in France... which one is this about? -- 790 16:40, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
The US might have wanted to return Saint-Pierre to Vichy control to avoid alienating Vichy France. Vichy France was neutral (not "allied with Nazi Germany"), as were the USA. Rama 17:56, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
The US wasn't neutral in 1942, as Germany declared war to the USA on December 12, 1941. British Forces had attacked the Vichy navy even back in 1940. -- 790 18:07, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
And although the US diplomatically recognized Vichy France in the beginning, it can hardly be called neutral, as it cooperated with Germany and imposed Nazi-like laws against Jews, etc. -- 790 18:11, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Oh, sorry, I misread the date. The USA were at war at the time.
Vichy France was technically at war with Germany, and practically neutral. Its internal affairs are distinct from its international stance. The aggression of the British navy is yet another matter : it was widely regarded as despicable (including by British officers), yet did not trigger a state of war between France and the UK ; in any case, this would have had nothing to do with the USA. Rama 18:13, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
True; but back to my original question: exactly which town named Saint-Pierre is meant here, and under the control of whom was it on January 1, 1942? -- 790 19:32, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Ah, sorry ! It is this one. They were at first loyal to Vichy, and fell to the Free French after the raid by the Surcouf. They remained with the Free French until the end of the war. Rama 20:13, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
I am sorry, I didn't read properly. I read up on the US stance towards Vichy France, and I am still surprised. Thanks for your efforts. -- 790 21:26, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
You are quite welcome. Vichy France is interesting to study, there were dozens of different political tendencies, and lots of people trying to play their pet faction against the others, often resulting in counter-intuitive results. For instance, the Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon is usually presented as having the purpose of denying the ships to the Germans, but it was in fact prepared with the British in mind.... go figure ! Rama 00:16, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Suggested change/error fix[edit]

Hi all,

We received an email a few minutes ago regarding this article, and a possible error in it:

If someone more knowledgeable on the subject could evaluate these concerns and make any necessary edits to the article, it'd be much appreciated.

Daniel (talk) 08:31, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Wreck found, or not?[edit]

The second to the last sentence of the main part of "Fate" states "The wreck lies 3,000 m (9,800 ft) deep at 10°40′N 79°32′WCoordinates: 10°40′N 79°32′W." However, the first sentence of the sub-section of "Fate," "Theories," states "...her wreck has yet to be discovered..." The reference for the location of the wreck is in French, which I don't read. So, has the wreck been found, or not? Wjl2 (talk) 08:43, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Seconded. This is quite confusing. I checked the reference, but it doesn't help: It says that the sinking after the collision with the "Thomson Lykes" is "the official story" - of the French Navy or who it doesn't say - and also gives no further evidence or source for any of this. My guess is that someone just took the position which "Thomson Lykes" reported for its collision and checked the depth on a map. But aren't we all glad that we can cite a source, however crappy it may be?

The coordinates are the approximate location of Surcouf's (supposed) collision with the Thompson Lykes. Her wreck has not been located. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:16, 17 January 2015 (UTC)


The article says that the french naval forces mostly "accepted willingly" the British ultimatum to "re-join the fight against Germany, be put out of reach of the Germans or scuttle the ships." This is not particularly helpful as it stands now. Which of the three did they eventually do? All of them? (With different decisions for different units of course being possible.) Or was there a majority for one of the options?
But this article is about the Surcouf. Obviously it complied with none of the options, or why did British forces take the boat with a fight? But still it is not included in the "notable exceptions". All this is quite confusing at the moment, and needs to be cleared up. --BjKa (talk) 17:42, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Here is how it went for the Surcouf :

The British operation had been carefully prepared ; during the night of the 3rd of July, the British cmdr Sprague -who commanded the submarine Thames, moored side by side with the Surcouf- showed up with what he said to be "an important message for the the Surcouf captain". As Sprague had been invited several time on board, The French guard knew him and led him inside. When the guard turned his back, Spargue drew his gun, made a silent hand gesture to the Royal Marines hidden on the dock, and casually followed the guard. A few seconds after they entered the submarine, the Marines boarded the now unguarded Surcouf and followed them inside. They were led by the cmdr Griffiths, who -as the British liaison officer- knew the submarine's interior. Once inside, they quickly took control of the ship, waking up a surprised crew. Meanwhile, Sprague and two Marines broke into the room of French cmdr Martin, and told him he was under arrest, threatening him with their guns. He was led to the officer's mess with all the other officers and Sprague read him the British Admiralty's ultimatum. Martin told him he had no right to answer without referring to his superior, the Admiral De Vilaine, who was on the French battlecruiser Paris -also moored on the harbour-, and asked to go to see him, giving his word that he would came back and asking for Sprague's word that none of his men would be disembarked during his absence. Sprague finally accepted; along with Griffiths, they accompanied Martin on the submarine's deck and asked a Marine to bring the French officer on the aforesaid battlecruiser. Less than a minute after Martin's departure, the French Chief Gunner Bouillaut disarmed a Marine and took his handgun. Hearing a gunshot, Sprague and Griffiths drew their guns and rushed inside. Sawing them coming, Bouillaut shot first, his bullet hitting Sprague in the head and instantaneously killing him. This triggered the whole fight. Griffiths fired on Bouillaut but tripped on Sprague's body, his bullet hitting the Chief Gunner's shoulder. When he tried to shoot again, he was killed by the Surcouf's Medical Officer, armed with a submachine gun. The aforesaid officer then shot the Marine who was charging him with his bayonet; the dying Marine then fell on the French Mechanical Engineer Daniel, thus skewing -and killing- him. The whole thing was a total mess, and when the Royal Marines finally managed to take control of the submarine, they threw the whole crew in jail. Following what they saw as a "British treason", only 14 of the 130 trained crew members of the Surcouf decided to join the Free French Forces when given the choice. Thus, the Surcouf remained unused for six months until a new Free French crew was formed under the French Captain Ortoli. -- (talk) 05:00, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

8" guns in a turret?[edit]

The article states that the guns were in a turret, which would mean the housing could rotate. Is this true? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:53, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes, it is true. The turret could rotate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:18, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Counting fish[edit]

The page says she had 10 tubes (6x55cm, 4x40cm). This page, backed up by Henri Le Messon (member of the French Marine Academy & author of the two-volume history of the French Navy), says she had 8 external tubes (2x4), apparently one each 55cm & 40cm (1x4 each). So which is it? How many in the hull? And how many each fore & aft, since the diagram shows 2 fwd/4 aft, while the same page says 4x55cm fwd (which is what I'd expect; 2 fwd/4 aft seems really odd). TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 03:59, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

According to the original blueprints (from the French Navy archives) and pictures taken during its construction, the Surcouf had 10 torpedo tubes, placed as follows:
• 1 stern torpedo turret, 3 torpedo tubes - 2 x 400mm + 1 x 550mm
• 1 middle torpedo turret, 3 torpedo tubes - 2 x 400mm + 1 x 550mm
• 4 bow torpedo tubes - 4 x 550mm
-- (talk) 20:42, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
Thx for finding that. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 23:11, 30 October 2015 (UTC)