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TheGreatBlasto

Did the French navy fight any battles

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...in the 20th century?

Besides the one where the RN destroyed their ships in el-kebab-whatever.

 

They had some nice ship back in the first half of the century. 

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They fought the USN in 1942 off the coast of Morocco during the Torch landings in North Africa. Jean Bart actually fired from dockside inside the port and got hit by Massachussetts and dive bombers from Ranger that put her out of action. They lost a light cruiser and several destroyers and submarines as well. They fought, bravely but not well.

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There was that battle in WW2 which pitted the French fleet against the Siamese fleet(back when Siam still existed).

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I don't think they had any open sea actions but the British did attack them in their base in North Africa and there is the aforementioned US attack on North Africa. Early in the war the Italians were out looking for the British and the French were out looking for the Italians. They all came within about thirty miles of each other but contact was never made. This makes for a great what if cruiser action and myself and a friend did it with miniatures as an Italian French action.

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Battle of Casablanca 

 

Battle of Dakar

 

Battle of Antivari

Edited by Sventex

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During WW 1 the French fought alongside the RN in the Dardanelles campaign against the Ottoman Empire.  They even lost several old battleships including:

Bouvet.  Hit a mine and sank March 18, 1915  while engaging Ottoman coast defense forts.

French_battleship_Bouvet.jpg

Bouvet's end:

about-world-war-1-gallipoli-saved-by-tur

The old battleship Gaulois torpedoed by the UB-47.  Gaulois was previously heavily damaged bombarding Ottoman forts on March 18th, 1915 and intentionally grounded to save her.  Later salvaged, UB 47 sank her on December 27th, 1916

1200px-French_battleship_Gaulois_(1896).

Gaulois going down.  She took about half-an-hour to sink and most of the crew escaped.

290px-Cuirasse_le_Gaulois_endommage_aux_

Suffern was torpedoed off Portugal on November 26th, 1916 by UB 52 and sank after a magazine explosion with no survivors.

French_battleship_Suffren.jpg

So, the French Navy was quite active in the Mediterranean in particular during WW 1.

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Jean Bart would have been blown up and sunk if she was fully armed when she fought Massacusetts.  A 16" shell penetrated into a secondary magazine and exploded....but it was empty.   That would have been fatal if she was stocked with ammo.

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20 minutes ago, JuiceEFruit said:

Jean Bart would have been blown up and sunk if she was fully armed when she fought Massacusetts.  A 16" shell penetrated into a secondary magazine and exploded....but it was empty.   That would have been fatal if she was stocked with ammo.

Just as if she had all her 8 guns actually attached.... then the Massacusetts might not have gotten such a free pass as she did.

1920px-Jean_Bart_damaged_01.jpg

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1 hour ago, JuiceEFruit said:

Jean Bart would have been blown up and sunk if she was fully armed when she fought Massacusetts.  A 16" shell penetrated into a secondary magazine and exploded....but it was empty.   That would have been fatal if she was stocked with ammo.

That hit, assuming the 6" magazines had detonated, wouldn't likely have sunk the ship but instead have blown the stern off leaving the ship DIW and a sitting duck for being sunk.

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In WW1 biggest one that comes to mind is Antivari in the beginning of the war where whole French fleet beat up a poor Austro-Hungarian cruiser. It could have in theory resulted in a Mediterranean Jutland as it was intended to lure the Austro-Hungarians out of port but they didn't. And then as other said the Gallipoli participation. French navy took losses mostly/entirely from German/Austro-Hungarian subs not surface engagements. Not sure if France lost a single ship to enemy gunfire during WW1. 

 

In WW2 yeah everyone else has got to it, mainly Vichy era battles against the UK/US/Siam. 

Interested in seeing what people dig up though, France is the country(at least in the 20th century) with the large navy that used it the least due to circumstances. 

 

Edited by Aristotle83

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During WW1 the French Navy with several battleships engaged the Austro-Hungarian cruiser Zenta which was accompanied by the torpedoboat Ulan. Zenta, being too outdated and unable to disengage due to her low speed took the engagement and the French fired several hundred main caliber shells to sink Zenta. Ulan managed to escape from the action.

To my knowledge this would be the largest hostile warship the French Navy sunk in action during the 20th century.

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3 hours ago, SireneRacker said:

During WW1 the French Navy with several battleships engaged the Austro-Hungarian cruiser Zenta which was accompanied by the torpedoboat Ulan. Zenta, being too outdated and unable to disengage due to her low speed took the engagement and the French fired several hundred main caliber shells to sink Zenta. Ulan managed to escape from the action.

To my knowledge this would be the largest hostile warship the French Navy sunk in action during the 20th century.

It was an elaborate plan to lure the rest of the Austro-Hungarian Battleship fleet into battle to save Zenta, but it didn't work because the Austro-Hungarians never knew what was happening.

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French Ships Help Bombard German Positions at Normandy. 

IN FRONT OF THE GERMAN COASTAL ARTILLERY BATTERY OF LONGUES-SUR-MER (BETWEEN OMAHA BEACH AND GOLD BEACH) ARE DEPLOYED THE FREE FRANCE CRUISERS “MONTCALM” AND “GEORGES LEYGUES”.

IN FRONT OF OMAHA BEACH IS THE FREE FRANCE DESTROYER “ROSELYS”.

IN FRONT OF JUNO BEACH IS THE FREE FRANCE DESTROYER “LA COMBATTANTE

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Lamotte-Picquet(sistership to duguay trouin) and a couple of Bougainville class avisos was part of the french naval squadron that saw action against the Royal Thai Navy in the Battle of Ko Chang back in 17 January 1941.

The French Navy was actually very successful in this battle, through bigger events came to thailand that shadowed the french naval victory in the form of the Japanese Empire.

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On 9/17/2020 at 4:36 PM, TheGreatBlasto said:

So no actions in WWl against the Germans.

They lost a few escort vessels protecting convoys, no capital ship vs ship engagements.

 

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The Invasion of North Africa (Vichy French Navy vs Allied landing fleet)

The Scuttling at Toulon (stoped the Germans from siezing Vichy ships once Germany occpied the "Free Zone"'

Gallipoli

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2 hours ago, snakes3425 said:

Forgot one

The Suez Crisis 

I don't recall any naval battles during the Suez Crisis.

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On 11/21/2020 at 2:31 AM, Sventex said:

I don't recall any naval battles during the Suez Crisis.

The French Navy took part in providing fire support and escorts during the invasion

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