Aigle-class destroyer

The Aigle-class destroyers (contre-torpilleurs) were built for the French navy during the 1920s. They were very similar to the previous Guepard class, the only difference being improved machinery with higher pressure boilers, offering an additional 0.5 knots (0.93 km/h; 0.58 mph) of speed and a new model 138 mm gun with a sliding breech block giving a higher rate of fire. The ships were named after birds.

Aigle-class destroyer
Class overview
Name: Aigle class
Operators:  French Navy
Preceded by: Guépard class
Succeeded by: Vauquelin class
Completed: 6
Scrapped: 1
General characteristics (as built)
Type: Destroyer
  • 2,441 t (2,402 long tons) (standard)
  • 3,140 t (3,090 long tons) (full load)
Length: 128.5 m (421 ft 7 in)
Beam: 11.8 m (38 ft 9 in)
Draught: 4.4 m (14 ft 5 in)
Installed power:
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 3,650 nmi (6,760 km; 4,200 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Crew: 10 officers, 217 crewmen (wartime)


Built by Ateliers et Chantiers de France, Dunkirk
Launched 19 February 1931
Completed 10 October 1932
Scuttled 27 November 1942
Refloated 10 July 1943.
Bombed and sunk 24 November 1943
Broken up in situ 1952.
Built by Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, La Seyne
Launched 26 August 1930
Completed 2 May 1932
Scuttled 27 November 1942
Refloated 17 January 1943
Bombed and sunk 4 February 1944
Broken up in situ 1951
  • Albatros (3, 2, 5, 72, X73, X77, F762, D614)
built by Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire, Nantes
Launched 27 June 1930
Completed 25 December 1931
Decommissioned 9 September 1959
Built by Ateliers et Chantiers de Bretagne, Nantes
Launched 14 June 1930
Completed 30 January 1932
Scuttled 27 November 1942
Refloated 1 June 1943.
Partly scrapped June–September 1943
Hulk bombed and sunk 7 March 1944
Broken up in situ 1948
Built by Arsenal de Lorient
Launched 13 October 1931
Completed 20 April 1934 -
On 8 November 1942, off Casablanca, she was hit by 16-inch (400 mm) shells from the US fleet and had to be beached.
Built by Arsenal de Lorient,
Launched 14 August 1931
Completed 1 April 1934 -
On 9 November 1942 she was sunk by HMS Aurora off Oran. She was raised, and eventually broken up in 1946.

Service history

Three of the ships (Albatros, Épervier and Milan) were stationed in Morocco as part of the Vichy French navy, and engaged Allied forces in the battle of Casablanca during Operation Torch. Along with the unfinished battleship Jean Bart, they engaged the Allied 'Covering Group', a taskforce based on the battleship USS Massachusetts. Milan and Épervier both ran aground after being damaged in the battle; Albatros was damaged but, after her capture, repaired after the war and used as a gunnery training vessel. Aigle was scuttled at Toulon, France on 27 November 1942. She was later refloated and sunk a second time by United States Army Air Forces bombers on 24 November 1943. Later she was salvaged and scrapped. Vautour and Gerfaut were also scuttled at Toulon, but Vautour was raised again and sunk during an air raid on 4 February 1944.

See also


  • Cernuschi, Enrico & O'Hara, Vincent P. (2013). "Toulon: The Self-Destruction and Salvage of the French Fleet". In Jordan, John (ed.). Warship 2013. London: Conway. pp. 134–148. ISBN 978-1-84486-205-4.
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • Jordan, John & Moulin, Jean (2015). French Destroyers: Torpilleurs d'Escadre & Contre-Torpilleurs 1922–1956. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-198-4.
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.
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