French cruiser Algérie
Algérie was a French heavy cruiser that served during the early years of World War II. One of the last of the so-called "Treaty Cruisers," she was considered one of the best designs commissioned by any of the naval powers.
|Preceded by:||Suffren class|
|Builder:||Brest Dock Yard|
|Laid down:||19 March 1931|
|Launched:||21 May 1932|
|Commissioned:||15 September 1934|
|Fate:||Scuttled at Toulon on 27 November 1942. Scrapped 1949.|
|Length:||186.2 m (611 ft)|
|Beam:||20 m (66 ft)|
|Draught:||6.15 m (20.2 ft)|
|Speed:||31 knots (57 km/h)|
|Range:||8,700 nautical miles (16,110 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)|
|Aircraft carried:||3-Loire-Nieuport 130 seaplanes, 1 catapult (removed 1941)|
Design and description
Algérie was built in response to the Italian Zara-class cruiser heavy cruisers that were more heavily armoured than the preceding Suffren class and was designed to take advantage of lighter propulsion machinery to improved her armour protection. The ship had an overall length of 186.2 metres (610 ft 11 in), a beam of 20 metres (65 ft 7 in), and a draft of 6.3 meters (20 ft 8 in). She displaced 10,160 tonnes (10,000 long tons) at standard load and 13,677 t (13,461 long tons) at deep load. The hull was divided by 16 bulkheads into 17 watertight compartments. The ship's crew consisted of 746 men as a flagship.
Algérie started World War II as flagship of the 1st Cruiser Squadron which also included the cruisers Dupleix, Foch, Duquesne, Tourville, Colbert and destroyers from the 5th, 7th and 9th contre-torpilleur divisions. Algérie, Dupleix, the battleship Strasbourg and the British aircraft carrier Hermes were based in Dakar in French West Africa, while searching for the German heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee.
In March 1940, after refitting at Toulon, she accompanied the battleship Bretagne to Canada, with 3,000 cases of French gold. In April, Algérie returned to the Mediterranean and when Italy declared war on France, she helped shell Genoa in June. Her last mission before the French surrender was as a convoy escort.
After the French defeat in 1940, Algérie remained with the Vichy fleet based at Toulon. Her only mission for the Vichy navy was to escort the battleship Provence back to Toulon, as the battleship had been summarily repaired after the damages received during the British attack on Mers-el-Kébir in 1940. In 1941, her secondary and anti-aircraft weaponry was strengthened and in 1942, she was fitted with the early French-built radar.
She was still there when the Germans invaded the so-called "Free Zone" on 27 November 1942. She was among the ships scuttled in the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon. Demolition charges were set on the ship. The Germans tried to persuade her crew that scuttling was not permitted by Armistice provisions; her captain requested the Germans to wait until his superior could advise, as the fuses were lit. When Admiral Lacroix finally arrived, he ordered the ship evacuated; as the Germans were preparing to board, he told them that the cruiser was about to explode. She was blown up and burned for 20 days.
- Jordan & Moulin, pp. 110, 113
- Rohwer, Juergen; Huemmelchen, Gerhard (2005), Chronology of the war at sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two (3rd ed.), London, England: Chatham Publishing, p. 28, ISBN 1-59114-119-2
- Warship International, No. 3, 1997, p. 310.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to French cruiser Algérie.|
- (in French) French cruiser Algérie at alabordache.fr