Albatros, the last surviving four-funnelled contre-torpilleur

What would you like to see the Albatros X73 (1942) as?
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What would you like to see the Albatros T06 (1948) as?
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What would you like to see the Albatros D614 (1954) as?
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L’ Albatros was one of six Aigle-class destroyers.
Albatros at Casablanca in 1942, wearing the hull number ‘X73’.


I present here the Albatros, my favorite French destroyer.

It will be an exciting addition to the French tree in all its three configurations.

Most of the information here is sourced from French Destroyers: Torpilleurs d’Escadre & Contre-Torpilleurs 1922-1956 by John Jordan and The 2400-Tonners of the French Navy by Jean Guiglini and Kenneth R. Macpherson; both of which I highly recommend.

The history of the Albatros is in the comment section of this post.

From the bibliography and editor’s notes of the books I used, there might be some original documents and files on the Albatros in archives.

In my opinion, the Albatros will break the monotony created by the Aigle-class and Vauquelin-class having the same armament, and the Guepard-class and Le Fantasque-class having a similar main armament. This can be achieved by having the 1948 Albatros T 06 and 1954 Albatros D 614 between these ships .

Albatros introduces new weapon systems to the tree:

  • The 105 SKC/33 Dop. L. C/37 which will later be featured on the CLs Châteaurenault and Guichen.
  • The 100/55 Mle 1945 which will later be featured on the BB Jean Bart.
  • The Canon 40 Mle 1951 will be making its first appearance in the French TT.

Albatros also carries some armaments that might be rare to find on the French BlueWater TT:

  • The Canadian Boffin which wasn’t featured on that many French ships.

Albatros X73 (1942)


138.6/40 cannons Model 1927
37mm Mle 1933
37mm Mle 1925
13.2mm machine guns
13.2mm French Browning
550m torpedo tubes
40.44 knots

I believe it will be a good representative for the Aigle class on the tree.

Of the Aigle class, 3 of the 6 ships have been implemented.

  • Of Series C (1927): Aigle, Vautour
  • Of Series D (1927 Special): Milan

It would be nice to see Albatros, Gerfaut, and Epervier get added.


  • Same weaknesses as the other Aigle class.


  • It has the French water-cooled Browning that had a faster fire rate than the Hotchkiss.
  • It is a historic vessel that took part in the Battle of Casablanca.

Albatros T 06 (1948)


138.6/40 Mle 1927 guns (nos.1, 2, and 5)
105mm C/33 Dop. L. C/37
Shielded 75mm Mle 1924 HA
US-style 40mm Bofors Mk 1 (Starboard)
Canadian Boffin 40mm Bofors Mk 1 (Port)
20mm Mk 7 Oerlikon guns
550m torpedo tubes
27.8 knots


  • The twin 105mm have a higher fire rate and come with AP, HE, and HE-TF.
  • The twin 105mm turret has some armor, trains faster than the 138mm guns, and can rotate 360o.
  • Two 75mm guns offer medium-range AA. Otherwise, they can be grouped with the 105s to increase the DPM slightly given that they have a cruiser-type plot and director .
  • It has improved AA as compared to its 1942 configuration.
  • It has improved systems.


  • It has a relatively slow speed of about 27kn.
  • It only carries 3 torpedoes.


  • It is unique.
  • It changes the playstyle a bit.

Albatros D 614 (1954)


138.6/40 Mle 1927 guns (nos.1, 2, and 5)
100mm Mle 1945
Shielded 75mm Mle 1924 HA
US-style 40mm Bofors Mk 1 (Starboard)
Canon 40mm de Mle 51 hydraulic (Port)
20mm Mk 7 Oerlikon guns
550m torpedo tubes
27.8 knots


  • The twin 100mm guns have a high fire rate of up to 25 rounds a minute.
  • The 100mm turret probably trains faster than the 138mm guns and can rotate 360o.
  • The 75mm guns offer medium-range AA. Otherwise, they can be used to improve the DPM slightly. The 100/55’s 855mps does match the muzzle velocity of the 75/50 at 850mps. I imagine this will make landing shots easier when they are grouped as secondary armament.
  • The 40mm mle 51 has a better aiming system and might train faster than the Boffin.
  • It has two extra Oerlikons.
  • It has better radar and rangefinders than its 1948 configuration.


  • The twin 100mm guns only fire HE and HE-TF.
  • Unfortunately, the French radar employed isn't the most promising if I am reading [Military Wiki]( right.
  • It has a relatively slow speed of about 27kn.
  • It only carries 3 torpedoes.


  • It is unique.
  • The 100mm gun has a lower velocity than the Japanese 100mm.

Aigle Class Destroyers

The 1927 naval estimates featured another ‘treaty’ cruiser (Foch), six contre-torpilleurs, five fleet submarines of the 1500-tonnes type, and the minelaying submarine Rubis.

The ships of the 1927 estimates reverted to earlier practice in being named after predators, in this case, birds of prey: Aigle (‘Eagle’), Vautour (‘Vulture’), Albatros, Gerfaut (‘Gerfalcon’), Epervier (‘Sparrow hawk’) and Milan (‘Kite’).

The contre-torpilleur, which made up the backbone of the flotillas in 1939, was often referred to as the “four-pipers” (‘les quatre-tuyaux’)

French destroyers were designed for cannon and torpedo attacks on Italian lines of communication.
Though they also had anti-submarine weapons in limited numbers but without dedicated sensors.
These shortcomings proved problematic when in the rapid and brutal raids in the Mediterranean, the Aigles and their colleagues found themselves having to escort ships in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

Building Data

Aigle Class General Characteristics

2441 tons standard; 2660 tonnes normal; 3140 tonnes full load.
Length 122.4m perpendiculars, 128.5m overall; beam 11.8m; draught 4.4m
Four Du Temple small-tube boilers, 20kg/cm 2 (215°)
Two-shaft geared steam turbines 64,000CV for 36kts (designed)
Oil fuel:
540 tonnes; radius 3650nm at 18kts, 765nm at 39kts
10 officers + 198 men peacetime

Hull and General Configuration

The weight-saving efforts in the Aigle-class’ design and construction succeeded.

The design for the Aigle class was drawn up under the supervision of Ingénieur général Antoine, head of the ‘small ships’ section (Section des petits bâtiments) of the STCN.

All of the previous types of destroyer had emerged from the shipyards slightly overweight. Weight saving was therefore an important consideration when the design for the Aigles was drawn up. There was a small but significant use of electric welding for the non-strength elements of the hull and superstructures, and this resulted in moderate savings of 50–60 tonnes. The designed meta-centric height (GM) was 0.80m vs. 0.68m in the Guépard class.

The hull form was also slightly modified. There was a reduction of 0.70 metres in the length between perpendiculars and 1.70 metres in length overall. The Aigle-class had a slightly deeper hull (+0.11m) with less freeboard than the Guépard: the height of the forecastle at deep load was 6.67 metres (vs. 7.09m), and the main deck was 3.8 metres (vs. 4.20m) above the waterline.

Plan vertical des couples

Albatros Plan des Formes

The construction methods employed for the hull were unchanged except for the limited employment of welding. The transverse frames had a standard spacing of 2.1 metres, but an additional watertight bulkhead was inserted close to the stern; the twelve main transverse bulkheads extended from the ship’s bottom to the upper deck and divided the hull into thirteen watertight compartments designated A–M. There were pumps rated at 100t/h in sections B–E and J–L, and these were doubled up in the main machinery spaces (F–I); the two narrow-end compartments (A, M) had smaller pumps rated at 30t/h.

Aigle General Arrangement

The rudder was of similar design, but there were minor differences in the surface area for each of the ships: in Aigle it was 15.52m2, in Albatros and Gerfaut 14.3m2.

The ships manoeuvred well, although the turning circle remained excessive for a ‘small ship’ – a function of the comparatively high length-to-beam ratio and an underpowered rudder servo-motor.

The Sperry gyro-compass Sperry gyro-compass was the improved Mk VIII; Six magnetic compasses were also fitted.

All four ships were initially fitted with a CET 31 ultrasonic depth sounder.


The machinery of the Aigle class was considered to be a major improvement on that of their predecessors: more robust, reliable, and economical, and with much greater flexibility of operation.

Aigle , Vautour and Albatros had Parsons Reaction turbines; Gerfaut, built by A C Bretagne, had Rateau-Bretagne impulse turbines.

The Parsons turbines of the Albatros comprised a single high-pressure (HP) and a low-pressure (LP) turbine working in series, with a separate cruise turbine clutched to the shaft of the HP turbine; the reversing turbine was on the shaft for the LP turbine and housed within the same casing. The HP turbine was rated at 14,000CV and the LP turbine at 18,000CV; the astern turbine was rated at 4000CV.

When going ahead, steam was admitted to the cruise turbine up to approximately one-tenth of maximum power (3200CV), then to the HP turbine and finally to the LP turbine.

The ship could steam at up to 18 knots on cruise turbines alone; the turbine could be declutched at low speeds, but it could be clutched to the shaft only when the ship was at rest.

During the 8-hour Maximum Normal Power (PMN) trial, which was undertaken at normal displacement, Albatros sustained speeds in excess of 37 knots.

Maximum Normal Power and Full Power Trials

Peacetime fuel bunkerage was 360 tonnes, a figure which rose to 540 tonnes (usable) at deep load. The provision of reserve feed water for the boilers was 128 tonnes, carried in side and bottom tanks. There was the customary 12 tonnes of fresh water for sanitation, plus 4 tonnes of drinking water for the crew in 500-litre tanks fore and aft.

Following trials, endurance was calculated at 4700nm at 15 knots and 3600nm at 18 knots on cruise turbines alone with two boilers lit. Much less would be achieved in wartime.

Albatros could cover 709 nautical miles at 39.153 knots.

The auxiliary boiler, which again was located to the starboard of boiler no.3, had slightly greater capacity; the heated surface area was 59m2 (vs. 52m2 for the model fitted in the Guépards).

The two turbo-generators, each rated at 80kW (106kW max.), were distributed between the forward and after engine rooms, as in the Guépard class. The two 22kW (26.5kW max.)

Bettus-Loire emergency generators were identical to those fitted in the earlier ships, and were located in the centre deckhouse.
Albatros Bridge Deck & Platforms

Fire Director

There was a provision in the design for full director control with remote power control (RPC). In the event there was only director control for training; director control for elevation and RPC for training had to be abandoned.

Albatros was fitted on completion with a single SOM 3-metre coincidence rangefinder Mle B.1926 allied to the standard Mle 1923B electromechanical computer. With the FC computer Mle 1923B, only the angle of train (circulaire) is transmitted directly.

The angle of train was transmitted to the mounting via a Granat GD III receiver and the trainer, who was seated on the left of the mounting, aligned the pointers.

A 130mm Mle 1924 being installed aboard a destroyer of the L’Adroit class. The seat for the gun layer and the hand-wheel for elevation. Note the Granat GD II dials for tangent elevation and deflection.

The two 75cm BBT searchlight projectors were fitted fore and aft with the after searchlight installed atop its own short tower abaft the mainmast; the control positions were fitted in the bridge wings.


The main wireless telegraphy office, the PC Radio, was at the after end of the bridge block, and the secondary wireless telegraphy office was located in the after deckhouse.


The boat outfit was disposed on athwartships rails between the first two funnels and on davits abreast the after deckhouse. It had the motor boat and motor launch onboard of the two 5-metre dinghies. The relative positions of the two boats on davits were also reversed: the 7-metre whaler was to port and the 7-metre pulling cutter to starboard.


Upon completion, accommodation is designed for 3 senior officers (Flight Commander and Commanding Officer, Second in Command, Chief of Staff), 7 junior officers, 2 first petty officers, 8 petty officers, 24 second petty officers, 163 quartermasters and ratings and 3 duty officers.

The regulation peacetime complement comprised 10 officers and 198 men.

Albatros Coupes Transversale

Albatros Armament as Designed

138.6/40 Mle 1927 guns (100rpg + 85 star shells)
75mm/50 Mle 1925 HA (100 rounds)
37mm fully automatic AA
8mm Hotchkiss MG Mle 1914
550m torpedo tubes
100/250mm depth charge throwers Mle 1928

75mm/50 Mle 1925 HA

The Aigle class was originally intended to be armed with a single 75mm HA gun. Like the 75mm 50-calibre Mle 1924 fitted in the Jaguar’s and the Bourrasque’s.

37mm AA

It was intended to be armed with two 37mm single mountings of a new fully-automatic type with 2000 combat rounds plus 400 exercise rounds. The gun failed to materialize.

8mm Hotchkiss MG Mle 1914

The customary 8mm Hotchkiss MG Mle 1914, was to be mounted on pedestals on the forecastle. These guns were probably never embarked.

Albatros as of 1932

Albatros Vue Externe

Albatros Battage se l’artillerie


138.6/40 cannons Model 1927
75mm/35 Mle 1925
37mm Mle 1925
550m torpedo tubes

138.6/40 Mle 1927


138.6mm/40 Mle 1927

138mm M1927 gun in single M1927 CP mounting. This was in many ships and was the first French 138mm gun with a sliding breech block. Official, by courtesy of Robert Dumas.

Gun mount for a 138mm weapon. Photographed aboard Aigle, 1936.

Gun Data
Monobloc auto-fretted barrel
Weight of gun:
4.8 tonnes
Breech mechanism:
Horizontal sliding block
Ammunition type:
OPFA Mle 1924 (39.9kg)
OEA Mle 1928 (40.2kg)
OEcl Mle 1925 (30kg)
9kg BM7 in cartridge Mle 1910
Muzzle velocity:
Range at 28°:
Gun Mounting
Mle 1927
Weight of mounting:
13.0 tonnes
–10° / +28°
Loading angle:
any angle
Firing cycle:

Work on the 138.6mm/40 Mle 1927 gun began in 1926. Proving trials were successfully concluded in March 1927.

The most significant innovation was the German-style semi-automatic sliding breech, which was much faster in operation than the interrupted screw breech of earlier French destroyer guns. The theoretical firing cycle was up to 12 rounds per minute; twice that of the Mle 1923.

The new 138.6mm Mle 1927 gun performed exceptionally well in service. The sliding breech was a success, and the gun had the high rate of fire the Navy had long aspired to for its fast flotilla craft.

A further modification that has attracted less comment was the lowering of the trunnions from 1.34m to 1.25m, making the gun easier to load at low angles of elevation. In order to achieve this it was necessary to sacrifice range. The maximum elevation of the Mle 1927 was only 28 degrees (vs. 35 degrees), and the maximum range, using the same ammunition as the Mle 1923, was only 16,600m compared with 18,200m for the earlier gun.

The ammunition chutes outboard of the 138.6mm gun mountings for the shells emerged to the port of the guns and those for the cased charges to starboard.

The regulation peacetime ammunition provision was unchanged at 100 combat rounds per gun, for a total of 500 shells plus 85 star shells. The electric hoists were each capable of supplying a maximum of 20 rounds per minute for each pair of guns, 6 which meant that they were barely able to keep pace with the firing cycle. Albatros, therefore, depended even more heavily than previous classes on ready-use racks during the early stage of action.

There was sufficient ready-use stowage for just over two minutes of continuous fire (four minutes for no.3 gun), during which time the racks would need to be topped up from the magazine hoists.

75mm/35 Mle 1925

The 75mm gun would be fitted briefly in Albatros before being landed. Following trials on Albatros was disembarked in late 1932.

The location chosen for the single mounting was not ideal; arcs fore and aft were poor, and the isolation of the mounting from its magazine would have been a considerable handicap in action. In the end, it was probably decided that the dubious military benefits of the gun did not compensate for the additional topweight involved.

75mm/35 Mle 1925 CAS

Gun Data
Autofretted barrel
Weight of gun:
- tonnes
Breech mechanism:
Concentric ring
Ammunition type:
OEA Mle 1917 (6.18kg)
BM- ( - kg)
Complete round
- kg
649.5mm x 86.8mm
Muzzle velocity:
Max. range:
- m ( -°)
- m ( -°)
Mounting Data
CAS Mle 1925
Weight of mounting:
- tonnes
Loading angle:
Elevation of guns:
–10° / +70°
Firing cycle (per gun):
15rpm theoretical

The 75mm HA gun was the older 35-calibre ‘Army’ model 1897–15 on a newly designed Mle 1925 mounting which could elevate to 70 degrees.

A total of 100 HE rounds and 40 exercise rounds were provided, stowed in ready-use racks close to the mounting and in the 37mm magazine aft.

37mm Mle 1925

Four single semi-automatic 37mm Mle 1925, mounted abeam the centre deckhouse.

37mm M1925 gun CA/SMCA M1925 mounting. Of similar performance to the M1933 gun. Official, by courtesy of Robert Dumas.

Gun Characteristics
Gun Weight:
661 lbs. (300 kg)
Gun Length:
79.0 in (2.007 m)
Bore Length:
72.8 in (1.850 m)
Rate of Fire:
15 - 21 rounds per minute
Weight of Complete Round:
6.2 lbs. (2.8 kg)(2.007 m)
Projectile Types and Weights:
HE Model 1925: 1.6 lbs. (0.725 kg)
Incendiary Model 1924: 1.6 lbs. (0.725 kg)
Bursting Charge:
Projectile Length:
6.1 in (15.6 cm)
Complete Round:
16.1 in (40.8 cm)
37 x 278 mm
Propellant Charge:
0.44 lbs. (0.2 kg) BM2
Muzzle Velocity:
2,657 fps (810 m/s)
Mount / Turret Data
-15 / +80 degrees
Elevation Rate:
360 degrees


The torpedo outfit comprised two triple axial mountings for six 550mm Mle 1923DT torpedoes.

550mm Mle 1923DT torpedo

Two of the new Mle 1929 fire control positions, linked to a Mle 1924 central fire control computer (type Patrie), were located in the bridge wings. The rangefinder for the main guns was employed to provide range and bearing data.

The Mle 1920 control position on the torpedo mounting was equipped with a Granat GC II receiver, and an on-mount operator aligned the pointers to train the mounting.

100/250 Depth Thrower Mle 1928

There were two depth charge chutes each with eight depth charges, and four depth charge throwers on the upper deck abaft the break in the forecastle.

100/250 Depth Thrower Mle 1928

The DCTs would be removed from Albatros shortly after completion to reduce top weight.

Albatros as of 1942

Study of the Plan of the Albatros. The lower part illustrates the successive changes made to the Albatros from 1933 to 1939

Albatros 1942


The wireless telegraphy outfit was upgraded during the late 1930s, the most significant addition being that of an SFR Mle 1937 VHF (OTC) tactical radio for bridge-to-bridge voice communication in 1937. A medium-frequency direction-finding aerial was fitted forward of the bridge, and a DF office was installed in the bridge structure.

The wireless telegraphy aerials were re-affixed to prominent supports fitted on the after funnel, and the after (4-metre) rangefinder was raised by 0.75m to compensate for the height of the new platform.

Depth Sounder

During the mid-1930s the CET 31 ultrasonic depth sounder was replaced by a CET 32 Mod.1935. CET 32 gave particularly good results: up to 200 metres at a speed of 17 knots.


During a major refit in 1941, two 75cm searchlights were installed on a platform forward of funnel n°3.

A third, smaller 60cm projector was fitted on the foremast platform replacing a 75cm searchlight.


Albatros was fitted with a 4-metre S rangefinder in the after end of the protective bulwarks for the after hoists during the mid/late 1930s, but with a lighter protective housing, and from 1937 all four ships would receive the new 5-metre stereo rangefinder turret forward, in place of the original 3-metre model.

The OPL 5-metre stereoscopic rangefinder PC.1936 represented a major leap forward in performance and reliability.

Concentration Dials

Concentration dials were fitted in the Aigle-class from 1933, in response to a directive dated 7 October. The dials were initially painted white, becoming black in 1936. The arrangement adopted in the Aigle class was a departure from previous practice.

Note the concentration dials on Le Triomphant while serving with the FNFL during the autumn of 1940

In place of the single after dial (initially fixed, then trainable), which in earlier ships had been fitted atop a platform abaft the mainmast, there were two fixed to the after ends of the bridge wings, which were extended and angled at 45 degrees to accommodate the dials and their winding machinery. This proved to be a far better solution, and the practice was extended to all subsequent classes of torpilleur and contre-torpilleur.

Note the concentration dials on the forward part of Chevalier Paul, early 1941. Official Photograph, ECPA negative number Londres RL 503.

ASDIC Type 128 (Maybe?)

The 4 depth charge throwers were disembarked in late 1932. Two would be replaced following the outbreak of war in 1939; although these may have been removed after the Armistice; they were not on board Albatros at Casablanca in November 1942.

Faced with the slowness of the development of a French detector, the French Navy placed an order for British Asdic (called Alpha Devices in France).

A certain number of ASDIC sets were ordered in Britain after the outbreak of war, to alleviate our lack of anti-submarine detection gear. These were of Type 123 for smaller craft and Type 128 for torpedo boats and destroyers.

Albatros is thought to have had an Asdic 128 installed between June and September 1940, possibly at Oran. Aigle had yet to receive its when it was placed in care & maintenance under the terms of the Armistice in October of the same year.

In Jean Guiglini’s “2400-Tonners of the French Navy” it states that the installation of the ASDIC sets proceeded on a certain number of ships after the armistice: including the Albatros (1942).


A directive dated 10 May 1933 established the wartime complement as 10 officers and 217 men: two CPOs, eight POs, 25 POs 2nd class, 179 seamen, and three civilians.

The requirement to provide individual cabins for two Chief Petty Officers dictated a small revision in the layout of the accommodation.

On the whole, the crew considers their premises spacious and well-ventilated. The 227 men were distributed throughout the boat but contrary to what would become the norm after the war, the sailors were not necessarily housed near their combat station, the officers being housed at the rear, and the rest of the crew at the front.

The forward deckhouse had four bedrooms (officers and chief petty officers), the forward part of the main deck which constituted the teugue under the foredeck housed a crew station which was almost at the bow, with only an equipment hold separating it from the outside.

Aft of the main deck, the accommodation deck was bisected by the propulsion compartments. The forward part included two crew stations aft, the room for an underwater detection device, the telepointing room and another crew station.

The rear part was divided into three slices. The one adjoining the rear engine was occupied by senior officers. On the starboard side were the apartments of the commander and on the port side were the rooms of the second in command and the chief of staff.

The next section included five bedrooms for junior officers and the saloon. The last section was occupied on the starboard side by a bedroom for three civil servants quickly transformed for 2nd class ensigns.

The officers were therefore installed aft according to the tradition of the time on the accommodation deck with the three senior officers occupying a full section aft of the engine compartments.

The captain had an office bedroom and a dining room with a galley on the starboard side, while the other side is occupied by a bedroom for the chief of staff and an office bedroom for the second in command.

The aft section housed five officers’ bedrooms and, on the port side, the junior officers’ wardroom. Two officer bedrooms were installed in the forward deckhouse and the captain had a watch bedroom on the navigation bridge.

The masters and chief mates were installed in two adjoining stations on the starboard side of the main deck under the gangway block and the foredeck. The second masters had hammocks while the masters had berths, superimposed by two. The two bedrooms for the first two masters were located in the forward deckhouse on the port side of the officers’ bedrooms.

The quartermasters and ratings were distributed among four posts. A first position is installed on the main deck under the foredeck, but most of the men were accommodated in three positions placed forward on the accommodation deck. It was actually a large post divided into three watertight bulkheads. Quartermasters and deckhands had hammocks.

Meals were taken at the post, one sailor fetching the meal from the galley, another the bread and wine from the lazarette.

The infirmary installed on the main deck at the back of the forward part included four bunk beds by two, an inspection room, a bathroom and WC.

The destroyers had four kitchens installed in the main deck deckhouses with one for senior officers, one for junior officers, one for petty officers and one for the crew.


Beginning in 1939, trials of replenishing escort ships (torpedo boats and destroyers) at sea by larger ships were carried out, both in line and alongside. The destroyers were then furnished with special installations for the purpose: a coupling and oil pipe in the bows; a point of attachment for a towing hook; and new fairleads.


138.6/40 cannons Model 1927
37mm Mle 1933
37mm Mle 1925
13.2mm machine guns
13.2mm Browning
550m torpedo tubes

138.6/40 Mle 1927

Installation of loading slides to the guns.

The installation of the circular slides entailed a modification in the supply of shells to Nos. 3 and 4 guns. Viewed from the outside, this revealed itself in a new shape of blast screen to the shelters of these guns, and their extension upward to better protect the shell-handlers from the muzzle blast when the guns were fired on the maximum forward bearing. In addition, Nos. I and 5 guns also received circular slides, but that of No. 5 was removable to permit, in peacetime, the use of the entire quarterdeck.

The ammunition chutes for the 138.6mm guns were modified during the mid-1930s, the projectile chutes for guns nos.1–4 being extended to fully encircle the mounting. The chutes for no.5 gun continued to be stowed in the broken-down condition.

37mm Mle 1933

A platform for a twin 37mm Mle 1933 mounting and two 1-metre rangefinders was constructed above the after hoists.

37mm M1933 guns in twin CAD M1933 mounting. One of the standard French AA weapons but it does not have automatic firing and is therefore inadequate. John Lambert

Twin 37 mm/50 Model 1933 mount on destroyer Le Triomphant in 1941. Note the ready ammunition in the “bucket” on the left of the mounting, what appears to be a ready storage locker behind the mounting, the range finder on the deck above the guns and the range clock on the bridge. CPL Photograph.

Gun Data
Weight of gun:
Ammunition type:
OEA Mle 1925 (0.73kg)
Ol Mle 1924 (0.73kg)
BM2 in cartridge (0.2kg)
Complete round
408mm x 61mm
Muzzle velocity:
Max. range:
8000m theoretical
5000m effective
Mounting Data
Mounting designation:
CAD Mle 1933
Weight of mounting:
- t
Elevation of guns:
Firing cycle (per gun):
30rpm theoretical
15-21rpm practical

37mm Mle 1925

The pole mainmast and the 37mm CAS mountings were suppressed.
Two of the four 37mm CAS were landed as weight compensation.

13.2mm/76 Mle 1929 Hotchkiss

From 1933 Albatros was fitted with two twin 13.2mm Hotchkiss machine guns (CAD). These were initially fitted on the upper deck, directly abaft the single 37mm guns, and 1-metre stereo rangefinders were located at the forward end of the centre deckhouse to supply range and bearing data to both the 37mm CAS and the 13.2mm MG.

In 1939 the 13.2mm CAD would be relocated to a platform forward of the bridge, atop the forward 138.6mm hoists. The 13.2mm Hotchkiss CAD were relocated from their current position above the forward hoists to the forward end of the centre deckhouse, the position vacated by the 1-metre RF.

Albatros, which was in refit at Oran 11 June–5 September 1941, retained its 13.2mm Hotchkiss CAD above the forward hoists.

13.2/76 Hotchkiss MLE 1929 CAD

Layout drawing of Twin 13.2 mm Hotchkiss MG

Gun Data
Weight of gun:
Ammunition type:
AP and HE (50gm)
Complete round
135mm x 13.2mm
Muzzle velocity:
Max. range:
3500m theoretical
2500m effective
Mounting Data
CAD on R4
Weight of mounting:
1.16 t
Elevation of guns:
–15° / +90°
Firing cycle (per gun):
450rpm theoretical
250rpm practical

The 13.2mm CAD was a reasonably effective weapon against the relatively slow-moving biplane aircraft of the early 1930s. It had a range in excess of 2000m and could deliver 450 rounds per gun per minute. However, the 30-round magazine provided only four seconds of fire before it needed to be replaced, whereas twelve seconds of continuous fire was reckoned to be necessary in order to disable an aircraft approaching at 600k/h at 2000m.

13.2mm Browning

Albatros had 13.2mm Browning CAS fitted in rear angles on the bridge wings.
Only Albatros, Gerfaut and Vautour received two machine guns.

The French Browning Machine Gun being manned by two crew members wearing gas masks. They are on board the French sloop FFS Commandant Duboc at Plymouth. The ship is manned entirely by Free Frenchmen. Note the pipe leading out of the jacket of the machine gun to allow the liquid coolant to work. 28/08/1940

Gun Data
Weight of gun:
31kg (40kg incl. water)
Ammunition type:
AP and HE
Complete round
135mm x 13.2mm
Muzzle velocity:
Max. range:
Mounting Data
Weight of mounting:
Elevation of guns:
–10° / +79°
Firing cycle (per gun):
1000rpm theoretical
400–650rpm practical

In order to provide continuous fire from the 13.2mm Hotchkiss MG studies were undertaken of continuous feed belts to replace the 30-round magazines. However, the main issue was the shortage of light AA mountings.

The Mle 1929 was no longer in production for Hotchkiss at their Levallois factory, where work was now concentrated on anti-aircraft gun mountings for the Army. The Navy, therefore, turned to the Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (Belgium), which was producing the American Browning 0.5in (12.7mm) machine gun under licence. A contract for 361 guns with the firing chamber modified to accommodate the standard French SFM 13.2mm round was signed on 10 July 1939, with the delivery of the first guns specified for January 1940. At the same time, 500 mountings and sights were ordered from Italy.

The Browning MG used continuous feed belts, and in theory, could deliver up to 1000 rounds per minute – more than twice the rate of fire of a single 13.2mm Hotchkiss gun. It would become available in increasing numbers in 1941 when many mountings would be fitted in French destroyers and cruisers during refits at Toulon and in North Africa.

Albatros as of 1948

Albatros 1948

Photos of Albatros at Toulon between September 1948 and April 1951

Albatros at Toulon between September 1948 and April 1951. Its forward two smokestacks have been removed and it has received new gun directors atop the forward superstructure and amidships. Albatros is tied up to the port side of the heavy cruiser Suffren. The battleship Lorraine and light cruiser Emile Bertin (most distant) are on the other side of Suffren. The original negative came from the Office of Naval Intelligence. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Albatros at Toulon between September 1948 and April 1951, showing its bow portion and forward 138mm guns. A new gun director has been fitted atop the ship’s forward superstructure. Albatros is tied up to the port side of the heavy cruiser Suffren, with the battleship Lorraine beyond. The original negative came from the Office of Naval Intelligence. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

At Toulon between September 1948 and April 1951, showing its forward superstructure area, with two 138mm guns in the centre of the image and a new gun director and mast at right. Albatros is tied up to the port side of the heavy cruiser Suffren, with the battleship Lorraine beyond. The original negative came from the Office of Naval Intelligence. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Albatros at Toulon between September 1948 and April 1951, showing its midships area, with a new gun director and a triple 440mm torpedo tube mounting in the right centre and centre of the image. Albatros is tied up to the port side of the heavy cruiser Suffren, with the battleship Lorraine and light cruiser Emile Bertin (most distant) beyond. The original negative came from the Office of Naval Intelligence. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Albatros at Toulon between September 1948 and April 1951, showing its midships area, with a new gun director and a triple 440mm torpedo tube mounting in the left and left centre of the image and a 75mm anti-aircraft gun at right. Albatros is tied up to the port side of the heavy cruiser Suffren, with the battleship Lorraine and light cruiser Emile Bertin (most distant) beyond. The original negative came from the Office of Naval Intelligence. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Albatros at Toulon between September 1948 and April 1951, showing its after superstructure and stern area. A 75mm anti-aircraft gun is visible at the left, and small rangefinders are fitted atop the foundation of its after torpedo tubes. A German-type twin 105mm anti-aircraft gun mount and a second 75mm anti-aircraft gun are fitted atop the after deckhouse, with a 138mm gun on the main deck aft. Note the rowing cutter suspended from davits in the centre of the photo. Albatros is tied up to the port side of the heavy cruiser Suffren, whose after two 203mm gun turrets are visible. The battleship Lorraine and light cruiser Emile Bertin (barely visible) are beyond Suffren. The original negative came from the Office of Naval Intelligence. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

General Characteristics

Length overall: 128.50 meters.
Length between perpendiculars: 122.40 meters.
11.70 meters.
Draught varied from 3.90 meters light to 4.50 meters at full load.
Full load: 3,192 tons.
2.891 tons.
2,590 tons.
2,607 tons.
The coefficients of stability varies between the same limits of 0.63 and 0.56 meters.
The forward boilers had been removed, but the two sets of steam turbines were still in place.
Power developed:
Speed: Maximum:
27.8 knots;
26 knots;
16 knots.
995 sea miles at 25 knots:
1,466 at 18 knots;
1,800 at 12 knots.

Gun Directors

The main guns were controlled by a new bulky telepointer for sea targets, fitted with an A/BM (British Type 275) Fire-Control radar at the after end of the bridge.

The 75mm guns were directed by a cruiser-type HA director. The two boilers in the forward boiler room were removed and replaced by a cruiser-type HA plot; the director itself was located atop the forward deckhouse in place of the forward pair of funnels.

In place of the former tripod foremast there was a lattice mast similar to that fitted in the Le Fantasque’s, carrying the standard US small-ship air and surface surveillance radars:

  • SA, (later upgraded to SA-2) whose aerial was in the form of a rectangular grille, at the masthead
  • SF (thimble radome) on a platform below, protected by a “bell-glass”-shaped radome.
  • There was also an Americal SJ-1 surface search radar atop a post forward of the bridge and a 20m2 combat information centre (Central Information, or CI) directly behind the navigation bridge. It served also for torpedo launching.
  • One IFF (Identification, Friend/Foe) radar.
  • One artillery radar.

On and around the centre deckhouse were six open rangefinders for training: two with a 4-metre base (upper deck abeam funnel no.2), two with a 2.5-metre base (between the funnels), and two with a 1.5-metre base in place of the aft torpedo tube mounting.


The outfit of boats showed little change from the one with which the ship entered service: a 7-metre motor boat and a 7-metre cutter and two 5-metre dinghies (one motorized) on rails and crutches atop the forward deckhouse, and a 7-metre motor launch and a 7-metre whaler on davits abeam the after deckhouse.


A 75mm projector on a platform located between the two funnels.


The two remaining funnels now were closer together than originally, number 4 (now number 2) having been moved forward about a meter so as to leave more room for the 75mm AA gun installed astern of it.


Albatros, which still had elements in 1946, landed them because they were in too bad a state.
The project to embark on a new sonar did not come to fruition.


The officers’ and POs’ galleys were relocated from the forward to the centre deckhouse, with new galley pipes running up outside the remaining pair of funnels. The engine room workshop, which was originally in the centre deckhouse, was moved to the forward deckhouse.


138.6/40 Mle 1927 guns (nos.1, 2 and 5)
2 Inch mk. 2 Rocket Launcher
105mm C/33 Dop. L. C/37
Shielded 75mm Mle 1924 HA
US-style 40mm Bofors Mk 1 (Starboard)
Canadian 40mm Bofors Mk 1 (Port)
20mm Mk 7 Oerlikons
550m torpedo tubes

138.6/40 Mle 1927

It retained three of its original 138.6mm Mle 1927 guns occupying the original locations of Nos. 1, 2 and 5 guns, furnished with “leather breeches” at the point of emergence from the shield.

2-Inch mk. 2 Rocket Launcher

A 2 in. rocket-launcher, Mk II, attached to the shield of Albatros’ No. 2 gun. Four lockers, each holding sixteen rockets were located adjacent, two on each side of the deckhouse.

Notice the rails on the No.2 gun shield.

Now, Gaijin can implement these if they choose to. They seem to have been primarily used for illumination but they do seem to have a HE contact rocket. It won’t do much so I won’t mind if they are not implemented. They will not be useful in the game.

In 1940 when the German “blitz” began, two antiaircraft rocket weapons were introduced into service use, the 2-in. U.P. (2-inch Unrotated Projectile) and the 3-in. U.P. These consisted of high explosive heads fitted to a standard type, fin-stabilized rocket motor, and fuzed with impact or pyrotechnic delay aerial burst fuzes.

The basic 2-inch rocket was a simple conventional device using a single stick of SCRK (solventless cordite) propellant which was electrically ignited. A nose-mounted No. 720 fuze was a direct-action wind vane armed device with a built-in self-destruct timer which operated after 4.5 seconds at a height of about 4500 feet (1372.5 m). The motor burned for 1.2 seconds and was launched after burning for 0.1 seconds. Without the self-destruct mechanism the rocket could reach 10000 feet (3050 m).

At charge temperatures between 40° to 50° Fahrenheit the British 2-inch rocket, which was originally designed as a ground- or ship-based anti-aircraft weapon, and later used as an aircraft rocket.

It was fitted with a high explosive (HE) warhead had a burning time of one second and a maximum velocity of 1,580 feet per second.

Length Overall:
914.4mm 36 in
Body Diameter:
57mm 2.25 in
4.88kg 10.75lb
Maximum Velocity:
457m/s 1500ft/sec
Weight of HE filling:
0.25kg 0.56lb

The arrangement of the propellant charge in the first experimental type of rocket.

As Illuminating Equipment

A rocket that carries an illuminating candle. A parachute may suspend the flare candle for purposes of illumination after ejection, as in the case of the 2-inch rocket flares, or the candle may not be either ejected or supported by a parachute, as in the case of the 2-inch target rocket, which merely furnishes a moving, visible target for anti-aircraft practice.

2-in UP Rocket Flare (Service)

Flare Head
Overall length:
22 inches (approx.)
2.25 inches
Total weight:
4.75 pounds
Fuzes used:
Thermal Initiator
Rocket Motor:
Overall length:
31 inches (approx.)
2.25 inches
Width of fins:
2.375 inches
Total weight:
7.5 pounds
Tubular cordite
Propellant weight:
2.5 pounds
Burning time at 60 degrees Fahrenheit:
0.9 seconds

This flare is used to illuminate enemy targets at night. It is used in conjunction with medium-calibre guns. A flare launcher is mounted on either side of the gun shield at a fixed angle of 30 degrees. This arrangement makes it possible to keep a target illuminated and at the same time engage it with the main armament.

105mm C/33 Dop. L. C/37

Albatros mounted an ex-German 105mm LC/37 twin HA gun mounting, which was installed at the forward end of the after deckhouse.

This model 1937 AA weapon had three aiming axes, and could be aimed either by the director for the 138s or that for the 75s. To avoid any interference with this platform, the height of the flanking davits was reduced from 4 to 2.6 meters.

These are on the new mounts fitted on the Bismark class. They train the gun a bit faster and have a slight boost in armour thickness.

A close-up of the ex-German 105mm LC/37 twin HA gun mounting during installation in April 1948. (Charles Limonnier collection)

Dimensional drawing of 10.5 cm/65 SK C/33 guns in Dopp. L. C/37 mounting. Sketch from “Unterrichtstafeln für Geschützkunde”.

The 10.5cm Dopp LC/37 had a larger shield and the back was not inclined. The C/31 series can be distinguished from the later Dop. L. C/37 by their shorter shield and by the C/37 having a partial shield over the gun breeches.

Gun Mounting Data:
Dopp LC/37
Total Weight:
27,055kg (26.628 tons)
Distance apart gun axes:
660mm (26in)
Max recoil:
380mm (15in)
Max elevation speed:
Max training speed:
Max cross-levelling speed:
20-8mm (0.8-0.3in)

75mm Mle 1924 HA

Shielded 75mm Mle 1924 HA (from the armed merchant cruisers Barfleur after its disarmament) were fitted in the other two gun positions (nos.3 and 4).

They were directed by a cruiser-type HA director.

75mm model 1924
Sheilded 75mm/50 model 1924

Tube Length:
Shell Weight:
5.93kg (including only 0.5kg of explosives)
Maximum Distance:
Fire Rate:
Maximum Elevation:

40mm/L60 Bofors twin Mk 1

Initially, there were to have been two 40mm Bofors twin Mk 1 mountings of US origin – the model mounted in the four surviving contre-torpilleurs of the Le Fantasque class – in tubs at the forward end of the centre deckhouse.

In the event, only one was fitted. In the starboard barbette: a twin Bofors mount (taken from the light cruiser Le Malin), directed by a standard US Mk 51 director equipped with a Mk XIV gyroscopic sight.

USS Cassin Young DD-793 MK 51 Gun Director with the corresponding 40mm.

Mk51 Director with a Mk 14 Gyroscopic Sight

40 mm/56.25 Canadian Boffin

In the port barbette: a single Bofors mount (Canadian Mk 1) with manual and ring-sight aiming– the same model installed on Richelieu in 1945.

This photo was taken from the bridge looking aft in late 1948. In the foreground is the massive cruiser-style HA director equipped with a 4-metre rangefinder. In the larger tubs, outboard of the first funnel is a US-style 40mm Bofors Mk 1 twin mounting (to starboard) and a Canadian single Bofors Mk I (to port). The smaller tub to starboard is equipped with a US Mk 51 director for the 40mm Bofors twin mounting.

Bofors 40mm Gun on Twin 20mm Oerlikon or Boffin mount;1945.

This photo shows sailors using a Boffin gun on HMCS Haida. The Boffin was a Canadian innovation. It took a 40-mm Mk1 Bofor gun and mounted it to the ship’s existing Oerlikon mount.

Rate of Fire:
120 rounds per minute
10 km
HE and SAP

The Mounting Mark V (Mark VC for Canadian-built examples) for the 20 mm Oerlikon and QF 2-pounder guns was also adopted initially as an interim mount for the Bofors. It was a single-barreled mounting with hydraulic power, and was known as the “Boffin”.

The Bofors 40mm/56.25 gun, was used widely during WWII and long after, on a variety of different mountings.

Although frequently listed as being 60 calibre, this gun was actually 56.25 calibre.

The Mk.VC Boffin mounting has undergone various modifications over the years, and the mounting that is installed on the Kingston class MCDVs looks considerably different from the original Boffin mounting.

The current mounting has had part of the left side cut away and a new clip rack (which looks similar to that found on the Mk.7 mounting) added to the left rear of the mounting. The original clip rack was horizontal and attached to the right side of the mounting.

20mm Oerlikon single guns on Mk 7 Mounts

Two 20mm Oerlikons on single Model 7a mounts were fitted forward of the navigating bridge, in the positions formerly occupied by the 13.2mm Hotchkiss guns.

Oerlikon Mk IV anti-aircraft gun (WW2) anti-aircraft gun on ship mounting; 20mm calibre markings- serial number- 22070 on gun barrel- 20mm MB Mech NOF Centre Line brass plaque on mount- 20mm MK VII A - Admin No 6381 on gun site canister has letter in white stencil- Handle with care. Do not strip. Tension checked A5. Feeder - nullified Number on handle- 6152 (broad arrow) maker- Oerlikon Contraves, a Swiss anti-aircraft artillery manufacturer founded in Zürich Oerlikon.

550m torpedo tubes

A triple 550mm mount, Model 1300/1180 (a more modern model), originally destined for Bison (ex-Flibustier), was set on the original emplacement forward.

The aft TT was removed.

Albatros as of 1956

Albatros 1948-50

Albatros 1954

Gun Directors

The original HA director was replaced by a German-style triaxially-stabilised model, allied with the French-developed ACAE radar (Artillerie Contre Avions Eloignée -long range anti-aircraft artillery) – the installation of the latter was completed only in September 1951.

September 1951: Albatros receives a German-style triaxially-stabilised director, allied with the French-developed ACAE radar, to control the new French 100mm Mle 1945 twin mounting which replaced the German 105mm LC/37. The production model of the director would be fitted in Jean Bart on its completion in 1953, and later in Châteaurenault and Guichen. (DCAN Toulon, Charles Limonnier collection)

In 1953 the American SJ radar by the new French DRBV 30 navigation radar, which now occupied a small platform above the tiny SF thimble radome.

In a short refit early in 1954 the A/BM FC radar by the new French DRBC 11A, the antenna for which was fitted atop the main gunnery director.

Finally, in 1956, the American SF radar was removed.


In 1953 the davits for the 7-metre whaler and cutter were moved forward to protect them from the blast of the 100mm.


At the beginning of 1951, little shelters were installed under the 40mm barbettes.


138.6/40 Mle 1927 guns (nos.1, 2 and 5)
100mm Mle 1945
Shielded 75mm Mle 1924 HA
US-style 40mm Bofors Mk 1 (Starboard)
Canon 40mm de Mle 51 hydraulic (Port)
20mm Mk 7 Oerlikons
550m torpedo tubes

138.6/40 Mle 1927

In 1951, during a refit the opportunity was taken to reline the three 138.6mm guns.

100 mm/55 Model 1945

In a refit that took place from January to April 1951 the twin 105mm was replaced by the prototype for the new 100mm Mle 1945 twin mounting intended for the battleship Jean Bart.

At the beginning of 1953, the prototype 100mm was replaced by one from regular production.

The shells are refered to as contant or timefuze so I believe that they do carry HE contact shells.

Overhead view of after 100 mm/55 mountings on Jean Bart in 1956. In the foreground is a twin 57 mm/60 AA mounting. Henri Landais Collection Photograph .

Gun Characteristics
Gun Weight:
4,056 lbs. (1,840 kg) including breech
Bore Length:
216.5 in (5.500 m)
Rate of Fire:
20 - 25 rounds per minute

The barrel was an auto-fretted monobloc type with a semi-automatic sliding wedge breech mechanism.

Weight of Complete Round:
50.5 lbs. (22.9 kg)
Shell Model:
OEA Mle 1945 (OEA = Obus Explosif en Acier)
Anti-Surface: 17,000m
Anti-Aircraft: 11,500m
Complete round:
42.8 in (108.8 cm)
Cartridge Case:
100 X 1,145 mm (light alloy)
Propellant Charge:
8.84 lbs. (4.01 kg) BM7
Muzzle Velocity:
2,805 fps (855 m/s)
Working Pressure:
17.8 tons/in² (2,800 kg/cm²)
Mount/Turret Data
58,532 lbs. (26,550 kg)
-8 / +70 degrees
-90 / +90 degrees
Loading Angle:

These mountings were controlled by four gyro-stabilised directors that were patterned after German designs. Train and elevation were controlled via a Ward Léonard RPC system and there were also semi-automatic and manual backup systems.

The 100 OEA Mle 1945 could be used against surface or aerial targets. HE: Contact or time-fuzed AA

75mm Mle 1924 HA

In the 1951 refit, the opportunity was taken to replace the barrels of the 75mm HA guns.

Canon 40mm de Mle 51 Hydraulic

At the beginning of 1953, a prototype Mle 51 hydraulic model was put in place of the Canadian Bofors 40mm Mk 1.

In a short refit early in 1954 the 40mm Mle 51 prototype was replaced by a production model.

I am not sure about the train speed of these mounts. I have been unable to find it stated anywhere. The Trident class of patrol boats carry the same gun and one has been passed to suggestions.


Gun Characteristics
2 tons
Maximum practical range:
3600 meters
Shell speed:
853 m/s
Rate of fire:
130 strokes/min

The 40mm CAS model 1951 gun used in the French Navy is a national adaptation of the 60-caliber gun (the famous 40L60). It naturally made its appearance in the French Navy, at the end of the 2nd World War, through ships sold under the Marshall Plan.


The implementation team includes 3 people:

  • The gunner seated on the left;
  • The provider standing behind the breech in the hoop;
  • The head of the room in the background.

Maneuvering the gun is done hydraulically (a small 115 volt motor drives a hydraulic pump) by the gunner with the control stick in front of him.

For pointing the target, he uses an optical sight in which appears an alidade allowing him to adjust his shot. This viewfinder appeared in recent years is common to 20mm Oerlikon and F2 guns.

Firing can be continuous or piecemeal. The barrel is fed manually by the loader who introduces 4-cartridge blades into the breech. A waiting park is located just to its right. At the end of the shot, the empty case is ejected on the front of the part via a guide starting from the underside of the breech. In the event of a breakdown, a crank can replace conventional controls.

20mm Mk 7 single Oerlikon guns

In January 1952, two new single Oerlikons were installed on the fo’csle.


Kindly find the history of the Albatros in the comment section of this post.


Kindly find the information on the crew, camouflage, and models of the Albatros in the comment section of this post.


Secondary Sources

Other Specification Sources

Other History Sources

Image Sources

French destroyer Albatros (D614)


Lots of interesting armament options, and I support all of thrm! +3

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History of the Albatros

Albatros was commissioned on the 15th of January 1932 and disarmed on the 10th of September 1956, serving nearly 25 years.

It was laid down on the 30th of January 1929, launched on the 28th of June 1930 and condemned on the 9th of September 1959, it figured nearly 30 years in the Navy List, a commendable performance for a ship of its type.

1929 - 1935

Albatros was laid down at the Chantiers de la Loire in Nantes in 1929, launched June 27, 1930.

Albatros makes its first sortie into the River Loire from the ACL shipyard at Nantes on 17 February 1931. It still lacks its guns and fire control apparatus

On February 20, 1931, upon arrival in Lorient, it managed to reach the requested speed of 33 knots.

It then began the official tests.
The high-speed test was carried out on March 26, 1931, with the ship reaching 38.258 knots.
The advance-per-turn test at 15 knots taking place on March 17.
The one at 18 knots a week later.

The 8H test at Maximum Normal Power (PMN) took place on April 30, 1931. Displacing 2,640.776 tonnes, it reached the maximum speed of 39.132 knots (corrected 39.153 knots). This test is followed by a ninth hour at full throttle which allowed Albatros to reach a speed of 40.43 knots at a displacement of 2507.74 tonnes.

During the Washington displacement test (2,480.336 tonnes), the destroyer reached the maximum speed of 41.8972 knots (corrected 41.23 knots).

After a period of dismantling and modifications, the destroyer carried out its proper functioning test on September 3, 1931, before carrying out its long-duration crossing (TLD) which corresponded to its transit towards Toulon.

Albatros lacking its guns

Albatros entered into permanent armament on September 4, 1931, the closure of armament being pronounced on December 25, 1931.

Albatros was commissioned in December 1931.

The French destroyers were not lacking in elegance

Albatros 1931

Albatros left Lorient on January 16, 1932, and carried out exercises and fire schools in Quiberon before beginning its transit, which was an opportunity taken to continue the training of the crew and to carry out additional tests.

Albatros carried out consumption tests between January 16 and 18: 4 hours at 12 knots, 4 hours at 15 knots, 4 hours at 17 knots, 8 hours at 22 knots, 6 hours at 17 knots, 6 hours at 0.6P.
A last consumption test at 27 knots was carried out on January 21, 1932.

Albatros arrived in Toulon 6 days later on the 22nd after a stopover in Oran.

Albatros at sea during its trials. The single 75mm Mle 1925, which was embarked only briefly, is visible forward of the third funnel. Its main guns have just been fitted with shields, which are as yet unpainted. (Pierre Boucheix collection)

On 1 May 1930 a new 7th DL was formed at Toulon with Verdun (arrived 18 April), Guépard, and Valmy; Albatros joined on 25 January 1932 and Gerfaut on 15 March, but Guépard left the division. Albatros received “3” as a hull mark.

On 16 January 1932, wearing the flag of RADM Benet, Vice-President of the Permanent Trials Commission, Pluton left Lorient with the Albatros for Toulon.

On August 1, 1932, 7th DL had destroyers Verdun and Albatros.

Albatros with hull number 3 (1932 - 1934)

Albatros took part in an inter-squadron exercise in the Atlantic on May 22 and 23, 1933.
The “blue party” consisted of Verdun, Albatros, Guépard, Foch, Suffren, Tourville, Colbert, seaplane transport Commandant Teste and its flotilla confronted the “red party” made up of the 2nd squadron and the remaining units of the 1st squadron, i.e. a total of 2 battleships, an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, 9 destroyers, 14 torpedo boats, and 11 submarines.

After various stops and another double-action exercise off Toulon on June 24, Albatros returned to its home port.

On July 13, 1933/34 during a night shooting exercise, an inert training projectile from a 37mm gun from the Vautour was accidentally ejected when the breech was opened. The projectile struck the bridge of the Albatros killing 2 people and injuring one to four.

On October 6, 1933, 7th DL was made up of Tartu (“1”), Cassard (“2”) and Albatros (“3”).

Albatros ended the year with a small refit in Toulon from November 10 to 21, 1933.

On October 1, 1934, the light divisions were reorganized. 5th DL became 7th DL, the contre-torpilleur Group of the 1ère Escadre being then composed of the following ships:

  • 5th DL: Tartu, Chevalier Paul, Albatros.
  • 7th DL: Gerfaut, Vautour, Aigle.
  • 9th DL: Maillé-Brézé, Vauquelin, Kersaint.

French warships off Toulon-circa 1931-1934 The closest ship (at right) is a destroyer of the 1500-tonne class, wearing identification number 114. At left is a 2400-tonne class destroyer wearing identification number 3 (either Vauban or Albatros). The aircraft carrier Bearn is in the centre distance. Two heavy cruisers are partially visible, one beyond Bearn’s bow and the other in the right distance. The original print came from the Office of Naval Intelligence. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Port visit to Naples, 8–14 May 1935. In the foreground is the Italian cruiser Zara. At right are six contre-torpilleurs of the 2400-ton type moored with their sterns towards the harbour breakwater: the 5th DL with Tartu (no.1), Albatros and Chevalier Paul, and the 7th DL with Gerfaut, Aigle and Vautour. There is a second Italian heavy cruiser alongside the breakwater in the left distance. (US Navy NH86446, courtesy of A D Baker III)

From June 7 to July 12, 1935, Albatros participated in the summer cruise of the 1ère Escadre.
Albatros returned to the 2ème Escadre in the Atlantic for an inter-squadron exercise at the end of which took place a naval review in the bay of Douarnenez on June 27, 1935.

On 27 June 1935 the Navy Minister, François Piétri, embarked on the Gerfaut for a naval review in Douarnenez Bay following combined manoeuvres of the Brest and Toulon squadrons. Gerfaut, followed by Aigle and Vautour, steamed past 55 ships moored in five lines. Destroyers participating in the review were the Albatros, among other CTs and TEs.

On August 18, 1935, Albatros was transferred to the complement group when Cassard resumed its place within 5th DL.

Albatros was under construction from mid-August to the end of December 1935. The supply of parts was modified, the installation of the TSF was overhauled, and a CET 32 mod.35 depth sounder was installed.

Albatros 1935 - 1936
Albatros with hull number 5 (1935 - 1936)

On December 31, 1935, Aigle left the 7th DL replaced by Albatros.
It is placed on armed availability, attached to the 3rd maritime region.


On January 1, 1936, the 7th DL was made up of Gerfaut, Albatros and the Vatour; a homogeneous division which was not always the case.

After a small refit from mid-April to the beginning of May, Albatros took part in the spring cruise from May 4 to June 24, 1936, before being indirectly engaged in the Spanish Civil War.

Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War began on 18 July 1936. The Marine Nationale initially ensured the safe evacuation of French citizens and was subsequently engaged in monitoring maritime traffic.

An agreement between 27 European states signed on 20 April 1937 permitted limited checks on merchant ships headed for Spanish ports. The French, British, German and Italian Navies set up patrols outside the ports of both sides. Illegal attacks by submarines, later acknowledged to be Italian, against republican merchant ships, led to new international conferences resulting in the Nyon (14 September 1937) and Paris (30 September 1937) Agreements, which aimed to eradicate ‘piracy’.

The Mediterranean was divided into seven surveillance zones assigned to France, Britain and Italy. France had responsibility for Zones 2 (centre of the western Mediterranean), 5 (Greek waters) and 8 (eastern part of the eastern Mediterranean). French naval deployments in support of these operations were referred to as the Dispositif special en Méditerranée (DSM).

The first DSM deployment, from 22 July 1936, was by the cruiser Duquesne, the CTs Kersaint, Cassard, Albatros, and the TEs Le Fortuné and Brestois.

On the 21st of July Albatros sailed from Toulon, while the chartered passenger ships Chellah, Djenne, and the others started to extract the large French community in Barcelona, all with a mission “to evacuate French nationals.”

The cruiser Emile Berin and Albatros prepared for the evacuation of French refugees from San Sebastian, Bilbao, and Santander on the North Coast

Within two days, French ships were active all around the Iberian Peninsula. Merchant vessels under the escort of French warships evacuated the large majority of refugees seeking the protection of the French flag. Albatros was at Port-Vendres from July 21 to 24

On 25 July 1936, Albatros entered Valencia and evacuated French subjects until July 27.

Albatros was at Port-Vendres again from July 28 to 29, then Barcelona on July 29, Alicante on July 30.

By 30 July the French Navy had eleven warships in service on the Mediterranean coast, with five more on the north coast.

Albatros was at Cartagena on July 31 and August 1, Alicante from July 1 to 3, Ivice on July 3, Port-Vendres again from July 4 to 6 and Barcelona on August 6, 1936.

France settled into a pattern of maintaining a cruiser in Barcelona, a cruiser or a large destroyer in Malaga and in Tangier, three destroyers in the region of Valencia and the Balearics, a destroyer at the Straits, and one large destroyer on the north coast, for a sum of eight or more warships on Spanish duty. (The total would soon be reduced to six.)

Barcelona always held the priority for French naval presence. French evacuation destroyers made the Barcelona-Marseilles and north coast-St. Jean de Luz runs as did the British, but larger numbers jammed five chartered Passenger steamers between Barcelona and Marseilles and one more in the Bay of Biscay.

Albatros was in Barcelona from August 7 to 11.

This map illustrates how Spain is in a key position to affect British trade routes to the east (including India) and the route of French shipping to colonies in North Africa. (There is a grave danger leaflet.)

On August 15, 1936, the 7th DL was paid to the complement group.
The same day, the destroyer group of the 1st Squadron became the 3rd Light Squadron.
The division marks were changed, the 7th DL having as its hull mark “71” (Gerfaut), “72” (Albatros), Vautour provisionally attached to the 13th DL took the hull mark “73” when it was reincorporated on July 1, 1937.

Albatros with hull number 72 (1936 - 1939)

Albatros was on armed availability for repairs from August 15 to November 3, 1936.

From 24 September most of the French ships based in the Mediterranean, both contre-torpilleurs and destroyers, deployed on a monthly rotation to provide a permanent presence in Spanish waters and to monitor maritime traffic in the zones assigned to France.

The Light Squadrons 1 October 1936

The 5th DL now comprised only the three ships of the Jaguar class.

3rd Light Squadron (Toulon)

Flagship: Tartu (CA Ollive)

5e DL: Tartu (51), Vauquelin (52), Le Chevalier Paul (53)
7e DL: Gerfaut (71), Albatros (72), Vautour (73)
9e DL: Maillé-Brézé (91), Kersaint (92), Cassard (93)
13e DL: Guépard (31), Valmy (32), Verdun (33)

On October 30, the 1st Squadron became the Mediterranean Squadron.

By the end of October 1936, by which point the evacuation effort had greatly slowed, French ships had evacuated approximately 20,000 persons (including 5,000 French citizens).

(French Destroyer, 1930) Albatros in port circa April 1937/April 1939. Note the Spanish Civil War identification stripes painted on the shield of its Number Four 138mm gun. In the foreground, a Vice Amiral d’Escadre is leaving a motor launch, followed by another officer. The Admiral’s four-star flag is flying at the boat’s bow. The original print came from the Office of Naval Intelligence. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Prado, a Spanish ship flying the French flag at the beginning of the war, was captured off Palamós on the Catalan coast by the destroyer Ceuta on 24 January 1938. Albatros intervened and prevented the ship from being sent to Palma, landing in Barcelona.

From August 30, 1938, the 7th DCT(Vautour, Gerfaut and Albatros) was assigned with the 3rd DT to the Special Device in the Mediterranean (DSM) but the latter was suspended on September 24, 1938.

On 23 September 1938, while in Barcelona harbour, Albatros lost its tender during a bombing raid.

On October 1, 1938, Vautour replaced Gerfaut as the head of the division. At the time it was planned to send Vautour and Albatros to the Levant Naval Division (DNL) and to form a division with Gerfaut, Milan and Epervier.

On February 27, 1939, circulaire ministérielle 244EMG3 changed the hull marks. Hull marks of the destroyers were to be preceded by an X, Vautour becoming X71, Gerfaut X72 and Albatros X73.

On March 28, 1939, the 7th DCT replaces the 3rd DCT in the Special Device in the Mediterranean.
Albatros in heavy weather during the late 1930s. Although an improvement in the early contre-torpilleurs, sea-keeping remained a problem, particularly in the Atlantic. (Bernard Bernadac collection)

On June 13, 1939, the 7th DCT was placed at full strength in peacetime.

1939-1940: Escort missions in the Atlantic

The Atlantic Fleet comprised the Force de raid with two battleships, three cruisers and the eight most modern contre-torpilleurs; the other ships, including the twelve destroyers of the 2nd Flotilla, were placed under orders of the Forces maritimes de l’Ouest, a major command located at Brest under Vice-Admiral Jean de Laborde ( Amiral Ouest ) covering the Atlantic theatre.

In the Mediterranean, the ships of the Mediterranean Fleet formed the Forces de haute mer with the Second and Third Squadrons at Toulon, and a Fourth Squadron (Forces légères d’attaque) at Bizerte; the remaining ships were attached to the local commands.

Escort forces were placed under the command of Admiral South (VA Estéva) from 7 September for the escort of convoys in the Mediterranean. The neutrality of Italy would make it possible to detach numerous warships from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.

The Independent Commands

3 September 1939

Force de raid (Brest)

1re DL: Dunkerque (VA Gensoul), Strasbourg (Capt. J.F.E. Bouxin)
4e DC: Georges Leygues (Capt. R.L. Perot), Montcalm (Capt. P.J. Ronarch), Gloire (Capt. F.H.R. de Belot)
2e escadre légère:
6e DCT: Mogador (CA Lacroix), Volta (Cdr. C.V.E. Jacqinet)
8e DCT: L’Indomptable (Capt. P.T.J. Barnaud), Le Malin (Cdr. G.E. Graziani), Le Triomphant (Cdr. M.M.P. Pothau)
10e DCT: Le Fantasque (Capt. P.A.B Still), L’Audacieux (Cdr. L.M. Clatin), Le Terrible (Cdr. A.E.R. Bonneau)

Forces de haute mer (Toulon)

2e escadre: Provence (VA Ollive)
2e DL: Lorraine (CA Vallée), Bretagne (Capt. H.J.M. Seguin)

1rre flottille de torpilleurs:

1re DT: La Palme (Capt. L.M.C Longaud), Le Mars (LtCdr. F.R. Lamorte), Tempête (LtCdr. F.A.M.C Pellegrin)
3e DT: Le Fortuné (Cdr. C.M.L. d’Hespel), La Railleuse (LtCdr. J.E.C. Hourcade), Simoun (LtCdr. F. Hainguerlot)
7e DT: Tramontane (Cdr. R.M.J.A. Renault), Typhon (LtCdr. Y.M.J. Le Hagre), Tornade (LtCdr. R.G.A Labat)

3e escadre:
1re DC: Algérie (VA Duplat), Dupleix (Capt. L.L.M Hamery), Foch (Capt. J. Mathieu), Colbert (Capt. E.H.M.A.A du Tour)
2e DC: Duquesne (CA Kerdudo), Tourville (Capt. A.J.A Marloy)

3e escadre légère:

5e DCT: Tartu (J.M. Chomel), Le Chevalier Paul (Cdr. J.M.L Bonnot), Vauquelin (Cdr. R. Jaujard)
7e DCT: Vautour (Capt. G.F.J.M. Hector-Berlioz), Gerfaut (Cdr. M.J.A.H Penet), Albatros (Cdr. R.G.Lambert)
9e DCT: Maillé Brézé (Capt.H.M.E.A Glotin), Cassard (Cdr. R.A.A Braxmeyer), Kersaint (Cdr. G.L.J. Rebuffel)

Forces légères d’attaque (Bizerte)

3e DC: Marseillaise (CA Marquis), Jean de Vienne (Capt. J.M. Missoffe), La Galissonnière (Capt. L.M.L. Dupre), Emile Bertin (Capt. R.M.J. Battet)
1re DCT: Vauban (Capt. Chardenot), Lion (Cdr. Vetillard), Aigle
3e DCT: Guépard (Capt. R. le Chuitton), Valmy (Cdr. J.L.P. Constantin), Verdun (Cdr. M.LA. Annibert)
11e DCT: Bison (Cdr. A.M. Herbout), Epervier (Cdr. J.J.G. Bros), Milan (Cdr. M.A.H. Favier)

Escort Forces (Mediterranean)

Escort Forces early Oct 1939

1re DCT: Vauban, Lion, Aigle
7e DCT: Vautour, Gerfaut, Albatros
9e DCT: Maillé Brézé, Cassard, Kersaint
11e DCT: Epervier, Milan

Group G1: La Palme, Le Mars, Greyhound (GB)
Group G2: Tramontane, Tornade, Glowworm (GB)
Group G3: Tigre, Tempête, Typhon.

Patrols in the Western Mediterranean 31 Dec 1939

1re DT: La Palme, Le Mars, Tempête
3e DT: Le Fortuné, Simoun
7e DT: Tramontane, Typhon, Tornade
8e DT: Bordelais, Trombe, L’Alcyon

A command ship (yacht Cyrnos) + 6 auxiliary patrol vessels

Patrols in the Western Mediterranean 1 May 1940

1re DT: La Palme, Le Mars, Tempête
3e DT: Le Fortuné, Simoun
7e DT: Tramontane, Typhon, Tornade
8e DT: Bordelais, Trombe, L’Alcyon
9e DT: Forbin, Basque
13e DT: Baliste, La Bayonnaise, La Poursuivante

Albatros in December 1939. Twin 13.2mm Hotchkiss MG have been installed on platforms forward of the bridge, the original 3-metre coincidence rangefinder atop the bridge has been replaced by a 5-metre stereo model, and it has been fitted with a 4-metre stereo rangefinder aft. (Charles Limonnier collection)

On 6 December 1939, the battleship Provence with Vice Admiral Ollive onboard to take command of the Casablanca command should have sailed in the evening, but a wire wrapped around its propeller shaft prevented its departure Admiral Ollive embarked on the French submarine depot ship Jules Verne, escorted by destroyers Bordelais and Railleuse, and departed that day escorted by destroyers Albatros and Vauban.

Force Z (the battleship Lorraine, and the cruisers Marseillaise and Jean de Vienne from Toulon), which transported gold to Canada, departed Halifax, Canada for France escorting steamers Indochinois, Louis L. D., Jean L. D., and British City of Pretoria loaded with American planes for the French forces.

The convoy was joined at sea by the CTs Maillé-Brézé, Kersaint, Vauban, Albatros and Bison on 22 December 1939, then by the TEs Tempête, Typhon and Tornade the following day.

On 24 December 1939, the force divided off Casablanca, with the freighters, Bison and destroyers entering the port, and the other ships proceeding to Toulon.

On 24 January 1940, battleship Provence, heavy cruisers Colbert and Duquesne with destroyers Vautour and Albatros departed Toulon; passing Oran on 25 January 1940.
On 27 January 1940, Vautour and Albatros detached from Provence, Colbert and Duquesne in the North Atlantic for Casablanca, arriving on 28 January 1940.

On 31 January 1940, Vautour and Albatros departed Casablanca for Oran.

On 7 February 1940, Albatros returned to Casablanca.

On 11 February 1940, Vautour and Albatros departed Casablanca to meet a convoy West of Africa in 31, 30N, 19W

On 13 February 1940, the returning cruisers Dupleix and Foch and three freighters loaded with American planes were joined by the CTs Maillé-Brézé, Vautour and Albatros, then on 14 February by the TEs Le Fortuné, Simoun and Basque. The freighters entered Casablanca with Maillé-Brézé, Le Fortuné, and Basque, the other ships proceeding to the Mediterranean.

On 23 February 1940, Albatros and the French troopship Ville D’Oran passed Gibraltar for Brest. The ships were designated as French Convoy 3.F and arrived at Brest on 26 February 1940 in preparation for planned Allied operations in Finland.

On 29 March 1940, the battleship Bretagne and heavy cruiser Algerie departed Halifax escorting French merchant ships Louis L. D. and Wisconsin. The merchant ships were carrying American aircraft to France. The Steamers with destroyers Vautour, Verdun, Valmy and Albatros proceeded to Casablanca.

On 1 April 1940, Vautour, Albatros, and Aigle departed Oran, Algeria.

On 4 April 1940, destroyers Verdun and Valmy departed Casablanca, Morocco, with Albatros, and Aigle.

On April 14, 1940, Vautour and Albatros protected the battleship Richelieu during its first sea trials in the bay of Douarnenez.

1940: The Norwegian Campaign

On 5 April a Force Z was formed in anticipation of an intervention in Norway, which was precipitated by the German invasion of that country on 9 April.

The main task of the contre-torpilleurs and torpilleurs d’escadre would be to escort transports between Scotland and Norway.

On 18 April 1940, French convoy FP.2 departed Brest for Greenock with troopships Djenne, Flandre, and President Doumer, escorted by destroyers Albatros (CF R.G. Lambert) and Vautour (CV G. F. J. M. Reboul Hector-Berlioz) of the 7th large destroyer division, Bison, Milan, Epervier and Valmy, and the TEs Cyclone, Mistral, Orage and Tempête.; arriving in the Clyde on the 20 April 1940 escorted by destroyers Fearless, Fury, and Vanoc which met at sea.

On 22 April 1940, light cruiser Montcalm departed Brest for the Clyde with destroyers Vautour and Albatros to relieve damaged light cruiser Emile Bertin, arriving on 23 April 1940.

On 24 April 1940, Emile Bertin departed the Clyde for Brest escorted by Vautour and Albatros.

On 8 May 1940, the French liner Pasteur departed Brest for St Nazaire, escorted by Albatros and Vautour, and arrived the same day.

Albatros and Vautour returned to Brest on 10 May 1940,

On 13 May 1940, destroyers Verdun, Valmy, Guepard, Albatros, and Vautour departed Brest en route to Toulon; passing Gibraltar on 15 May 1940 and arriving on 17 May 1940.

1940: War with Italy

From April 1940, the increasing likelihood of Italy entering the war led to a regrouping of French naval forces in the Mediterranean, where the 3rd Light Squadron was reconstituted on 30 May 1940.

Vauban, Kersaint, Cassard and Vauquelin, which had remained at Toulon, were joined on 20 April by Aigle, on 27 May by Guépard, Verdun, Valmy, Vautour, Albatros, Tartu and Le Chevalier Paul, on 24 May by Lion, and on 21 June by Gerfaut.

From the beginning of the conflict, a bombardment of the Italian coasts by ships based in Toulon was planned.
Italy entered the war on June 10, 1940, and an operation was scheduled for the night of June 11 to 12, but it was cancelled at the last moment for political reasons.

Toulon Command, France

Naval Deployment 10 June 1940

3rd Squadron (Vice Amiral E. A. H. Duplat):

1st Cruiser Division (Duplat) with heavy cruisers:
Algerie (Flag, Duplat, CV J. L. H. M. Nouvel de la Fleche), Colbert (CV L. M. C. Longaud),
Duplpeix (CV L. L. M. Hameury), and Foch (CV M. H. M. Ferriere).

3rd Light Squadron (Contre Amiral E. L. H. M. Derrien)
1st Large Destroyer Division: Aigle (CF P. E. Renon), Lion (CF J. J. A. Vetillard), and Vauban (CV J. G. Chardenot)
3rd Large Destroyer Division: Guepard (CV R. E. Gervais de Lafond), Valmy (CF E. E. R. Brebant), and Verdun (CF E. R. Byr).
4th Large Destroyer Division: Panthere (CF E. J. G. Mando) under repair,
5th Large Destroyer Division: Chevalier Paul (CF J. M. L. Bonnot) and Tartu (CV J. M. Chomel).
7th Large Destroyer Division: Albatros (CF G. Z. Frichement?), Gerfaut (CF A. P. Galou), and Vautour (CV G. F. J. M. Reboul Hector-Berlioz)
9th Large Destroyer Division, all three under repair: Cassard (CF E. J. H. L. Deprez), Kersaint (CF G. L. J. Rebuffel), and Vauquelin (CF C. Ansaldi).

15th Submarine Division: Ceres (LV G. L. P. Lemiere), Iris (Leader, CC M. M. B. A Antoine),
Pallas (LV L. P. A. Tremellat), and Venus (LV P. Dartigues).

The Italian bombardment of Bizerte on June 12 removed the last hesitations and Operation Vado was scheduled for the night of June 13 to 14, 1940.

Operation ‘Vado’ 14 June 1940

In an effort to provide a diversion for the French force involved in ‘Vado’, the French heavy cruisers Suffren, Duquesne and Tourville, light cruiser Duguay-Trouin and destroyers Basque, Forbin and Fortuné, under the command of Vice-Amiral René-Emile Godfroy, departed Beirut, Lebanon, to operate in the Kaso Strait to the east of Crete in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean.

3rd Squadron:

Groupement 1 (Vado Group):
Algérie (Vice Amiral Emile Duplat), Foch
1re DCT: Vauban, Lion, Aigle
5e DCT: Tartu, Le Chevalier Paul, Cassard

Groupement 2 (Genoa Group):
Dupleix (Contre Amiral Edmond Derrien), Colbert
7e DCT: Vautour, Albatros
3e DCT: Guépard, Valmy, Verdun

Support was provided by the submarines Iris, Pallas, and Vénus, which operated in the area off of Savona in north-western Italy; Archimède, as a voltigeur (no clear assignment); and air resources distributed between Loire 130 seaplanes (escadrille HS5), Vought 156F dive bombers (escadrille AB3) and Loire-Nieuport 411 (escadrille AB2) and Dewoitine D-520 of groupe de chasse III/6 of l’Armée de l’Air.

The squadron arrived at a point 20nm bearing 120 from Cape Vado at 0348, then separated into two groups: one headed for Vado, the other for Genoa.

Dupleix and Colbert, of the Genoa group, engaged targets ashore between 0427 and 0440.

The scouting division, the 3rd DCT, was stationed 6000m from the flagship, Dupleix. Albatros and Vautour, forming the bombardment division (7th DCT), were stationed 2.5nm to the north of the cruisers; Sestri Ponente was their objective.

Albatros opened fire at 04.33 at a range of 7300m. It had a brief steering failure at 0440 and made smoke to cover itself at 0445.

The 7th DCT was fired on by the Mameli coast-defence battery (152mm guns) and by the Italian torpedo boat Calatafimi.

Albatros was struck by a 152mm shell that passed through a fuel tank and exploded in the after boiler room. Steam lines were severed and fuel leaked into the boiler room but without causing a fire. The boiler was isolated from the steam collector, and the officer in charge of the boiler room, even though seriously burned, hurled himself onto his stomach, and with the help of a junior stoker managed to shut down the burners; these two would be the only survivors of the boiler room personnel. The after turbines had to be shut down. There were a dozen casualties with steam burns in the boiler room.

Albatros momentarily hauled out of line, then rejoined on a single shaft.

The old Italian torpedo-boat Calatafini, which was escorting a minesweeper, happened upon the scene.

The division continued its bombardment of the Ansaldo-Fossati works of Genoa-Sestri, and opened fire on the Calatafimi and on the FPBs MAS-535, MAS-539, MAS534 and MAS538 of the 13a Squadrone MAS that had sortied from La Spezia to attack the French force. The Itallians launched torpedoes between 0435 and 0440. The torpedo attack on the French destroyers was unsuccessful.

Two Italian FPBs had been slightly damaged by fragments.
The Italian FPBs returned to Savone with one minor casualty.

This operation was of mediocre efficiency especially if we take stock of the shells fired, namely 500 of 203mm, 800 of 138mm, and 300 of 90mm & 100mm.

Following the bombardment by the cruisers, the French formation regrouped. At first, making 26 knots, the squadron had to reduce speed to 25 knots at 0507 because of the damaged Albatros, but was able to increase to 27 knots for the final run into Toulon.

The Bombardment of Vado & Genoa 14-Jun-1940

Eight French bombers took part in these attacks, but the Italian Air Force made no appearance either at Vado or at Genoa.

Two aircraft, which were quickly identified as French, were sighted at 0615.

There was a submarine alert at 0755. The Italian submarines Neghelli and Veniero were already at sea, and Iride and Sciré departed La Spezia, but none of these boats established contacted the French force before the ships returned to the harbour.

On 14 June 1940, at about noon, the Squadron returned to Toulon.

Albatros moored at Pier 4 (Milhaud) at 1155. Its losses had been heavy: out of the 14 men who suffered burns, five died the same day and a further six in the days that followed.



1940-1942: Armistice Period

When the armistice came into effect on June 25, 1940, at 0035, 14 destroyers were present in Toulon (Lion, Guépard, Verdun, Valmy, Tartu, Chevalier Paul, Vautour, Albatros, Gerfaut, Cassard, Vauquelin, and Panthère).

Battle of Mers-el-Kébir

Albatros had been in Toulon under repair since Operation ‘Vado’.

On the evening of 3rd July, the 3rd Squadron sailed from Toulon with the cruisers Algérie, Foch and Colbert, and the CTs Vauban, Lion, Aigle, Guépard, Valmy, Verdun, Tartu, Le Chevalier Paul, Cassard, Vautour, Gerfaut and Albatros under the command of C. A. Derrien.

They joined up with the cruisers from Algiers, to cover the arrival of Strasbourg off of Menorca.

They failed to locate the Strasbourg, and returned to Toulon, arriving at midday on 4 July 1940.

Strasbourg safely arrived in Toulon in 2010 on 4 July 1940, having rounded the southern tip of Sardinia to avoid any further confrontations with Force H.

The Forces de Haute Mer

Discussions with the Germans and Italians, and various proposals for the reorganization of French naval forces, were ongoing at the time of the assault on Dakar.

Some ships would remain in commission overseas (at Dakar, Casablanca, Bizerte, Oran, Algiers, Beirut, Saigon, Diego Suarez and Djibouti), and a new independent squadron, designated the Forces de haute mer (FHM = ‘High Seas Forces’), was constituted at Toulon on 25 September 1940 centred on the battleship Strasbourg.

Ships which were not incorporated into the FHM or under the command of the local préfet maritime were placed in care & maintenance (en gardi-ennage d’armistice), and decommissioned with a skeleton crew.

Regular maintenance and partial modernizations (which largely concerned the light AA) were undertaken, despite the limited industrial means available – most of the French weapons and munitions factories were in the occupied zone.

At Toulon, the activities of the Forces de haute mer were limited in order to save fuel, of which limited stocks remained.

Forces de Haute Mer (Toulon) 25 September 1940

Strasbourg (Ad. de Laborde)

1re division de croiseurs: Algérie (VA Bouxin), Foch, Dupleix
3e division de croiseurs: La Marseillaise (CA Barnaud), La Galissonnière

3e escadre légère
Aigle (CA Jardel)
3e DCT: Guépard, Valmy, Cassard
7e DCT: Vautour, Albatros, Gerfaut
8e DCT: L’Indomptable, Volta

The first full sortie took place 16–18 October 1940, and involved Strasbourg the cruisers Algérie, Foch, Dupleix, Marseillaise and La Galissonnière, and the CTs Aigle, Guépard, Valmy, Cassard, Gerfaut, L’Indomptable and Volta.

On October 21, 1940, Gerfaut of 7e DCT was disarmed and then placed in guarding on the 29th.

On 8 November 1940, battleship Provence, temporarily repaired of its Mers el Kebir damage, arrived at Toulon escorted by destroyers Epee, Fleuret, Le Hardi, Lansquenet and Mameluck. Battleship Strasbourg, heavy cruisers Algerie, Dupleix and Foch, light cruisers La Galissonniere and Marseillaise with destroyers Volta, L’Indomptable, Cassard, Vautour and Albatros met the force in local approaches.

On December 16, 1940, Vautour of 7e DCT was placed in armistice guarding, the 7e DCT being dissolved the day before.

On 17 December 1940, Albatros having been temporarily assigned to Marine Maroc, departed Toulon escorting submarines Aurora, La Psyche and Oreade to Oran, arriving on 19 December 1940.

On 21 December 1940, submarines Aurora, La Psyche and Oreade departed Oran for Casablanca via Gibraltar escorted by Albatros; passing Gibraltar on 22 December 1940 and arriving on 23 December 1940.

Albatros left for Morocco to make up a three-ship division with Milan and Epervier.


At Casablanca, one ship remained on alert and able to get underway within 6 hours, and all available ships sortied for a group exercise once per month.

After the movements of ships which resulted from the British aggressions at Mers el-Kebir (3 July 1940) and Dakar (23-25 September 1940), Casablanca was the base for the cruiser Primauguet (flagship), the CTs Milan, Epervier, Albatros (11th DCT) and three 2/3-ship divisions of destroyers.

Maintenance was generally carried out at Casablanca, although some ships were sent to Oran or Toulon for docking and refit.

Milan, from Dakar, arrived at Casablanca on 24 August 1940. It was absent from Morocco between 14 December 1940 and 17 April 1941, when it was docked and refitted at Oran.

Epervier, which had arrived from Dakar on 7 August 1940, left Casablanca on 8 June 1942 for Oran, and would never return.

Fougueux and Frondeur (2nd DT) had been at Casablanca since the armistice.

They would be joined on 1 November 1940 by L’Alcyon and Tempête from Toulon, and by Brestois, Boulonnais and Simoun from Bizerte. These ships would form the 5th and 6th DT.

Albatros, from Toulon, arrived at Casablanca on 23 December 1940.

Albatros 1941

On 3 March 1941, Albatros arrived at Oran, Algeria, with convoy K.29.

On its way to Casablanca from Martinique (a crossing from 1 April to 13 April 1941), the CGM banana boat Fort-de France got seized on the evening of April 8 by the ex-British cruiser AMC Bulolo (capt. Richard Lloyd Hamer) who intended to take its to Gibraltar.

Fougueux was sent to the rescue, followed by Primauguet, Albatros, Simoun and Frondeur.

The Fort de France was found and retaken on 12 April and brought into Casablanca the following morning, the British prize team having been reembarked in Albatros.

This is probably the only case of a French commercial vessel having experienced a double capture during the same crossing.

L’Adroit and Mameluk (10th DT) were detached from Toulon to Casablanca from 8 May 1941 to 25 September and 17 October 1941 respectively.

Albatros was absent from Morocco from 5 June to 25 September 1941.

From June 10 to September 5, 1941, Albatros was at the Arsenal in Oran for a major refit. The aft mast was removed, antenna supports were installed on funnel n°4, among other modifications.

After a test outing on September 3 and 4, 1941, Albatros was available again On September 5.

Albatros left Oran on September 22 with convoy R-19 (four ships), arriving in Casablanca on September 25, 1941.

Between August 1940 and January 1942, maritime traffic (38 return convoys in all) was reestablished between Casablanca and three of the ports of the occupied zone: Bordeaux, Nantes and La Pallice. The CTs Milan and Albatros, and the TEs L’Adroit, Fleuret, Brestois and Fougueux, together with sloops and patrol boats, played a part in escorting these convoys, generally as far north as the 40th parallel.

After several training trips and fire schools, the Albatros was in a small refit from April 8 to 21, 1942, with a passage on the 5000-ton floating dock from April 8 to 13.

On April 18, 1942, the 2nd light squadron was formed in Casablanca under the orders of Rear Admiral Gervais de Lalond who put his mark on Primauguet.

2e escadre légère (Casablanca) 25 May 1942

Primauguet (CA Gervais de Lafond)
11e DCT: Milan, Epervier, Albatros
5e DT: Brestois, Boulonnais
6e DT: Tempête, Simoun (not in service – personnel manning patrol boats L’Algéroise et La Servannaise)
Detached to Oran: L’Alcyon (from 8 May)
Refit: Fougueux (Oran), Frondeur (Alger)

The 11th D.C.T. at Casablanca in April or May 1942. From left to right: the patrol vessel Amiral Mouchez (W 61, former surveying ship); the 11th D.C.T., Milan (X 111), Albatros (X 73), and Epervier (X 112); and the destroyer L’Alcyon (T 23)

2e escadre légère (Casablanca) 8 November 1942

Primauguet (CA Gervais de Lafond)
11e DCT: Milan (Cdr. F. Costet), Albatros (Cdr. Peries)
2e DT: Fougueux (Cdr. L.S. Sticca), Frondeur (LtCdr. Begouen-Demeax), Alcyon (LtCdr. De Bragelongne)
5e DT: Brestois (Cdr. Mariani), Boulonnais (LtCdr. Martinant de Preneuf)
6e DT: Tempête (Cdr. Delplanque), Simoun (LtCdr. O’Neil) - both under repair following collision
Detached to Oran: Epervier
Albatros at Casablanca in 1942, wearing the hull number ‘X73’. Hull numbers were re-painted in brick red in early 1940 to reduce the visibility of the ships. In addition to the standard AA modifications Albatros has had its two 75cm searchlights relocated to newly constructed platforms forward of the third funnel, and a third, smaller 60cm searchlight has been fitted on the foremast platform. (Pierre Boucheix collection)

​A small refit of Albatros was planned for November with beaching on the dock from November 10 to 14 then from November 20 to 22.

Operation Torch: The Allied Landings in North Africa

On 8 November 1942, the Allies landed in Morocco, and in the Oran and Algiers areas.

At Casablanca, the 2nd Light Squadron got underway at dawn.

Primauguet was initially unavailable because it had been undergoing maintenance on its machinery, and the destroyers Simoun and Tempête were still under repair following a collision on 8 September.

Albatros was alerted in the early morning. A few hours later, the order was received to keep the vessel ready to sail. Boiler No. 1 was lit soon after with the destroyer being ready at 0800. Soon, the crew was called to the combat post and twenty minutes later a plane flew over Casablanca.

A tug took Albatros over at the front at 0745, and another at the back ten minutes later. The destroyer sailed under tow at 8 am while the boilers and machinery were launched.

At 0810, Albatros cast off and crossed the passes of the port of Casablanca, positioning itself behind Milan.

After Albatros joined at 0813, the ships of Rear-Admiral Raymond Gervais de Lafond’s 2nd Light Squadron (2ème Escadre Légère) steamed out of the harbour and, setting their speed at 18 knots, headed east-north-east up the coast towards the landing beaches.

They were ordered by divisions:

Destroyer Division II : Milan-flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Gervais de Lafond, Albatros;
Destroyer Division 5 : Brestois, Boulonnais;
Destroyer Division 2 : Fougueux, Frondeur, Alcyon.

Each division was in a column and the columns in echelon. Primauguet did not sortie at this time.

As soon as the French ships sailed, Rear Admiral Hewitt sent 3 destroyers (Wilkes, Swanson, Ludlow) and 2 cruisers (Brooklyn Augusta).

At around 0820, Ranger (CV-4) aircraft (Grumman F4F Wildcats of the VF-41 and VF-9) which were to protect the landing beaches but turned towards the French ships, strafing the destroyers, hitting Boulonnais, Milan, Albatros and Brestois. The strafing only caused light damage.

The US destroyers Wilkes (DD441), Swanson (DD443) and Ludlow (DD428), which had been providing direct gunfire support to the landings since dawn, were starting to run low on main battery rounds.

The French destroyers got close enough to hit several landing craft as they exchanged fire with Wilkes (DD-441) and Ludlow (DD- 428).

Albatros opened fire at 0828 one minute after the Milan.
While firing on the American ships, the French destroyers and torpedo boats are attacked by the F4F Wildcats.

Hoping to lead the French away from the beaches and transport area, Wilkes and Swanson turned to the north and retired at high speed.

Ludlow (DD- 428), however, delayed its turn and exchanged fire with the French squadron long enough to obtain a hit and be hit in turn.
A hit on Milan started fires that were soon extinguished, but the hit on Ludlow at 0834 by Albatros penetrated its forecastle, blasting a hole in the main deck, exploding in the wardroom, starting a serious fire and wounding four men. One sailor remembered, “Paint and red deck linoleum were burning like tar paper. Damage control organized a human chain to pass ammunition out of the handling room and magazine because the bulkheads were getting too hot.” Ludlow retired northeast and the fires burned until 0950. Ludlow spent the next three hours making repairs.

Meanwhile, Augusta (CA-31) and Brooklyn (CL-40) had been summoned and came charging through the transport area to the cheers of the sailors on the transports.

The flagship Augusta and Brooklyn (CL-40) arrived to force the French destroyers to turn away about four miles from the landing area.

At 0838, Augusta and Brooklyn (CL-40) was under fire from the French ships; medium caliber, red and green splashes. (Milan fired red-dyed projectiles)
Having sighted the oncoming cruisers, Gervais de Lafond ordered his ships about to a southwesterly course back towards the harbour, but in the smoke and confusion, Torpedo Division 2 missed the signal and continued towards Fédala.

The French ships then hid in a very effective smoke screen, darting out to fire a few salvoes before hiding themselves again while the US ships expended prodigious amounts of ammunition. Unlike the Americans, the French ships did not have radars.

Major General Patton, aboard Augusta, apparently greatly enjoyed the display of naval gunfire, despite having his gear blown overboard.

At 0840, another flight of F4Fs was strafed Albatros, Milan and Frondeur.

At 0900, as the French destroyers bobbed and weaved in the smoke screen, the French light cruiser Primauguet sortied from Casablanca.

At 0905, Augusta changed course to left, then to a South-Easterly course. Augusta and Brooklyn (CL-40) had been primarily exchanging fire with Primauguet, which was now underway and joined by Boulonnais. Neither side appears to have scored a hit. Not wanting to get too far from the transports they were assigned to protect, the two cruisers did not pursue the French further to the southwest.

At 0920, the French ships were retiring to Casablanca. Augusta ceased firing and changed course to North, returning to the transport area.
Covering Force (Massachusetts, Tuscaloosa, and Wichita) was observed Westward, firing toward shore near Casablanca.

Gervais de Lafond had not gone far towards the South-West before he came under fire from the Covering Group. At 0935, Sighting the oncoming Massachusetts, he reversed course again, circling outside the entrance to the harbour.

The French destroyers were in column, firing quite rapidly and apparently had found the range, as a very radical zigzag by the Mayrant was necessary during this phase to avoid straddles.
Albatros was framed firing between 0937 and 0956 when the emission of smoke allows it.

Massachusetts and Tuscaloosa closed in on the destroyer action. At 0940, one shell from Massachusetts and a salvo from Tuscaloosa hit forward of Fougueux, which turned away, losing way, with its bow a mass of flame as far aft as the bridge. At 0955, Fougueux’s crew began to abandon ship, and at approximately 1000, out of sight of the Americans, it exploded and sank.

The Covering Group continued on to the west, losing sight of the squadron outside the harbour at about 0950. Massachusetts then turned its attention back to the harbour; at 0955 it hit Milan with a 16-inch shell.

At 0951, Augusta (CA-31), Brooklyn (CL-40), with destroyers Wilkes (DD-441), Swanson (DD-443), and Bristol (DD-453) were ordered to attack the French destroyers.

Meanwhile, Primauguet and Albatros came about and headed back toward Fédala.

By 1000, the French squadron was in disarray. Gervais de Lafond was no longer able to communicate with his division commanders, who now began to operate independently.
Making matters worse, two of his division commanders, Commander Sticca in Fougueux and Commander Mariani in Brestois were incapacitated. Additionally, the captain of Boulonnais, Lieutenant Commander de Préneuf, who should have taken over command of Torpedo Division 5, had been seriously wounded by strafing Wildcats early in the battle, so command of the division fell to Boulonnais’s XO, Lieutenant Chazereau.
On his own initiative, Chazereau decided that the only way out of the crossfire between the two cruisers to the north and the Covering Group to the west was to make a potentially suicidal torpedo attack on Brooklyn and Augusta.

At 1000, Milan was hit by a shell from Massachusetts. Losing power, Milan turned towards the shore, north-east of the harbour.

Albatros manoeuvred in imitation of Primauguet while the Milan had to stop after being hit by the Americans.

Shortly afterwards at 1003, Massachusetts was almost hit by multiple torpedoes from an unidentified French submarine, while Tuscaloosa narrowly avoided four torpedoes from the French submarine Méduse, and Brooklyn dodged five torpedoes from the French submarine Amazone at the same time it and three U.S. destroyers were engaging the Primauguet and the remaining five French destroyers.

At 1008, Brooklyn was hit by a dud shell injuring six men, but got payback at 1012, when it hit Boulonnais with a full salvo, causing it to roll over and sink.

Primauguet had been hit multiple times by Augusta and Brooklyn, including three hits below the waterline and one 8 inch hit on its No. 3 turret, and it made a run for the harbour. It came in and anchored off Roches Noires.

The destroyer leader Milan had been hit five times and also made for port.
Massachusetts disabled Milan before ceasing fire at 1016 and heading west.

The French destroyers Boulonnais and Brestois noted the battleship’s withdrawal and lunged toward the transports. This caused Augusta, Brooklyn, and three destroyers to return to the fight.

At about 1010, Boulonnais and Brestois charged at Brooklyn, but were met with a hail of gunfire that rapidly overwhelmed Boulonnais. Chazereau ordered the torpedoes fired when the range reached 13,000 yards, but before the order could be obeyed, the ship was hit by six shells out of a full salvo fired by Brooklyn. Boulonnais was ordered abandoned. Brestois stopped briefly to pick up survivors, but Brooklyn, now joined by Augusta, continued firing until Brestois turned and headed back towards Primauguet and the cover of the smokescreen outside the harbour. Miraculously, it survived this sortie relatively unharmed.

Over the next half hour, the two forces traded salvoes through smoky skies. There were now five ships remaining in the French squadron, Albatros, L’Alcyon, Frondeur and Brestois milling around off the outer breakwater (Jetée Delure), under the questionable protection of a thinning smokescreen and the guns of Primauguet and Batterie d’El Hank.

At 1020, Brestois was also hit by Augusta and U.S. destroyers; it made it into the harbour, only to be strafed by Ranger aircraft and sank at the pier at 2100.

At 1025, Frondeur was hit aft, limped into port, and was finished off by strafing.

All this activity caused Massachusetts to reverse course, and, at 1030, the battleship lofted a salvo at the French from 30,000 yards.

Albatros was hit hard at about 1030. An 8-inch shell damaged the No. 2 main battery mount and started a fire in the ammunition hoist that proved difficult to contain.

A near-miss at 1040, possibly by a 16-inch shell, opened a 23-foot-long tear in its hull forward causing minor flooding and a steam leak, but it could still make 20 knots and then 25 knots.

At this time, Augusta and Brooklyn were within a few thousand yards of each other due north of Albatros and firing at ranges just above 21,000 yards.
At 1045, Albatros tagged Brooklyn on No.1 5-inch mount. The 138.6mm round wounded five men before bouncing over the starboard side without exploding. A Brooklyn sailor later wrote, “At the first sight of the vicinity where we were hit, I got sick!..because where the disabled gun stood was a mass of red, which I thought to be blood. It covered the bulkhead…and was all over the decks. However, an officer told me it was a red dye from the French shell.”

Albatros manoeuvred along the coast for another hour and a quarter.

By 1100, Massachusetts had expended 60% of its16 inch shells and began to conserve ammunition as a hedge in the event the French naval forces at Dakar, West Africa (including the battleship Richelieu) showed up unexpectedly. After Massachusetts turned away, Tuscaloosa and Wichita again approached the harbour from the North, hoping to engage the remaining French ships. The only French warships still moving outside the outer breakwater were now Albatros, Brestois and L’Alcyon, all three with varying degrees of damage. By this time, the French ships’ luck had begun to run out under the hail of US fire.

During its evolutions along the coast after 1100, Albatros, chased by 8-inch shells from Wichita and Tuscaloosa, was hit at least five more times.

At 1115, the three remaining French ships, destroyer leader Albatros, and destroyers Frondeur and L’Alcyon formed up to conduct a coordinated torpedo attack on the US cruisers, but the attack was broken up by Tuscaloosa and Wichita, although Wichita was hit by a shell from El Hank and had to dodge three torpedoes from a French submarine.

Albatros was hit twice at 1130 leaving its with only three guns operable. It still zigzagged behind a smoke screen, retiring towards Casablanca while still firing at Augusta (CA-31). The 138mm 1, 4 and 5 guns opening fire as soon as the destroyer managed to acquire a target.

At 1140, a pair of Dauntlesses of VS-41 from Ranger (CV-4) arrived and each placed a bomb amidships, which destroyed its after machinery spaces, knocking over its third funnel, opened the forward engine room to the sea, and exploded in an oil bunker. Fumes forced the evacuation of the forward engine and aft boiler rooms and flames erupted near the bridge.

After the bombers departed, F4Fs lined up to strafe the gravely damaged vessel.
Albatros was still moving at 1145, when, passing Batterie d’Oukacha. It limped toward the coast on one engine and at 1155 anchored north-northeast of Oukacha.

Soon thereafter, an 8-inch shell hit from Augusta (CA-31) flooding the second engine room. Albatros went dead in the water with no power to move or shoot.

Of the seven French surface combatants that sortied, only L’Alcyon returned to port undamaged.

At 1245, the French navy vessel La Grandière and two coastal minesweepers sortied from Casablanca. Their mission was actually to rescue French survivors from the morning engagement, but their movement was interpreted as a threat.

Two French destroyers that had not been engaged in the morning, the Tempête and Simoun, milled about smartly around the breakwater trying to lure US ships back into range for El Hank, for which the US ships had gained healthy respect by this time.

The Battle of Cassablanca

Augusta, Brooklyn, destroyers, and aircraft attacked the rescue ships, which managed to avoid being hit.

In the meantime, a French tug, Lavandou, came out and began to tow Albatros into port.

Brooklyn opened fire at 1315, Augusta at 1326. The two cruisers exchanged fire with the French ships and with Albatros while being towed towards Roches Noires, but no hits were achieved by either side.

Albatros arrived in the outer harbour at 1430. The captain decided to run the ship aground in shallow waters to evacuate the wounded.
It was 250m forward of the Primauguet and 300m abeam of the Milan.

Three boats evacuated the wounded except when fired from F4F Wildcats of VF-9.

Filled with water to the waterline, Albatros laid down on the port side at marée descendante. The commander, le capitaine de frégate Périès leaves at 1645. As for the bodies of the killed sailors, they were to be recovered the next day.

Albatros had fired 420 main battery rounds.

Of a crew of 200, 25 were reported killed and 80 wounded.

November 1942 French destroyer Albatros beached off Casablanca, Morocco on 16 November 1942. Badly damaged during the Battle of Casablanca on 8 November, its third smokestack is almost completely destroyed, and its port side appears to be heavily stained by fuel oil. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Ranger aircraft also repeatedly strafed the now grounded Milan and Primauguet. A direct bomb hit on Primauguet’s bridge killed the commanding officer, executive officer, and eight officers, and wounded Rear Admiral Gervais de Lafond.

The Primauguet, Albatros, and Milan beached outside Casablanca

Although the French had put up a spirited fight, and U.S. reports indicate admiration for their professionalism, the battle ended up very one-sided.

November 1942 French Navy and commercial ships in Casablanca harbour, Morocco after the battle of 8 November 1942. The two damaged 1500-tonne destroyers at left wear identification codes T62 and T22 (capsized … it may be Frondeur). Another ship of that class is alongside the quay in the right centre. Among the merchant ships present are Endome (left), Delaballe (centre, inboard) and Wyoming (centre, outboard). All wear neutrality markings. Outside the harbour are the beached light cruiser Primauguet (left centre), destroyer Albatros and destroyer Milan (closest to the beach). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.


Of the eighteen four-funnelled contre-torpilleurs, not a single one was fit for service. The repair of Albatros at Casablanca and Epervier at Oran was considered but proved to be beyond the capabilities of the respective dockyards.

Albatros was refloated on 10 December 1942 by the Americans following the damage sustained at Casablanca in November 1942.

Rusty Albatros albatr10

Various works took place on board the ship to keep it afloat.

On 10 June 1944 it was ordered disarmed and, after being “mothballed,” it was placed in Special Reserve as from 31 July.
It was placed in guarding by the Direction du Port (DP) of Casablanca on August 1, 1944.

Between then and October 1945, it supplied numerous parts for the benefit of active ships.

It was decided on 9 April 1945 to restore Albatros to “provisional” status and preliminary work was begun 16 October. The decision was confirmed on 21 November, and it was ordered that repairs be carried out sufficient for it to reach Lorient. There the repairs were to be completed, and a Captaine de Frégate was assigned to follow progress.

1946-1959: Post-War

Albatros was dry-docked at Casablanca, on 4 February 1946. Though under major repairs, it was still officially regarded as in Special Reserve, and on 23 March, owing to lack of funds, work was ordered stopped on completion of operational repairs. On 6 June all work ended, and the ship found itself once more truly in Special Reserve.
Albatros was finally repatriated to Toulon under tow in June 1946.

6 months later, its transformation into a seagoing Gunnery School Ship (Ecole d’application de tir à la mer, or EATM) and gunnery trials ship was envisaged. The Ecole de canonnage was based on the old battleship Lorraine, which since 1947 had been moored at the Angle Robert close to the Grands Bassins.
The student gunners would follow theoretical training on board the old battleship, and with practical training taking place on board the Emile Bertin and the patrol boats La Sétoise and La Toulonnaise, while outings were only local to train future gunnery officers.

Initially, it was intended that it trial the twin 130mm dual-purpose mounting which was approved in December 1946, but this was subsequently redeveloped as the twin 127mm Mle 1948 which armed the new fleet escorts of the T47 type.

The decision was formally taken on 20 March 1947, the work to be carried out at Toulon. It began its refit in June 1947.
The work was financed by the 1947 budget.

Tigre was employed as a gunnery school ship (bâtiment-école d’application du tir à la mer) as a temporary measure during the reconstruction of Albatros for the purpose.

C.F. Duffo took command of the ship on December 29, 1947.

Albatros during its reconstruction at Toulon in the spring of 1948. The forward boilers have been stripped out, and the first two funnels removed, as have guns nos.3 and 4. A new lattice mast has been stepped abaft the bridge to support US-model surveillance radars.

The work of repair and transformation lasted more than a year, until the beginning of 8th August 1948.

Preliminary trials took place from 8-12 August, after which it went to Toulon for the installation of radar for fire control against sea targets.

On 8-9 September, it did its official trials and was admitted into active service in its new role, replacing the elderly Tigre.

Albatros re-entered into active service on 9 September 1948. It carried the pendant number T 06, and still figured in the Fleet list as a destroyer.

At anchor, sometime during September 1948 and April 1951, probably near Toulon. Albatros was modified in 1947-1948 with two smokestacks in place of its original four, revised armament and new gunfire directors to fit its for employment as a gunnery training ship. Courtesy of Arthur D. Baker III, 1982. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Aigle postwar ct_alb17
Albatros after the war with an elegant two-tone livery.

Albatros seen on 27 Apr 1949. Photograph copyright Marius Bar, Toulon

Sea-going gunnery exercises involved Albatros, the cruiser Émile Bertin and two patrol boats.

It was unavailable from January to May 1951 for refit.

In April 1951, the ship was classified as escorteur de 2e classe “2nd Class Escort”, and carried the NATO pendant number F 762.

Albatros during the second half of 1951

From August 28 to October 1, 1951, it was unavailable for 8 days for permissions. The opportunity was taken to complete the installation of the 100mm firing control and the ACAE radar.

In January 1952, it received two new Oerlikon.

On May 1, 1952, Richelieu arrived in Toulon to become a gunnery training ship. It became a training ship for the Group of Mediterranean Schools (GEM).

From September 26 to October 4, 1952, two officers and fifty cadets from the Brazilian Navy were on board Albatros for an instruction cruise in North Africa. They visited the Amphibious Operations Training Center (CIOA) in Arzew, attending commando demonstrations.

After a major refit from November 1, 1952, to March 1, 1953, Albatros (2 nd class escort) received its new equipment, including a standard 100mm double mount and new radars.

In 1953/1954 Albatros was redesignated escorteur rapide "Fast Escort”, with the pendant number D 614. It was to keep this mark to the end of its career.

Albatros alternated training trips and periods of work to receive new equipment which it tested and on which future officers were trained.

Albatros off Toulon on 6 Apr 1954. Photograph copyright Marius Bar, Toulon.

Albatros underwent a new major refit from November 15, 1954, to March 22, 1955.

Albatros 1955

On October 17, 1955, Jean Bart arrived in Toulon to replace the Richelieu in the Groupe des Ecoles Sud, the change was made on the 21st.

Albatros underway on 21 Oct 1955 in company with the new battleship Jean Bart. Photograph copyright Marius Bar, Toulon.

Albatross at the end of his career. In the background, we will notice the Jean Bart.

Albatros during an underway replenishment exercise with the battleship Jean Bart off Nice in November 1955. Note the antenna for the French DRBC 11A fire control radar which has replaced the British AB/M on the main gunnery director, and the rails for illuminating rockets on the sides of the shield for no.2 gun mounting. (Charles Limonnier collection)

Albatros was again in full refit from December 1955 to March 1956.
It then remained at the quay for its training mission until July 16, 1956 for torpedo launching exercises.

Albatros with hull number D 614 (1954 -1959)

Following the outbreak of the Suez crisis, the preparation for Operation Musketeer precipitated the disarmament of Albatros. It had its complement reduced on 3 August 1956 and transferred to appontements du Milhaud (n°4 est) ten days later.

Placed in reserve A on 10 September 1956, it remained maintained by a small team of marine mechanics.
Albatros was replaced as a seagoing gunnery training ship by Bouvet.

After passing through the Missiessy basin, it was moored behind the aircraft carrier Béarn on September 15, 1958, to accommodate the GASM staff, replacing the Gustave Zédée during its work period in Bizerte between September 1958 and April 1959.

Albatros was placed in special reserve B.

It was stricken on 22 June 1959 and was written off on 7 September 1959, receiving hull mark Q-167.

It was finally condemned on 9 September 1959.

There was an idea of transforming it into a pontoon for the Ile du Levant, but it was finally demolished in Tamaris / Brégaillon in 1967.

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Albatros’ Crew

Sailors killed in the destroyer Albatros (1939-1945)

  • Corre Henry - Mechanical engineer
  • Dagorn Pierre Jean Joseph Stanislas - Second Master Electrician
  • Le Guen Joseph Jean Marie - Nursing Assistant
  • Le Guillard Andre Francois Marie - Quartermaster Gunner
  • Le Ven Herve - Quartermaster Driver


None of the 2,400 tonners received camouflage while under the French flag. Lion, however, was raised and rearmed by the Italians, renamed FR21, and repainted in camouflage.

At the time of its second entry into active service, 9 September 1948, Albatros was painted in two-tone grey-dark grey below a line produced forward from the break in the deck-line, light grey above. It carried the pendant number T 06 in small characters, painted in white midway along the fo’csle, astride the light grey/dark grey border.

In April 1951, Albatros carried the NATO pendant number F 762. The new mark was painted in white, in characters about 2 meters high, and in the same location as before.

After April 1951 the hull number was painted on the stern as well.

In 1952, the ship was painted an all-over light grey, and the symbol F 762 remained white until 1953, when it was repainted black for better visibility.

In 1953/1954 Albatros had the pendant number D 614, painted in black in the same size and location as before. It was to keep this mark to the end of its career.

Particular Markings

Funnel Bands

Distinctive divisional markings: funnel bands. Since the beginning of the century, in the French Navy, distinctive squadron or division markings have always taken the form of coloured bands that encircled the upper part of one or more funnels. The choice of these markings was left to the admirals commanding the Mediterranean and Atlantic fleets until March 1939, when the Ministry decided to reserve this prerogative to itself.

Distinctive divisional markings were introduced in March 1939. For destroyers, these were prescribed by a ministerial circular of February 27, 1939, as follows: one or more coloured bands around the second funnel, their number and colour thus:

1st Division
1 white band
2nd Division
1 black band
3rd Division
1 yellow band
4th Division
1 green band
5th Division
1 red band
6th Division
1 blue band
7th Division
2 white bands
8th Division
2 black bands
9th Division
2 yellow bands
10th Division
2 green bands
11th Division
2 red bands
12th Division
2 blue bands

The markings were to be applied with the least possible delay. Most were painted during March 1939, or, at the latest, at the beginning of April. They remained in use until 1942, with only those divisions wearing white bands being ordered at the beginning of 1940 to remove them as they were too visible from afar.

Marques Distinctives

Funnel Bands Oct 1934 to Aug 1936

Divisions de Contre-Torpilleurs Sept 1939

Hull Numbers

Tactical Numbers

The Ministerial Circular of 27 February 1939 established as well the hull numbers for flotilla units. They were painted in white, toward the forward end of the hull as before. The symbol for destroyers was composed of the letter “X.” followed by two or three figures. The first figure, or the first two, represented the number of the division; the other represented the ship’s place in the line of file, division chief at the head. At the beginning of 1940, a new decision ordained the painting of the hull numbers in brick red. The black shadowing remained. These symbols were worn by the 2,400 tonners until November 1942, the fateful month which saw three of the survivors of this beautiful class lost in the fratricidal actions at Casablanca and Oran, and the twelve others scuttled at Toulon a few days later.

Hull Numbers

Albatros’ Hull Numbers Period
1932 - 1934
1934 - 1935
1935 - 1936
1936 - 1939
1939 - 1942
T 06
1948 - 1951
F 762
1951 - 1953 / 1954
D 614
1953 / 1954 - 1959
Written off

Nationality stripes

A special naval force was established among non-belligerent nations during the Spanish Civil War to ensure the protection of mercantile traffic in the Mediterranean. The ships of this force wore national markings of a very obvious nature. They took the form of tricoloured stripes which, in the case of the 2,400-tonners, were painted on the shields of numbers 2, 3 and 4 guns, the blue stripe always toward the front of the ship when the guns were trained fore-and-aft. Painted in April 1937, the stripes remained until April 1939.

Albatros in port circa April 1937 April 1939. Note the Spanish Civil War identification stripes painted on the shield of its Number Four 138mm gun. The original print came from the Office of Naval Intelligence. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

These stripes were revived in July 1940, after the armistice, for all French units under the control of the Vichy Government, and carried until 27 November 1942.

Close-up of the forward superstructure of Milan, Casablanca 1942.

Notice the pained No.2 Gun.

However, in the case of the four-stackers, they were painted only on Nos. 2 and 4 guns-the exception being Guépard, which had them on No. 3 as well. Valmy was unique in also having a large, tricoloured rectangle painted on the ammunition handling shelter of No. 3 gun.



Mk - Mark
HA - High Angle
HE - High Explosive
AA - Anti-Aircraft
MG - Machine Gun
Rpg - Rounds per Gun
RPC - remote power control
Mle ( Modèle) - Model
OPFA (Obus de Perforation en Fonte Aciérée) - Semi-Armour Piercing (SAP)
OEA ( Obus Explosif en Acier) - High Explosive (HE)
OEcl ( Obus Eclairant) - Starshell
STCN (Section des petits bâtiments)

Other Pictures

Synoptic table of the main differences between the 18 Contre-Torpilleurs de 2400

Albatros 1938 cropped
Albatros 1938

November 1942 Casablanca harbour, Morocco, and vicinity on 16 November 1942, eight days after the 8 November invasion and the naval battle there. Among the ships outside the harbour entrance are three U.S. Navy destroyers, a minesweeper and (in centre) the torpedoed USS Electra (AK-21) with USS Cherokee (AT-66) off its bow. Closer to shore are three beached French warships (from right to left): light cruiser Primauguet, destroyer Albatros and destroyer Milan. Inside the harbour, with sterns toward the outer breakwater, are eight U.S. Navy ships. They are (from left to right): two minesweepers, USS Terror (CM-4), USS Brooklyn (CL-40), USS Chenango (ACV-28) with a destroyer tied to its starboard side, USS Augusta CA-31) and a transport. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

November 1942 French destroyer Albatros beached off Casablanca, Morocco on 4 December 1942. Beyond its stern is the French light cruiser Primauguet. Both ships were badly damaged during the Battle of Casablanca, on 8 November 1942. Albatros’ third smokestack has been destroyed and Primaguet is largely burned out forward. Note the railroad line and signal in the foreground and shipping in the right distance, including at least two French commercial freighters and, partially visible at far right, what appears to be USS Electra (AK-21) lying very low in the water. It had been torpedoed by the German submarine U-173 on 15 November. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

November 1942 French light cruiser Primauguet beached off Casablanca, Morocco in November 1942. It had been badly damaged during the Battle of Casablanca on 8 November and is largely burned out forward. What appears to be shell damage is visible at its main deck line amidships, just aft of its second smokestack. In the left distance are the French destroyers Milan (partially visible at far left) and Albatros, both badly damaged and beached closer to shore. The latter is flying a large French flag from its foremast. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

November 1942 French destroyer Milan (partially visible, right), destroyer Albatros (centre) and light cruiser Primauguet (upper centre) beached off Casablanca, Morocco on 11 November 1942. All had been badly damaged during the Battle of Casablanca on 8 November. Photographed from a USS Ranger (CV-4) plane. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Crests, Tampion/Tape, Pins, Stamps, and Models

Crests and Tampion / Tape

Aigle 1938 gun.PNG

I know very little about Naval history and the Marine Nationale may someone explain to me what the engraving on the side of Aigle’s gun is?

A tampion for one of the 138.6mm guns of Verdun. (Marc Saibène collection)

Is there a tampion for the 1927 138mm gun?
This is the closest I got is ImagesDéfense - Tape de bouche du contre-torpilleur "Aigle".

Do you think it can make for a good collectible or decoration in the game?


I came across the following pins. I am trying to figure out what they are for and who made them. Does anyone have a clue?

Albatros pin 3

Albatros pin 4

Albatros pin


Here are some stamps belonging to Albatros in 1941,1954, and 1955 authored by ‘Captain Patrick’

albatros - * ALBATROS (1932/1959)


An Albatros model by Paul Jacobs. The models “have been painted and the masts enhanced with added details, and in some instances more substantial modifications made.”

Further Reading

More information and pictures about Albatros can be found in Contre-Torpilleurs De Type Aigle 1929-1956, 2012, by Jean Moulin
This French book was not used in the making of this post.

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