Home ] Up ] Acknowledgements ] How to use our site ]

Scuttling at Toulon 

Home ] Up ] Aircraft Carriers ] Battleships ] Coastal Defence Ships ] Cruisers ] Torpedo Cruisers ] French Destroyers ] Torpedo Boats ] French Frigates ] French Corvettes ] French Submarines ] French Minesweepers ] French Auxiliaries ] French in China ] [ Scuttling at Toulon ] Other French Photos ]

Choose the navy or section of interest below:

Royal Navy United States Germany France Japan Italy Russia Austria-Hungary
Canada Spain Netherlands Argentina Brazil Portugal Turkey Australia
Norway Sweden Denmark Belgium Chile Uruguay China New Zealand
Malta Greece India Poland South Africa Pakistan Libya Kuwait
Ireland Other Navies Liners   Unidentified Ships Wartime Naval Losses


Customer Helpline (UK) : 01436 820269
Subscribe to our Newsletter!

You currently have no items in your basket

Choose a FREE print if you spend over £220!
See Choice of Free Prints

Payment Options Display
Buy with confidence and security!
Publishing historical art since 1985

Google

 

Web

www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk

 

 

 

 

VIEW SHIP OR CLASS BY NAME

The French fleet at Toulon whose Commander in Chief of the French Navy, Admiral Darlan, had promised the British that the ships would be scuttled if there was any chance of them falling into German hands.  On the 9th November, 1942, Admiral Darlan ordered a cease fire which was countermanded by Vichy Government.  The Toulon fleets were commanded by two admirals, Admiral de Laborde and Admiral Marquis.  Laborde commanded the high seas fleet.  Perhaps Laborde was now regretting that he had answered "Merde!" to Darlan's request to move his ships to Dakar, for the German intent was obvious.  Not only had they made the notable moves about Toulon and at other ports, they were also bringing up a contingent of sailors.  Laborde's fleet comprised the new battleship Strasbourg, 3 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, 10 heavy destroyers and 3 other destroyers; and Marquis commanded the old battleship Provence, a seaplane tender, 2 destroyers, 4 torpedo boats and 10 submarines.  Also, there were the damaged battleship Dunkerque 2 cruisers, 8 heavy destroyers, 6 other destroyers and 10 submarines decommissioned under the armistice terms and crewed by maintenance staff.  Thus there were 64 important warships as well as numerous light craft - chasers, patrol vessels, sloops and mine sweepers, a Navy larger than those possessed by most nations of the world.

     

The Strasbourg after having been scuttled

  The more worthwhile ships were tied up at wharves or adjacent to those tied up.  Dunkerque was one of five ships in the large dry docks, and the naval yards extended over an area more than a mile wide and half a mile deep.  Ashore lay the main arsenal.  There were outposts to be passed by intruders but the main impediment to human movement was a high wall with only two gates.  The Germans planned to take the dockyards with a surprise move by an army group travelling up the Nice road on motorcycles while another three groups, including men from the despicable and cowardly "Das Reich" Division, seized the peninsula and its coastal batteries and the actual town.  When the move did take place the only Frenchman to arrive with the news was a despatch rider sent by a gendarmerie outpost - and he arrived on his motorcycle almost at the same time as the Germans on theirs.  The main alert, however, came when Marquis was captured in bed at 4.30am and his staff were able to alert Laborde who was still naive enough to disbelieve, at first, that the Germans would attack the base.  He ordered steam to be raised in all ships and for all precautions to be taken in case the Germans dare try to board them.  Five submarines got away while German troops were trying to scale the high walls and being shot at in the process.  Then the order to scuttle was repeated again and again to all ships when an enemy tank bulldozed through the main gate.  The French Fleet was about to honour its pledge.  Knowing that it could take up to five hours for most of the ships to work up sufficient steam to move out of the Inner Roads, the Germans were somewhat dilatory about their work and probably didn't know how quickly a ship could be scuttled.  They were in the navy yard after 5am, then it took another hour for the tanks and troops to find their way through the immense area to the larger ships moored at the outer piers.  At last they reached the pier from which the Strasbourg  had floated when her lines were cast off by the crew.  Admiral de Laborde was aboard, as the Germans knew by now, and a tank fired an 88mm shell into a second battery turret, mortally wounding an officer.  The German officer in charge called out to Laborde to hand over his ship undamaged but the admiral, who had ordered the ship's machine guns to cease firing at the tank, replied that the Strasbourg had already been scuttled.  The ship, and its sister ship, Dunkerque, took a lot of water to sink their 26,500 tons displacement and they sank slowly once the sea cocks were opened.  A German called out, "Admiral, my commanding officer sends word that you have his greatest respect," just before any further chit-chat was drowned by the sound of explosions from all parts of the ship : guns were blown up, important machinery was wrecked with hand grenades, and oxy-torches burned through turbine reduction gears.  Slowly she settled, on an even keel, to the bottom, and even then the large tower, reminiscent of the skyscrapers on Japanese battleships, was almost entirely out of the water. 

   

Algerie (left) and Colbert (right) after 27th November 1942

 The cruiser Algerie (full load displacement 13,900 tons) had been extensively overhauled at Toulon and was berthed two piers away from Strasbourg.  The cruiser's sea cocks were opened and she was going down fast when a German hailed her to announce that he had come to take her.  This was Admiral Lacroix's flagship on which he was going the short distance down.  He informed the German that he was a little late, that she was already sinking.  The German had heard and seen the destruction of her guns yet stated that he would go aboard when the Admiral told him that the ship would not blow up, whereupon the Admiral said that if the German did come aboard it would certainly blow up.  A few minutes later the after turret blew apart.  Algerie burned for two days with occasional eruptions as ammunition and torpedoes exploded.  

     

The Jean de Vienne and Galissonniere (left), and the funnels of the Vauquelin (right)

From the high hills around the bay the people of Toulon, and the German troops stationed there, were provided with flame and fireworks display for more than a week, the time it almost took for the Marseillaise, an 8,214 ton (empty) cruiser of the sleek and fast La Galissonniere class, to burn herself out after settling on an angle.  The latter ship was also scuttled, then she was salvaged and used by the Italians until retroceded to the French in 1944.  Not only did the "Suffren" class cruiser Colbert sink, she blew apart when her magazine blew up, almost taking with her some of the enemy who had rushed on board then quickly off when they saw the fuses burning and an officer setting alight to his aircraft on its catapult.  

    

Kersaint and Vauquelin

The same near miss among the Germans happened on the cruiser Dupleix.  The battleship Provence, 22,000 ton sister ship to Bretagne and Lorraine, was almost lost to the enemy by the doddering indecision of her captain who was confused by a message : "Orders have been received from Monsieur Laval that all incidents are to be avoided."  With other ships listing, exploding, settling and capsizing all over the place the captain thought he should follow suit although he was surrounded by armed Germans on his ship.  He stalled for time by sending an officer across the yard to find out what the order actually meant, at the same time as his crew were pulling out the plugs.  The captain and the Germans were still arguing and waiting for the officer to return when the old battleship slowly listed under their feet.  The captain was led ashore smiling.  Dunkerque ended as scrap metal stripped away by Italian dock workers and sent back to Italy to be used in war material.  Her guns had been blown up and turbines destroyed as she lay in the large drydock.  

     

The Marseillaise after scuttling

Of the "2,100ton" type large or "super" destroyers, three of them, Lion, Tigre and Panthere were staffed only with skeleton crews because of repair work; thus they were only partly sabotaged and they went more or less intact to Italy with the destroyer Trombe. The Strasbourg had probably reached the bottom when Laborde, high and dry on the projecting upper works, was refusing to leave his ship, declaring to his German captors that they had broken their oath in encroaching on the French Fleet at Toulon.  The German commander left him there, having theoretically gone down with his ship, until Petain could persuade to him to leave his ship; and when he sent the signal, "I learn at this instant that your ship is sinking.  I order you to leave it without delay.  Philippe Petain," it was picked up by the French naval units in North Africa, giving them their first news of the scuttle or whatever was happening to Laborde and his battleship.  The submarines Venus, Casablanca, Marsouin, Iris and Glorieux started instantly the alarm was given and as soon as crews could get to action stations; they had probably often practiced for this scramble.  Before German tanks could rush their pier they were on their way to crash through the booms with their strong, sharp bows.  The commander of the Glorieux replied with pistol fire to the machine gun fire from tanks and infantry.  The anti submarine net was withdrawn by its tender and when they passed through that barrier the submarines came under shell fire and a bombing and depth charge attack by the Luftwaffe.  Also, the exit channel had been mined.  They certainly were going to the "gates of Hell", as the captain of the Iris called out to the captain of the Venus.  The latter boat was damaged and, to facilitate an easier rescue of the crew, she was scuttled in the outer roads; Iris escaped and, for some unknown reason, her captain took her to Spain and internment - perhaps his idea of Heaven.  The other three submarines that escaped made it safely to Algeria while the four left behind at Toulon were scuttled at their moorings and their crews, like all other personnel at Toulon, were interned until it was decided what to do with them.  The French successfully argued that the scuttling had not been an act of hostility, only an act of destruction legalised by the terms of the 1940 armistice so they were all released and continued to receive their regular pay from Vichy, as indeed, the dependents of Free French sailors also received their allowances from the same source!

    

A German tank at Toulon, and the seaplane tender Commandant Teste.

Extract from "The Fleet Without a Friend", John Vader

 

Valuations

Classified Ads Terms and Conditions Shipping Info Contact Details

 

 

Click here to go to our naval history forum

 

AVIATION PRINTS

Click above to see all of our aviation art index - Eight random half price aviation items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Aviation Art Offers

 Fokker DR.1 Triplane 425/17 of Manfred von Richthofen, accompanied by a Fokker. D.VII wingman, swoops from a high patrol early in 1918. 425/17 was the aircraft in which the Red Baron finally met his end in April of that year, no fewer than 17 of his victories having been scored in his red-painted triplane.

Final Days by Ivan Berryman. (P)
Half Price! - £425.00
 Depicting Mustang aircraft escorting Flying Fortresses on a bombing raid over Germany.

Guardian Angel by Anthony Saunders. (P)
Half Price! - £2750.00
 A sight never to be repeated. Concorde G-BOAE gracefully drifts above London with Buckingham Palace immediately below, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the River Thames and the London Eye in the middle distance. On 24th October 2003, the world said goodbye to this elegant airliner, bringing to a close almost thirty years of commercial supersonic travel.

Concorde over London by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
Half Price! - £50.00
 Spitfires of No.41 Sqn during the Battle of Britain.  The lead aircraft is EB-J, flown by Sqn Ldr Maurice Brown.

41 Squadron Spitfires by Ivan Berryman. (P)
Half Price! - £290.00

 A pair of English Electric Lightning F3s of 111 squadron depart. Reheat selected, they accelerate rapidly to blast off, cascading spray from a rain-soaked runway. This is the classic interceptor, with superb handling qualities and unmatched climb-to-height performance. The Lightning is the only British-designed and built fighter capable of achieving twice the speed of sound. The RAF took delivery in 1960 and they remained in front-line service until phased out in 1988. The last of the classic single-seat fighters, the Lightning enters the hall of fame alongside the Camel, Fury, Hurricane and Spitfire. The artist was once able to fly a two-seat version- Lightning T5- at just over 1000mph- which he describes as an unforgettable experience.

Thunder & Lightnings by Gerald Coulson. (Y)
Half Price! - £120.00
DHM683.  Alouette III Helicopter of Rhodesian Fireforce 1979 by John Wynne Hopkins.

Alouette III Helicopter of Rhodesian Fireforce 1979 by John Wynne Hopkins.
Half Price! - £50.00
 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1As of No.610 (County of Chester) Sqn RAAF, intercept incoming Heinkel 111H-16s of the 9th Staffel, Kampfgeschwader 53 Legion Condor during the big daylight raids on London of August and September 1940 – the climax of the Battle of Britain.  Spitfire N3029 (DW-K) was shot down by a Bf109 on the 5th of September 1940 and crash-landed near Gravesend, Kent, thankfully without injury to Sgt Willcocks, the pilot.  For the record, N3029 was rebuilt and, following some brief flying in the UK, was sent overseas by convoy to the Middle East.  Ironically, the ship carrying this aircraft was torpedoed en route and both ship and all its cargo were lost.

Close Encounter by Ivan Berryman (P)
Half Price! - £1600.00
 The heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen slips quietly through the waters of Kiel Harbour as one of her own Arado Ar.196s flies overhead. In the background, Bismarck, wearing her Baltic camouflage, is alongside taking on supplies.

Prinz Eugen by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £15.00

 

NAVAL PRINTS

Click above to see all of our naval art index - Eight random half price naval items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Naval Art Offers

Depicted off Capetown with the distinctive skyline of Table Mountain providing the backdrop, the King George V class battleship HMS Howe and her destroyer escort began their journey home having visited New Zealand as well as South Africa following the end of hostilities in 1945.

HMS Howe by Ivan Berryman (P)
Half Price! - £3000.00
Key ships of the British task force sail in close formation in the Mediterranean sea during the build up to the coalition invasion of Iraq in march 2003, nearest is the flagship HMS Ark Royal with the commando carrier HMS ocean to her port side. other ships include a Type 42 destroyer , the Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria and an LSL  

NTG03 - Task Force to Iraq by Ivan Berryman (AP)
Half Price! - £25.00
 A pair of F18 Hornets overfly the Nimitz-class carrier USS Dwight Eisenhower (CV-69) with the surface combatant USS Arleigh Burke (DDF-51) off her port bow.

USS Dwight Eisenhower by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
Half Price! - £55.00
 HMS Queen Elizabeth with other Royal Naval Battleships, Revenge and Ramillies. Surrounded by cruisers and destroyers ride at anchor for King George Vs last Jubilee Review of 1935.

Sunset at Spithead by Randall Wilson. (Y)
Half Price! - £62.50

 A splendid little war was how John Hay, ambassador to Britain, described the Spanish-American war of 1898. Though the war was small in scope it was large in consequences; it promoted the regeneration of the American Navy and the emergence of the United States as a major world power. Fought primarily at sea, the war created an American naval legend in its opening encounter between the pacific squadrons of Spain and the United States at Manila Bay on the 1st of May 1898. At sunrise Admiral Dewey, leading the American fleet in his flagship the USS Olympia, had caught the Spanish fleet, under Admiral Patricio Montojo, by surprise - still anchored off Sangley Point at Manila Bay in the Philippine Islands. Defeat for the Spanish was total and heralded the end of a once extensive Spanish empire in the Americas. Montojos flagship, Reina Cristina, is seen here under fire from the Olympia.

The Battle of Manila Bay by Anthony Saunders (Y)
Half Price! - £62.50
Captain Charles Vane was born in 1680, and was an English pirate who preyed upon English and French shipping.  Vane began piracy in 1716 and lasted 3 years. Vane captured a Barbados sloop and then a large 12-gun brigantine, which he renamed the Ranger.   Vane was among the pirate captains who operated out of the Bohama at the notorious base at New Providence after the colony had been abandoned by the British.  His pirate attacks made Captain Charles Vane well known to the Royal Navy and in February of 1718 Vincent Pearse, commander of HMS Phoenix cornered Vane on his ship the Lark.  Vane  had heard of the recent royal pardons that had been offered to pirates in exchange for a guarantee they would quit plundering, so Vane claimed he had actually been en route to surrender to Pearse and accepted the pardon on the spot,  Charle Vane gained his freedom but as soon as he was free of Pearse he ignored the pardon and resumed his pirate ways.  Charles Vane was again captured and in 1721 was executed by hanging at Gallows Point, Port Royal, Jamaica on March 29th 1721.

Captain Charles Vane by Chris Collingwood.
Half Price! - £40.00
B64.  HMS Centaur Departing Devonport by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Centaur Departing Devonport by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £15.00
Wednesday, April 10th, 1912. The mighty liner Titanic is shown at anchor in Cherbourg Harbour, all lights ablaze.  Due to her size, she can't pull into port as the piers are too small.  Instead, she is anchored offshore.  Cherbourg passengers finally board tenders and wait to be ferried out to Titanic.  Mail is brought aboard.  By 8:30 p.m. the anchor is raised and the Titanic leaves for Queenstown, Ireland.

RMS Titanic at Cherbourg by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
Half Price! - £40.00

 

MILITARY PRINTS

Click above to see all of our military art index - Eight random half price military items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Military Art Offers

 William F Cody (Buffalo Bill) is shown as an Army Scout during a skirmish with Indians on the Frontier. 

Buffalo Bill by Brian Palmer.
Half Price! - £50.00
 The British 1st Foot Guards and Coldstream Guards rush to defend the gate of Hougoumont Farm against a fierce French attack during the battle of Waterloo.  During the battle, the Coldstream Guards lost 97 killed, 446 wounded and 4 missing, while the 1st Foot Guards lost 125 killed and 352 wounded.

Defence of Hougoumont Farm at the Battle of Waterloo by Jason Askew.
Half Price! - £35.00
DHM953.  An Incident During the Peninsula War by Robert Hillingford.

An Incident During the Peninsula War by Robert Hillingford.
Half Price! - £25.00
  This oil study shows Captain Wombwell engaging the 1st Ural Cossacks behind the Russian artillery. This was the oil study for a larger project which was not completed.
17th Lancers During the Charge of the Light Brigade by Mark Churms. (P)
Half Price! - £650.00

Soon after it was raised, the regiment achieved fame by charging and destroying five German Battalions of the French Army, capturing their colours and artillery.

The Charge of the 15th Light Dragoons at Emsdorf by David Rowlands. (Y)
Half Price! - £50.00
 The Pak 40 - a hard hitting 75mm German anti-tank gun-seen here mounted on an SPW for greater battlefield mobility was essentially a scaled up version of the PaK 38 debuted in Russia where it was needed to combat the newest Soviet tanks there.  It was designed to fire the same low-capacity APCBC, HE and HL projectiles which had been standardized for usage in the long barreled KwK 40 tank guns.

Pak40 Mounted on SPW Half-Track by Jason Askew. (P)
Half Price! - £340.00
DHM708P.  Men of the British Navy During the Battle of Lake Erie 1813 by Chris Collingwood.

Men of the British Navy During the Battle of Lake Erie 1813 by Chris Collingwood (P)
Half Price! - £4000.00
 Far ahead of Edward II's main army, marching from Falkirk to relieve Stirling Castle, rides the English vanguard.  Late on that day, 23rd June 1314, these horsemen advance along the Roman road and cross Bannockburn.  Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, rides out ahead of his formations to observe the enemy's advance.  One of the English Knights, Sir Henry De Bohun, seeing the King's vulnerable position, gallops ahead of his fellows to engage Bruce in single combat.  Undaunted, the King holds his ground.  Skillfully turning his mount away from the thrust of the Knights deadly lance in one movement he swings his battle axe down upon his enemy's head with such force that the handle is shattered and the unfortunate attackers skull is split in two.

Robert the Bruce by Jason Askew. (P)
Half Price! - £750.00

 

SPORT PRINTS

Click above to see all of our sport art index - Eight random half price sport items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Sport Art Offers

 Jenson Button.  Reanult R202
Young Gun by Michael Thompson.
Half Price! - £30.00


Patrick Vieira by Gary Brandham. (Y)
Half Price! - £72.00
In the final moments of extra time of the game, the England number 10, Jonny Wilkinson slotted a perfect drop goal which clinched victory over Australia, winning 20 points to 17. 

Rugby World Cup Final 2003 by David Pentland.
Half Price! - £50.00
Whilst flat-racing enthusiasts may argue which horse was the best Derby Winner, artist Peter Deighan was deciding for himself, he made a short list of six.  His canvas entitled Derby Winners depicts these six. They include the great Shergar, who ran the fastest Derby in history and won by a record ten lengths.  Also included are Golden Fleece, Reference Point, Teenoso, The Minstrel and the fantastic Nashwan.  Any of these could be classified as the greatest.

Derby Winners by Peter Deighan.
Half Price! - £120.00

This signed art print was produced at the end of 2000 after the Olympics of that year, and has been sold out from the publisher for many years.  We have the last few publishers proofs of this edition available.  This superb art print celebrates the ultimate achievement for any athlete, the winning of an Olympic gold medal.  In the modern era athletes from Great Britain have won 178 gold medals and Gary Keane's montage celebrates some of the highlights from those achievements.  It captures the determination and effort required to win, as well as the euphoria when the realisation that a life long dream has finally become a reality.  This print is not only a tribute to those featured but also to all other competitors and medal winners who have strived to bring glory and honour to Great Britain.  As the Olympic Games enter a new century and a new chapter in history, it is hoped that this reminder of past glories will also help to inspire those competing for gold in the future.  This limited edition print is signed by six gold medal winners : <br>LYNN DAVIES - 1964 TOKYO Men's Long Jump.<br>MARY PETERS - 1972 MUNICH Pentathlon.<br>DALEY THOMPSON - 1980 MOSCOW Decathlon & 1984 LOS ANGELES Decathlon.<br>TESSA SANDERSON - 1984 LOS ANGELES Javelin.<br>SALLY GUNNELL - 1992 BARCELONA 400 metre Hurdles.<br>STEVEN REDGRAVE - 1984 LOS ANGELES Rowing Coxed Fours, 1988 SEOUL Rowing Coxless Pairs, 1992 BARCELONA Rowing Coxless Pairs, 1996 ATLANTA Rowing Coxless Pairs (and since signing this print, also 2000 SYDNEY Rowing Coxless Fours).

British Olympic Legends by Gary Keane
Half Price! - £110.00
SFA19.  Laytown Beach by Chris Howells.
Laytown Beach by Chris Howells.
Half Price! - £45.00
 England Captain martin Johnson lifts the World Rugby Cup, as winners of the 2003 World Rugby Cup in Australia.

Martin Johnson by Chris Howells.
Half Price! - £45.00
DHM1480. Jenson Button 2004 BAR 006 by Ivan Berryman.
Jenson Button 2004 BAR 006 by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £50.00

Everything we obtain for this site is shown on the site, we do not have any more photos, crew lists or further information on any of the ships.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE. ALL IMAGES DISPLAYED ON THIS WEBSITE ARE PROTECTED BY  COPYRIGHT  LAW, AND ARE OWNED BY CRANSTON FINE ARTS OR THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.  NO REPRODUCTION OR COPYING ALLOWED ON OTHER WEBSITES, BOOKS OR ARTICLES WITHOUT PRIOR AGREEMENT.

This website is owned by Cranston Fine Arts.  Torwood House, Torwoodhill Road, Rhu, Helensburgh, Scotland, G848LE

Contact: Tel: (+44) (0) 1436 820269.  Fax: (+44) (0) 1436 820473. Email:

Return to Home Page