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

 On the night of 12th September 1944, Lancaster NF958 (LS-M) of No.15 Sqn was lost in the skies above Mannheim when it was attacked by the Messerschmitt Bf.110G-2 of Ofw Ludwig Schmidt of II/NGJ 6, the bomber receiving hits to the bomb bay which ignited the incendiaries still in their racks.  Five of the crew bailed out and were taken prisoner of war once captured.  The pilot, F/O Norman Overend RNZAF, did not escape the aircraft.  Flt Sgt Harry A Beverton was seen to leave the stricken Lancaster but was not seen again.<br><br><b>Crew of <i>Lancaster LS-M</i> :</b><br><br>F/O Norman Overend RNZAF<br>Sgt Barry J Howarth <i>(survived)</i><br>Sgt George B Thomson <i>(survived)</i><br>Flt Sgt John D Jones <i>(survived)</i><br>Flt Sgt Robert P E Kendall <i>(survived)</i><br>Flt Sgt Harry A Beverton<br>Sgt I Spagatner <i>(survived)</i>.

Incident over Mannheim by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
Half Price! - £60.00
 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
 Sqn Ldr Billy Drake is shown in Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk1a ET790 claiming a Ju87 Stuka  on the 31st of October 1942.  Sqn Ldr Drake commanded  112 Squadron flying Kittyhawks at Gambut on 24th May 1942.  He claimed a probable Bf109 on 6th June, another probable on  2nd July, destroyed a Bf109 on the 8th, damaged a Ju88 on the ground on the 19th, destroyed a Bf109 on the 24th, two Ju87s on  the 1st September and another Bf109 on the 13th.  Drake shared a Ju87 and probably destroyed another on 1st October 1942, got a probable Bf109 on the 22nd, destroyed another on the 26th, an Me202 on the 27th, a Ju87 on the 31st, a Bf109 destroyed and another damaged on 5th November, a Bf109 destroyed on the ground on the 11th, an He111 destroyed and a Bf109 damaged on the 15th, a Bf110 destroyed and another damaged on the 19th, an Me202 and a Bf109 destroyed on 11th December and he finally shared a Bf109 on the 13th.  Drake was awarded a Bar to the DFC (28.7.42) and the DSO (4.12.42).

Tribute to Squadron Leader Billy Drake by Ivan Berryman. (P)
Half Price! - £700.00
 Boeing Chinook of No.7 Squadron (detachment) from RAF Aldergrove, flying on supply duty in the west of the province.

Chinook over the Sperrins by David Pentland.
Half Price! - £35.00

 If you had the height, you controlled the battle. If you came out of the sun, the enemy could not see you. If you held your fire until you were very close, you seldom missed. These three basic rules contributed to the prowess in aerial combat of some of the most successful fighter pilots in history and seldom were they more valuable than when outnumbered. Between July and October 1940 the brave young pilots of RAF Fighter Command were under intense pressure from the constant attacks of the Luftwaffe and the Hawker Hurricane was <i>the</i> machine of the Battle of Britain, accounting for 80 percent of Allied victories.  In this painting, Hurricanes of 32 Sqn climb high into the morning sky, gaining Height and Sun in an attempt to take the advantage over the onslaught of enemy fighters - August, 1940.  This image captures the surreal calmness above the clouds, belying the fury of action and ultimate sacrifices made in those crisp blue skies.

Height and Sun by Robert Taylor.
Half Price! - £150.00
 A de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth over Hatfield Aerodrome, early in 1939.  Hatfield was the home of the de Havilland Aircraft Company and No.1 Elementary Flying Training School.

First Solo by John Young. (Y)
Half Price! - £30.00
 Tribute to the ground crew of Bomber Command. Ground crew inspect and prepare the engines of a Stirling bomber as it is refuelled in preparation for that nights mission.

Stirling Work by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
Half Price! - £50.00
 A tribute to Sir Thomas Sopwith and British Aerospace.  BAe Harrier GR.5 ZD346 and Sopwith Pup N5195 at the Biggin Hill air fair June 1988.

Now and Then by Peter Westacott.
Half Price! - £50.00

 

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

B151AP.  HMS Durban Escorts the Troopship RMS Queen Mary by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Durban Escorts the Troopship RMS Queen Mary by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
Half Price! - £25.00
  HMS Norfolk and HMS Belfast of Force I are shown engaging the Scharnhorst which has already been hit and disabled by both HMS Duke of York and the cruiser HMS Jamaica.  Scharnhorst was never to escape the clutches of the British and Norwegian forces for, having been slowed to just a few knots by numerous hits, fell victim to repeated torpedo attacks by the allied cruisers and destroyers that had trapped the German marauder.

HMS Norfolk at the Battle of the North Cape by Ivan Berryman (P)
Half Price! - £425.00
B103.  HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Warspite departing Malta by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Warspite departing Malta by Ivan Berryman
Half Price! - £15.00
 The Leander class cruiser HMS Orion is shown departing Grand Harbour Malta late in 1945.

HMS Orion by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £15.00

 Spearheading the Falklands Task Force as it heads south in 1982, the carrier HMS Hermes is shown in company with two Type 21 frigates, HMS Arrow on the left and HMS Ardent in the near foreground.  In the far distance, HMS Glamorgan glints in the sun as Type 42 HMS Sheffield cuts across behind Hermes.

HMS Hermes by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £15.00
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
 Launched on 3rd November 1986 and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 14th January 1989, HMS Trenchant (S91) was the fifth of the Trafalgar class nuclear powered submarines and was the first Royal Navy vessel to fire the Block IV Tomahawk cruise missile.  In addition to her complement of missiles, she is also equipped with Spearfish torpedoes and some of the most sophisticated data acquisition and underwater detection systems which allow her to monitor surface vessels undetected.

HMS Trenchant by Ivan Berryman. (P)
Half Price! - £750.00
VAR347B. H.M.A.S. Wyhalla 1943 by Brian Wood.
H.M.A.S. Wyhalla 1943 by Brian Wood (B)
Half Price! - £20.00

 

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



Confederate Infantryman of the 19th Virginia by Chris Collingwood.
Half Price! - £48.00
Battle of Louisburg during the French and Indian Wars,  A British Force set out to capture the French Fortress of Louisburg at Cape Breton island. A Army of New Englanders under the command of Col. William Pepperell supported by an English Fleet under Commander  Peter Warren.  Attacked the Fortress of Louisburg on April 30th 1745 and finally captured the fortress on June 17th.  A great British Victory which endangered  the French position in North America.   The fortifications were handed back to France in 1748 in the treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle.

Siege of Louisburg, Canada, July 1745 by David Rowlands (B)
Half Price! - £20.00
The 7th Hussars are part of the Light Cavalry are shown charging the French lines during the Battle of Waterloo.
Charge of the 7th Hussars at Waterloo by Henry Martens.
Half Price! - £25.00
A dynamic work showing Napoleon mounted on his favourite horse Marengo, under a surprise attack from Russian Cossacks.
Napoleons Peril at Brienne Le Chateau by Robert Hillingford.
Half Price! - £31.00

One ex-display copy with slight damage to white border - image perfect.
Night Before waterloo by Skeoch Cumming. (Y)
Half Price! - £25.00
MLRS of the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery.

One Man and his Colours by David Rowlands (GL)
Half Price! - £280.00
 OT34 Flamethrower tank and men of Col. Krickmans 6th Guards Tank Brigade take part in the Soviet counter attacks of 13th-27th September in defence of the southern factory district of Stalingrad before the final offensive in October.

Motherland, The Battle of Stalingrad, September 1942 by David Pentland.
Half Price! - £95.00
 Panoramic view of the battle fought between the French and the Austrian armies on 14th June 1800.

Battle of Marengo by Louis Lejeune (B)
Half Price! - £25.00

 

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

 The legendary Welsh rugby union captain Gareth Edwards is brought to life in the triple portrait. Gareth Edwards is revered in Wales and considered one of the finest players ever. in part of the montage he is shown going over for a try against England.
Gareth Edwards by Darren Baker. (AP)
Half Price! - £150.00
FAR695.  Tribute to Lester Piggott by Stuart McIntyre.

Tribute to Lester Piggott by Stuart McIntyre.
Half Price! - £20.00
 Jim Clark in his Lotus-Ford 38 winning in the record breaking 1965 Indianapolis 500 Mile Classic.

Jim Clark by Ray Goldsbrough.
Half Price! - £75.00
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

 Colin McRae and Nicky Grist.  Ford Focus WRC
High Flier by Michael Thompson.
Half Price! - £30.00
FAR635. Muirfield - 13th Hole by Mark Chadwick

Muirfield - 13th Hole by Mark Chadwick
Half Price! - £20.00
 Marcus Gronholm.  Peugeot 206 WRC.
Reflections of a Champion by Michael Thompson.
Half Price! - £30.00
Race horses gallop to the finish shown in this racing painting by Mark Churms.

The Finish by Mark Churms.
Half Price! - £20.00

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