French Naval Bases

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Toulon

The Arsenale De Toulon is one of the two major French naval bases. Situated near Marseilles. The naval base ( or Arsenal) was constructed between 1595 and 1610, when it was ready to construct tits first naval warships Cardinal Richelieu who wanted a strong French navy, made Toulon the major French naval Base on the Mediterranean. The first warship constructed at toulon was Escatante in 1638. Many great French warships were built at Toulon, including Royal Louis in 1668. Foudroyany in 1750, Terrible in 1780, Indomitable 1751, Redoubtable 1752, Souverain 1758, Dauphin-Royal in 1791, Neptune in 1803, Pluton 1805, Souverain 1819, Caiman in 1888, Magenta 1893, Davout in 1891, Suchet 1894, Pascal 1897, Lazare-Carnot 1897, Jeanne d'Arc 1902, Dupetit-Thouars in 1905. during the years 1888  and 1913 Toulon built 29 Submarines. and between 1903 and 1913 Toulon also built 5 Torpedo Boats /destroyers.   The naval base did not continue building ships after 1939. and in its long history built no less than 500 naval warships.  It still operates as a repair and maintenance base under the control of DCN Toulon. where it looks after 70 French warships including aircraft carriers.

The above shows a panorama of Toulon Harbour in 1902.

Naval Review of 1911 at Toulon.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  ? Walker Archive. Order Code PHX353

 

French torpedo boats at Toulon.

Dunkerque (Dunkirk)

Dunkerque was a navel base on the Atlantic Coast of France , it was not a major naval base, and only built a few naval destroyers between 1924 and 1940,  in its history it did built larger Cruise liners, including in 1931 the Colombie.  We do know that torpedo Boat flotillas were based there leading up to world war one. But we would like to get more information on this. if you can help please email us at OUR MAIL BOX

French Ships in Dunkerque.

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Cherbourg Arsenale

The naval Shipyard, built many major late 19th century French warships. It began building major warships form 1862. Including Vauban in1 885, Furieux in 1887 and the cruisers Alger, Surcouf, Chasseloup-Laubat, Bugeaud, Cassard and Du Chayla. and in 9103 Constructed the French battleship Henry IV and the heavy cruiser Jules Ferry in 1905. in the years leading upto world war One, Cherboug built many Submarines and after the war, their submarines building programme continued which included the heavily armed Submarine Surcouf in 1929.    After world war two. Submarine Building continued at Cherbourg with 32 Submarines being built between 1958 and 1979.   During the 1980s construction turned to Nuclear powered submarines with  eight submarines being built upto 1999. with more under construction still.   any further information on new building program's or earlier information gladly excepted. contact us at OUR MAIL BOX

Cherbourg pre WW1.  Sent in by Jean Gillet.

French destroyers at Cherbourg.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  ? Walker Archive. Order Code PFD134

Cherbourg. 

? Walker Archive.

Brest Naval Arsenale

the Arsenale de Brest (Brest naval base). was the ,major French naval base on the Atlantic. cardinal Richelieu in 1831 bestowed the title of Royal port. and the first warships built there was in the 1661. the Infante. Over the nest 35 years Brest would produce no less than 94 warships.  the |naval base was improved on and heavily fortified during the 1700's During the 18th century Brest would go on to to built more than 150 more warships incldui9ng many ships of line. and in the first part of the 19th century they would go onto produce another 69 warships.  After the 1860's construction would turn to the new Ironcalds and pre dreadnaughts. these new ships were driven by Steam. At this time the Workforce rose to over 7,000. building the Armoured cruisers Dupuy de Lome in 1895, Sfax in 1887, Isly in 1893, Friant in 1895 and the Battleships, Charles Martel in 1897, Charlemagne 1899, Gaulois in 1899, Iena in 1902, Suffren in 1903, Republique in 1906, Democratie in 1908 Danton in 1911 and th4e heavy Cruisers Marseillaise in 1903, Leon Gambetta in 1905 and Edgar Quinet in 1911.  In 1910 the construction began on a new large dry Dock which was completed in 1916. In 1913 New battleships were built. the Jean Bart in 1913, Bretagne in 1915 and during the 1920,2 and 1930,s Brest would continue its building of ,major French warships with the construction of The Suffren in 1927, Duquesne in1 928, Colbert in 19312, Foch in 1931, Dupleix in 1932 and Algerie in 1932. and the Last French battleships Dunkerque in 1937 and in 1939 the Richelieu. Smaller cruisers were also built during the 1920's and 1930's  including Duguay Trouin, La Galissonniere and Primauguet. During world war two after the fall of France the Germans, used Brest for its U-Boat's   After World war Two. some Ship building continued with the production of passenger Liners.  and in the late 1950's warships again began to be built at Brest initially with Destroyers but in 1961 the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau was built followed by The helicopter carrier Jeanne d'Arc in 1964.  during the 1960's and `1970 several destroyers and Missile destroyers were built.  but in 1994 the French Nuclear powered Aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle was launched.

Jeanne D'Arc at Brest, 1911.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  ? Walker Archive. Order Code PFC045

Brest.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  ? Walker Archive. Order Code PFD133

Formidable at Brest

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  ? Walker Archive. Order Code PFB190

French port of Brest c.1950. 

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  ? Walker Archive. Order Code PHX278

A French Torpedo boat at Brest.  Sent in by Jean Gillet

ORIGINAL POSTCARD FOR SALE.  DONATED TOWARDS THE UPKEEP OF THIS SITE.

French ships at Brest.  On the right is Lorraine, and on the left are Jeanne D'Arc (outer) and Emile Bertin.

Original Gaby Postcard. Price ?10.  Click here to order.    Order Code PHX330