Allied Warships

FR Foudroyant

Destroyer of the L'Adroit class

NavyThe French Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassL'Adroit 
Pennant 
Built byCh Dyle & Bacalan (Bordeaux, France) 
Ordered 
Laid down28 Jul 1927 
Launched24 Apr 1929 
Commissioned10 Oct 1930 
Lost1 Jun 1940 
Loss position51° 05'N, 2° 15'E
History

Foudroyant (Capitaine De Fregate Paul Louis Antoine Fontaine) was bombed and sunk by German aircraft off Dunkirk.
The wreck lies in 28 meters of water in position 51º04'58"N, 02º15'23"E.

 

Commands listed for FR Foudroyant

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CommanderFromTo
Paul Louis Antoine Fontaine, FR1 Jun 1940

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Notable events involving Foudroyant include:


12 Apr 1940
HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN) departed Lerwick for the Tyne. HMS Kelvin had to proceed stern first. They were being escorted by the French destroyers Brestois (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) J.L.C. Kraft) and Foudroyant (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) P.L.A. Fontaine).

13 Apr 1940
The damaged british destroyers HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN) and their escorts, the French destroyers, Brestois (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) J.L.C. Kraft) and Foudroyant (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) P.L.A. Fontaine), arrived at the Tyne. Both damaged British destroyers were then taken in hand for repairs at Wallsend.

29 Apr 1940

Operation Klaxon, the evacuation of troops from Namsos.


Timespan: 29 April to 5 May 1940.

At 2000/29 the French armed merchant cruisers El D’Jezair, El Kantara and El Mansour departed Scapa Flow for Namsos, Norway where they were to evacutate troops. They were escorted by the British destroyers HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) and the French large destroyer Bison (Capt. J.A.R. Bouan).

A cover force departed Scapa Flow one hour later. It was made up of the British heavy cruisers HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, RN), HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), the French light cruiser Montcalm (Capt. J.L. de Corbiere, flying the flag of Commodore (Contre-Admiral) E.L.H. Derrien) and the British destroyers HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN) and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN).

These forces were later reinforced by the British destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and the French destroyer Foudroyant Foudroyant (Cdr. P.L.A. Fontaine)

The force lead by Vice-Admiral Cunningham arrived off the Norwegian coast near Namsos on May 1st.

HMS Maori had been sent on ahead and reported fog. HMS Kelly, HMS Grenade, HMS Griffin and Bison were ordered to join her.

When entering the Namsenfjord in fog on 2 May 1940, HMS Maori is bombed and damaged from near misses. She had to retire for temporary repairs but was able to participate in the evacuation during the next night. The evacuation attempt was then postponed to the night of 2/3 May.

On 2 May the force was reinforced by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN).

In the evening of 2 May the force entered the Fjord to embark troops except HMS Devonshire, Montcalm, HMS Grenade, HMS Griffin, HMS Hasty and HMS Imperial which remained at sea to cover the operation.

A total of 1850 British, 2345 French, some Norwegian troops and 30 German prisoners were evacuated. The evacuation was completed around 0445/3.

Heavy German air attacks developed when the Force was leaving the area. The attacks concentrated on the Devonshire and Montcalm but they were not hit.

The French destroyer Bison was hit at 1010 hours in position 65°42'N, 07°17'E and her forward magazine exploded blowing off the fore part of the ship.The survivors were rescued by HMS Grenade, HMS Imperial and HMS Afridi The wreck was then scuttled by HMS Afridi.

But the attacks continued and at 1400 hours HMS Afridi was hit in position 66°14'N, 05°45'E and sank around 1445 hours. Her survivors were picked up by HMS Griffin and HMS Imperial.

The destroyers with the survivors; HMS Grenade, HMS Griffin and HMS Imperial were detached to land these at Sullom Voe where they arrived around 1700/4. They departed again around 2130/4 for Scapa Flow where they arrived around 0730/5.

Reinforcements had meanwhile been sent out from Scapa Flow these were the light cruiser HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) and HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN).

Shortly before midnight during the night of 3/4 May, four more destroyers were sent out, these were; HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN), HMS Acheron (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. E.W.B. Sim, RN).

All forces arrived at Scapa Flow in the evening of May 4th or the early hours of May 5th. (1)

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 199/361

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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