French Navy
Overview
 
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale ("National Navy") and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boat
Patrol boat
A patrol boat is a relatively small naval vessel generally designed for coastal defense duties.There have been many designs for patrol boats. They may be operated by a nation's navy, coast guard, or police force, and may be intended for marine and/or estuarine or river environments...

s to a nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

ed aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

 and 10 nuclear-powered submarine
Nuclear submarine
A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor . The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over "conventional" submarines are considerable: nuclear propulsion, being completely independent of air, frees the submarine from the need to surface frequently, as is necessary for...

s, four of which are capable of launching intercontinental ballistic missiles
Submarine-launched ballistic missile
A submarine-launched ballistic missile is a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead that can be launched from submarines. Modern variants usually deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles each of which carries a warhead and allows a single launched missile to...

. The total displacement of the navy (2002) is approx. 490,000 tons, making the French navy one of the largest in the world.

Its motto is Honneur, Patrie, Valeur, Discipline ("Honour, Fatherland, Valour, Discipline") and these words are found on the deck of every ship in the fleet.
The French navy is affectionately known as La Royale ("the Royal").
Encyclopedia
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale ("National Navy") and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boat
Patrol boat
A patrol boat is a relatively small naval vessel generally designed for coastal defense duties.There have been many designs for patrol boats. They may be operated by a nation's navy, coast guard, or police force, and may be intended for marine and/or estuarine or river environments...

s to a nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

ed aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

 and 10 nuclear-powered submarine
Nuclear submarine
A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor . The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over "conventional" submarines are considerable: nuclear propulsion, being completely independent of air, frees the submarine from the need to surface frequently, as is necessary for...

s, four of which are capable of launching intercontinental ballistic missiles
Submarine-launched ballistic missile
A submarine-launched ballistic missile is a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead that can be launched from submarines. Modern variants usually deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles each of which carries a warhead and allows a single launched missile to...

. The total displacement of the navy (2002) is approx. 490,000 tons, making the French navy one of the largest in the world.

Its motto is Honneur, Patrie, Valeur, Discipline ("Honour, Fatherland, Valour, Discipline") and these words are found on the deck of every ship in the fleet.

History

The French navy is affectionately known as La Royale ("the Royal"). The reason is not well known; some theorise that it is for its traditional attachment to the French monarchy, some others said that before being named "nationale" the Navy had been named "royale", or simply because of the location of its headquarters, "rue Royale" in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 (similar metonyms include Matignon
Hôtel Matignon
The Hôtel Matignon is the official residence of the Prime Minister of France. It is located in the VIIe arrondissement of Paris, France.The address of Hotel Matignon is 57 rue de Varenne, Paris, France.-History:...

for the French Prime Minister
Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

, Quai d'Orsay
Quai d'Orsay
The Quai d'Orsay is a quai in the VIIe arrondissement of Paris, part of the left bank of the Seine, and the name of the street along it. The Quai becomes the Quai Anatole France east of the Palais Bourbon, and the Quai de Branly west of the Pont de l'Alma.The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is...

for the French Foreign Ministry, La Coupole ("The Dome") for the Académie Française
Académie française
L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...

, etc.). The navy did not sport the royal titles common with other Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an navies like the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

.

Middle Ages

Medieval fleets, in France as elsewhere, were almost entirely composed of merchant ships enlisted into naval service in time of war. But the roots of the French Navy can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when, in its first battle, it defeated the English Navy at Arnemuiden
Battle of Arnemuiden
The Battle of Arnemuiden is a naval battle fought on 23 September 1338 at the start of the Hundred Years' War between England and France. It was the first naval battle of the Hundred Years' war and the first naval battle using artillery, as the English ship Christofer had three cannon and one hand...

, on 23 September 1338. This battle was also the first naval battle using artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

.

17th Century

The Navy became a consistent instrument of national power around the seventeenth century with Louis XIV. Under the tutelage of the "Sun King," the French Navy was well financed and equipped, managing to score several early victories in the Nine Years War against the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and the Dutch Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy
The Koninklijke Marine is the navy of the Netherlands. In the mid-17th century the Dutch Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and it played an active role in the wars of the Dutch Republic and later those of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

. Financial troubles, however, forced the navy back to port and allowed the English and the Dutch to regain the initiative. Before the Nine Years War, in the Franco-Dutch War
Franco-Dutch War
The Franco-Dutch War, often called simply the Dutch War was a war fought by France, Sweden, the Bishopric of Münster, the Archbishopric of Cologne and England against the United Netherlands, which were later joined by the Austrian Habsburg lands, Brandenburg and Spain to form a quadruple alliance...

, it managed to score a decisive victory over a combined Spanish-Dutch fleet at the Battle of Palermo
Battle of Palermo
The naval Battle of Palermo took place on 2 June 1676 during the Franco-Dutch War, between a French force led by Abraham Duquesne and a Spanish force supported by a Dutch maritime expedition force. Largely because the Dutch and Spanish ships were at bay making repairs from earlier a battle, the...


18th and early 19th centuries

The eighteenth century saw the beginning of Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 domination, which managed to inflict a number of significant defeats on the French. However, the French Navy continued to score various successes, as in the campaigns led in the Atlantic by Picquet de la Motte
Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte
Count Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte was a French admiral.Aged fifteen, he joined the navy as a midshipman and served in Morocco, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean Islands and in India. Noted for his strategic skills, he was called to Paris in 1775 to help the Secretary of State prepare the...

. In 1766, Bougainville
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville was a French admiral and explorer. A contemporary of James Cook, he took part in the French and Indian War and the unsuccessful French attempt to defend Canada from Britain...

 led the first French circumnavigation.

During the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 the French Navy played a decisive role in supporting the American side. In a very impressive effort, the French under de Grasse managed to defeat a British fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake
Battle of the Chesapeake
The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American War of Independence that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas...

 in 1781, thus ensuring that the Franco-American ground forces would win the ongoing Battle of Yorktown
Siege of Yorktown
The Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Yorktown, or Surrender of Yorktown in 1781 was a decisive victory by a combined assault of American forces led by General George Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis...

. French warships participated in the battle by bombarding British ground forces.

In India, Suffren
Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez
Admiral comte Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez, bailli de Suffren , French admiral, was the third son of the marquis de Saint Tropez, head of a family of nobles of Provence which claimed to have emigrated from Lucca in the 14th century...

 waged campaigns against the British (1770–1780), successfully contending for supremacy against Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes
Edward Hughes (admiral)
Sir Edward Hughes RN was an admiral of the British Royal Navy.Hughes joined the Royal Navy in 1735, and four years later, was present at the capture of Portobelo, Panama. In 1740, he was promoted to lieutenant and served in the Cartagena expedition of 1741, and at the indecisive Battle of Toulon...

. In the Mediterranean, the French Navy waged a naval campaign
Mediterranean campaign of 1798
The Mediterranean campaign of 1798 was a series of major naval operations surrounding a French expeditionary force sent to Egypt under Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Revolutionary Wars. The French Republic sought to capture Egypt as the first stage in an effort to threaten British India, and...

 during a 1798 French invasion of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Evading a pursuing British fleet under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of...

, French fleet, consisting of hundreds of ships and carrying 30,000 troops, captured Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 before continuing to Egypt, where the French took Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

. French troops subsequently marched inland while the fleet anchored in Aboukir Bay
Abu Qir Bay
The Abū Qīr Bay is a spacious bay on the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt, lying between Abu Qir and the Rosetta mouth of the Nile. It contains a natural gas field, discovered in the 1970s.On August 1, 1798, Horatio Nelson fought the Battle of the Nile, often referred to as the "Battle of Aboukir Bay"...

. When Nelson discovered the French fleet's location, he set sail for Aboukir Bay and ordered an immediate attack. In the subsequent Battle of the Nile
Battle of the Nile
The Battle of the Nile was a major naval battle fought between British and French fleets at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt from 1–3 August 1798...

, the French were defeated, ending French naval power in the Mediterranean and encouraging other nations to join the Second Coalition and go to war with France.

From 1798 to 1800, France and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 engaded in the Quasi-War
Quasi-War
The Quasi-War was an undeclared war fought mostly at sea between the United States and French Republic from 1798 to 1800. In the United States, the conflict was sometimes also referred to as the Franco-American War, the Pirate Wars, or the Half-War.-Background:The Kingdom of France had been a...

, an undeclared naval war. Prior to the war, France had been outraged over US trade with Britain and the refusal to repay war debts from the Revolution on grounds that they were owed to the French crown, not Revolutionary France. French ships began seizing American merchant ships trading with Britain, inflicting substantial losses on American shipping. As a result, the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 fought a series of largely successful naval engagements with the French. By the autumn of 1800, the US Navy and Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 had reduced the activities of French privateers and warships.

The French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, in eliminating numerous officers of noble lineage (among them, Charles d'Estaing
Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing
Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, comte d'Estaing was a French general, and admiral. He began his service as a soldier in the War of the Austrian Succession, briefly spending time as a prisoner of war of the British during the Seven Years' War...

), all but crippled the French Navy. Efforts to make it into a powerful force under Napoleon I
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 were dashed by the death of Latouche Tréville
Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville
Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville was a French admiral and a hero of the American Revolutionary War and of the Napoleonic wars.-Early life:...

 in 1804, and the Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

 in 1805, where the British all but annihilated a combined Franco-Spanish fleet. The disaster guaranteed British naval superiority throughout the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, up until World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

In 1810 the French Navy won an important victory against the British during the Napoleonic Wars, the Battle of Grand Port
Battle of Grand Port
The Battle of Grand Port was a naval battle between squadrons of frigates from the French Navy and the British Royal Navy. The battle was fought during 20–27 August 1810 over possession of the harbour of Grand Port on Île de France during the Napoleonic Wars...

, a frigate
Frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

 action in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 won by Admiral Guy-Victor Duperré
Guy-Victor Duperré
Guy-Victor Duperré was a French admiral, Peer of France and thrice Naval Minister....

.

The French Navy proved vastly inferior in tactics to the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 throughout the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. The French Navy, even with the help of Allied navies, was smaller: In 1812, the Royal Navy, consisting of 600 cruisers and some smaller vessels, was the size of the rest of the world's navies combined. During the Napoleonic Wars, most of its engagements with the British ended in defeat. Between 1793 and 1812, the French Navy lost 377 ships to the British, while the British lost 10 ships. In fourteen major engagements between 1794 and 1806, the French Navy suffered 23,000 casualties while the Royal Navy suffered 7,000 casualties. One in four British casualties were deaths, while more than half the French were. The lopsided casualty figures were due to the fact that the French sought to disable and capture enemy ships, while the British sought to kill or injure enemy gun crews. French gunners were told to fire as the ship began its up roll, and shoot high to disable the masts, spars, and rigging. British gun crews were taught to fire on the down roll, and to fire straight at the hull. The French Navy was unable to prevent a British naval blockade
Blockade
A blockade is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually...

 of France during the Napoleonic Wars, and spent much of the war blockaded in port.

19th century revival

Global interventions

In a speech in 1852, Napoleon III famously proclaimed that "The Empire means peace" ("L'Empire, c'est la paix"), but actually he was thoroughly determined to follow a strong foreign policy to extend France's power and glory. Around that time, the French Navy was involved in a multitude of actions around the world.
Oceania (July Monarchy)

In 1842, the French Navy took over Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 under Admiral Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars
Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars
Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars was a French naval officer important in France's anexation of French Polynesia.He was born at the castle of La Fessardière, near Saumur. His uncle Aristide Aubert Dupetit-Thouars was of the heroes of the Battle of the Nile...

. French activity in those parts would continue throughout the 19th century, as his nephew Abel-Nicolas Bergasse Dupetit Thouars went on pacifying the Marquesas Islands
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

 in 1880.
The Crimean War

Napoleon III's challenge to Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

's claims to influence in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 led to France's successful participation in the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 (March 1854–March 1856). During this war Napoleon successfully established a French alliance with Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

, which continued after the war's close.
Conquest of Cochinchina
Cochinchina
Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ...


Napoleon III took the first steps to establishing a French colonial influence in Indochina. He approved the launching of the Cochinchina Campaign
Cochinchina Campaign
The Cochinchina campaign , fought between the French and the Spanish on the one side and the Vietnamese on the other, began as a limited punitive campaign and ended as a French war of conquest...

 in 1858 to punish the Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

ese for their mistreatment of French Catholic missionaries and force the court to accept a French presence in the country. An important factor in his decision was the belief that France risked becoming a second-rate power by not expanding its influence in East Asia. Also, the idea that France had a civilising mission was spreading. This eventually led to a full-out invasion in 1861. By 1862 the war was over and Vietnam conceded three provinces in the south, called by the French Cochin-China
Cochinchina
Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ...

, opened three ports to French trade, allowed free passage of French warships to Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

 (which led to a French protectorate over Cambodia in 1867), allowed freedom of action for French missionaries and gave France a large indemnity for the cost of the war.

Second Opium War

In China, France took part in the Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

 along with Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and in 1860 French troops entered Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

. China was forced to concede more trading rights, allow freedom of navigation of the Yangzi river, give full civil rights and freedom of religion to Christians, and give France and Britain a huge indemnity. This combined with the intervention in Vietnam set the stage for further French influence in China leading up to a sphere of influence over parts of Southern China.
Mexico

The French Navy conducted a successful blockade of Mexico in the Pastry War
Pastry War
The Pastry War was an invasion of Mexico by French forces in 1838.-Background:The war arose from the widespread civil disorder that plagued the early years of the Mexican republic. In 1828, President Manuel Gómez Pedraza ejected Lorenzo de Zavala from the office of governor of the state of México...

 of 1838. It was then heavily involved in French intervention in Mexico
French intervention in Mexico
The French intervention in Mexico , also known as The Maximilian Affair, War of the French Intervention, and The Franco-Mexican War, was an invasion of Mexico by an expeditionary force sent by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain...

 (January 1862–March 1867). Napoleon III, using as a pretext the Mexican Republic's refusal to pay its foreign debts, planned to establish a French sphere of influence in North America by creating a French-backed monarchy in Mexico, a project which was supported by Mexican conservatives tired of the anti-clerical Mexican republic.
Korea, Japan

In 1866, French Navy troops took part in the French campaign against Korea
French Campaign against Korea, 1866
The French campaign against Korea of 1866 is also known as Byeong-in yangyo . It refers to the French invasion of Ganghwa Island in Korea in retaliation for the earlier execution by Korea's Joseon Dynasty of French Catholic priests proselytizing in that country...

. The French Navy also had a significant presence in Japan with the Bombardment of Shimonoseki
Bombardment of Shimonoseki
The Battles for Shimonoseki refers to a series of military engagements in 1863 and 1864, fought to control Shimonoseki Straits by joint naval forces from the Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and the United States, against the Japanese feudal domain of Chōshū, which took place off and on the...

 in 1863. In 1867-1868, some level of presence in Japan was maintained around the actions of French Military Mission to Japan
French Military Mission to Japan (1867)
The French Military Mission to Japan of 1867-68 was the first foreign military training mission to Japan. The mission was formed by Napoléon III, following a request of the Japanese Shogunate in the person of its emissary to Europe, Shibata Takenaka .Shibata was already negotiating the final...

, and the subsequent Boshin war
Boshin War
The was a civil war in Japan, fought from 1868 to 1869 between forces of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and those seeking to return political power to the imperial court....

.
Sino-French War

The projection of French naval power in the Far East reached a peak in the first half of the 1880s. The Far East Squadron
Far East Squadron
The French Far East Squadron was an exceptional naval grouping created for the duration of the Sino-French War .- Background :...

 (escadre de l'Extrême-Orient), an exceptional naval grouping of two (subsequently three) naval divisions under the command of Admiral Amédée Courbet
Amédée Courbet
Anatole-Amédée-Prosper Courbet was a French admiral who won a series of important land and naval victories during the Tonkin campaign and the Sino-French War .-Early years:...

 created for the duration of the Sino-French War
Sino-French War
The Sino–French War was a limited conflict fought between August 1884 and April 1885 to decide whether France should replace China in control of Tonkin . As the French achieved their war aims, they are usually considered to have won the war...

 (August 1884 to April 1885), saw considerable action during the war along the China Coast and in the seas around Formosa (Taiwan). Besides almost obliterating China's Fujian Fleet
Fujian Fleet
The Fujian Fleet was one of China's four regional fleets during the closing decades of the nineteenth century. The fleet was almost annihilated on 23 August 1884 by Admiral Amédée Courbet's Far East Squadron at the Battle of Fuzhou, the opening engagement of the Sino-French War .-Composition:The...

 at the Battle of Fuzhou (23 August 1884), the squadron took part in the bombardment and landings at Keelung and Tamsui (5 and 6 August 1884 and 1 to 8 October 1884), the blockade of Formosa (October 1884 to April 1885), the Battle of Shipu
Battle of Shipu
The Battle of Shipu was a French naval victory during the Sino-French War . The battle took place on the night of 14 February 1885 in Shipu Bay , near Ningbo, China.- Background :...

 (14 February 1885), the so-called Battle of Zhenhai
Battle of Zhenhai
The so-called Battle of Zhenhai was a minor confrontation on 1 March 1885 between Admiral Amédée Courbet's Far East Squadron and Chinese warships and shore batteries near the coastal city of Zhenhai, 12 miles downstream of Ningbo, during the Sino-French War...

 (1 March 1885), the Pescadores Campaign
Pescadores Campaign
The Pescadores Campaign in late March 1885 was one of the last campaigns of the Sino-French War . It was fought to capture a strategically important island group off the western coast of Taiwan...

 (March 1885) and the 'rice blockade' of the Yangzi River (March to June 1885).

Technological innovations (19th century)

In the nineteenth century, the navy recovered and became arguably the second finest in the world after the Royal Navy, albeit very much smaller. The French Navy, eager to challenge British naval supremacy, took a leadership role in many areas of warship development, with the introduction of new technologies.
  • France led the development of shell guns for the Navy, with its invention by Henri-Joseph Paixhans
    Henri-Joseph Paixhans
    Henri-Joseph Paixhans was a French artillery officer of the beginning of the 19th century.Henri-Joseph Paixhans graduated from the École Polytechnique...

  • In 1850, Le Napoléon
    Le Napoléon (1850)
    The Napoléon was a 90-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, and the very first purpose-built steam battleship in the world . She is also considered the first true steam battleship, and the first screw battleship ever . Launched in 1850, she was the lead ship of a class of 9 battleships, all...

    became the first steam-powered battleship in history.
  • La Gloire became the first seagoing ironclad in history when she was launched in 1859.
  • In 1863, the French Navy launched Plongeur, the first submarine in the world to be propelled by mechanical power.
  • In 1876, the Redoutable
    French battleship Redoutable (1876)
    Redoutable was a central battery and barbette ship of the French Navy. She was the first warship in the world to use steel as the principal building material....

    became the first steel-hulled warship ever.
  • In 1887, the Dupuy de Lôme
    Dupuy de Lôme (1887)
    Dupuy de Lôme was an armoured cruiser built for the French Navy during the late 1880s and 1890s. She is considered by some to be the world's first armoured cruiser and was intended to attack enemy merchant ships. The ship was named after the naval architect Henri Dupuy de Lôme...

     became the world's first armoured cruiser.


The French Navy also became an active proponent of the "Jeune École
Jeune Ecole
The Jeune École was a strategic naval concept developed during the 19th century. It advocated the use of small, powerfully equipped units to combat a larger battleship fleet, and commerce raiders capable of ending the trade of the rival nation...

" doctrine, calling for small but powerful warships using torpedo
Torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...

es and shell guns to attack the British fleet.

French warship construction proved attractive to the newly industrialising Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, when the French engineer Émile Bertin was invited to assist in warship design for the Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

.

20th century

The development of the French Navy slowed down in the beginning of 20th century as the naval arms race between Germany and Great Britain grew in intensity. As a result, it was outnumbered not only by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 but also by the Imperial German Navy and United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, which were also technically superior. It was late to introduce new battleships—dreadnought
Dreadnought
The dreadnought was the predominant type of 20th-century battleship. The first of the kind, the Royal Navy's had such an impact when launched in 1906 that similar battleships built after her were referred to as "dreadnoughts", and earlier battleships became known as pre-dreadnoughts...

s and light cruiser
Light cruiser
A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

s and it entered World War I with relatively few modern vessels.

The Entente Cordiale ended the period in which Britain was seen as a potential enemy, reducing the need for a strong navy. Although there was no formal military alliance, there was a de facto agreement that France would play a leading role in the Mediterranean and Britain would protect the Northern coast of France against a possible German attack. During the war, the main French effort was on land, so not many new warships were built.

The first task of the Mediterranean battle squadrons was to escort transport ships carrying troops from French North Africa to France to join the Battle of the Marne
First Battle of the Marne
The Battle of the Marne was a First World War battle fought between 5 and 12 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German Army under Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. The battle effectively ended the month long German offensive that opened the war and had...

. By the end of August 1914, French battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines were conducting patrols in the Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

 to prevent any attacks by the Austro-Hungarian Navy
Austro-Hungarian Navy
The Austro-Hungarian Navy was the naval force of Austria-Hungary. Its official name in German was Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine , abbreviated as k.u.k. Kriegsmarine....

. The most important operations of the French Navy were conducted during the Dardanelles Campaign
Naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign
The naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign of the First World War were mainly carried out by the Royal Navy with substantial support from the French and minor contributions from Russia and Australia. The Dardanelles Campaign began as a purely naval operation...

. The French Navy also played an important role in countering Germany's U-Boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 campaign, with warships patrolling the seas and escorting convoys. In December 1916, French warships arrived off Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, bombarding Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 and landing sailors, forcing the pro-German Greek government to change its policies. A number of Greek Navy warships were seized and commissioned into the French Navy, and later played an important part in the anti-U-Boat campaign. The most significant losses sustained by the French Navy during the war were three pre-dreadnought battleships, one semi-dreadnought, four armored cruisers, one protected cruiser, twelve destroyers, and fourteen submarines.

A number of major ships of the French Navy at the outbreak / end of World War I
  • dreadnought
    Dreadnought
    The dreadnought was the predominant type of 20th-century battleship. The first of the kind, the Royal Navy's had such an impact when launched in 1906 that similar battleships built after her were referred to as "dreadnoughts", and earlier battleships became known as pre-dreadnoughts...

     battleships: 4/7
  • pre-dreadnought
    Pre-dreadnought
    Pre-dreadnought battleship is the general term for all of the types of sea-going battleships built between the mid-1890s and 1905. Pre-dreadnoughts replaced the ironclad warships of the 1870s and 1880s...

     battleships: 17/13
  • armoured cruisers: 22/18
  • protected cruiser
    Protected cruiser
    The protected cruiser is a type of naval cruiser of the late 19th century, so known because its armoured deck offered protection for vital machine spaces from shrapnel caused by exploding shells above...

    s: 13/12
  • destroyer
    Destroyer
    In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

    s: 35/42 (displacement over 500 tons)
  • torpedo boat
    Torpedo boat
    A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

    s: 180/164
  • submarine
    Submarine
    A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

    s: 50/61

The first proto-aircraft carrier

The invention of the seaplane
Seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...

 in 1910 with the French Le Canard
Le Canard
|-See also:-References:* The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft , 1985, Orbis Publishing-External links:*...

led to the earliest development of ships designed to carry aeroplanes, albeit equipped with floats. In 1911 appears the French Navy La Foudre
La Foudre
The Foudre was a French seaplane carrier, the first in history. Her development followed the invention of the seaplane in 1910 with the French Le Canard.-Torpedo boat tender:...

, the first seaplane carrier. She was commissioned as a seaplane tender, and carried float-equipped planes under hangars on the main deck, from where they were lowered on the sea with a crane. La Foudre was further modified in November 1913 with a 10 metre flat deck to launch her seaplanes.

In spite of proposals of the French inventor Clément Ader
Clément Ader
Clément Ader was a French inventor and engineer born in Muret, Haute Garonne, and is remembered primarily for his pioneering work in aviation.- The inventor :...

 in 1909 to build a ship with a flat deck to operate aeroplanes at sea, similar to modern aircraft carriers, the French Navy built its first aircraft carrier only in 1920s and did not go further in developing aircraft carriers before World War II. In 1920, Paul Teste
Paul Teste
Paul Marcel Teste was a French Navy officer aviator, notable for the first aeronaval landing of the French Navy aboard the Béarn....

 achieved the first carrier landing of the history of the French Navy, aboard the Béarn
French aircraft carrier Béarn
Béarn was a unique aircraft carrier which served with the Marine nationale in World War II and beyond.Béarn was commissioned in 1927 and was the only aircraft carrier produced by France until after World War II. She was to be an experimental ship and should have been replaced in the 1930s by two...

.

Fleet construction between the World Wars

After World War I, the French Navy remained the fourth largest in the world, after the British, US and Japanese navies, but the Italian Navy, considered as the main enemy, was almost as large as the French one. This order of fleets, with the French Navy equal to the Italian Navy, was sanctioned by the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

. Every naval fleet consists of a variety of ships of different sizes, and no fleet has enough resources to make every vessel supreme in its class. Nonetheless, different countries strive to excel in particular classes. Between the World Wars, the French fleet was remarkable in its building of small numbers of ships that were "over the top" with relation to their equivalents of other powers.

For example, the French chose to build "super-destroyers" which were deemed during the Second World War by the Allies as the equivalent of light cruisers. The Fantasque class of destroyer
Destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

 is still the world's fastest class of destroyer. The Surcouf submarine was the largest and most powerful of its day. The Dunkerque
Dunkerque class battleship
The Dunkerque class was a new type of warship of the French Navy built during the 1930s, labeled as 'fast battleships'. Not as large as other contemporary battleships, they were designed to counter the threat of the German pocket battleships of the Deutschland class. They had a specific main...

class battleships, designed specially to fight the German so-called pocket battleships, were, in spite of their relatively small size, very well-balanced designs and precursors of a new fast battleship generation in the world. The Richelieu
Richelieu class battleship
The Richelieu class battleships were the last and largest battleships of the French Navy, staying in service into the 1960s. They still remain to this day the largest warships ever built by France...

 class full-size battleships are considered by some experts as the most successful battleships built under displacement limits of Washington Treaty in the world.
Major ships of the French Navy at the beginning of the German attack in May 1940:
  • modern battleships: 3
  • old battleships—dreadnoughts: 5 (Bretagne
    French battleship Bretagne
    The Bretagne was a battleship of the French Navy, and the lead ship of her class. She was named in honour of the French region of Brittany, and was built by Arsenal de Brest...

    , Provence
    French battleship Provence
    The Provence was a French Navy battleship of the Bretagne class named in honour of the French region of Provence.- Construction :She was built by Arsenal de Lorient, and her keel was laid on 1 May 1912...

    , Lorraine
    French battleship Lorraine
    The Lorraine was a French Navy battleship of the Bretagne class named in honour of the region of Lorraine in France.- Construction :...

    , Paris and Courbet
    )
  • aircraft carriers: 1 (Béarn, and one planned)
  • seaplane carriers: 1
  • heavy cruiser
    Heavy cruiser
    The heavy cruiser was a type of cruiser, a naval warship designed for long range, high speed and an armament of naval guns roughly 203mm calibre . The heavy cruiser can be seen as a lineage of ship design from 1915 until 1945, although the term 'heavy cruiser' only came into formal use in 1930...

    s: 10
  • light cruiser
    Light cruiser
    A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

    s: 10
  • large destroyers: 32 (Contre-Torpilleurs)
  • destroyers: 38
  • submarines: 80 (and two dozen in various stages of completion)
  • sloops and escorts: 65 (with over twenty in various stages of completion and several in reserve)


Apart from these, there was one modern battleship advanced in construction; the second battleship, one aircraft carrier, numerous submarines and several destroyers were in different stages of construction.

Second World War

At the outset of the war, the French Navy was involved in a number of operations against the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

, participating in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Allied campaign in Norway, the Dunkirk evacuation and, briefly, the Battle of the Mediterranean
Battle of the Mediterranean
The Battle of the Mediterranean was the name given to the naval campaign fought in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II, from 10 June 1940-2 May 1945....

. However, Pétain's armistice terms completely changed the situation: the French fleet immediately withdrew from the fight.

The British perceived the French fleet under the Vichy government
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 as a potentially lethal threat. This threat would be made all the more real should the French somehow become formal enemies or, more likely, should the German Navy (Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

) gain control of French ships. It was essential that the French Navy be put out of action. Some vessels were in port in France, while others escaped to Britain or British-controlled Egypt. The British boarded all French ships in their hands, with many sailors re-joining the Allies as part of the Free French Navy (Forces navales françaises libres, FNFL) because of General de Gaulle’s growing influence. Although the boardings were conducted relatively peacefully, there was resistance on the Surcouf, then the largest submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 in the world, resulting in a skirmish in which one French and three British naval personnel were killed.

However, the most powerful concentration of the French fleet remained in Mers-el-Kébir or Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

. A Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 squadron delivered an ultimatum to the French fleet at Mers-el-Kébir. The ultimatum demanded that the ships and their crews either join the war effort or sail with reduced crews to a British port, promising that the ships would be repatriated at the end of the war or compensation paid for damages to them, and giving them the option of sailing to a French port in the West Indies where they could be demilitarized or temporarily given to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 until the end of the war. If the French refused these offers, they had to scuttle their ships or be fired on. On 3 July 1940, the British opened fire after an agreement proved impossible (Operation Catapult). One French battleship was sunk, and two battleships and four destroyers were knocked out. A British submarine also sank an aviso
Aviso
An aviso , a kind of dispatch boat or advice boat, survives particularly in the French navy, they are considered equivalent to the modern sloop....

. Six British naval aircraft were shot down. A total of 1,297 French sailors and 2 British airmen were killed.

Though the Free French Naval Forces continued to fight alongside the allies, the rest of the French fleet became hostile as a result of this action. Many senior members of the French Navy considered Britain and France effectively at war. The French Air Force
French Air Force
The French Air Force , literally Army of the Air) is the air force of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1933...

 repeatedly bombed Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

, and throughout the war, there were instances where the French Navy came close to engaging the Royal Navy. In November 1942, for example, Admiral Jean de Laborde
Jean de Laborde
Jean de Laborde was a French admiral, famous for the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon.As a vice-admiral, Laborde was chief of the First Squadron, organised around the battleship Strasbourg....

 refused to use the remained of the French Navy to support Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

, arguing that French ships should instead be attacking the British and Americans.

In September, an attempt to take Vichy-held Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

 ended with the Battle of Dakar
Battle of Dakar
The Battle of Dakar, also known as Operation Menace, was an unsuccessful attempt in September 1940 by the Allies to capture the strategic port of Dakar in French West Africa , which was under Vichy French control, and to install the Free French under General Charles de Gaulle there.-Background:At...

 and a victory for the Vichy forces. In addition, the Allied attack on Dakar led directly to the Vichy bombing of Gibraltar
Military history of Gibraltar during World War II
The military history of Gibraltar during World War II exemplifies Gibraltar's position as a British fortress since the early 18th century and as a vital factor in British military strategy, both as a foothold on the continent of Europe, and as a bastion of British sea power...

. These actions soured Anglo-French relations, but did not inhibit further defections to the Allies. The subsequent Battle of Gabon
Battle of Gabon
The Battle of Gabon or the Battle of Libreville was part of the West African Campaign of World War II fought in November 1940. The battle resulted in the Free French forces under General Charles de Gaulle taking Libreville, Gabon, and taking all of French Equatorial Africa from Vichy French...

, the Syria-Lebanon Campaign
Syria-Lebanon campaign
The Syria–Lebanon campaign, also known as Operation Exporter, was the Allied invasion of Vichy French-controlled Syria and Lebanon, in June–July 1941, during World War II. Time Magazine referred to the fighting as a "mixed show" while it was taking place and the campaign remains little known, even...

, and the Battle of Madagascar
Battle of Madagascar
The Battle of Madagascar was the Allied campaign to capture Vichy-French-controlled Madagascar during World War II. It began on 5 May 1942. Fighting did not cease until 6 November.-Geo-political:...

 ended in Vichy defeats. During Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

 in November 1942, the Allies invaded French North Africa, leading to a large naval battle at Casablanca
Naval Battle of Casablanca
The Naval Battle of Casablanca was a series of naval engagements fought between American ships covering the invasion of North Africa and Vichy French ships defending the neutrality of French Morocco in accordance with the Second Armistice at Compiègne during World War II...

, but the Vichy forces quickly turned sides. In response, the Germans launched Case Anton
Case Anton
Operation Anton was the codename for the military occupation of Vichy France carried out by Germany and Italy in November 1942.- Background :...

 and occupied the Vichy-held portion of Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica...

. The German occupation included the French naval port of Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

 where the main part of the surviving French fleet lay. This was a major German objective and forces under SS command had been detailed to capture them (Operation Lila). This eventually resulted in French sailors sinking their own ships to save them from falling into German hands (scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon
Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon
The French fleet in Toulon was scuttled on 27 November 1942 on the order of the Admiralty of Vichy France to avoid capture by Nazi German forces during Operation Lila of the Case Anton takeover of Vichy France.- Context :...

). No French capital ships and few others were taken in reparable condition. A few ships fled Toulon and joined the Allies. Five submarines tried to escape. Three of them were successful, the Casabianca
Casabianca (Q183)
Casabianca was a Redoutable-class submarine of the French Navy, named in honour of Luc-Julien-Joseph Casabianca. She was notable for her escape from Toulon in November 1942 as Germans forces tried to seize the French fleet as part of Case Anton, the occupation of Vichy France...

, Glorieux and Marsouin. Following "Torch", remnants of the French Navy moved to the Allies, including ships interned in Egypt, and then there were FNFL warships supporting the Allied landings in Normandy and southern France (Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...

).

The conquest of the European harbours put an end to the combat operations of the Navy, which spent the rest of the war clearing mines and repairing port installations. On the Pacific theatre, the French Navy was present until the Japanese capitulation; Richelieu was present at the Japanese instrument of surrender. At the end of the war, the weight of the French navy was 400,000 tonnes (800,000 in May 1940).

The French navy ships Béarn, Fantasque, Triomphant, Duquesne, Tourville, and Emile Bertin helped transport the French Far East Expeditionary Corps
French Far East Expeditionary Corps
The French Far East Expeditionary Corps was a colonial expeditionary force of the French Union Army sent in French Indochina in 1945 during the Pacific War.-Pacific War :...

 to French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 in 1946.

Branches

The Navy is organised in five branches:
  • The "Force d'Action Navale
    Force d'Action Navale
    The Force d'action navale is the 12,000-man and about 100-ship strong backbone of the French Navy. As of 2006, it is commanded by Vice-Amiral d’Escadre Philippe Sautter.The ships are divided into seven categories:...

    " ("Naval Action Force"), surface fleet
  • The "Forces Sous-marines" ("Submarine forces"), strategic nuclear deterrent fleet based at Île Longue
    Île Longue
    Île Longue is a peninsula of the roadstead of Brest. It is the base of the SNLE, the French ballistic missile submarines, and as such one of the most secretive and heavily defended places in France.-Geography:...

  • The "Aviation Navale
    Aviation Navale
    French Naval Aviation of the French Navy includes 206 aircraft and 6,800 men, both civilians and military personnel. They operate from six airbases, five of them in Metropolitan France and one overseas....

    " ("Naval air force"), ground and sea-based planes and helicopters
  • The "Fusiliers Marins" ("Naval fusiliers", ground forces used to secure naval installations) and "Commandos de Marine
    Naval commandos (France)
    The Naval Commandos are the special forces of the French Navy. They are made up of ~500 members, mostly based in northwestern France , with several bases across the country for specific training needs. The Naval Commandos are nicknamed bérets verts . Their qualification training is one of the...

    " (amphibious assault and other special operations), collectively known as FORFUSCO
    FORFUSCO
    The Naval infantry and Commandos Marine units are under command of the Force maritime des fusiliers marins et commandos in Lorient...

    .
  • The "Gendarmerie maritime", police operations and coast guard


Note that the Troupes de Marine
Troupes de marine
The or Infanterie de marine, formerly Troupes coloniales, are an arm of the French Army with a colonial heritage. The Troupes de marine have a dedicated overseas service role. Despite their title they have been a part of the Army since 1958...

("Naval Troops"), which comprise the Régiments d'Infanterie de Marine (the famous elite RIMa) are the modern name of the Troupes Coloniales ("Colonial Troops"), and are not part of the Navy, but of the Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

.

Ships

French naval doctrine calls for two aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

s, but the French only have one, the Charles de Gaulle. The order for the Future French aircraft carrier
Future French aircraft carrier
PA2 is a planned new aircraft carrier developed for the French Navy by Thales Naval France and DCNS from the Thales UK/BMT design for the future British Queen Elizabeth class....

 based on the design of the British Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier (under construction as of 2009) has been delayed several times for budgetary reasons, priority being given to the more easily exportable FREMM project; the decision on whether to build the second carrier has now been delayed until 2012.

The navy is in the midst of major technological and procurement changes; newer submarines have been ordered as well as new jet fighters, the Dassault Rafale
Dassault Rafale
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine delta-wing multi-role jet fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Introduced in 2000, the Rafale is being produced both for land-based use with the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations with the French Navy...

s.

Currently (2010) major ships in service are:
  • The naval action force (FAN) : 115 ships and 12,000 persons.;
  • The submarine force (FSM): 10 ships and 3,300 persons;
  • The naval aviation (AVIA): 147 aircrafts and 7,300 persons;
  • The marines and the commando force (FORFUSCO): 2,000 persons distributed in 16 units.

Aircraft

Currently (1 January 2011) aircraft in service are :

Shipborne aircraft
  • 38 Super Etendard (11F,17F)
  • 18 Rafales
    Dassault Rafale
    The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine delta-wing multi-role jet fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Introduced in 2000, the Rafale is being produced both for land-based use with the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations with the French Navy...

     (12F)
  • 3 E-2 Hawkeye
    E-2 Hawkeye
    The Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is an American all-weather, aircraft carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning aircraft. This twin-turboprop aircraft was designed and developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s by the Grumman Aircraft Company for the United States Navy as a replacement for the...

     (4F)


Maritime patrol aircraft
  • 22 Atlantique 2 (21F,23F)


Surveillance aircraft
  • 5 Falcon 200
    Dassault Falcon 20
    The Dassault Falcon 20 is a French business jet and was the first of a family of business jets built by Dassault Aviation.-Design and development:...

     "Gardian" (25F)
  • 4 Falcon 50
    Dassault Falcon 50
    |-See also:-References:* Taylor, John W R. . Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK:Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.-External links:* *...

     M (24F)


Support and training
  • 6 Falcon DA 10
    Dassault Falcon 10
    |-See also:-References:*...

     (57S)
  • 11 Embraer EMB 121 Xingu
    Embraer EMB 121 Xingú
    |-See also:-References:* * Endres, Gunter and Gething, Mike. . Aircraft Recognition Guide, . New York: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 0-00-713721-4....

     utility aircraft (24F,28F)
  • 7 Mudry CAP 10
    Mudry CAP 10
    -See also:-References:*Taylor, John W.R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89. Coulsdon, UK:Jane's Defence Data, 1988. ISBN 01706-0867-5....

     acrobatic aircraft (50S)
  • 9 Morane-Saulnier MS88 Rallye
    Socata Rallye
    -Bibliography:* Donald, David . The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Leicester, UK: Blitz, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.* Taylor, John W R. . Jane's All the Worlds Aircraft 1976-77. London:Jane's Yearbooks, 1976. ISBN 0 354 00538 3....

     trainer (50S)


Helicopters

ASuW
  • 5 Eurocopter Caïman (31F)
  • 26 HAS.2 Lynx
    Westland Lynx
    The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovil. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants...

     (34F)


ASuW
  • 16 AS 365 Panther (36F)


Rescue
  • 11 SA 365 Dauphin
    Eurocopter Dauphin
    The Eurocopter SA 365/AS365 Dauphin 2 is a medium-weight multipurpose twin-engine helicopter manufactured by Eurocopter .-Design and development:...

    + 3 Alouettes III Aérospatiale(35F)
  • 2 EC 225 Eurocopter (32F)


Support and training
  • 15 Alouette III Aérospatiale (22S)

Bases

As of 2009, the naval bases in use are:

Metropolitan France
  • Toulon
    Toulon
    Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

    , home of the Force d'action navale
    Force d'Action Navale
    The Force d'action navale is the 12,000-man and about 100-ship strong backbone of the French Navy. As of 2006, it is commanded by Vice-Amiral d’Escadre Philippe Sautter.The ships are divided into seven categories:...

    , the Charles de Gaulle, the tactical nuclear submarines, of a large part of the surface fleet and the special commando of combat swimmer : the commando Hubert
    French commando frogmen
    France has a large commando frogman tradition. Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a naval officer in World War II and helped much to set up France's commando frogmen...

    .
  • Brest
    Brest, France
    Brest is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon...

    , home of the part of the surface fleet tasked to protect the FOST
    Force Océanique Stratégique
    The Force océanique stratégique is the ballistic missile submarine force of the French Navy. It is one of the two components of the submarine forces of the French Navy and the sea-based component of the French nuclear deterrent.- History :The FOST was created in the early 1960s, around the need...

    , the mine warfare force, the GEAOM (Training Squadron for Naval Officers), hydrographic and oceanographic fleet and a flotilla of patrol boats, intervention tugs, and training ships.
  • Ile Longue
    Île Longue
    Île Longue is a peninsula of the roadstead of Brest. It is the base of the SNLE, the French ballistic missile submarines, and as such one of the most secretive and heavily defended places in France.-Geography:...

     (near Brest) home of the strategic nuclear arm of the fleet (FOST
    Force Océanique Stratégique
    The Force océanique stratégique is the ballistic missile submarine force of the French Navy. It is one of the two components of the submarine forces of the French Navy and the sea-based component of the French nuclear deterrent.- History :The FOST was created in the early 1960s, around the need...

    ).
  • Cherbourg, home of a flotilla of patrol craft, intervention tug and a mine clearance diving unit with support ship Vulcain (M611).

Overseas departments and territories
Regional presence bases :
  • Fort de France, with surveillance frigate
    Floréal class frigate
    The Floréal class is a type of light "surveillance frigates" designed for the needs of the French Navy after the end of the Cold War, ordered in 1989. They use construction standards of commercial ships...

     Ventôse (F733) and BATRAL
    BATRAL
    The Bâtiment de Transport Léger are small landing ships of the French Navy. They are able to ferry over 400 tons of matériel, in the hangar and on the deck. Loading and unloading can be done from a harbour or from a beach. Two flat-bottom vessels allow unloading 50 men and light vehicles each...

     Francis Garnier.
  • Degrad des Cannes
    Degrad des Cannes
    Dégrad des Cannes is the main seaport for the French Overseas department of French Guiana, situated in the northern edge of South America and opening into the Caribbean. The seaport is located on the estuary of the Mahury River....

    , harbours patrol vessels
    P400 class patrol vessel
    The P400 patrol ships are small vessels of the French Navy. They were designed to accomplish police operations in the large French Exclusive Economic Zone....

     La Capricieuse (P684) and L'Audacieuse (P682).
  • Port des Galets, hosts the fleet of patrol boats who police the large Southern EEZ, notably surveillance frigates
    Floréal class frigate
    The Floréal class is a type of light "surveillance frigates" designed for the needs of the French Navy after the end of the Cold War, ordered in 1989. They use construction standards of commercial ships...

     , Floréal (F 730) and Nivôse (F 732), Austral patrol boat Albatros (P681), BATRAL
    BATRAL
    The Bâtiment de Transport Léger are small landing ships of the French Navy. They are able to ferry over 400 tons of matériel, in the hangar and on the deck. Loading and unloading can be done from a harbour or from a beach. Two flat-bottom vessels allow unloading 50 men and light vehicles each...

     La Grandière (L9034) and patrol vessels La Boudeuse (P683) and La Rieuse (P690).
  • Nouméa
    Nouméa
    Nouméa is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian , Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians,...

    , with surveillance frigate
    Floréal class frigate
    The Floréal class is a type of light "surveillance frigates" designed for the needs of the French Navy after the end of the Cold War, ordered in 1989. They use construction standards of commercial ships...

     Vendémiaire (F734), BATRAL
    BATRAL
    The Bâtiment de Transport Léger are small landing ships of the French Navy. They are able to ferry over 400 tons of matériel, in the hangar and on the deck. Loading and unloading can be done from a harbour or from a beach. Two flat-bottom vessels allow unloading 50 men and light vehicles each...

     Jacques Cartier (L9033) and patrol vessels
    P400 class patrol vessel
    The P400 patrol ships are small vessels of the French Navy. They were designed to accomplish police operations in the large French Exclusive Economic Zone....

     La Glorieuse (P686) and La Moqueuse (P688).
  • Papeete
    Papeete
    -Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront esplanade*Bougainville Park -Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront...

    , with surveillance frigate
    Floréal class frigate
    The Floréal class is a type of light "surveillance frigates" designed for the needs of the French Navy after the end of the Cold War, ordered in 1989. They use construction standards of commercial ships...

     Prairial (F731), BATRAL
    BATRAL
    The Bâtiment de Transport Léger are small landing ships of the French Navy. They are able to ferry over 400 tons of matériel, in the hangar and on the deck. Loading and unloading can be done from a harbour or from a beach. Two flat-bottom vessels allow unloading 50 men and light vehicles each...

     Dumont d'Urville (L9032), high sea tug Revi (A635), patrol vessels La Railleuse (P689), La Tapageuse (P691) and Jasmin (P723).


On foreign territories
  • Abu Dhabi
    Abu Dhabi
    Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

    , United Arab Emirates
    United Arab Emirates
    The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

    's first foreign forces deployed on its soil
  • Dakar
    Dakar
    Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

    , harbours the landing craft Sabre, support of the temporarily deployed ships (6 ships in 2007).
  • Djibouti
    Djibouti
    Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

     the home port of the flagship of ALINDIEN
    ALINDIEN
    ALINDIEN is a French naval acronym designing the admiral in charge of the maritime zone of the Indian Ocean, and of the French forces there. The office has been held by Contre-amiral Jacques Launay since 31 December 2006...

    , the French naval task force in the Indian Ocean, with Command and Replenishement Tanker Var (A608), 2 stationed frigates detached from Toulon, a detachment of commandos (commando Arta) supported by landing craft Dague (L9052).


The naval air stations in use are:

Metropolitan France
  • BAN Landivisiau 4F, 23F, 24F
  • BAN Lann-Bihoue 4F, 23F, 24F
  • BAN Lanvéoc-Poulmic 32F, 34F, 22S, 50S
  • BAN Nîmes-Garons 21F, 28F
  • BAN Hyères 31F, 35F, 36F, 57S


Overseas departments and territories
  • BAN Tontouta (New Caledonia) 25F


Other establishments:

Metropolitan France
  • Aspretto
  • Bayonne
    Bayonne
    Bayonne is a city and commune in south-western France at the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, of which it is a sub-prefecture...

    , home of three patrol ships and craft for surveillance duty of the missile launch range of Biscarosse
    Centre d'Essais des Landes
    The Centre d'Essais des Landes is a launch site for the test of military rockets and for launching sounding rockets in France. The Centre d'Essais des Landes is situated between Biscarrosse and the Atlantic Ocean at...

    .
  • Lorient
    Lorient
    Lorient, or L'Orient, is a commune and a seaport in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.-History:At the beginning of the 17th century, merchants who were trading with India had established warehouses in Port-Louis...

    , headquarter of FORFUSCO, naval fusiliers college, training center, commando units "Jaubert", "Kieffer", "de Montfort", "de Penfentenyo", "Trepel" and the "ECTLO".
  • Marseille
    Marseille
    Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

    , the fire department of Marseille is a part of the French Navy: the Marseille Marine Fire Battalion.

Overseas departments and territories
  • Dzaoudzi
    Dzaoudzi
    Dzaoudzi is a commune in the French overseas department of Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean. The commune of Dzaoudzi , made up of the twin towns of Dzaoudzi and Labattoir, is located on the small island of Petite-Terre...


Future developments

The French Navy is undertaking a significant reinforcement, both in modernising and in number, under the Projet de loi de programmation militaire 2003–2008 ("Military programme law project 2003–2008"), which notably calls for:
  • Two Horizon frigates (the Forbin
    Forbin (D620)
    The Forbin is a large anti-air destroyer of the French Navy, lead ship of the Horizon class. Her first task is protecting aircraft carriers, capital ships or civilian ships from supersonic missile attacks; her complement of medium-range anti-air missiles allows her to support the defences of...

    and Chevalier Paul
    Chevalier Paul (D621)
    The Chevalier Paul is a Horizon class destroyer of the French Marine Nationale commissioned in June 2009. She is the third vessel of the French Navy named after the 17th century admiral Chevalier Paul....

    ) that are now fitting out;
  • 11 FREMM multipurpose frigates—eleven have so far been ordered, the first eight vessels were ordered in November 2005 and three more on 30 September 2009. Aquitaine, the first ship of the series built for the French Navy was unveiled during a ceremony at the DCNS shipyard in Lorient, France on May 4, 2010. The Aquitaine (D650) is due to be delivered during 2012 and the FREMM program is planned to continue until 2022. The first eight ships are to be supplied in an ASW (anti-submarine warfare) configuration, two further ships are to be configured in AAW(anti-air warfare)role and one other in ASW. Deliveries are scheduled over a five-year period from 2011 to 2016. The first delivery is scheduled for mid-2011, the second delivery, Normandie is scheduled for delivery 13 months later, followed by a delivery rate of one ship every seven months. Construction of the Aquitaine began in March 2007.
  • Six nuclear attack submarines of the Barracuda class—the first commissioning (the Suffren) being expected for 2017.
  • On 18 April 2009, construction of Dixmude (L9015)
    French ship Dixmude (L9015)
    Dixmude is an amphibious assault ship, a type of helicopter carrier, of the French Navy. She is the third vessel to bear the name, and is the third ship of the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.-External links:...

    , the 3rd Mistral class amphibious assault ship
    Amphibious assault ship
    An amphibious assault ship is a type of amphibious warfare ship employed to land and support ground forces on enemy territory by an amphibious assault...

     was started. A fourth ship may also be built.
  • Four Engin de débarquement amphibie rapide
    Engin de Débarquement Amphibie Rapide
    The Engin de débarquement amphibie rapide is a class of Roll-on/Roll-off catamaran landing craft ordered by the French Navy. They transport weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel of the assault elements from Mistral class amphibious assault ships to shore and across the beach.-Design and...

     (EDA-R) L-CAT (CNIM's new Landing craft) were also ordered.
  • A second aircraft carrier, the Future French aircraft carrier
    Future French aircraft carrier
    PA2 is a planned new aircraft carrier developed for the French Navy by Thales Naval France and DCNS from the Thales UK/BMT design for the future British Queen Elizabeth class....

    . This project appears delayed almost indefinitely as of late 2008.
  • Gowind class corvette
    Gowind class corvette
    Gowind is a family of steel monohull corvettes and Offshore Patrol Vessels developed since 2006 by DCNS to conduct missions in littoral zone such as anti-submarine warfare and safeguard. Gowind family includes four corvettes with length from 85m to 105m and displacement from 1,100t to 2,500t...

    , L'Adroit.

The equipment will also be modernised, notably:
  • New models of the successful Exocet
    Exocet
    The Exocet is a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Hundreds were fired in combat during the 1980s.-Etymology:...

     missile
  • MBDA Aster
    MBDA Aster
    Aster is a family of surface-to-air missiles manufactured by Eurosam, a European consortium consisting of MBDA France, MBDA Italy and the Thales Group .-Overview:The Aster family was developed to perform three distinct missions:...

     and SYLVER launcher
    SYLVER launcher
    The Sylver is a vertical missile launcher designed by DCNS. The launcher comes in several variants, each distinguished by their height...

     systems for anti-missile and anti-air defence
  • Cruise missiles: the surface naval or submarine SCALP EG
    Storm Shadow
    Storm Shadow is a British, French and Italian air-launched cruise missile, manufactured by MBDA. Storm Shadow is the British name for the weapon; in French service it is called SCALP EG...


Ranks of the National Navy

The following are the ranks of the French National Navy, showing the French rank, the English translation, and the equivalent in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and the English language rank system of the Canadian Navy.

Officers

French Rank (in French) French Rank (in English) Equivalent RN
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 Rank
Equivalent USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 Rank
Amiral de France Admiral of France
Admiral of France
The title Admiral of France is one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France, the naval equivalent of Marshal of France.The title was created in 1270 by Louis IX of France, during the Eighth Crusade. At the time it was equivalent to the office of Constable of France. The Admiral was responsible...

 (7 Stars)
No Equivalent Admiral of the Navy
Admiral of the Navy (United States)
Admiral of the Navy is a rank in the United States Navy that has only been held once in history, by George Dewey. In recognition of his victory at Manila Bay in 1898, Congress authorized a single officer to hold the rank of Admiral, and promoted Dewey to this rank in March 1899...

 (6 Stars)
Amiral Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 (5 Stars)
Admiral of the Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy)
Admiral of the fleet is the highest rank of the British Royal Navy and other navies, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-10. The rank still exists in the Royal Navy but routine appointments ceased in 1996....

 (5 Stars)
Fleet Admiral (5 Stars)
Vice-amiral d'escadre Squadron Vice-Admiral
Squadron Vice-Admiral
Squadron vice-admiral is an Anglicisation of a naval rank found in some navies of the world. The squadron vice-admiral, which could also be accurately translated as fleet vice-admiral, leads a squadron and is typically senior to a vice-admiral and junior to an admiral.This anglicisation is not...

 (4 Stars)
Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 (4 Stars)
Admiral
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

 (4 Stars)
Vice-amiral Vice-Admiral (3 Stars) Vice-Admiral (3 Stars) Vice-Admiral
Vice admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

 (3 Stars)
Contre-amiral Counter Admiral
Counter Admiral
Counter admiral is a rank found in many navies of the world, but no longer used in English-speaking countries, where the equivalent rank is rear admiral...

 (2 Stars)
Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

 (2 Stars)
Rear Admiral Upper Half (2 Stars)
No Equivalent No Equivalent Commodore (1 Star) Rear Admiral Lower Half (1 Star)
Capitaine de vaisseau Ship-of-the-Line Captain
Ship-of-the-Line Captain
Ship-of-the-line captain is a rank that appears in several navies...

Captain
Captain (Royal Navy)
Captain is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy. It ranks above Commander and below Commodore and has a NATO ranking code of OF-5. The rank is equivalent to a Colonel in the British Army or Royal Marines and to a Group Captain in the Royal Air Force. The rank of Group Captain is based on the...

Captain
Capitaine de frégate Frigate Captain
Frigate Captain
Frigate captain is a naval rank in the naval forces of several countries.It is, usually, equivalent to the Commonwealth/US Navy rank of commander.Countries using this rank include Argentina and Spain , France , Belgium , Italy ,...

Commander
Commander
Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

Commander
Commander (United States)
In the United States, commander is a military rank that is also sometimes used as a military title, depending on the branch of service. It is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the military, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Naval rank:In the United States...

Capitaine de corvette Corvette Captain
Corvette Captain
Corvette captain is a rank in many navies which theoretically corresponds to command of a corvette . The equivalent rank in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth and USA is lieutenant commander...

Lieutenant-Commander Lieutenant-Commander
Lieutenant commander (United States)
Lieutenant commander is a mid-ranking officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, with the pay grade of O-4 and NATO rank code OF-3...

Lieutenant de vaisseau Ship-of-the-Line Lieutenant
Ship-of-the-Line Lieutenant
Ship-of-the-line lieutenant is a common naval rank, equivalent to the naval rank of Lieutenant in the UK, Commonwealth and US.The name of the rank derives from the name of the largest class of warship, the ship of the line, as opposed to smaller types of warship .The rank is lieutenant de vaisseau...

Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

Enseigne de vaisseau de première classe Ship-of-the-Line Ensign First Class Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant is a military rank. It is normally a junior officer rank.In many navies, a sub-lieutenant is a naval commissioned or subordinate officer, ranking below a lieutenant. In the Royal Navy the rank of sub-lieutenant is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the British Army and of...

Lieutenant, junior grade
Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, United States Merchant Marine USMM, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, with the pay grade...

Enseigne de vaisseau de deuxième classe Ship-of-the-Line Ensign Second Class Acting Sub-Lieutenant Ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

Aspirant Aspirant
Aspirant
Aspirant is a military rank in the Canadian Navy, French military, Brazilian military, Romanian Navy and Polish Police.-Canadian Navy:Similar to the French usage, the Canadian Navy uses the French-language rank of "Aspirant de marine" to denote a junior officer under training. The same rank in the...

Midshipman
Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

Midshipman

Officers mariniers / Non-commissioned Officers

French Rank (in French) French Rank (in English) Equivalent RN
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 Rank
Equivalent USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 Rank
Maître Principal Principal Master Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

Master Chief Petty Officer
Master Chief Petty Officer
- Master Chief Petty Officer :U.S. Coast GuardMaster ChiefPetty OfficerCap & Collar deviceU.S. Coast GuardMaster ChiefPetty OfficerinsigniaGood conductRating badgeMaster ChiefPetty OfficerCap & Collar Insignia...

Premier Maître First Master Chief Petty Officer
Chief Petty Officer
A chief petty officer is a senior non-commissioned officer in many navies and coast guards.-Canada:"Chief Petty Officer" refers to two ranks in the Canadian Navy...

Senior Chief Petty Officer
Senior Chief Petty Officer
U.S. Coast GuardSenior ChiefPetty Officercollar deviceU.S. Coast GuardSenior ChiefPetty OfficerinsigniaGood conductvariationSenior ChiefPetty OfficerinsigniaSenior ChiefPetty Officercollar device...

Maître Master
Master
Master or Masters are terms denoting some kind of rank or status, and may refer to:-Ranks and titles:* Master craftsman in the Medieval guilds* Master , a title...

Petty Officer
Petty Officer
A petty officer is a non-commissioned officer in many navies and is given the NATO rank denotion OR-6. They are equal in rank to sergeant, British Army and Royal Air Force. A Petty Officer is superior in rank to Leading Rate and subordinate to Chief Petty Officer, in the case of the British Armed...

Petty Officer First Class
Petty Officer First Class
Good conductvariation,12 years or moreof good conductPetty officerfirst classinsigniaU.S. Navy &U.S. Coast GuardPetty officer, first class is the sixth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S...

Second-Maître Second Master
Second Master
Second master was a rating introduced into the Royal Navy in 1753 that indicated a deputy master on third-rate ships of the line or larger.Second masters were paid significantly more than master's mates, £5 5s per month. A second master was generally a master's mate who had passed his examination...

Petty Officer
Petty Officer
A petty officer is a non-commissioned officer in many navies and is given the NATO rank denotion OR-6. They are equal in rank to sergeant, British Army and Royal Air Force. A Petty Officer is superior in rank to Leading Rate and subordinate to Chief Petty Officer, in the case of the British Armed...

  but more junior
Petty Officer Second Class
Petty Officer Second Class
Good conductvariation,Petty OfficerSecond Classinsignia&U.S. Coast GuardPetty officer second class is the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S...


Militaires du rang (équipage)—Junior ranks

French Rank (in French) French Rank (in English) Equivalent RN
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 Rank
Equivalent USN
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 Rank
Quartier-maître de première classe Quarter-master First Class Leading Seaman
Leading Seaman
Leading seaman is a junior non-commissioned rank or rate in navies, particularly those of the Commonwealth. When it is used by NATO nations, leading seaman has the rank code of OR-4. It is often equivalent to the army and air force rank of corporal and some navies use corporal rather than...

Petty Officer Third Class
Petty Officer Third Class
U.S. NavyGood conductvariationU.S. NavyPetty officerthird classinsigniaPetty officer third class is the fourth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above seaman and below petty officer second class, and is the lowest rank of non-commissioned officer, equivalent to a corporal in...

Quartier-maître de deuxième classe Quarter-master Second Class Able Seaman
Able Seaman (rank)
In the British Royal Navy in the middle of the 18th century, the term able seaman referred to a seaman with at least two years' experience at sea...

Seaman
Seaman
Seaman is one of the lowest ranks in a Navy. In the Commonwealth it is the lowest rank in the Navy, followed by Able Seaman and Leading Seaman, and followed by the Petty Officer ranks....

Matelot breveté "Certified Mate" Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman (rank)
In the Royal Navy in the middle of the 18th century, the term ordinary seaman was used to refer to a seaman with between one and two years' experience at sea, who showed enough seamanship to be so rated by their captain...

Seaman Apprentice
Seaman Apprentice
ConstructionmanvariationFiremanvariationAirmanvariationSeamaninsigniaSeaman apprentice is the second lowest enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above seaman recruit and below seaman; this rank was formerly known as seaman second class.The actual title for an E-2 in the U.S....

Matelot Sailor
Sailor
A sailor, mariner, or seaman is a person who navigates water-borne vessels or assists in their operation, maintenance, or service. The term can apply to professional mariners, military personnel, and recreational sailors as well as a plethora of other uses...

 / Seaman
Seaman
Seaman is one of the lowest ranks in a Navy. In the Commonwealth it is the lowest rank in the Navy, followed by Able Seaman and Leading Seaman, and followed by the Petty Officer ranks....

Seaman
Seaman
Seaman is one of the lowest ranks in a Navy. In the Commonwealth it is the lowest rank in the Navy, followed by Able Seaman and Leading Seaman, and followed by the Petty Officer ranks....

Seaman Recruit
Seaman Recruit
Seaman recruit is the lowest enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just below seaman apprentice; this rank was formerly known as seaman third class...



Prefixes

The French Navy does not use prefixes
Ship prefix
A ship prefix is a combination of letters, usually abbreviations, used in front of the name of a civilian or naval ship.Prefixes for civilian vessels may either identify the type of propulsion, such as "SS" for steamship, or purpose, such as "RV" for research vessel. Civilian prefixes are often...

 of the names of its ships (such as the Royal Navy uses HMS
Her Majesty's Ship
Her or His Majesty's Ship is the ship prefix used for ships of the navy in some monarchies, either formally or informally.-HMS:* In the British Royal Navy, it refers to the king or queen of the United Kingdom as appropriate at the time...

, for instance). Foreign commentators sometimes use the prefixes "FS" (for "French Ship") or FNS (for "French Navy Ship"); these are not official, however.

Addressing officers

Unlike in the French army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

 and air force
French Air Force
The French Air Force , literally Army of the Air) is the air force of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1933...

, one does not prepend mon to the name of the rank when addressing an officer (that is, not mon capitaine, but simply capitaine).

Addressing a French Navy lieutenant de vaisseau (for instance) with a "mon capitaine" will attract the traditional answer "Dans la Marine il y a Mon Dieu et mon cul, pas mon capitaine !" ("In the Navy there are My God and my arse, no 'my captain'!").

Corsairs

  • Vice-admiral (lieutenant-général) du Casse
    Jean du Casse
    Jean Baptiste du Casse was a French Buccaneer and Admiral.In his youth, he was not allowed into the French Navy because his parents were Huguenots...

  • Vice-admiral (lieutenant-général) Duguay-Trouin
    René Duguay-Trouin
    René Trouin, Sieur du Gué, usually called René Duguay-Trouin, was a famous French corsair of Saint-Malo. He had a brilliant privateering and naval career and eventually became "Lieutenant-General of the Naval Armies of the King" , and a Commander in the Order of Saint-Louis...

  • Rear admiral
    Rear Admiral
    Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

     (chef d'escadre) Jean Bart
    Jean Bart
    Jean Bart was a Flemish sailor who primarily served the French crown as naval commander and privateer.-Early life:...

  • Rear admiral
    Rear Admiral
    Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

     Pierre Bouvet
  • Captain
    Captain (naval)
    Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

     Cassard
    Jacques Cassard
    Jacques Cassard was a French naval officer and privateer.- Biography :Born on 30 September 1679 to a family of merchants of Nantes, Cassard began a career as a sailor at age 14 on the merchantmen owned by his family. In January 1697, he joined the French Navy on bombship Éclatante.In 1700,...

  • Captain
    Captain (naval)
    Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

     Surcouf
    Robert Surcouf
    Robert Surcouf was a famous French corsair. During his legendary career, he captured 47 ships and was renowned for his gallantry and chivalry, earning the nickname of Roi des Corsaires .- Youth :...

  • Captain
    Captain (naval)
    Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

     Thurot
    François Thurot
    François Thurot was a French privateer, merchant naval captain and smuggler who terrorised British shipping in the early part of the Seven Years' War....


Heroes of the First Republic

  • Vice-admiral de Latouche-Tréville
    Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville
    Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville was a French admiral and a hero of the American Revolutionary War and of the Napoleonic wars.-Early life:...

  • Vice-admiral de Villaret-Joyeuse
    Louis Thomas Villaret de Joyeuse
    Louis Thomas Villaret de Joyeuse was a French admiral.-Early career:Louis Thomas Villaret de Joyeuse was born in Auch, in the heart of Gascony. The Villaret de Joyeuse family figured among the minor nobility from Languedoc...

  • Vice-admiral Bruix
  • Rear Admiral
    Rear Admiral
    Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

     du Chayla
    Armand Blanquet du Chayla
    Count Armand Blanquet du Chayla was an officer in the French Navy, most famous as second in command of the French fleet during its defeat at the Battle of the Nile.-Early actions:...

  • Captain
    Captain (naval)
    Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

     du Petit Thouars
    Aristide Aubert Du Petit Thouars
    Aristide Aubert Du Petit Thouars was a French naval officer, and a hero of the Battle of Aboukir, where he died....

  • Captain
    Captain (naval)
    Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

     Casabianca
    Luc-Julien-Joseph Casabianca
    See Casabianca for other meaningsLuc-Julien-Joseph Casabianca was a French Navy officer.- Career :...


Explorers

  • Vice-Admiral Bougainville
    Louis Antoine de Bougainville
    Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville was a French admiral and explorer. A contemporary of James Cook, he took part in the French and Indian War and the unsuccessful French attempt to defend Canada from Britain...

  • Rear-Admiral d'Entrecasteaux
    Bruni d'Entrecasteaux
    Antoine Raymond Joseph de Bruni d'Entrecasteaux was a French navigator who explored the Australian coast in 1792 while seeking traces of the lost expedition of La Pérouse....

  • Rear-Admiral Dumont d'Urville
    Jules Dumont d'Urville
    Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville was a French explorer, naval officer and rear admiral, who explored the south and western Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.-Childhood:Dumont was born at Condé-sur-Noireau...

  • Commodore Lapérouse
    Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse
    Jean François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse was a French Navy officer and explorer whose expedition vanished in Oceania.-Early career:...

  • Captain Samuel de Champlain
    Samuel de Champlain
    Samuel de Champlain , "The Father of New France", was a French navigator, cartographer, draughtsman, soldier, explorer, geographer, ethnologist, diplomat, and chronicler. He founded New France and Quebec City on July 3, 1608....

  • Captain d'Iberville
    Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville
    Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville pronounced as described in note] Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville pronounced as described in note] Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville pronounced as described in note] (16 July 1661 – 9 July 1702 (probable)was a soldier, ship captain, explorer, colonial administrator, knight of...

  • Captain Nicolas Baudin
    Nicolas Baudin
    Nicolas-Thomas Baudin was a French explorer, cartographer, naturalist and hydrographer.Baudin was born a commoner in Saint-Martin-de-Ré on the Île de Ré. At the age of fifteen he joined the merchant navy, and at twenty joined the French East India Company...

  • Captain Louis de Freycinet
  • Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau
    Jacques-Yves Cousteau
    Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water...

  • Commander Doudart de Lagrée
    Ernest Doudart de Lagrée
    Ernest Marc Louis de Gonzague Doudart de Lagrée was the leader of the French Mekong Expedition of 1866-1868.He was born in Saint-Vincent-de-Mercuze near Grenoble, France, and graduated from the École Polytechnique...

  • Lieutenant Francis Garnier
    Francis Garnier
    Marie Joseph François Garnier was a French officer and explorer known for his exploration of the Mekong River in Southeast Asia.- Early career :...

  • Lieutenant Savorgnan de Brazza
    Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza
    Pietro Paolo Savorgnan di Brazzà, best known as Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza , was a Franco-Italian explorer, born in Italy and later naturalized Frenchman...


Other important French naval officers

  • Admiral
    Admiral
    Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

     Florent de Varennes—first admiral of France
  • Admiral
    Admiral
    Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

     Jean de Vienne
    Jean de Vienne
    Jean de Vienne was a French knight, general and Admiral of France during the Hundred Years' War.-Early life:Jean de Vienne was born at Dole, in what is now Franche-Comté. As a nobleman, he started his military career at the age of 19, and was made a knight at 21.-Career:By the age of 24, de Vienne...

    —admiral of the French fleet during the Hundred Years' War
  • Admiral
    Admiral
    Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

     d'Estaing
    Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing
    Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, comte d'Estaing was a French general, and admiral. He began his service as a soldier in the War of the Austrian Succession, briefly spending time as a prisoner of war of the British during the Seven Years' War...

    —admiral of the French fleet which helped the United States secure independence
  • Admiral
    Admiral
    Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

     de Grasse
    François Joseph Paul de Grasse
    Lieutenant Général des Armées Navales François-Joseph Paul, marquis de Grasse Tilly, comte de Grasse was a French admiral. He is best known for his command of the French fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake, which led directly to the British surrender at Yorktown...

    —commander of the French fleet at Chesapeake Bay
    Battle of the Chesapeake
    The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American War of Independence that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas...

     during the American Revolutionary War.
  • Admiral
    Admiral
    Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

     Courbet
    Amédée Courbet
    Anatole-Amédée-Prosper Courbet was a French admiral who won a series of important land and naval victories during the Tonkin campaign and the Sino-French War .-Early years:...

  • Vice-Admiral Tourville
    Anne Hilarion de Tourville
    Anne Hilarion de Costentin, comte de Tourville was a French naval commander who served under King Louis XIV. He was made Marshal of France in 1693.-Military career:...

    —commander of the French fleet at the Battle of Beachy Head
    Battle of Beachy Head (1690)
    The Battle of Beachy Head was a naval engagement fought on 10 July 1690 during the Nine Years' War. The battle was the greatest French tactical naval victory over their English and Dutch opponents during the war...

  • Vice-Admiral Villeneuve
    Pierre-Charles Villeneuve
    Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Silvestre de Villeneuve was a French naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars. He was in command of the French and Spanish fleets defeated by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar....

    —commander of the French and Spanish
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

     fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar
    Battle of Trafalgar
    The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

  • Vice-Admiral Duquesne
    Abraham Duquesne
    Other topics that could fall under Duquesne can be found at Marquis Duquesne Abraham Duquesne, marquis du Bouchet was a French naval officer, who also saw service as an admiral in the Royal Swedish Navy. He was born in Dieppe, a seaport, in 1610, and was a Huguenot...

    —commander of the French fleet at the Battle of Agosta
    Battle of Agosta
    The naval Battle of Augusta took place on 22 April 1676 during the Franco-Dutch War and was fought between a French fleet of 29 man-of-war, five frigates and eight fireships under Abraham Duquesne and a Dutch-Spanish fleet of 27 plus five fireships with Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral-General Michiel de...

  • Captain
    Captain (naval)
    Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

     Pierre Loti
    Pierre Loti
    Pierre Loti was a French novelist and naval officer.-Biography:Loti's education began in his birthplace, Rochefort, Charente-Maritime. At the age of seventeen he entered the naval school in Brest and studied at Le Borda. He gradually rose in his profession, attaining the rank of captain in 1906...

    , mostly known for his literary works
  • Commander
    Commander
    Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

     Eric Tabarly
    Éric Tabarly
    Éric Tabarly was a notable French yachtsman.A former officer in the French navy who is often considered the father of French yachting....

    , a famous yachtsman
  • Lieutenant commander
    Lieutenant Commander
    Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...

     Paul Teste
    Paul Teste
    Paul Marcel Teste was a French Navy officer aviator, notable for the first aeronaval landing of the French Navy aboard the Béarn....

    , pioneer of the modern aeronaval operations.

See also


:Category:Naval ships of France
  • List of French battleships

French Navy admirals
French Navy officers
  • French 100 mm naval gun
    French 100 mm naval gun
    Modern French 100 mm naval guns are multipurpose artillery pieces , capable of a high rate of fire. Most modern French warships are equipped with one of its versions.-History:...

  • Exocet
    Exocet
    The Exocet is a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Hundreds were fired in combat during the 1980s.-Etymology:...

  • Far East Squadron
    Far East Squadron
    The French Far East Squadron was an exceptional naval grouping created for the duration of the Sino-French War .- Background :...

  • Standing French Navy Deployments
    Standing French Navy Deployments
    Standing French Navy Deployments is a list of current deployments by the French Navy:*North Sea and Channel Maritime zone**Boulogne sur Mer***Patrol Craft P604 Scarpe **Cherbourg Naval base...



Further reading

  • Maria Petringa, Brazza, A Life for Africa, Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006. ISBN 978-1425911980. A biography of French naval officer, explorer of Africa, and human rights activist Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza
    Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza
    Pietro Paolo Savorgnan di Brazzà, best known as Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza , was a Franco-Italian explorer, born in Italy and later naturalized Frenchman...

    , including a detailed description of his years on the training ship Borda, and his experiences at the French Ministry of the Navy on rue Royale, in Paris.

External links

Marine nationale—Official site French Navy 2011—Guide Book French Navy 2011—Information File Net-Marine—A well documented database on French navy. Mer & Marine—Main website on French maritime affairs (only in French) Alabordache—French Navy Pictorial feature on the period 1850-1916; from BigBadBattleships.com: lavishly illustrated. French Fleet Air Arm, about French naval aviation. French Navy in World War 1, including warship losses
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