French cruiser Suffren

The Suffren was a 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...

 of the French Navy
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...

, the name ship of the four-ship Suffren class
Suffren class cruiser
The Suffren class was a class of four heavy cruisers built for the French Navy in the late 1920s and early 1930s.The four ships of the class were:* Colbert, scuttled at Toulon during the scuttling of 27 November 1942....

. Launched in 1927, she was named for the 18th-century French admiral Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez
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...

, becoming the sixth vessel
French ship Suffren
To date, seven ships of the French Navy have borne the name of Suffren, in honour of the 18th-century French admiral Pierre André de Suffren:...

 to bear the name Suffren.

World War II

In early June 1940, at the outset of 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...

, the cruisers Suffren, Duquesne
French cruiser Duquesne
The Duquesne was a French Duquesne class heavy cruiser that served during World War II.After her launch, she was used on prestige missions.In January 1940, she took part in the hunt for the Admiral Graf Spee, and later returned to Alexandria...

, Tourville
French cruiser Tourville
The Tourville was a French Duquesne class heavy cruiser that served during World War II....

 and Duguay-Trouin
French cruiser Duguay-Trouin
The Duguay-Trouin was the lead ship of a class of French light cruisers, launched in the early 1920s. She was named after René Duguay-Trouin, Sieur du Gué, French privateer, admiral and Commander in the Order of Saint-Louis.-Pre-war:...

, along with three 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, operated against the Italian
Fascist Italy
"Fascist Italy" refers to Italy under the rule of Benito Mussolini and Italian Fascism. The Fascists led two polities:*The Kingdom of Italy , under the National Fascist Party, and,...

-occupied Dodecanese Islands. Later in that same month, Suffren participated in a joint operation with 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...

 - the last such operation before the French surrender
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 to Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 on 22 June 1940.


At the time of the French surrender, Suffren was stationed in 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...

, 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...

, with other French warships. In contrast to the violent confrontation that took place at the same time at Mers-el-Kébir
Mers-el-Kébir is a port town in northwestern Algeria, located by the Mediterranean Sea near Oran, in the Oran Province.-History:Originally a Roman port, Mers-el-Kébir became an Almohad naval arsenal in the 12th century, fell under the rulers of Tlemcen in the 15th century, and eventually became a...

, Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, the Suffren surrendered peacefully after the British admiral Andrew Browne Cunningham and the French admiral René-Émile Godfroy
René-Emile Godfroy
René-Emile Godfroy was a French admiral.Godfroy was born at Paris. In June 1940, he commanded French naval forces at Alexandria, where he negotiated, with British Admiral Andrew Cunningham, the peaceful internment of his ships.The French squadron consisted of the battleship Lorraine, 4 cruisers, 3...

 reached an agreement. The ship was disarmed and interned by the British on 3 July 1940.

Allied career

Suffren rejoined the Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 cause and was rearmed on 30 May 1943. On 17 July 1943, Suffren rescued survivors of the torpedoed ship City of Canton, off Beira, Mozambique
Beira, Mozambique
Beira is the second largest city in Mozambique. It lies in the central region of the country in Sofala Province, where the Pungue River meets the Indian Ocean. Beira had a population of 412,588 in 1997, which grew to an estimated 546,000 in 2006...


Postwar service

Suffren reentered service with the French Navy after World War II. She was alleged to have participated in the bombing of the 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 port of Haiphong
, also Haiphong, is the third most populous city in Vietnam. The name means, "coastal defence".-History:Hai Phong was originally founded by Lê Chân, the female general of a Vietnamese revolution against the Chinese led by the Trưng Sisters in the year 43 C.E.The area which is now known as Duong...

 on 23 November 1946, resulting in over two thousand casualties and contributing to the start of the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...


On 1 October 1947, after almost twenty years of service, Suffren was decommissioned, and was used as a hulk in 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....

. She was renamed Océan in 1963, and was ultimately broken up in 1974.

External links

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