Duquesne class Cruisers

France (1925)

Duquesne, Tourville

The Duquesne and Tourville were the first heavy cruisers from the Washington Treaty in France, and the first since 1906. Preceded in 1923-24 by the three Primauguets (light cruisers), these buildings were wider, had the artillery classic ” washington “of 8 pieces of 203 mm, all with a tonnage of less than 10 000 tons. In rivalry with the Italian Navy, the emphasis was on speed. From the start a speed of 32-33 knots was required. At the tests, it was possible to reach 34 knots, but the “normal” maximum speed was 33.5 knots. With a length of 191 meters, a length / width ratio of 1:10, it was possible to meet the standard 10,000 tonnes only at the cost of a very light construction, so much so that their action in the North Atlantic was not time not even considered …

Duquesne in 1944, after its passage in US arsenals. Note the two-tone hull camouflage


The construction was rational, with a military mast supporting the direction of fire in the front, a bridge doubled by a bridge surrounding the blockhouse, ASM protection in boxes, a light shielding (30 mm) around the 203 mm turret wells, a reduced belt, torpedo tubes, a AA that was then considered sufficient, and reconnaissance seaplanes launched from the deck of the boats. The lack of armor screaming indicated that in case of a fight against other buildings of the same class, they would have cashed the shots without being able to support them. But their philosophy was primarily based on the tactical use of speed, as well as for battle cruisers. Their Creusot pieces just left the arsenals were 31,000 meters, which at the time put them “out of reach” of most cruisers. They fired up to four salutes a minute, which was also very honorable.

The Duquesne in operation:

Be that as it may, they hardly had the opportunity to prove their military value. Indeed in June 1939, after having served with escorts in Mediterranean, the two ships were immobilized … (historical missing !!)


Displacement: 10,000 t. standard -12 200 t. Full Load
Dimensions: 191 m long, 19 m wide, 6.3 m draft.
Propulsion: 4 propellers, 4 Turbine turbines, 9 Guyot boilers of the Temple, 120,000 hp. Maximum speed 33.7 knots.
Armour: 30 mm belt, 30 mm anti-torpedo partitions, 25 bridge, 30 mm turrets, 30 mm bunker.
Armament: 8 pieces of 203 mm cal.55 (Model 1925), 8×76 mm DP, 8×37 mm AA (4×2), 8 ML of 13.2 mm AA (2×4), 2 Loire 130 seaplanes.
Crew: 605

The Tourville in 1939. Well designed, these buildings, however, had a protection sacrificed to speed. He was part of this generation of “tin cruisers”…