The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit organization dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships. The principal activity of INRO for over 50 years has been the publication of a quarterly journal, Warship International, recognized internationally as the leading and most authoritative publication in the field. Auxiliary services include a Book Service, offering a 10 per cent discount on current naval books, and the Photo Service, which provides warship photos at a nominal price.
© 2017 International Naval Research Organization
September 2017

International Naval Research Organization

Publishers of Warship International
The Strasbourg was the second ship of the Dunkerque class that was built for the French Navy.  The vessel was constructed by two St. Nazaire shipyards, Penhoët and Loire.  The keel was laid on 25 November 1934, and the ship was launched on 12 December 1936. Strasbourg was then sent to Brest for outfitting and entered service in 1939. In 1926 a decision was made by the French Navy to study the construction of a “croiseur de combat” (a type of battle cruiser) which would conform to the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty.  In 1928, Germany announced the construction of their Deutschland class of cruisers.  As a result of theses new ships by Germany, the French Navy scrapped their 1926 study and developed new plans for an answer to the German ships.  These new French ships would have an increase in their armor and gun power at a cost of speed. Our source gives the following information regarding the Strasbourg: Displacement – 31,687 tons Dimensions –     length 707 ft, length at waterline 685 ft 8 inches, beam 102 ft, mean                                draft 28 ft 1 inch Armament –       eight 13”/52- caliber, twelve 5.1” 45- caliber; AA guns ten 1.46”,                               thirty- two .52” Aircraft –            three seaplanes with one catapult From September through to December of 1939 the Strasburg operated with other French units and those of the Royal Navy.  The ship was designated a member of Force X which operated in search of the Graff Spee. From January until June 1940, Strasbourg was stationed at Mers el Kébir from where she operated with other units of the French Navy.  On 3 July 1940, units of the Royal Navy, including HMS Hood, attacked the French ships that were docked at Mers el Kébir.  The only damage that the Strasbourg received was from several splinters. Strasbourg was able, along with several destroyers, to reach open waters.  Strasbourg arrived safely at Toulon the evening of 4 July. Strasbourg was stationed at Toulon from 1941 to 1942.  On 8 November 1942, allied forces invaded North Africa.  Within a few days after the invasion, French forces stationed in North Africa surrendered.  All French ships stationed on the Atlantic and coast of Africa also surrendered. Hitler then ordered the occupation of Southern France.  At 0600 on 27 November German forces entered the harbor of Toulon with the intent of taking possession of the French ships. At 0515 an order was issued to all French ships to be scuttled at once! In July of 1943 Italian salvage crews began to raise and strip the hulk.  The Germans later used the stripped hull to block the entrance to the harbor.  Allied forces received a false report that the ship had been made ready for combat by the Germans.  As a result the ship was heavily bombed by allied planes causing severe damage!  The ship was refloated in 1946 and later used for underwater explosion experiments.  Strasbourg was sold for $1,208,000 U.S. and scrapped.  Strasbourg only fired her guns once in battle and that was against a friend! Our photograph shows the Strasbourg resting on the bottom of Toulon Harbor.  The photograph is undated and does not give the name of the photographer.  This photograph is from the I.N.R. O. Archives. This narrative was prepared with material from the book BATTLESHIPS – Allied Battleships of World War II, by William H. Garzke, Jr., Robert O. Dulin, Jr., Thomas Webb
The International Naval Research Organization is a non- profit organization dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships. The principal activity of INRO for over 50 years has been the publication of a quarterly journal, Warship International, recognized internationally as the leading and most authoritative publication in the field. Auxiliary services include a Book Service, offering a 10 per cent discount on current naval books, and the Photo Service, which provides warship photos at a nominal price.
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© 2015 International Naval Records Organization
September 2017

International Naval Research Organization

Publishers of Warship International