Dunkerque file photo [4819]


Ship ClassDunkerque-class Battleship
BuilderArsenal de Brest
Laid Down24 Dec 1932
Launched2 Oct 1935
Commissioned1 May 1937
Sunk27 Nov 1942
Displacement26,500 tons standard; 35,500 tons full
Length704 feet
Beam102 feet
Draft28 feet
MachineryFour Parsons geared turbines, Six Indret small tube boilers, Four shafts
Power Output112,500 shaft horsepower
Speed30 knots
Armament2x4x13in guns, 3x4x5.1in dual purpose guns, 2x2x5.1in dual purpose guns, 8x37mm AA guns, 32x13.2mm AA machine guns
Armor255mm side belt, 30mm bulkheads, 115-125mm deck, 310-330mm turrets
Aircraft4 Liore 130 floatplanes


ww2dbaseDunkerque was the lead ship of her class of fast battleships, the first French ship to be categorized as so. Although she was not as well-armed as contemporary battleships, they were purposefully so as they were built specifically to counter the German Deutschland-class pocket battleships, which were in effect extra-heavy cruisers. Dunkerque's design was innovative, having the entire main armament mounted forward in two quadruple turrets, which allowed unrestricted forward fire.

ww2dbaseDuring the Phoney War period of the European War, Dunkerque was used along with her sister ship Strasbourg to escort convoys. After the German conquest of France, she was docked in Mers-el-K├ębir alongside of Strasbourg. On 3 Jul 1940, British Force H executed Operation Catapult on 3 Jul 1940, attempting to wipe out the French fleet at Mers-el-K├ębir. Dunkerque was severely damaged by gunfire during the attack, settling on the bottom of the harbor. Two days later, she sustained further damage by torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier Ark Royal. After being re-floated and temporary repairs completed, Dunkerque returned to Toulon in Southern France in Feb 1942. She was in armistice custody, disarmed and in drydock, when the Germans invaded the so-called "Free Zone" on 27 Nov 1942. Dunkerque and Strasbourg were scuttled by demolition charges at Toulon on the same day. Her commanding officer, Capitaine de vaisseau Amiel, initially refused to sink his ship without written orders, but was finally convinced to do so by the captain of the nearby light cruiser La Galissonni├Ęre.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

ww2dbaseSpecifications provided by Alan Chanter, from following sources: The Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships and Battle Cruisers, Collins-Janes Warships of World War II, Janes Fighting Ships of World War II.

Last Major Revision: Sep 2007

Battleship Dunkerque Interactive Map


French battleship Dunkerque, 1930sFrench cruiser Commandant Teste, battleship Bretagne, battleship Strasbourg, battleship Provence, and battleship Dunkerque at Mers-el-K├ębir, French Algeria, 1940Aerial view of Toulon, France, 28 Nov 1942; note smoke rising from burning ships

Dunkerque Operational Timeline

1 May 1937 Dunkerque was commissioned into service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. hiro says:
31 Mar 2021 04:48:49 AM

good have date july 1940 but please add place it was in algeria port. where mers? Algeria. tnx.
2. Anonymous says:
15 Sep 2021 02:03:45 AM

what about graf spee? why is that small battleship not listed on the battleship and cruiser page? please fix.
3. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
15 Sep 2021 06:03:19 AM

To Anonymous of 15 Sep 2021: You can find Graf Spee listed under Cruisers. Here's the direct URL for your convenience: https://ww2db.com/ship_spec.php?ship_id=C166

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More on Dunkerque
Event(s) Participated:
» British Attacks on the French Fleet
» Scuttling of the French Fleet

Related Books:
» Warship 2013

Battleship Dunkerque Photo Gallery
French battleship Dunkerque, 1930s
See all 3 photographs of Battleship Dunkerque

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