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  La Triomphant
French Navy
Free France
Destroyer

2,570 tons
132.40m x 11.98m x 4.3m
5 x 138mm guns
(2 forward, 3 aft)

(original)
4 x 37mm AA guns
4 x 13mm AA guns

(After Refit)
8 x 40mm AA
10 x 20mm AA guns
9 x 550 mm torpedo tubes in three triple mounts
40 mines
Click For Enlargement
AWM c1942

Ship History
Built by Dunkerque shipyard in Dunkerque, France. Laid down August 18, 1931. Launched April 16, 1934. Commissioned May 25, 1936.

Wartime History
In September 1939, Triomphant under the command of capitaine de frégate Pothau, part of the 2nd Light Squadron, in the 8th Large Destroyer Division, which also included her sister-ships Malin and Indomptable. The Squadron was headed by contre-amiral Lacroix.

On 2 September, at 20h00, she sailed with the Force de Raid to Casablanca, along with Dunkerque and Strasbourg, Georges Leygues, Gloire and Montcalm, Audacieux, Fantasque, Malin, Terrible, Indomptable, Mogador and Volta.

From 4 October, she escorted convoy BC.8S, from Bristol Channel to the Loire River. From 17 October, she escorted convoy HG.3, from Gibraltar, before returning to Brest on 20. On 22, she departed with Dunkerque and several other destroyers to escort convoy KJ.3, from Kingston, Jamaica.

On 20 November 1939, she was sent out in search for German submarines who had attacked convoy KS.27. On 25, along with Malin, she joined up with Strasbourg and escorted her to Brest, where they arrived on 29.

On 11 December 1939, battleship Dunkerque departed with a cargo of 100 tonnes of gold for Canada, escorted by Gloire and Mogador, Volta, Triomphant, Terrible and Valmy.

On 23 April 1940, the 8th Large Destroyer Division conducted a sweep to fend off German anti-submarine ships in the Skagerrak strait. In the early morning of the next day, they encountered the German trawlers Memel and Guido Mohring, which served as auxiliary patrol boats Vp.702 and Vp.709, who managed to break off. The Destroyer Division also located and attacked U-26, who escaped. Triomphant was damaged at her port propeller by a near miss. On 28, she sailed to Lorient for repairs.

On 10 June 1940, at the Italian declaration of war, Triomphant was under repairs at Lorient, France with capitaine de frégate Archambeaud. As the German advanced in France and threatened the harbors in Britanny, Triomphant departed for Plymouth.

On 3 July 1940, she was captured by the British at Plymouth, as part of Operation Catapult. Because of the complexity of her handling and of the need to support the Free France, Triomphant was handed to the FNFL, on 28 August 1940, and put under the command of captain Pierre Gilly. Her aft gun was replaced by a British model. On 16 December 1940, she escorted convoy TC-8A. From 18, she served in the escort of convoy WS-5A .

Pacific Service
Triomphant, under Philippe Auboyneau, was transferred to the Pacific theater in the summer of 1941, to become the flagship of the Free French Pacific squadron. She arrived at St. John's on 6 August, crossed the Panama Canal on 16, and departed Balboa on 17 August. In the process, she was recognized and reported by a Japanese observer, whose transmission was intercepted by Magic. Triomphant reached San Diego on 25. She departed on 5 September bound for Honolulu, which she reached on September 15, and reached Papeete on September 23.

In December 1941, she escorted the troopship SS Ormiston from Sydney to Nouméa.

In late February 1942, Triomphant departed Nouméa to help with the evacuation of Nauru Island arriving on February 23 taking aboard 61 Europeans, 391 Chinese and 49 military personnel. Next, to Ocean Island evacuating 823 Chinese and 232 Europeans. She subsequently undertook refit in Sydney, during the remainder of 1942.

On 8 February 1943, at 2:30 am, the BHP iron ore carrier SS Iron Knight was hit by a torpedo fired by I-21. She went to the bottom, bow first, in only two minutes, claiming 36 lives. Triomphant picked up the 14 survivors on a raft 10 hours later. he attempted to locate I-21 for a day, before returning to Sydney the next day.

On 26 November 1943, Triomphant departed Fremantle to escort a convoy comprising the American oil tanker Cedar Mills and the Dutch cargo ship Java. The convoy was struck by a cyclone, nearly sinking Triomphant; with a 45° list, she was taken in tow by Cedar Mills. On 10 December, HMS Frobisher took the tow, and the tugboat HMRT Prudent took over on 15, arriving at Diego Suarez on 19.

Afterwards, sent for refit to the United States, where she remained until March 1945. During May 1945, she served with the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean.

Postwar
In October 1945, along with battleship Richelieu, Triomphant escorted troopships bound for French Indochina (Vietnam). On 6 March 1946, under captain Jubelin, she took part in landing operations near Haiphong. She sustained 20mm fire from Chinese troops, killing 8 sailors and wounding 20. Triomphant retaliated by firing her 138mm guns, which ignited ammunition stores and entailed the surrender of the 28,000 strong Chinese forces. On December 19, 1945 decommissioned.

Fate
During 1960, scrapped in Bizerte, Tunisia.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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