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Dunkerque (1935)

Dunkerque, in the late 1930s. Photo from a US Office of Naval Intelligence identification manual.

Nation
Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down
1932
Launched
1935
Commissioned
1937
AD/BC
AD
History

Dunkerque was the lead of a two-ship class of battleships, laid down by France on 24 December, 1932. Commissioned 1 May, 1937, Dunkerque was one of a few classes that experimented with an all-forward main armament. Dunkerque's career was short. At the outbreak of World War II, she was involved in convoy escort and raider hunting until the Fall of France in June, 1940. Berthed at Mers-el-Kebir, she was pounded by the British attack on 3 July, before returning to Toulon for repairs. There, she was scuttled in November, 1942, to prevent her capture by the Germans after the Anglo-American landings in French North Africa. She was raised and partially scrapped first by the Italians, and then by the Germans after the Italian surrender in 1943. By the time she was back in French possession, Dunkerque was less than half the ship she used to be. She lay around as a decrepit hulk for over a decade before the scrapping was finished in 1958.