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De Grasse file photo [18079]

De Grasse

Ship ClassDe Grasse-class Light Cruiser
BuilderArsenal de Lorient, Bretagne, France
Launched11 Sep 1946
Commissioned10 Sep 1956
Displacement9,389 tons standard
Length654 feet
Beam71 feet
Draft18 feet
MachineryFour Indret ultra-high pressure boilers, two Chantiers de Bretagne Rateau turbines, two shafts
Speed33 knots
Armament(Post WW2) 8x2x127mm anti-aircraft guns, 10x2x57mm Bofors guns
Armor(Post WW2) 100mm belt, 38mm deck


ww2dbaseDe Grasse light cruiser was designed in the 1930s. Her keel was laid down in 1939, and was only about 28% complete when she was captured by the Germans at Lorient, France in Jun 1940. In Apr 1942, the Germans began planning the conversion of De Grasse into a light aircraft carrier under the project name II. The final proposal was completed by Aug 1942, and the proposal was approved by Adolf Hitler on 3 Dec 1942. The planned carrier was to have the capability of carrying 12 Ju 87E Stuka dive bombers and 11 Bf 109T fighters, stowed in one hangar and transported by two elevators. The work came to a halt in Feb 1943, however, due to the threat of Allied air attacks and the diversion of manpower and raw material elsewhere; there was also some concerns about the conversion blueprint that contributed to the stoppage. De Grasse would remain in place at Lorient for the remainder of the war. She was captured by Allied forces in 1944, and the French Navy continued the construction as a cruiser. She was launched in 1946, and, after a five-year pause, she was towed to Brest, France in 1951 to be completed as an anti-aircraft cruiser which featured eight twin 127-millimeter gun mounts and ten twin 57-millimeter gun mounts. After commissioning in 1956, she joined the French Navy Mediterranean Squadron. In May 1964, she was taken out of service and remained in shipyards until Feb 1966 to receive a larger bridge, to receive a new mast, to disarm, and to make her gas-tight, all of which was to prepare her for her new role as a nuclear testing flagship. She served in that role in French Polynesia between 1966 and 1972. She was decommissioned in 1973 and was sold for scrap in Jan 1974. She was scrapped at La Spezia, Italy starting in 1975.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Apr 2013

Light Cruiser De Grasse Interactive Map

De Grasse Operational Timeline

3 Dec 1942 Adolf Hitler approved the plan to convert the captured and incomplete French cruiser De Grasse into a light aircraft carrier.
11 Sep 1946 De Grasse was launched at Lorient, France.
10 Sep 1954 De Grasse underwent trials off Brest, France.
10 Sep 1956 De Grasse was commissioned into service.
25 Jan 1974 De Grasse was struck from the French Navy list.

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