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Guépard-class Destroyer, FR21 - Spoils of Toulon


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Guépard-class Destroyer FR21


FR21 at La Spezia



Bluewater vessel, French destroyer in Italian service. Like Aigle. 



On the 27 November, 1942, the French fleet at Toulon scuttled itself as German troops rushed to capture the ships. In the aftermath, both the Germans and Italians took the opportunity to salvage whatever they could, with the Italians obtaining a number of cruisers, destroyers, submarines, etc. The majority of these ships were never fully repaired by the Italians, and would in turn be captured by the Germans after the Italian armistice. One of the few ships to be fully repaired and recommissioned was the 2400-ton Guépard-class destroyer Lion, renamed FR21, although its service was very brief.


Lion was laid down in 1927 at the Ateliers et Chantiers de France shipyard in Dunkirk. It was commissioned in 1931, and armed with 5 138.6mm cannons and 6 550mm torpedoes. In 1939 Lion was in the Forces légères d'attaque at Bizerte, part of the Forces de haute mer. During the early years it escorted capital ships as they left or returned to port. By the time of the French Armistice, Lion was based at Toulon, and would remain there for the rest of its French service. During Operation Lila, Lion was in drydock, but with only a skeleton crew was only able to sabotage its guns before being seized by the Germans. The ship was handed over to the Italians and commissioned as FR21 (the rather odd designation for captured French ships was apparently an attempt to not antagonize them further), leaving Toulon on the 16 April 1943 for La Spezia. The guns were repaired, with 3 taken from its sister Valmy, and it had the forward torpedo tubes removed. The Italians meant it to be used as a high-speed transport ship with other salvaged French destroyers. It would ultimately have a very short life, as a few months later the Italians would sign the armistice of Cassibile, leaving the Axis. The Germans and Italian fascists moved to take control of northern Italy, and while most of the fleet at La Spezia escaped to Malta, FR21 had to be scuttled. The Germans would later raise the ship, but Allied bombing sunk it once and for all in 1944.


Specifications: (1943)

Armament: (no concrete armaments I could find, some sources mention Italian AA guns being added)

5x1 138.6mm Mle 1923

1x2 37mm Mle 1933 (...or maybe the 37mm/54 Breda)

2x2 20mm/65 Breda (at least that's what I think the guns between the funnels are, could be a pair of 13.2mm Hotchkiss)

2x2 13.2mm Hotchkiss Mle 1929

1x3 550mm Torpedo Tubes

2 DCR and 2 DCT (32 depth charges)



~2436 tons standard

~3220 tons full


Length: 130.2m


Beam:  11.5m


Draft:  4.3m


Propulsion: 2 Zoelly geared steam turbines with 4 boilers, 66 258 hp, driving 2 shafts


Speed: 36.1 knots (66.9 km/h)


Range: 3000nmi (at 14.5 knots)


Crew: 236



Fire director with 5m Rangefinder

4m rangefinder aft

2 1m rangefinders aft

Mle 1923B FCS


Images :





It kind of looks like there's a gun where the forward TT used to be, but I can't be sure


FR21 scuttled at La Spezia



I have no idea how accurate this sketch is, but seems to be based on the first photo


Drawing of Guepard's 1941 refit, which is somewhat similar to FR21's appearance 



Jordan, J, Moulin, J. (2015). French Destroyers: Torpilleurs d'Escadre & Contre-Torpilleurs 1922–1956 (pp. 174-216, 586-591). Seaforth Publishing

Whitley, M. J. (2000). Italy. In Destroyers of World War Two: An international encyclopedia (pp. 186). Naval Institute Press.





https://www.cherini.eu/mmi/16 Servizi vari - Naviglio ausiliario/Prede belliche/slides/1943 - Cacciatorpediniere FR 21 - ex 'Lion'.html


Edited by RඞnminbiYඞn
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  • Senior Suggestion Moderator

Open for discussion. :salute:

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I think it would make a great premium destroyer at BR4.3

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