The French primarily relied upon depth charges for anti-submarine weapons for both world wars. France imported Italian Ginocchio towed torpedoes in the 1920s but trials with them were unsuccessful.
All depth charges of World War II used a hydrostatic pistol. Depth charges were designated by the weight of the warhead charge.
The following is adapted from "Find and Destroy: Antisubmarine Warfare in World War I" by Dwight R. Messimer:
The French produced insufficient numbers of DCs during World War I and the ones they did have were unreliable. In 1917 the French asked both the British and the USA to supply them with DCs, but both nations refused as they did not have the production capacity to supply both their own navies and the French. In a post war assessment, the French concluded that they should have simply copied the British Type D.
In 1918, 136 A/S depth charge throwers (DCT) were purchased from the British firm of Thornycroft.
Starting with the contre-torpilleurs of the Jaguar (2,100 tonnes) and the torpilleurs of the Bourrasque (1,500 tonnes) classes, ASW equipment consisted of two tunnels each holding 12 DC with an additional 12 DC stored in below-deck magazines. Later contre-torpilleurs carried 16 DC in each tunnel along with eight reloads.
All of the early interwar ships had stability problems due to topweight and as a result did not get the planned four DCT. Some ships received two DCT, but most only had deck reinforcement for planned wartime emergency fittings. Ginocchio towed torpedoes were fitted, but the resulting topweight again resulted in excessive topweight and technical problems halted further development in 1933.
In the late 1930s, 150 new Thornycroft DCTs were ordered, but few of these were installed by the time of the French surrender.
|Date Of Design||1922|
|Date In Service||1923 (?)|
|Total Weight||573 lbs. (260 kg)|
|Explosive Charge||441 lbs. (200 kg)|
|Sink Rate / Terminal Velocity||10 fps (3 mps)|
|Settings||Original: 100, 165, 250 and 330 feet (30, 50, 75 and 100 m)
Improved: 130, 260 and 330 feet (40, 80 and 120 m)
Dimensions were 50 x 88 cm (19.7 x 34.6 in). This charge was used by destroyers and large destroyers and was generally dropped at 30 to 50 m (100 to 165 foot) intervals from enclosed roller chain stowagages which each held 12 DCs.
|Date Of Design||N/A|
|Date In Service||1930 (?)|
|Total Weight||287 lbs. (130 kg)|
|Explosive Charge||220 lbs. (100 kg)|
|Sink Rate / Terminal Velocity||7.2 fps (2.2 mps)|
|Settings||100, 165, 250 and 330 feet (30, 50, 75 and 100 m)|
Dimensions were 25 x 84 cm (13.8 x 33 in). This charge was carried by sloops and similar vessels. Could be dropped or fired from a DC thrower.
The first Depth Charge Rack in French service was the USN Mark I, which was developed after the USN rejected the British practice of using a sling to hold a single DC. Developed with help from Lt. Cmdr. Ishwood, RN, deliveries of the Mark I started in April of 1918 and 250 American, British and French destroyers had them installed by the Armistice.
Designations for other French DC Racks are not available at this time. As noted above, during World War II contre-torpilleurs and torpilleurs used enclosed roller chain racks which held 12 or 16 DC.
|Date Of Design||N/A|
|Date In Service||Not in service|
|Total Weight||166 lbs. (75.5 kg)|
|Explosive Charge||66 lbs. (30 kg)|
|Towed Depth||Maximum of 175 feet (53 m)|
French testing with these started in the late 1920s but were unsuccessful and all work stopped in 1933. With a war approaching, development resumed in 1939-1940 and these may have been carried by on the Le Hardi class and some torpedo boats.
|Date Of Design||N/A|
|Date In Service||N/A|
|Total Weight||507 lbs. (230 kg)|
|Range||440 to 3,000 yards (400 to 2,750 m)|
|Sink Rate / Terminal Velocity||N/A|
This was a four barrel 305 mm (12 in) mortar used only on the Commandant Rivière class. The rounds are time-fuzed with the fuze set inside the launch tube. The mortar is fired at the rate of one round per second, with reloading being performed via the muzzle. The continuous firing rate is four rounds in 25 seconds. Rounds are stowed in four carousels, with each one feeding one launch tube. Installation weights are 22 tons (22.2 mt) for the mortar, 18.5 tons (18.75 mt) for 72 rounds and 4.6 tons (4.7 mt) of fittings.
- "Naval Weapons of World War Two" by John Campbell
- "The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems 1991/92" by Norman Friedman
- "Find and Destroy: Antisubmarine Warfare in World War I" by Dwight R. Messimer
- "On Seas Contested: The Seven Great Navies of the Second Word War" by Vincent P. O'Hara, W. David Dickson and Richard Worth