Logo of the Marine Nationale since 1990
|Size||36,331 personnel (2016) and 2800 civilians (2014)|
|Garrison/HQ||Main: Brest, Île Longue, Toulon |
Secondary: Cherbourg, Lorient
French overseas territories : Fort de France, Degrad des Cannes, Port des Galets, Dzaoudzi, Nouméa, Papeete
Overseas: Dakar, Djibouti, Abu Dhabi
|Motto(s)|| Honneur, patrie, valeur, discipline |
("Honour, homeland, valour, discipline")
|Colours||Blue, white, red|
|Chef d'État-Major de La Marine, CEMM||Amiral Christophe Prazuck|
|Major Général de La Marine||Vice-amiral d'escadre Stanislas Gourlez de la Motte|
|Insignia||Ranks in the French Navy|
|Helicopter||NH90, Eurocopter Lynx, Panther, Dauphin|
|Cargo helicopter||Super Frelon|
|Utility helicopter||Alouette III|
|Patrol||Atlantique 2, Falcon 50, Falcon 200|
|Trainer||Mudry CAP 10, MS-88 Rallye, Falcon 10, Xingu|
The French Navy (French : Marine Nationale, lit. 'National Navy'), informally "La Royale", is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces. Dating back to 1624, the French Navy is one of the world's oldest naval forces. It has participated in conflicts around the globe and played a key part in establishing the French colonial empire.
The French Navy consists of six main branches and various services: the Force d'Action Navale, the Forces Sous-marines (FOST, ESNA), French Naval Aviation, the Fusiliers Marins (including Commandos Marine), the Marins Pompiers, and the Maritime Gendarmerie.
As of June 2014, the French Navy employed a total of 36,776 personnel along with 2,800 civilians. Its reserve element consisted of 4,827 personnel of the Operational Reserve.As a blue-water navy, it operates a wide range of fighting vessels, which include the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, various aeronaval forces, attack submarines and ballistic missile submarines, frigates, patrol boats and support ships.
The history of French naval power dates back to the Middle Ages, and had three loci of evolution:
The first true French Royal Navy : la Marine Royale) was established in 1624 by Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister to King Louis XIII. During the French Revolution, la Marine Royale was formally renamed la Marine Nationale. Under the First French Empire and the Second French Empire, the navy was designated as the Imperial French Navy (French: la Marine Française Impériale). Institutionally, however, the navy has never lost its short familiar nickname, la Royale.(French
The symbol of the French Navy was since its origin a golden anchor, which, beginning in 1830, was interlaced by a sailing rope. This symbol was featured on all naval vessels, arms, and uniforms.Although anchor symbols are still used on uniforms, a new naval logo was introduced in 1990. Authorized by Naval Chief of Staff Bernard Louzeau, the modern design incorporates the tricolour by flanking the bow section of a white warship with two ascending red and blue spray foams, and the inscription "Marine nationale".
|French Armed Forces|
Cardinal Richelieu personally supervised the Navy until his death in 1643.He was succeeded by his protégé, Jean Baptiste Colbert, who introduced the first code of regulations of the French Navy, and established the original naval dockyards in Brest and Toulon. Colbert and his son, the Marquis de Seignelay, between them administered the Navy for twenty-nine years.
During this century, the Navy cut its teeth in the Anglo-French War (1627–1629), the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Franco-Dutch War, and the Nine Years' War. Major battles in these years include the Battle of Augusta, Battle of Beachy Head, the Battles of Barfleur and La Hougue, the Battle of Lagos, and the Battle of Texel.
The 1700s opened with the War of the Spanish Succession, over a decade long, followed by the War of the Austrian Succession in the 1740s. Principal engagements of these wars include the Battle of Vigo Bay and two separate Battles of Cape Finisterre in 1747. The most grueling conflict for the Navy, however, was the Seven Years' War, in which it was virtually destroyed.Significant actions include the Battle of Cap-Français, the Battle of Quiberon Bay, and another Battle of Cape Finisterre.
The Navy regrouped and rebuilt, and within 15 years it was eager to join the fray when France intervened in the American Revolutionary War.Though outnumbered everywhere, the French fleets held the British at bay for years until victory. After this conflict and the concomitant Anglo-French War (1778–1783), the Navy emerged at a new height in its history. Major battles in these years include the Battle of the Chesapeake, the Battle of Cape Henry, the Battle of Grenada, the invasion of Dominica, and three separate Battles of Ushant.
Within less than a decade, however, the Navy was decimated by the French Revolution when large numbers of veteran officers were dismissed or executed for their noble lineage.Nonetheless, the Navy fought vigorously through the French Revolutionary Wars as well as the Quasi-War. Significant actions include a fourth Battle of Ushant (known in English as the Glorious First of June), the Battle of Groix, the Atlantic campaign of May 1794, the French expedition to Ireland, the Battle of Tory Island, and the Battle of the Nile.
Other engagements of the Revolutionary Wars ensued in the early 1800s, including the Battle of the Malta Convoy and the Algeciras Campaign. The Quasi-War wound down with single-ship actions including USS Constellation vs La Vengeance and USS Enterprise vs Flambeau.
When Napoleon was crowned Emperor in 1804, he attempted to restore the Navy to a position that would enable his plan for an invasion of England.His dreams were dashed by the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, where the British all but annihilated a combined Franco-Spanish fleet, a disaster that guaranteed British naval superiority throughout the Napoleonic Wars. Still, the Navy did not shrink from action: among the engagements of this time were the Battle of the Basque Roads, the Battle of Grand Port, the Mauritius campaign of 1809–11, and the Battle of Lissa,
After Napoleon's fall in 1815, the long era of Anglo-French rivalry on the seas began to close, and the Navy became more of an instrument for expanding the French colonial empire.Under King Charles X, the two nations' fleets fought side by side in the Battle of Navarino, and throughout the rest of the century they generally behaved in a manner that paved the way for the Entente Cordiale.
Charles X sent a large fleet to execute the invasion of Algiers in 1830. The next year, his successor, Louis Philippe I, made a show of force against Portugal at the Battle of the Tagus, and in 1838 conducted another display of gunboat diplomacy, this time in Mexico at the Battle of Veracruz. Beginning in 1845, a five-year Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata was imposed on Argentina over trade rights.
The Emperor Napoleon III was determined to follow an even stronger foreign policy than his predecessors, and the Navy was involved in a multitude of actions around the world. He joined in the Crimean War in 1854; major actions for the Navy include the siege of Petropavlovsk and the Battle of Kinburn. The Navy was heavily involved in the Cochinchina Campaign in 1858, the Second Opium War in China, and the French intervention in Mexico. It took part in the French campaign against Korea, and fought Japan in the bombardment of Shimonoseki. In the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, the Navy imposed an effective blockade of Germany, but events on land proceeded at such a rapid pace that it was superfluous. Isolated engagements between French and German ships took place in other theaters, but the war was over in a matter of weeks.
The Navy continued to protect colonial safety and expansion under the French Third Republic. The Sino-French War saw considerable naval action including the Battle of Fuzhou, the Battle of Shipu, and the Pescadores Campaign. In Vietnam, the Navy helped wage the Tonkin Campaign which included the Battle of Thuận An, and it later participated in the Franco-Siamese War of 1893.
The 19th century French Navy brought forth numerous new technologies. It led the development of naval artillery with its invention of the highly effective Paixhans gun. In 1850, Napoléon became the first steam-powered ship of the line in history, and Gloire became the first seagoing ironclad warship nine years later. In 1863, the Navy launched Plongeur, the first submarine in the world to be propelled by mechanical power. In 1876, Redoutable became the first steel-hulled warship ever. In 1887, Dupuy de Lôme became the world's first armoured cruiser.
During the latter part of the century, French officers developed the so-called Jeune École (Young School) theory that emphasized the use of small, cheap torpedo boats to destroy expensive battleships, coupled with long-range commerce raiders to attack an opponent's merchant fleet.
The first seaplane, the French Fabre Hydravion, was flown in 1910, and the first seaplane carrier, Foudre, was christened in the following year.Despite that innovation, the general development of the French Navy slowed down in the beginning of the 20th century as the naval arms race between Germany and Great Britain grew in intensity. It entered World War I with relatively few modern vessels, and during the war few warships were built because the main French effort was on land. While the British held control of the North Sea, the French held the Mediterranean, where they mostly kept watch on the Austro-Hungarian Navy. The largest operations of the Navy were conducted during the Dardanelles Campaign. In December 1916, French warships bombarded Athens, forcing the pro-German government of Greece to change its policies. The French Navy also played an important role in countering Germany's U-boat campaign by regularly patrolling the seas and escorting convoys.
Between the World Wars, the Navy modernized and expanded significantly, even in the face of limitations set by the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty.New additions included the heavy and fast Fantasqueclass "super-destroyers", the Richelieu-class battleships, and the submarine Surcouf which was the largest and most powerful of its day.
From the start of World War II, the Navy was involved in a number of operations, participating in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Norwegian Campaign, the Dunkirk evacuation and, briefly, the Battle of the Mediterranean. However, after the fall of France in June 1940, the Navy was obligated to remain neutral under the terms of the armistice that created the truncated state of Vichy France. Worldwide, some 100 naval vessels and their crews heeded General Charles de Gaulle's call to join forces with the British, but the bulk of the fleet, including all its capital ships, transferred loyalty to Vichy. Concerned that the German Navy might somehow gain control of the ships, the British mounted an attack on Mers-el-Kébir, the Algerian city where many of them were harbored. The incident poisoned Anglo-French relations, leading to Vichy reprisals and a full-scale naval battle at Casablanca in 1942 when the Allies invaded French North Africa. But the confrontations were set aside once the Germans occupied Vichy France. The capital ships were a primary goal of the occupation, but before they could be seized they were scuttled by their own crews. A few small ships and submarines managed to escape in time, and these joined de Gaulle's Free French Naval Forces, an arm of Free France that fought as an adjunct of the Royal Navy until the end of the war. In the Pacific theatre as well, Free French vessels operated until the Japanese capitulation; Richelieu was present at the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.
The Navy later provided fire support and troop transport in the Indochina War, the Algerian War, the Gulf War, and the Kosovo War.
Since 2000, the Navy has given logistical support to the War in Afghanistan (2001–present) as well as the global War on Terror. In 2011, it assisted Opération Harmattan in Libya.
The chief of the naval staff is Vice-amiral d’escadre Arnaud de Tarlé,and as of 2014 the Navy has an active strength of 36,776 military personnel and 2,909 civilian staff. The Navy is organised into four main operational branches:
In addition, the National Gendarmerie of France maintain a maritime force of patrol boats that falls under the operational command of the French Navy:
During most of the Cold War, the Navy was organised in two squadrons based in Brest and Toulon, commanded by ALESCLANT (Amiral commandant l'escadre de l'Atlantique) and ALESCMED (Amiral commandant l'escadre de la Méditerranée) respectively. Since the post-Cold War restructuring process named Optimar '95, the two components have been divided into the Naval Action Force (commanded by ALFAN) and the Antisubmarine Group (commanded by ALGASM).
As of 2014, the largest French naval base is the military port of Toulon. Other major bases in metropolitan France are the Brest Arsenal and Ile Longue on the Atlantic, and Cherbourg Naval Base on the English Channel. Overseas French bases include Fort de France and Degrad des Cannes in the Americas; Port des Galets and Dzaoudzi in the Indian Ocean; and Nouméa and Papeete in the Pacific. In addition, the navy shares or leases bases in foreign locales such as Abu Dhabi, Dakar and Djibouti.
Although French naval doctrine calls for two aircraft carriers, As of 2019 [update] the French only have one, Charles de Gaulle. Originally a planned order for French aircraft carrier PA2 was based on the design of the British Queen Elizabeth-classaircraft carrier recently constructed and launched for the British Royal Navy. However the French programme had been delayed several times for budgetary reasons and the result was priority being given to the more exportable FREMM project. In April 2013 it was confirmed that the second aircraft carrier project would be abandoned due to defence cuts announced in the 2013 French White Paper on Defence and National Security.
The French Navy operates three amphibious assault ships, one amphibious transport dock, three (to increase to four) air defence frigates, six-eight anti-submarine frigates, five general purpose frigates and six fleet submarines (SSNs). This constitutes the French Navy's main oceangoing war-fighting forces. In addition the French Navy operates six light surveillance frigates and seven avisos (originally light corvettes now reclassified as patrol vessels). They undertake the navy's offshore patrol combat duties, the protection of French Naval bases and territorial waters, and can also provide low-end escort capabilities to any oceangoing task force. The four ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) of the navy's Strategic Oceanic Force provide the backbone of the French nuclear deterrent.
The French Naval Aviation is officially known as the Aéronautique navale and was created on the 19 June 1998 with the merging of Naval patrol aircraft and aircraft carrier squadrons. It has a strength of around 6,800 civilian and military personnel operating from four airbases in Metropolitan France. The Aéronavale is currently in the process of modernisation with a total order of 40 Rafale light fighters on order. Forty have so far been delivered and operate from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
Seamen must be at least 17 but no more than 24 years old, with a minimum level of schooling.
Petty officers must be at least 17 but no more than 24 years old, with at least a high school diploma giving access to university studies. Petty Officer Candidate begin training with five months at the Petty Officer School at Brest.
Contract officers serve on an initial eight-year contract, renewable up to 20 years.
The rank insignia of the French Navy are worn on shoulder straps of shirts and white jackets, and on sleeves for navy jackets and mantels. Until 2005, only commissioned officers had an anchor on their insignia, but enlisted personnel are now receiving them as well. Commanding officers have titles of capitaine, but are called commandant (in the army, both capitaine and commandant are ranks, which tends to stir some confusion among the public). The two highest ranks, vice-amiral d'escadre and amiral (admiral), are functions, rather than ranks. They are assumed by officers ranking vice-amiral (vice admiral). The only amiral de la flotte (Admiral of the Fleet) was François Darlan after he was refused the dignity of amiral de France (Admiral of France). Equivalent to the dignity of Marshal of France, the rank of amiral de France remains theoretical in the Fifth Republic; it was last granted in 1869, during the Second Empire, but retained during the Third Republic until the death of its bearer in 1873. The title of amiral de la flotte was created so that Darlan would not have an inferior rank than his counterpart in the British Royal Navy, who had the rank of Admiral of the Fleet.
Unlike in the French Army and air force, one does not prepend mon to the name of the rank when addressing an officer (that is, not mon capitaine, but simply capitaine).Addressing a French Navy lieutenant de vaisseau (for instance) with a "mon capitaine" will attract the traditional answer "Dans la Marine il y a Mon Dieu et mon cul, pas mon capitaine!" ("In the Navy there are My God and my arse, no 'my captain'!").
The Bagad Lann Bihoue, is currently the sole bagpipe band in the French Navy, based on the bagad bands in Bretagne. Founded on 13 July 1827, the Band of the Toulon Fleet (French : La musique des équipages de la flotte de Toulon) is the main military musical unit of the French Navy. In what is now Canada, French navy music has affected the traditions of Canadian navy bands today. French navy bands on the country date back to the era of New France. Musical units were primarily attached to the Compagnies Franches de la Marine and the Troupes de la marine, the former of which maintained two drums (tambour) and a fife (instrument).
France's financial problems have affected all branches of her military. The 2013 French White Paper on Defence and National Security cancelled the long-planned new aircraft carrier and a possible fourth Mistral-classamphibious assault ship, and conceded that British help would be needed to sustain an enduring presence.The backbone of the fleet will be the Aquitaine-class FREMM anti-submarine frigates, replacing the Georges Leyguesclass, but plans to buy a possible seventeen FREMMs were cut back to eleven and then to eight. The cancellation of the third and fourth Horizon destroyers mean that the last two FREMM hulls in 2021/2 will be fitted out as FREDA air-defence ships to replace the Cassardclass. DCNS has shown a FREMM-ER concept to meet this requirement, emphasising ballistic missile defence with the Thales Sea Fire 500 AESA radar. Industrial considerations mean that the funds for FREMMs 9-11 will now be spent on five more exportable frégates de taille intermédiaire (FTI, "intermediate size frigates") from 2023 to replace the La Fayette class, three of which will be upgraded with new sonars in the interim.
On 9 January 2014 it was announced that the two remaining Batrals in French service would be replaced in 2016/17 by three 1500-tonne (empty) Bâtiments Multimission (B2M) at a cost of ~€100m (US$136m), later increased to four.DCNS has funded the construction of the Gowind-classcorvette L'Adroit and loaned her to the MN for fishery patrols to support an overseas marketing campaign for the design. The Duranceclass will be replaced under the FLOTLOG project by four derivatives of Italy's Vulcano Logistic Support Ship, to be delivered in 2022–29. along with four BSAH offshore support vessels. Construction has started on the first of six Barracuda-class nuclear attack submarines; commissioning of Suffren is planned for 2020. The first MM40 Exocet Block 3 missile was test-fired in 2010 to be produced. Naval versions of the SCALP EG land-attack cruise missile are under development, along with a planned Aster Block 1NT with greater capabilities against ballistic missiles.
In October 2018, the French Ministry of Defence launched an 18-month study for €40 million for the eventual future replacement of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle beyond 2030. A decision for the new carrier is scheduled to take place beyond 2025, and the future carrier is to remain in service until beyond 2080.
A carrier battle group (CVBG) is a naval fleet consisting of an aircraft carrier capital ship and its large number of escorts, together defining the group.
The Spanish Navy is the maritime branch of the Spanish Armed Forces and one of the oldest active naval forces in the world. The Spanish navy was responsible for a number of major historic achievements in navigation, the most famous being the voyages of Christopher Columbus to America and the first global circumnavigation by Magellan and Elcano. For several centuries, it played a crucial logistical role in the Spanish Empire and defended a vast trade network across the Atlantic Ocean between the Americas and Europe and across the Pacific Ocean between Asia and the Americas.
The Argentine Navy is the navy of Argentina. It is one of the three branches of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic, together with the Army and the Air Force.
Édouard-Thomas de Burgues, comte de Missiessy was a French naval officer and admiral.
Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy. The ship is the tenth French aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the United States Navy. She is named after French statesman and general Charles de Gaulle.
The Naval Group is a global and major French defense contractor and an industrial group that specialized in naval-based defense platform and the marine renewable energy. The group employs next to 13,000 people in 18 countries. The company is owned in part by the Agence des participations de l'État, a private company through which the French state holds a 62.49% stake, Thales holds 35% and the personnel a 1.64% stake. The remaining 0.87% are owned by the heir to the French naval dockyards and the Direction des Constructions et Armes Navales (DCAN), which became the DCN in 1991, DCNS in 2007 and Naval Group since 2017.
Tourville is the lead ship of F67 type large high-sea frigates of the French Marine Nationale. The vessel is specialised in anti-submarine warfare, though it also has anti-air and anti-surface capabilities. She is named after the 17th century admiral Count Anne-Hilarion de Cotentin de Tourville.
Forbin (D620) is a large anti-air frigate of the French Navy, lead ship of the Horizon class. Her first task is protecting aircraft carriers, capital ships or civilian ships from supersonic missile attacks; her complement of medium-range anti-air missiles allows her to support the defences of another ship under attack and avoid their saturation. She is also capable of monitoring and controlling operations carried out from the sea by friendly aircraft. Forbin is the sixth vessel of the French Navy named after the 17th century admiral Claude Forbin-Gardanne.
Philippe Henri Xavier Antoine de Gaulle is a French retired admiral and senator. He is the eldest child and only son of General Charles de Gaulle, the first President of the French Fifth Republic, and his wife Yvonne; and is the only one of de Gaulle's three children still living.
French Navy modernization is pursued on the basis of successive Projet de loi de programmation militaire ,. These defence modernization plans are formulated on a rolling basis pursuant to strategic, political and budgetary factors and pressures. Current program modernizations are anchored in the commitment to an ongoing force of 15 large frigate/destroyer sized ships. Modernization also encompasses other core and supporting capabilities including the nuclear-powered submarine fleet, the patrol vessel force and major support vessels.
The Force d'action navale is the 12,000-man and about 100-ship strong backbone of the French Navy. As of 2018, it is commanded by Vice-Amiral d’Escadre Jean-Philippe Rolland.
The rank insignia of the French Navy are worn on shoulder straps of shirts and white jackets, and on sleeves for navy jackets and mantels. Until 2005, only commissioned officers had an anchor on their insignia, but enlisted personnel are now receiving them as well. Although the names of the ranks for superior officers contain the word "Capitaine", the appropriate style to address them is "Commandant", "Capitaine" referring to "lieutenant de vaisseau", which is translated as lieutenant. The two highest ranks, Vice-amiral d'escadre and Amiral (Admiral), are functions, rather than ranks. They are assumed by officers ranking Vice-Amiral (Vice-Admiral).
Anatole-Amédée-Prosper Courbet was a French admiral who won a series of important land and naval victories during the Tonkin Campaign (1883–86) and the Sino-French War.
A French ensign is the flag flown at sea to identify a vessel as French. Several such ensigns have existed over the years as well as terrestrial flags based on the ensign motif.
The Egyptian Navy, also known as the Egyptian Naval Force, is the maritime branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. It is the largest navy in the Middle East and Africa, and is the sixth largest in the world measured by the number of vessels. The navy's missions include protection of more than 2,000 kilometers of coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, defense of approaches to the Suez Canal, and support for army operations. The majority of the modern Egyptian Navy was created with the help of the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The navy received ships in the 1980s from China and other, western, sources. In 1989, the Egyptian Navy had 18,000 personnel as well as 2,000 personnel in the Coast Guard.
The scuttling of the French fleet at Toulon was orchestrated by Vichy France on 27 November 1942 to prevent Nazi German forces from taking it over. The Allied invasion of North Africa had provoked the Germans into invading the zone libre, neutral according to the Armistice of 1940. The Vichy Secretary of the Navy, Admiral François Darlan, defected to the Allies, who were gaining increasing support from servicemen and civilians. His replacement, Admiral Gabriel Auphan, guessed correctly that the Germans were aiming to seize the large fleet at Toulon, and ordered them to be scuttled.
Admiral Pierre-Louis-Charles Rigault de Genouilly was a French naval officer. He fought with distinction in the Crimean War and the Second Opium War, but is chiefly remembered today for his command of French and Spanish forces during the opening phase of the Cochinchina campaign (1858–62), which inaugurated the French conquest of Vietnam.
The military port of Toulon is the principal base of the French Navy and the first naval base in Europe by size, sited in the city of Toulon. It holds most of France's force d'action navale, comprising the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle as well as its nuclear attack submarines, in total more than 70% of the tonnage of the French Navy. About 20,000 military and civilians work at the base
Amiral Édouard Guillaud is a retired French Naval Officer and Admiral. He devoted a significant part of his career to the design of the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier, and eventually captained carrier de Gaulle. He served as Chief of the general staff headquarters of the Armies CEMA from 25 February 2010 to 2014.
In April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic reached the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and the Aeronaval Group of the Naval Action Force, its carrier battle group.
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