French ship Mont-Blanc (1791)

For other ships with the same name, see French ship Mont-Blanc and French ship Républicain.
The Mont-Blanc off Marseille (detail of this image), by Antoine Roux.
Name: Pyrrhus[1]
Builder: Rochefort[1]
Laid down: 1791[1]
  • Mont-Blanc on 7 January 1793
  • Trente-et-un Mai on 7 April 1794
  • Républicain on 18 April 1795
  • Mont-Blanc on 4 January 1796
Captured: 4 November 1805[1]
United Kingdom
Name: Mont-Blanc
Acquired: by capture, 4 November 1805[1]
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: Téméraire-class ship of the line
Length: 55.87 metres (183.3 ft) (172 pied)[1]
Beam: 14.90 metres (48 ft 11 in)[1]
Draught: 7.26 metres (23.8 ft) (22 pied)[1]
Propulsion: Up to 2,485 m2 (26,750 sq ft) of sails[1]
Armour: Timber

Mont-Blanc was a Téméraire class 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the French Navy. In the course of her career, she was renamed no less than four times, reflecting the tides of politics with the French Revolution.

During the Wars of the First and Second Coalitions, Mont-Blanc took part in the last actions of the Glorious First of June, in the Croisière du Grand Hiver, in the Battle of Hyères Islands and in Bruix' expedition of 1799; after peace was restored in the Treaty of Lunéville, she served during the Saint-Domingue expedition.

Mont-Blanc took part of the vanguard of the French fleet the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, and consequently saw little action as this division was cut off from the battle. The squadron was destroyed during the Battle of Cape Ortegal on 4 November 1805, where Mont-Blanc was captured. She was recommissioned in the Royal Navy but never saw action again.


She was built at Rochefort as Pyrrhus in 1791.[1] She was renamed Mont-Blanc in 1793 before being renamed Trente-et-un Mai in 1794. Under that name she fought at the Glorious First of June in 1794 under Captain Ganteaume.[1] She took part in the Croisière du Grand Hiver, where she rescued the crew of the sinking Scipion.[1][3]

In 1795 she was renamed Républicain, taking part in the Battle of Hyères Islands,[3] and then Mont-Blanc again in 1796. She took part in Bruix' expedition of 1799 under Captain Maistral.[1]

In 1802 she took part in the Saint-Domingue expedition under Magon.[1]

She was one of the ships of Rear-Admiral Lepelley at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. Dumanoir commanded the six ship vanguard of the French fleet, with Formidable, Scipion, Duguay-Trouin, Mont-Blanc, Intrépide and Neptune. Nelson's attacks left these ships downwind of the main confrontation and Dumanoir did not immediately obey Villeneuve's orders to return to the battle. When the ships did turn back, most of them only exchanged a few shots before retiring.[1]

On 4 November 1805, Admiral Sir Richard Strachan, with HMS Caesar, Hero, Courageux, Namur and four frigates, defeated and captured what remained of the squadron at the Battle of Cape Ortegal.[1]

Mont-Blanc was taken and commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Mont Blanc. She was used as a gunpowder hulk from 1811, and was sold in 1819.[1]

Notes and References



    1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Roche, p.313-314
    2. Clouet, Alain (2007). "La marine de Napoléon III : classe Téméraire - caractéristiques". (in French). Retrieved 4 April 2013.
    3. 1 2 Levot, p.207


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