french Marine Nationale Française - French Navy Leon Gambetta (+1915)
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nationality french
purpose war
type cruiser
propulsion steam
date built 1905
weight (tons) 12416  grt
dimensions 148.3 x 21.4 x 8.1 m
engine 3 x Triple expansion engines, Niclausse boilers, triple screw (?)
armament 4 x 7.6" guns, 16 x 6.4" guns, 24 x 3 pdr. A.A., 5 T.T.
speed 23  knots
about the loss
cause lost torpedo
date lost 27/04/1915  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.578rank: 213
about people
Arsenal De Brest - Brest Naval Yard, Brest
Marine Nationale Française - French Navy
captain Rear Admiral Sénès
complement 714
about the wreck
depth (m.)
war grave
 Chack Paul, Patrouilles Tragiques Dans La Nuit
entered by Allen Tony
entered 20/06/2008
last update Jan Lettens
last update 07/12/2009
[1] Jan Lettens19/07/2008
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Allen Tony20/06/2008LÉON GAMBETTA was a French Navy Crusier of 12,400 tons of the Leon Gambetta Class.

On the night of 26th/27th April 1915, Central Mediterranean, when 15 miles south of Cape Santa Maria di Leuca, SE tip of Italy in the Ionian Sea (c 39.30’N, 18.15’E) she was torpedoed twice by Austrian submarine U-5.

"Léon Gambetta" was part of the French Fleet based at Malta blockading the the Austrian Navy in the Adriatic, usually from a position south of the Strait of Otranto. At this time the blockade line was moved further north because of expected Austrian naval activity - the Allies were negotiating with the Italians which shortly led to them declaring war on Austria-Hungary.

In spite of the growing threat from Austrian and now German U-boats in the Mediterranean, the armoured cruiser was patrolling unescorted at a reported seven knots on a clear, calm night just to the south of the Otranto Straits when she was hit by "U-5" (Lt Cdr Ritter von Trapp, later made famous when his story was partly told in the stage musical and film "The Sound of Music").

"Léon Gambetta" sank in just 10 minutes. Out of 821 men on board, 684 including Rear-Adm Sénès, commander of the 2nd Light Division were lost. There were 137 survivors. The French cruiser patrol line was moved south to the longitude of Cephalonia, western Greece. Other sources place her loss 20 miles off Cape Leuca.
ref. used:
De Maisonneuve Bernard16/10/2009Sources :;

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