French ship Impétueux (1787)

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the Achille
Scale model of the Achille, sister-ship of the Impétueux, on display at the Musée de la Marine in Paris
Career (France) French Navy Ensign French Navy Ensign
Name: Impétueux
Namesake: Impetuous
Builder: Rochefort
Laid down: 1786
Launched: 25 August 1787
Commissioned: 1788
Decommissioned: 1 June 1794
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Impétueux
Acquired: 1 June 1794
Fate: Destroyed by fire on 24 August 1794
General characteristics
Class and type: Téméraire class ship of the line

2 966 tonnes

5 260 tonnes fully loaded
Length: 55.87 metres (172 French feet)
Beam: 14.90 metres (44' 6)
Draught: 7.26 metres (22 French feet)
Propulsion: Up to 2 485 m² of sails
Complement: 678 men

74 guns:

  • Lower gundeck: 28 x 36-pdr long guns
  • Upper gundeck: 30 x 24-pdr long guns
  • Forecastle and Quarter deck:
16 x 8-pdr long guns
4 x 36-pdr carronades
Armour: Timber

The Impétueux was a Téméraire class 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy.

She took part in the Glorious First of June. During the battle, HMS Marlborough. Marlborough became tangled with Impétueux. Badly damaged and on the verge of surrender, Impétueux received a brief reprieve when Mucius appeared through the smoke and collided with both ships.[1] The three entangled ships continued exchanging fire for some time, all suffering heavy casualties with Marlborough and Impétueux losing all three of their masts. This combat continued for several hours. Captain Berkeley of Marlborough had to retire below with serious wounds, and command fell to Lieutenant John Monkton, who signalled for help from the frigates in reserve.[2] Robert Stopford responded in HMS Aquilon, which had the assignment of repeating signals, and towed Marlborough out of the line as Mucius freed herself and made for the regrouped French fleet to the north. Impétueux was in too damaged a state to move at all, and sailors from HMS Russell soon seized her.[3]

The Royal Navy took her into service as HMS Impetueux. She was destroyed in an accidental fire at Portsmouth on 24 August 1794.


  1. Padfield, p. 33
  2. James, William (2002) [1827]. The Naval History of Great Britain, Volume 1, 1793-1796. London: Conway Maritime Press.
  3. Tracy, Ed. Nicholas (1998). The Naval Chronicle, Volume 1, 1793-1798. London: Chatham. ISBN 1861760914. OCLC 60158681

See also

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