French ship Indomptable (1789)

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
Career (France) French Navy Ensign
Namesake: "Indomitable"
Laid down: 1789
Fate: Ran aground after Battle of Trafalgar, 1805
General characteristics
Class and type: Tonnant class ship of the line
Displacement: 1800 tonnes
Length: 59.3 metres
Beam: 15.3 metres
Draught: 7.8 metres
Propulsion: Sail

80 guns

30 36-pounders
32 24-pounders
18 12-pounders
4 36-pounder howitzers
Armour: Timber

Indomptable ("Indomitable") was an 80-gun ship of the line in the French Navy.

She took part in the Glorious First of June on 29 May 1794, engaging the English Barfleur and Orion simultaneously, after which the Indomptable, having lost her masts, was towed to Brest by the Brutus [1] [2].

In 1795, she served in the Mediterranean under contre-amiral François Joseph Bouvet. She took part in the landing attempt in Ireland planned by General Louis Lazare Hoche. In 1801, she was engaged in the campaign in Egypt, but was unable to break the English blockade and stayed in Toulon. Other elements of the fleet managed to reach Elba.

The Indomptable fought in the Battle of Algeciras in 1801 when she was again badly damaged. In 1802 and 1803, she served in Toulon under Admiral Latouche Tréville. On 17 January 1805, she went to sea under Admiral Villeneuve, together with ten other ships of the line and eight frigates, and on 20 January the fleet sailed for the French Caribbean.

Off Cadiz, the fleet was joined by the Aigle, 74, and six Spanish ships of the line under Vice-Admiral Gravina. When the fleet reached the West Indies, Villeneuve sent Commodore Cosmao-Kerjulien with the Pluton and the Berwick to attack the British position on Diamond Rock, which surrendered on June 2nd. Villeneuve returned to Europe on hearing that Nelson had arrived in the West Indies.

On 22 June 1805, in the battle of Cape Finisterre the quartermasters of Indomptable spotted the British fleet under Sir Robert Calder. After a violent artillery exchange, the fleets became separated in the fog. Exhausted after six months at sea, the fleet anchored in Ferrol before sailing to Cádiz to rest and refit. With his command under question and planning to meet the British fleet to gain a decisive victory, Villeneuve left Cádiz and met the British fleet near Cape Trafalgar.

During the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October, 1805, the Indomptable was in the Spanish line between the San Justo and the Santa Anna. She engaged the British Revenge, Dreadnought and Thunderer. She left the battle with the Spanish, and rescued the survivors of the Bucentaure before returning to Rota.

During the following night, a storm broke her anchor chains and she ran aground. Only about 150 out of 1200 men (the 700-man crew and 500 survivors of the Bucentaure) survived.