Immerse yourself into the fascinating history of the French submarine, “Floréal,” recently discovered off the Greek coast, a reminder of the underwater warfare during World War I.
Factual Overview of the Floréal
The Floréal, launched in April 1908 was a submarine, part of the “Pluviôse” class, a design brainchild of Maxime Laubeuf. Serving during WWI, the submarine was initially operating in the Bay of Biscay. By 1916, it was dispatched to the Aegean Sea. Its primary duties were patrolling the English Channel under France-UK defense agreements, participating in the blockade of straits linking the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and aiding in the defense of the port of Salonika.
Features of the Floréal
Admired for its advanced features, the Floréal was capable of diving up to a depth of approximately 30 meters. It was armed with a dual propulsion system which consisted of electric motors for underwater function and two steam engines for navigating on the surface. The submarine was also furnished with seven 450 mm torpedo tubes.
The Ill-fated Collision
Tragic as it was, the Floréal met its unfortunate end in August 1918. Under the command of Lieutenant Raymond Féraud, it collided with the British auxiliary cruiser HMS Hazel. The submarine's double hull design didn't save it from sinking. An ensuing investigation absolved Lieutenant Féraud of culpability in the incident. Fortunately, 25 crew members were evacuated and rescued by the destroyer Baliste.
Discovery of the Sunken Floréal
In a recent exploration led by Kostas Toktaridis and his team, the Floréal was located in the Thermaic Gulf. The submarine, which is at a depth of 98 meters, remains in an “excellent condition” according to the explorers.