The Guépard-class destroyers was a group of six large destroyers built for the French Navy between 1927 and 1931 and used during World War II. Two were captured by Axis forces, and all were either sunk or scuttled by the end of the war.[N 1]
They differed from the previous class, the Jaguars by their greater displacement (2440 tons against 2120), their higher power (64,000 hp instead of 55 000), their weapons (guns 5 138 instead of 130) silhouette and four fireplaces (instead of the previous three). Scheduled in 1925 (Bison, Guépard, Lion and Valmy) and 1926 (Verdun, Vauban), they preceded the class destroyers against Eagle (1927 program) and Vauquelin (1928 and 1929 programs) that looked like them a lot.
The Bison was sunk May 3, 1940, during the evacuation of Allied forces in central Norway after a bomb dropped from a Stuka touched the bridge and caused an explosion in the ammunition stores before, which threw the canon 138 to 50 meters high. The commander Jean Bouan was killed instantly, the second in command, Robert Giraud was seriously wounded and died of his wounds. Approximately one half of the crew were gathered on HMS Afridi, destroyer of the Royal Navy, but this in turn being hit by a bomb, there were only 112 survivors eventually including sixty seriously injured.
The other five ships were scuttled on 27 November 1942 at Toulon. All were bailed out by the Italian Navy. The Lion and the Valmy were repaired and returned to service under the Italian flag as FR21 and FR24. Both were again scuttled in September 1943 in La Spezia. The Valmy, salvaged a second time was used by the Kriegsmarine before being cast in Genoa in 1945.