Military Wiki
French ship Scipion (1779)
Combat du Scipion conte le London-Rossel de Cercy mg 5096.jpg
Scipion raking HMS London during the Action of 18 October 1782.
Career (France) Ensign of the French Royal Navy
Name: Scipion
Honours and
Fate: Ran aground 1782
General characteristics
Class & type: Scipion-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1,500 tonnes
Length: 53.8 m (177 ft)
Beam: 14.1 m (46 ft)
Draught: 7.3 m (24 ft)
Propulsion: Sails
Armament: 74 to 78 guns of various weights of shot

Scipion was a French warship of the 18th century, lead ship of her class. It was completed in 1779.

Accounts cited that it was one of the three new naval vessels - along with Hercule (1798) and Pluton (1778) - built by the French that was so top-heavy, they nearly capsized.[1][2] To correct Scipion's problem, a stowage was altered and a ballast replaced a part of the water supply.[3] These remedies, however, failed[3] so the French had to shorten the mast to make it seaworthy.[1]

Scipion took part in the American War of Independence, notably sailing at the rear of the French squadron at the Battle of the Chesapeake.

18 October 1782, Scipion fires a broadside from her starboard side into Torbay and London

In the Action of 18 October 1782, under Captain Nicolas Henri de Grimouard, Scipion fought gallantly against two British ships of the line of 90 and 74 guns. Through good sailmanship, she managed to damage HMS London and escape, but was destroyed the next day after she was chased and ran aground.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dull, Jonathan R. (1975). The French Navy and American Independence: A Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774-1787. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 146. ISBN 9781400868131. 
  2. Morton, Brian N.; Spinelli, Donald C. (2003). Beaumarchais and the American Revolution. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. pp. 231. ISBN 0739104683. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Reed, Edward James (2011). A Treatise on the Stability of Ships. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 222. ISBN 9781108026437. 

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