Military Wiki
Gabriel Paul Auphan
Minister of Marine

In office
Preceded by François Darlan
Succeeded by Jean-Marie Charles Abrial
Personal details
Born (1894-11-04)4 November 1894
Alès, France
Died 16 April 1982(1982-04-16) (aged 87)
Military service
Allegiance  French Third Republic
 Vichy France
Service/branch French Navy
Rank Admiral

Gabriel Paul Auphan (4 November 1894 Alès - 16 April 1982) was a French admiral, chief of cabinet of Admiral Darlan under Vichy France and later Secrétaire d'État à la marine of Vichy.

Early career

A native of Alès, Gard, Auphan was a student at the École navale; promoted to capitaine de vaisseau in 1936, he had a career in the cabinets of the ministries Georges Leygues and François Pietri. In 1940, he was in charge of the civilian shipping.

Vichy regime

After the Fall of France and the rise of the Vichy regime, Auphan was made chief of Staff and the naval forces, in 1941, and chief of cabinet of the Secrétaire d'État à la marine François Darlan.

Auphan was part of the anti-German trend of Vichy France. After the defection of Darlan, Auphan was himself made Secrétaire d'État à la marine. After Operation Torch, when Admiral Laborde petitioned him with a project to retaliate against the Allies by sailing and attacking them, Auphan discouraged him. Auphan gave the general standing orders which led to the Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon, to avoid capture by the Nazis. On 15 November 1942, he tried to persuade Admiral de Laborde to set sail and bring the fleet to the Allies; on Laborde's refusal, Auphan was facing the alternative of setting a coup d'état, seize power and issue a formal order to Laborde, or of resigning. Auphan resigned on 18 November 1942. [1] The fleet was scuttled on the 27 November.

In August 1944, Marshal Pétain sent Auphan to offer Charles de Gaulle that Auphan should succeed Pétain at the head of the Vichy regime, which would thus be recognized as France's legitimate government. The proposal was turned down.


After the Liberation, during the "Épuration légale" in 1946, he was tried and sentenced in absentia to a life-time of forced labour, dégradation nationale and confiscation of his property. He surrendered himself in 1955, and was sentenced to 5 years of prison with probation, 5 years of dégradation nationale.

Political offices
Preceded by
François Darlan
Minister of Marine
Succeeded by
Jean-Marie Charles Abrial

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