The espingole was built in 1900 by the Le Havre shipyards Augustin Normand. 56 meters long 6 wide, it gauged 330 tons. Its propulsion was ensured by 2 engines of 2600 CV which allowed it to reach the speed of 27 knots . Its crew consisted of 62 men.
The Espingole was equipped with a 65mm gun, six 47mm guns and 2 torpedoes. At the beginning of the century, he participated in an expedition to Turkey, then we find him in Rochefort and then in Toulon. On February 4, 1903, the Counter Torpedo Boat maneuvered. While following the Sword, he collided with the Taillat sec and ran aground. The emergency services lay down Makaroff straws, relieve the boat of its load, transfer the guns, and the Espingole is released. The Hallebard then tows it towards Cavalaire, but after a kilometer the Espingole sinks. We tried to refloat it by slipping a chain under the hull without success .
The Contre-Torpilleur rests on a sandy bottom 39 meters deep. Espingole can be visited in one go without any problem. The current is rarely strong, and the visibility often excellent.
The stern is cut off from the center of the ship. The propeller is still present but very silted up. A small part of the blades still emerges. Between the bow and the central part of the ship is a large load of bricks spread out on the sand. The silhouette of Espingole is that of a giant metal skeleton . The hull has indeed disappeared leaving sheets in arcs of circles planted in the sand, thus strangely resembling the ribs of a rib cage . You can easily and safely enter the various parts of the wreck. We thus visit the engine room , its enormous piping and the crew quarters. Just before the bow you can admire the boilers which are now lying on starboard. The chain that was supposed to allow the Espingole to regain the surface is still visible.