The canal was built from 1859 to 1869 under the leading of the French architect Ferdinand De Lesseps. A managing company was created on November 30th 1854 (75 % of benefits went to the company, 15 % to the Egyptian government and 10 % to the conceptor of the project). The canal stretches for 120 miles from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez. It is the longest canal without locks in the world, and third in length only to the St. Lawrence Seaway in North America and the White Sea-Baltic Canal in Russia.

The nationalisation of the canal by the colonel Nasser (the new leader of Egypt during that period) on July 26th 1956 led France, UK and Israel to send a naval task force. Their warrior project was stopped by the USA and the USSR in November 1956.

From July 31th 1956, the counter-attack was viewed by UK and French headquarters. The operation was led by general Keightley, helped by Vice-Admiral Barjot. The operation was called "Mousquestaire" and the goal was to land at Alexandria and to take Cairo. The attack began on October 29th, French paratroops were dropped from Nord-1500 Noratlases over Sinaï. Some F-86Fs of the French Air Force also took part in the operation from Ramat-David and Lod-Tel Aviv AFBs. They especially struck tanks and eighteen Llyouchine-28s on October 30th.

October 31th, 2h 30 AM, the DE Kersaint (D 622), destroyed the DD Ibrahim el Awal off Haïfa. On November 1st, the CC Georges Leygues (C 604) supported Israelian artillery at Rafah. Corsairs took off from the CVL Lafayette in order to try to strike an Egyptian DD ; but without success. A second strike took off from the CVL, and struck Alexandria AFB. On November 3rd, heighteen aircraft coming from the CVL Lafayette and the CV Arromanches struck Cairo airfield. LV Lancrenon was killed by anti-aircraft guns.

Additional French (2ème RPC/ 2nd Paratroop Regiment) and British paratroops were dropped on November 5th over Port-Saïd and Port-Fouad in order to take both towns. British troops seized Gamil - west of Port-Saïd, while French troops seized Port-Fouad and its bridge, which controlled the access of Port-Saïd.

The next day, first landings from LSDs, LCTs, LSTs and LCMs were carried on. British commandos landed at the east of Port-Saïd and took the town in the afternoon. French marines landed at Port-Fouad.

Under the pressure of Americans and Soviets, the ceasefire was ordered on November 7th 1956. French carriers came back to NS Toulon in December. Only the north of the canal was taken by French-British troops.


French Ships, Squadrons and Navy Commando Units which took part in Suez Canal War in 1956

DE Malgache (F 724)
FS Gazelle (F 736)
MSC Chrysanthème (M 672)
LST Cheliff (L 9006)
AK Giboulée (A 741)
CV Arromanches (R 95)
DE Surcouf (D 621)
FS La Pérouse (F 750)
MSC Cyclamen (M 674)
AK Liamone (A 760)
CVL Lafayette (R 96)
DE Kersaint (D 622)
FS Amiral Mouchez (F 752)
MSC Glaïeul (M 678)
ATA Pachyderme (A 718)
SS La Créole (S 606)
DE Cassard (D 623)
FS Marcel Le Bihan (F 753)
MSC Lilas (M 682)
ATA Bélier (A 719)
BB Jean Bart (B 61)
DE Bouvet (D 624 )
MSC Pivoine (M 633)
MSC Liseron (M 683)
ATA Filao (Y 638)
CC Georges Leygues (C 604)
DE Dupetit-Thouars (D 625)
MSC Acacia (M 638)
MSC Mimosa (M 687)
De Montfort Navy Commando Unit
DE Arabe (F 717)
DE Vauquelin (D 628)
MSC Acanthe (M 639)
MSC Muguet (M 688)
AS Gustave Zédé (A 641)
De Penfentenyo Navy Commando Unit
DE Kabyle (F 718)
FS Le Corse (F 761)
MSC Jasmin (M 663)
MSC Pavot (M 693)
ABU Criquet (A 761)
Hubert Navy Commando Unit
DE Bambara (F 719)
FS Le Brestois (F 762)
MSC Ajonc (M 667)
LSD Foudre (A 646)
AOT La Baise (A 625)
Jaubert Navy Commando Unit
DE Sakalave (F 720)
FS Le Boulonnais (F 763)
MSC Azalée (M 668)
LST Laita (L 9001)
AOT Elorn (A 620)
9F squadron (five TBM-3Ws and five TBM-3S)
DE Touareg (F 721)
FS Le Bordelais (F 764)
MSC Bégonia (M 669)
LST Orne (L 9002)
AOT Lac Tonlé Sap (A 630)
14F squadron (eighteen F4U-7 Corsairs)
DE Soudanais (F 722)
FS Le Normand (F 765)
MSC Bleuet (M 670)
LST Rance (L 9004)
AOT Lac Tchad (A 631)
15F squadron (eighteen F4U-7 Corsairs)
DE Berbère (F 723)
FS Le Picard (F 766)
MSC Camélia (M 671)
LST Odet (L 9005)
AK Sahel (A 638)
23S squadron (two HUP-2s)

The Royal Navy also deployed a Combat Naval Force composed by three carriers HMS Eagle, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark (110 Sea Hawks and Sea Venons), two helicopter carriers HMS Thesus and HMS Ocean (22 Whirlwinds and Sycomores) and of course their escort ships (destroyers, escorts, frigates, submarines, auxiliaries, amphibious ships...).