The Rhin was launched in 1964. She belongs to a serie of five vessels to be used as a mobile logistics support force within a fleet supply force. The Rhin is a MSLF vessel specialized in electronics and usually as a stock of 60 torpedos. She has sailed in the Mediterranean up to the early 1980s. Towards 1982, as the concept of fleet supply force was outdated, three similar vessels - Rhin, Rhone and Garonne were deployed overseas to maintain vessels operating far from the mainland arsenals. The Rhin was sent in the Indian ocean where she was assigned with the multipurpose workshop vessel Jules Verne. She lost her electronic specificity and was devoted to the maintenance of other vessels. She was turned into a MSLF ship alternately maintaining the maritime forces in Djibouti, Mayotte and La Réunion. After many years spent in the Indian ocean she definitely left the aera in 1995 and is now supporting the forces that have taken station in the West Indies and Guyana.
The crew of the Rhin is made of two distinct entities : - 70 specialists regular sailors from the crew of the fleet with an adequate training in metropolitan arsenals. Their job is to run the workshops; - 90 crew members in charge of providing the float with energy.
To carry out her mission, the Rhin needs :
The required equipement are gathered on the request of the Navy command staff according to the composition of the force to be supported and the vessels to be maintained.
How it works : There is an organization office in charge of coordinating the logistic support. Its main tas are :
The spare parts are managed in a storeroom thanks to a computer network. The storeroom is part of the supplying system of the Navy, which is under the aegis of the "Direction des constructions navales". The storeroom, directly connected with a central computer system in France, contributes to the resplenishment of the Navy units. Besides, the Rhin carries out regularly her own maintenance on the very aera of her deployment. Every five years she goes back to France for a thorough careening.
Her missions : The Rhin supports destroyers, patrol biats or other small units. She also takes part in more classic and permanent missions : presence, safety and public services, which are the usual duties of any naval vessel. Thus she can successfully make up for the lack of heavy support infrastructure in this part of the world.
She was not the first vessel to bear this name.
A frigate took part in the battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805 as a spotted and signal repeater. Then a propeller carriage, built in Rochefort in 1854, was used to convey troops in the Pacific area and along the coast of South America. She was laid in 1886.
From 1924 to 1942 another carriage - the ex Tourville - was assigned to the training of officers in the Mediterranean till the scuttling of the fleet in Toulon in November 1942.
There was also a little unarmed 2455-ton colonial cargo built by the Paquet company. First chartered by the special services of the Ministère des colonies, she was offered to the Royal Navy by PERI - her radio telegrphist officer who had captured her. She then became HMS Fidelity and in 1941 was twice sent on special assignements; to drop agents on the French and Algerian coasts. The following years, after the loadingof two sea planes and the reinforcement of the DCA she was sent to transport commandos to Indo-China. On 30 December 1942 as she was part of a convoy, she was intercepted by German submarines. After coming under two torpedos she sank with lieutenant-commander Langlais (Peri's new name) aboard.