The Mogador-class large destroyers (contre-torpilleurs) of the French navy were laid down in 1935 and commissioned in 1938. They were very large, fast, destroyers, with their eight 138 mm (5.5in) guns approaching a light cruiser in firepower. The design evolved from the extremely fast Fantasque class, being 300 tons heavier and carrying eight guns in enclosed twin turrets rather than five guns in single open mounts. Volta nevertheless achieved remarkable speeds of 43kts during sea trials. Their initial role was to act as scouts and torpedo-boat destroyers for the two Dunkerque-class battlecruisers.
Four more ships to be named Kléber, Desaix, Hoche and Marceau were ordered in 1939, but not completed due to the start of World War II. They were to be slightly different, with DP guns and improved AA capability.
Mogador was severely damaged during the Mers-el-Kébir affair but Volta managed to escape with battlecruiser Strasbourg and other destroyers. Mogador was still undergoing repairs and modifications in Toulon in November 1942. The modifications included the replacement of the upper aft turret by two 37 mm AA twin mounts and the installation of six 25 mm and four 12.7 mm AA MG.
Both Mogador and Volta were scuttled in Toulon Harbour on 27 November 1942 to prevent their capture by Germany. Both were refloated but neither was repaired.
The two Mogadors are often presented as the outcome of the series of contre-torpilleurs that started to be developed in France in 1922. In fact, they formed a new type of oceangoing ships built to act as dedicated scouts for the fast battleships. Commissionned in the French Navy a few months before World War II, they did stand honourably in the most modern naval force that the French Navy had, the so-called Force de Raid. The active service life of Mogador was abruptly stopped in July 1940 at Mers-el-Kébir, that of Volta in November 1942 in Toulon.