French ironclad Gloire
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La Gloire anchored, 1860.
|Laid down:||4 March 1858|
|Launched:||24 November 1859|
|Class and type:||Gloire-class ironclad|
|Displacement:||5,618 tonnes (5,529 long tons)|
|Length:||78.22 m (256 ft 8 in)|
|Beam:||17 m (55 ft 9 in)|
|Draught:||8.48 m (27 ft 10 in)|
|Depth of hold:||10.67 m (35 ft 0 in)|
|Sail plan:||Barquentine rigged|
|Speed:||13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)|
|Range:||4,000 km (2,500 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)|
|Complement:||570 officers and enlisted men|
The French ironclad La Gloire ("The Glory") was the first ocean-going ironclad, launched during 1859. It was developed after the Crimean War, in response to new developments of naval gun technology, especially the Paixhans guns and rifled guns, which used explosive shells with increased destructive power against wooden ships, and after the development of the ironclad floating batteries built by the British and French for the bombardment of Russian forts during the Crimean War.
Design and description
It was designed by the French naval architect Henri Dupuy de Lôme as a 5,630-ton broadside ironclad with a wooden hull. Its 12 cm-thick (4.7 in) armour plates, backed with 43 cm (17 in) of timber, resisted hits by the experimental shooting of the strongest guns of the time (the French 50-pounder and the British 68-pounder) at full charge, at a distance of 20 metres (65 ft).
Its official maximum speed was 13.1 knots but other reports suggested no more than 11.75 knots had been attained and that 11 knots was the practical maximum.
As was common for the era, Gloire was constructed with sails as well as a steam-powered screw. The original rigging was a light barquentine rig providing 1,096 sq. m (11,800 sq. ft) of surface area. This was later increased to a full rig providing 2,508 sq. m (27,000 sq. ft) of surface.
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Gloire was launched at the arsenal of Mourillon, Toulon, on 24 November 1859; and entered service during August 1860.
It was eliminated from the French fleet registry during 1879, and scrapped during 1883.
As the first ocean-going ironclad, Gloire rendered obsolete traditional unarmoured wooden ships-of-the-line, and all major navies soon began to build ironclads of their own. However Gloire was soon itself rendered obsolete by the launching during 1860 of the British HMS Warrior, the world's first iron-hulled ironclad warship.
Photograph of Gloire, circa 1860, at the Musée de la Marine, Paris.
Couronne, near sister-ship of Gloire after it was rebuilt.
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