French battleship Mirabeau
Mirabeau replacing one gun in 1919
|Namesake:||Honoré Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau|
|Builder:||Arsenal de Lorient|
|Laid down:||4 May 1908|
|Launched:||28 October 1909|
|Completed:||1 August 1911|
|Reclassified:||As accommodation hulk, April 1919|
|Struck:||27 October 1921|
|Class and type:||Danton class semi-dreadnought battleship|
|Length:||144.9 m (475 ft 5 in)|
|Beam:||25.8 m (84 ft 8 in)|
|Draft:||9.2 m (30 ft 2 in)|
|Speed:||19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)|
Mirabeau was one of the six Danton class semi-dreadnought battleships built for the French Navy (armée navale) in the first decade of the twentieth century. The ship spent most of World War I blockading the Straits of Otranto and the Dardanelles to prevent German, Austro-Hungarian and Turkish warships from breaking out into the Mediterranean. She did, however, participate in the attempt to ensure Greek acquiescence to Allied operations in Macedonia in late 1916. Mirabeau briefly participated in the occupation of Constantinople after the end of the war and was deployed in the Black Sea in early 1919 during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. She ran aground in February 1919 off the coast of the Crimea and could not be refloated until some of her guns and armor were removed. After returning to France, the ship was used as an accommodation hulk until she was condemned in 1921. Mirabeau was later sold for scrap and broken up in 1928.
Design and description
Although the Danton-class battleships were a significant improvement from the preceding Liberté class, they were outclassed by the advent of the dreadnought well before they were completed. They were not well liked by the French Navy, although their numerous rapid-firing guns were of some use in the Mediterranean.
Mirabeau was 146.6 meters (481 ft 0 in) long overall and had a beam of 25.8 meters (84 ft 8 in) and a full-load draft of 9.2 meters (30 ft 2 in). She displaced 19,736 metric tons (19,424 long tons) at deep load and had a crew of 681 officers and enlisted men. The ship was powered by four Parsons steam turbines that used steam generated by twenty-six Belleville boilers. The turbines were rated at 22,500 shaft horsepower (16,800 kW) and provided a top speed of around 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph). Mirabeau, however, reached a top speed of 19.7 knots (36.5 km/h; 22.7 mph) on her sea trials. She carried a maximum of 2,027 metric tons (1,995 long tons) of coal which allowed her to steam for 3,370 nautical miles (6,240 km; 3,880 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).
Mirabeau's main battery consisted of four 305mm/45 Modèle 1906 guns mounted in two twin gun turrets, one forward and one aft. The secondary battery consisted of twelve 240mm/50 Modèle 1902 guns in twin turrets, three on each side of the ship. A number of smaller guns were carried for defense against torpedo boats. These included sixteen 65-caliber 75-millimeter (3.0 in) guns and ten 47-millimeter (1.9 in) Hotchkiss guns. She was also armed with two submerged 450-millimeter (17.7 in) torpedo tubes. The ship's waterline armor belt was 270 millimeters (10.6 in) thick and the main battery was protected by up to 300 millimeters (11.8 in) of armor. The conning tower also had 300-millimeter thick sides.
During the war, 75-millimeter anti-aircraft guns were installed on the roofs of the ship's two forward 240-millimeter (9.4 in) gun turrets. During 1918, the elevation of her 240-millimeter guns was increased which extended their range to 18,000 meters (20,000 yd).
Career and construction
The ship was named after Honoré Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau, an early leader of the French Revolution. Construction of Mirabeau began on 8 May 1906 by the Arsenal de Lorient and the ship was laid down on 4 May 1908. She was launched on 28 October 1909 and was completed on 1 August 1911. Mirabeau, together with four of her sisters, participated in a large naval review by the President of France, Armand Fallières, off Cap Brun on 4 September 1911. The ship was assigned to the Second Division of the First Squadron (escadre) of the Mediterranean Fleet when she was commissioned. The ship participated in combined fleet maneuvers between Provence and Tunisia in May–June 1913 and the subsequent naval review conducted by the President of the Council, Raymond Poincaré, on 7 June 1913. Afterwards, Mirabeau joined her squadron in its tour of the Eastern Mediterranean in October–December 1913, making port visits in Egypt, Syria, and Greece, and participated in the grand fleet exercise in the Western Mediterranean in May 1914.
World War I
In August 1914, the ship was being refitted at Toulon. During 1915–16, the ship participated in the distant blockade of the Straits of Otranto while based in Corfu, Malta, and Bizerte. In November 1916, she transported landing parties from the other ships of her division to Athens. In the Noemvriana, on 1 December 1916, those landing parties, formed into a provisional battalion, participated in the Allied attempt to ensure Greek acquiescence to Allied operations in Macedonia. Greek resistance to the Allied action ended after Mirabeau fired four rounds from her main armament into the city, one of which landed near the Royal Palace. Afterwards, she spent 1917 based at Corfu or at Mudros to prevent the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben from breaking out into the Mediterranean. In April 1918, Mirabeau accompanied her sisters Diderot and Vergniaud to Mudros where they remained for the rest of the war.
After the Armistice of Mudros was signed on 30 October between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire, the ship participated in the early stage of the occupation of Constantinople from 12 November to 18 December. At the very end of the year, she was deployed to the Black Sea to support White Russian forces in Sevastopol and deter Soviet forces who were advancing on the city during the Russian Civil War. Mirabeau ran aground during a snowstorm on 18 February 1919 off the Crimean coast. She could not be refloated until her forward 305-millimeter (12 in) gun turret, its barbette and her forward belt armor was removed. The ship was towed to Toulon by the battleship Justice in April. Mirabeau was subsequently used as an accommodation hulk until she was condemned on 27 October 1921. She was later scrapped in 1928.
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- Gille, pp. 117–18
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- (in French) CUIRASSE Danton