French ironclad Gloire

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Gloire anchored, 1860.
Name: Gloire
Namesake: Glory
Laid down: 4 March 1858
Launched: 24 November 1859
Completed: August 1860
Struck: 1879
Fate: Scrapped, 1883
General characteristics
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)
Installed power:
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 Gloire ("Glory") was the first ocean-going ironclad, launched in 1859. It was developed after the Crimean War[1], 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[edit]

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 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.[2]

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.[3]


Gloire was launched at the arsenal of Mourillon, Toulon, on 24 November 1859; and entered service in August 1860.

It was eliminated from the French fleet registry in 1879, and scrapped in 1883.

Importance in naval history[edit]

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 in 1860 of the British HMS Warrior, the world's first iron-hulled ironclad warship.



  1. ^ The Battle of Sinop, at the start of the war, convinced the world's naval powers that wooden warships could not withstand the new weapons.
  2. ^ Wells, John (1987). The immortal Warrior Britain’s First and Last battleship. Kenneth Mason. p. 46. ISBN 0-85937-333-9.
  3. ^ Jackson, Robert (2010). Warships Inside Out. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press. pp. 10–15. ISBN 978-1-60710-109-3.


  • de Balincourt, Captain; Vincent-Bréchignac, Captain (1974). "The French Navy of Yesterday: Ironclad Frigates, Part I". F.P.D.S. Newsletter. Akron, OH: F.P.D.S. II (2): 12–15, 18.
  • Chesneau, Roger & Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4.
  • Gardiner, Robert, ed. (1992). Steam, Steel and Shellfire: The Steam Warship 1815–1905. Conway's History of the Ship. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 1-55750-774-0.
  • Gille, Eric (1999). Cent ans de cuirassés français. Nantes: Marines. ISBN 2-909-675-50-5.
  • Jones, Colin (1996). "Entente Cordiale, 1865". In McLean, David; Preston, Antony (eds.). Warship 1996. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-685-X.
  • Roche, Jean-Michel (2005). Dictionnaire des bâtiments de la flotte de guerre française de Colbert à nos jours, 1671 – 1870. Group Retozel-Maury Millau. ISBN 978-2-9525917-0-6. OCLC 165892922.
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1984). Directory of the World's Capital Ships. New York: Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-88254-979-0.

External links[edit]