French ship Valmy

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For other ships of the same name, see French ship Borda.
Le borda ecole navale-1-Bougault.jpg
The Valmy, by then renamed Borda, serving as a school ship
French Navy EnsignFrance
Builder: Brest shipyard. Plans by Leroux
Laid down: 1 March 1838
Launched: 25 September 1847
Commissioned: 1849
Decommissioned: January 1856
  • renamed Borda on 18 August 1863
  • renamed Intrépide in 1890
Reclassified: 1863 schoolship
Struck: 1890
Homeport: Brest
Fate: Scrapped in 1891
General characteristics
Class & type: 1st rate ship of the line
Displacement: 5,826 tonnes
Length: 64.05 m (210.1 ft) at the waterline
Beam: 18.11 m (59.4 ft)
Draught: 8.61 m (28.2 ft)
Complement: 1100
Armour: timber

Valmy, named after the Battle of Valmy, was the largest three-decker of the French Navy, and the largest tall ship ever built in France.


Valmy was laid down at Brest in 1838 as Formidable and launched in 1847. When she entered service in 1849, she was the largest warship in the world and would remain so until 1853,[citation needed] when the British three-decker Duke Of Wellington (6,071 tons and converted to steam power while on the stocks) entered service, but she would remain the largest sailing three-decker ever built. Unlike most similar ships, that featured a pronounced tumblehome, she had vertical sides; this significantly increased the space available for upper batteries, but reduced the stability of the ship; wooden stabilisers were added under the waterline to address the issue.


watercolour of the Valmy, by F. Roux

She was engaged in the Crimean War, where she proved difficult to manoeuvre and, like other sailing vessels, often had to be towed by steam ships. During the bombardment of Sevastopol, the only time she fired her guns in anger, she was towed by the new steam two-decker Napoléon.

She returned to Brest in 1855, where she was disarmed. She was used as a school ship for the French Naval Academy from 1864 under the name Borda. She took back her old name of Intrépide one year before being stricken from the navy list in 1891. She was scrapped soon afterwards.

The name Valmy was later re-used for a Guépard class destroyer, launched in 1927 and scuttled in 1942.

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