Tonnant-class ship of the line

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HMS Canopus (1798).jpg
A Tonnant-class ship of the line, HMS Canopus, the former Franklin
Class overview
Name: Tonnant
Builders: Toulon, Brest and Rochefort
Preceded by: Saint-Esprit class
Succeeded by: Bucentaure class
In commission: 1790–1834
Completed: 8
General characteristics
Type: Ship of the line
Displacement: 1,800 tonnes
Length: 59.3 m (195 ft)
Beam: 15.3 m (50 ft)
Draught: 7.8 m (26 ft)
Propulsion: Sail
Armour: Timber

Ships in class include: Tonnant, Indomptable, Sans Pareil, Formidable, Guillaume Tell, Franklin, Indivisible,


The Tonnant class was a series of eight 80-gun ships of the line designed in 1787 by Jacques-Noël Sané. From 1802 a new group (the Bucentaure class) was begun of slightly modified design, of which more than 24 were begun.

Tonnant class (8 ships)[edit]

Builder: Toulon
Begun: December 1787
Launched: 24 October 1789
Completed September 1790
Fate: Captured 2 August 1798, added to Royal Navy as HMS Tonnant, broken up 1821
Builder: Brest
Begun: September 1788
Launched: 20 December 1790
Completed: February 1791
Fate: Ran aground after the Battle of Trafalgar October 1805
Builder: Brest
Begun: October 1790
Launched: 8 June 1793
Completed: September 1793
Fate: Captured 1 June 1794 by the Royal Navy, broken up October 1842
Builder: Toulon
Begun: August 1794
Launched: 17 March 1795
Completed: October 1795
Fate: Captured 3 November 1805 during Battle of Cape Ortegal, renamed HMS Brave, broken up April 1816
Builder: Toulon
Begun: September 1794
Launched: 21 October 1795
Completed: July 1796
Fate: Captured 30 March 1800, renamed HMS Malta, broken up August 1840
Builder: Toulon
Begun: November 1794
Launched: 25 June 1797
Completed: March 1798
Fate: Captured 2 August 1798 in the battle of the Nile, renamed HMS Canopus, broken up October 1887
Builder: Brest
Begun: May 1793
Launched: 8 July 1799
Completed: October 1799
Fate: Renamed Alexandre 1802, captured by Britain 1805, broken up May 1822
Builder: Rochefort
Ordered: December 1793
Launched: 18 May 1799
Completed: August 1800
Fate: Broken up 1834


  • Winfield, Rif and Roberts, Stephen S. (2017) French Warships in the Age of Sail 1626–1786: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates.. Naval Institute Press, 2017. ISBN 978-1-4738-9351-1.
  • Winfield, Rif and Roberts, Stephen S. (2015) French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786-1861: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-204-2.