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The French ironclad Gloire, launched in 1859, was the first ocean-going ironclad in History. She was developed following the
experience acquired during the Crimean War, in response to the new technical advances in the field of naval artillery,
particularly explosive shells with increased destructive power that rendered wooden ships extremely vulnerable. The Gloire had
a wooden hull reinforced with 43 centimeters of timber coated with 12-centimeter thick armor plates. During trials this
configuration was able to resist impacts from the most powerful artillery pieces of that time (namely the French 50-pounder and
the British 68-pounder), at full charge and firing at a distance of only 20 meters.
As it was common during the mid 19th century, the Gloire was fitted with a sail rigging in addition to the steam-powered screw.
However, the original light barquentine rig of 1096 square meters was clearly insufficient for an effective propulsion, so it
was later increased to a full rigging of 2508 square meters. The ship had capacity for 665 tonnes of coal, which could keep the
steam engine running during twelve days at economic speed.
The apparition of the Gloire suddenly rendered obsolete the unarmored ship of the line which had been the capital ship during two
centuries, and every major Navy had no choice but to form its own fleet of ironclads. In turn, the Gloire was soon outclassed
when the British ironclad HMS Warrior, first warship built with an integrally metallic hull, was launched during the last days
of 1860. In 1879, the Gloire was struck from the French fleet registry and finally scrapped in 1883. In that same year was
decommissioned her rival HMS Warrior.
Class: Gloire (3 units - Gloire, Invincible, Normandie)
Length: 77.8 meters
Beam: 17 meters
Draught: 8.4 meters
Displacement (standard): 5630 tonnes
Sail area (as built): 1096 square meters
Sail area (after upgrade): 2508 square meters
Propulsion: 1 x shaft, 1 x horizontal return connecting rod steam engine, 8 x oval boiler, 2500 indicated horsepower
Speed: 11 knots (20.3 kilometers/hour)
Range: 2160 nautical miles (4000 kilometers) at 8 knots
Armament (as built): 36 x 164-millimeter muzzle-loading rifled cannon
Armament (after 1866): 8 x 240-millimeter breech-loading rifled cannon,
6 x 192-millimeter breech-loading rifled cannon
Armor: 430 millimeters in wooden hull, 120 millimeters in iron coating