:: GLOIRE (1859) ::

Gloire ironclad (1859) High resolution picture

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)

Type: Ironclad

Length: 77.8 meters

Beam: 17 meters

Draft: 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

Complement: 570

Armament (as built): 36 x 164-millimeter rifled muzzle-loading cannon

Armament (after 1866): 8 x 240-millimeter breech-loading cannon, 6 x 192-millimeter breech-loading cannon

Armor: 430 millimeters in wooden hull, 120 millimeters in iron coating

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