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Bouvines class coast defense ship

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Name  Bouvines
Succeeded by  None
Built  1890–1896
Operators  French Navy
Cost  14,986,587 francs
Bouvines-class coast defense ship
Preceded by  Jemmapes-class coast defense ship

The Bouvines class was a pair of coastal defense ships built for the French Navy. The class comprised two ships: Bouvines, named after the Battle of Bouvines, and Amiral-Tréhouart, named after the prominent Admiral. The ships were very similar to the preceding Jemmapes-class coast defense ships and differed mainly by the addition of a forecastle deck and a smaller main armament of 305 mm (12.0 in) guns. They were sold for scrap after World War I.

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General characteristics

The Bouvines class ships were half-sisters to the Jemmapes class laid down at the same time. They were virtually identical to them except that they were given a forecastle deck to improve seaworthiness and the main armament was lightened to offset the additional weight, 305 mm (12.0 in) Mle 1887 guns were installed rather than the 340 mm (13.4 in) Mle 1887 guns of the Jemmapes class.

Bouvines and Amiral-Tréhouart were 89.38 m (293.2 ft) long at the waterline and 122.35 m (401.4 ft) long overall. They had a beam of 17.86 m (58.6 ft) and a draft of 6.38 m (20.9 ft) forward and 7.54 m (24.7 ft) aft. She was only slightly heavier than the Jemmapes class and displaced 6,798 metric tons (6,691 long tons), only 300 metric tons (300 long tons) more than the earlier ships. Once in service they proved to roll badly so bilge keels were later fitted

Propulsion

The Bouvines class ships used two inclined horizontal triple-expansion steam engines built by Menpenti of Marseilles, one engine per shaft. Bouvines's engines were powered by eighteen d'Allest-Lagrafel water tube boilers and had two funnels, but Amiral-Tréhouart used sixteen Belleville boilers instead and had only one funnel. The engines produced a total of 8865 ihp and gave a top speed of 16.05 knots (29.72 km/h; 18.47 mph) on trials. The ships carried a maximum of 557 metric tons (548 long tons) of coal which allowed the ship to steam for 3,900 nautical miles (7,200 km) at a speed of 8 knots (15 km/h).

Armament

Like the Jemmapes class which preceded her, the Bouvines class ships carried their main armament of two 305 mm (12.0 in) 45 caliber Modèle 1887 guns in two single-gun turrets, one each fore and aft. The guns fired 340-kilogram (750 lb) projectiles at the rate of 1 round per minute at a muzzle velocity of approximately 780 metres per second (2,600 ft/s). The guns could be depressed to −4° and elevated to +10°.

The ship's secondary armament consisted of eight 100 mm (3.9 in) 45 caliber Modèle 1892 guns, four of which were mounted in individual casemates. The other four were carried on pivot mounts with gun shields on the shelter deck directly above the four casemated guns on the corners of the superstructure. The guns fired 16-kilogram (35 lb) shells at a muzzle velocity of 703 metres per second (2,310 ft/s).

Initially four 47 mm (1.9 in) 40 caliber Canon de 47 mm Modèle 1885 Hotchkiss guns were mounted as anti-torpedo boat guns in the fighting top, but this was later increased to eight. They were mounted in platforms in the mainmast and on the superstructure. They fired a 1.49-kilogram (3.3 lb) projectile at 610 metres per second (2,000 ft/s) to a maximum range of 4,000 metres (4,400 yd). Their theoretical maximum rate of fire was fifteen rounds per minute, but only seven rounds per minute sustained. Initially ten 37 m revolving Hotchkiss revolving cannon were carried on the superstructure, but this was reduced to three when the additional 47 mm guns were mounted. Two 450 mm (18 in) torpedo tubes were mounted above the waterline, but they were removed in 1906.

Armor

The Bouvines class ships had a complete waterline armor belt of Creusot steel that tapered from the maximum thickness of 464 mm (18.3 in) to 250 mm (9.8 in) at the ship's ends. The belt's height was an average of 1.9 m (6.2 ft), but increased to 2.86 metres (9.4 ft) at the bow and to 2.18 metres (7.2 ft) at the stern. The ship was intended to have 40 centimetres (16 in) of the belt showing above the waterline, but they were approximately 200 tonnes (200 long tons) too heavy as completed and only 24 centimetres (9.4 in) of the belt was above the waterline. The hull above the belt was completely unarmored. The maximum thickness of the armored deck was 92 mm (3.6 in) and it was joined to the top of the armor belt. The main turret armor was 370 mm (15 in) in thickness although the turret bases were only 320 mm (13 in) thick. The conning tower had 80 mm (3.1 in) of armor.

Construction

Bouvines was authorized in the Supplementary Estimates of 1889 although Amiral-Tréhouart had been authorized in the 1889 Ordinary Naval Estimates. Bouvines was laid down at Les Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée at La Seyne-sur-Mer 30 September 1890. She was launched on 29 March 1892, began sea trials on 15 October 1894, but took until 1 December 1895 to enter service. Amiral-Tréhouart was laid down at Lorient during October 1890, launched in May 1893 and entered service in May 1896.

History

Bouvines served as a flagship for the entirety of her active service where she served both in the Northern Squadron and Channel Flotilla in the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel as well as in the Mediterranean Squadron. She was stricken on 1 July 1913 and was used by the Inspection Service at Cherbourg between 1914 and 1917. She was condemned in 1918 and sold for scrapping in 1920.

Little is known of Amiral-Tréhouart's career other than she served as a submarine tender during World War I and was sold for scrapping in 1922.

References

Bouvines-class coast defense ship Wikipedia


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