Armored cruiser Amiral Charner

The armoured cruiser Amiral Charner was the type of ship of the same class, consisting of 4 ships which should be smaller and cheaper than the predecessor model of the armoured cruiser Dupuy de Lôme.


Launch and design:

After the lost Franco-Prussian War, the navy was rebuilt, structured and aligned alongside the French army. Part of the new strategy included the use of fast armoured cruisers against the merchant ships of an enemy nation in order to disrupt or bring to a standstill its economy and supplies.

Especially for this purpose, the French naval architect Henri Dupuy de Lôme began in the early 1980s with the planning and the concept of a suitable armoured cruiser, which should not only meet the tasks set by a strong armoring and armament, but also be at least equal to other armoured cruisers of Great Britain and the German Empire. The result was the armoured cruiser Dupuy de Lôme.

On the basis of this ship the planning of an entire class of armoured cruisers was started at the end of the 1980s. Although they were based on the Dupuy de Lôme, they were to be smaller and, above all, cheaper, since the financial means for upgrading were limited.

The result was an armoured cruiser with a length of 110,2 metres, a width of 14,04 metres and a maximum displacement of 4.748 tonnes.

The main armament consisted again of 2 x 194 mm guns Modèle 1887 which stood in a single turret in front and behind on the ship. The secondary armament was however reduced by the caliber and instead of the previous 164 mm guns now only 6 x 138 mm guns were mounted. The main reason was the reduction of the weight and the cost saving. Further armament consisted of 4 x 65 mm, 4 x 47 mm, 8 x 37 mm guns and 4 x 450 mm torpedo tubes.

The armor along the ship's belt was up to 92 mm, the deck had an armor of 40 to 50 mm. The command turret was armoured with a thickness of 92 mm, the turrets also with 92 mm, which meant a clear reduction of the armor in contrast to the Dupuy de Lôme.

Two triple expanding steam engines, driven by 16 Belleville steam boilers with an output of 8,300 hp, served as propulsion. Thus the ship had a maximum speed of up to 19 knots.

The ship was named after the French Naval Admiral Léonard Victor Joseph Charner (1797 - 1869).

The Amiral Charner was launched on March 18, 1893 and put into service on August 26, 1895.



Admiral Léonard Charner, namesake of the ship


Drawing of the Amiral Charner Class




History of the Amiral Charner:

After the test runs and the commissioning, the Amiral Charner was assigned to the 2nd light division of the Mediterranean squadron, whereby it was also temporarily moved to the eastern Mediterranean.

From 6 January to 20 October 1896 it served as the flagship of the École supérieure de guerre de la marine. Together with the sister ship Latouche-Tréville and protected cruiser Suchet, French officers were to be prepared and trained for command at sea and for the staff.

Due to the Greek-Turkish war, the ship had to be assigned to the allied squadron near Crete from 10 February 1897 within the framework of the protection of French interests.

After the war, the Amiral Charner was moved back to its old squadron until it was assigned to the northern squadron with its home port in Brest in the first half of 1898. With an interruption of 3 months where the ship was again deployed in the Mediterranean, it remained in Brest until the end of the year and was then allocated to the reserve.

For the forthcoming service in the French colonies, some extensive maintenance work was carried out on the ship in January 1900, including the repair and replacement of steam pipes. From 26 June the ship served in French Indochina from where it also supported the Allied troops during the Boxer Uprising in mid-1901. On November 8, 1901 the ship returned to Toulon and was first serviced in the shipyard and some repairs were carried out.

After completion of the maintenance work, the Amiral Charner was assigned to the 3rd Armored cruiser Division on January 24, 1902, with which some maneuvers and exercises were carried out. Among them was also the defense of the access from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea, the blockade of enemy ports and the bombardment of positions.

On 15 January 1903, the ship was reassigned to the reserve until a short time later it was used in Toulon as a training ship for the gun crew.

From 13 May 1910 the ship served as a guard ship in Souda Bay on Crete until it was replaced by its sister ship Bruix in July 1912. The ship was then assigned to the reserve in Tunisia.



Armored cruiser Amiral Charner




Use in war:

When World War I broke out in Europe, the Amiral Charner was reactivated and served as an escort ship for troop transports between North Africa and France.

In November 1914 it was then assigned to the 3rd squadron in Port Said, Egypt with which the ship fired at several positions on the coasts of the Ottoman Empire. During one of these attacks the Amiral Charner ran aground off Dedeagatch, Bulgaria on 3 March 1915 and had to be towed by the Italian cargo ship Bosnia.

At the end of August 1915 the Amiral Charner together with the battleship Jauréguiberry and the protected cruiser Destrées were ordered to block the coast between Tripoli, Lebanon and El Arish in Egypt. In the meantime, on 11 and 12 September, the ships had to be withdrawn to take in Armenians fleeing from the Ottoman troops north of the Orontes Delta and bring them to safety.

Together with the armoured cruiser Jeanne d'Arc, the Amiral Charner also took part in the occupation of the island Kastelorizo on 28 December 1915.





On 8 February 1916 the Amiral Charner was on its way from Syria to Egypt when it was sighted and torpedoed by the German submarine U-21.

Within only 2 minutes the ship sank and of the 427 men on board only one could survive and was found after 5 days in the water.




Ship data:


Amiral Charner



Type of ship:  

Armored cruiser


Amiral Charner-Classe

Building yard:  

Arsenal de Rochefort

Building costs:  



March 18th, 1893


August 26th, 1895


Sunk by the German submarine U-21 on February 8th, 1916


110,2 meters


14,04 meters


Max. 6,06 meters


Max. 4.748 tons


394 men


16 Belleville steam boilers


8.300 HP (6.189 kW)

Maximum speed:  

19 knots (35 kilometers per hour)




2 × 194 mm guns

6 × 138 mm guns

4 × 65 mm guns

4 × 47 mm guns

8 × 37 mm guns

2 × 450 mm torpedo tubes


Belt: 90 mm
Deck: 40 - 50 mm
Gun turrets: 92 mm
Command bridge: 92 mm






You can find the right literature here:


French Battleships 1914–45 (New Vanguard)

French Battleships 1914–45 (New Vanguard) Paperback – January 22, 2019

This authoritative study examines the French Navy's last battleships, using detailed color plates and historical photographs, taking them from their inception before World War I, through their service in World War II including the scuttling of the French fleet at Toulon in 1943, and the service of Richelieu in the war against Japan.

On September 1, 1910, France became the last great naval power to lay down a dreadnought battleship, the Courbet. The ensuing Courbet and Bretagne-class dreadnoughts had a relatively quiet World War I, spending most of it at anchor off the entrance to the Adriatic, keeping watch over the Austro-Hungarian fleet. The constraints of the Washington Naval Treaty prevented new battleships being built until the 1930s, with the innovative Dunkerque-class and excellent Richelieu-class of battleships designed to counter new German designs.

After the fall of France in 1940, the dreadnoughts and fast battleships of the Marine Nationale had the unique experience of firing against German, Italian, British, and American targets during the war.

Click here!



French Battleships of World War One

French Battleships of World War One Hardcover – June 15, 2017

When war broke out in August 1914 France had only two dreadnoughts in service, with a second pair running trials. The main body of the elite Armée Navale was made up of the eleven battleships of the Patrie and Danton classes, both of which were intermediate designs with two main gun calibers. Older ships included survivors of the notorious Flotte d'echantillons ('fleet of samples') of the 1890 program and their successors designed during the 1890s.

This book traces the development of French battleships from 1890 to 1922, and also covers the extensive modifications made to the survivors during the interwar period. It is liberally illustrated throughout with line drawings and labelled schematics, plus photographs from the extensive Caresse collection, many of which are previously unpublished.

This is the most comprehensive account of these ships published in English or French, and is destined be the standard reference for many years to come.

Click here!



French Armoured Cruisers 1887–1932

French Armoured Cruisers 1887–1932 Hardcover – November 1, 2019

Of all the threats faced by the Royal Navy during the first years of the twentieth century, the one which stood out was the risk to Britain's sea lines of communication posed by France's armored cruisers. Fast, well-armed, and well-protected, these ships could have evaded any attempted blockade of the French ports and, supported by a worldwide network of overseas bases, could potentially have caused havoc on the trade routes.

The primary focus of the book is on the technical characteristics of the ships. Detailed and labeled drawings based on the official plans are provided by John Jordan, and each individual class of ship is illustrated by photographs from the extensive personal collection of Philippe Caresse. The technical section is followed by a history in two parts, covering the Great War (1914-18) and the postwar years, during which the surviving ships saw extensive deployment as "station" cruisers overseas and as training ships. This is the most comprehensive account published in English or in French and is destined to be the standard reference for many years to come.

Click here!



To Crown the Waves: The Great Navies of the First World War

To Crown the Waves: The Great Navies of the First World War Hardcover – July 15, 2013

The only comparative analysis available of the great navies of World War I--each chapter is written by a recognzed expert fluent in the subject language. The work studies the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom (John Roberts), the German Kaiserliche Marine (Dr. Peter Schenk with Axel Niestlé and Dieter Thomaier) the United States Navy (Trent Hone), the French Marine Nationale (Jean Moulin), the Italian Regia Marina (Enrico Cernuschi and Vincent P. O'Hara) the Austro-Hungarian Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine (Zvonimir Freivogel), and the Imperial Russian Navy (Stephen McLaughlin) to demonstrate why the war was won, not in the trenches, but upon the waves. It explains why these seven fleets fought the way they did and why the war at sea did not develop as the admiralties and politicians of 1914 expected.

After discussing each navy's goals and circumstances and how their individual characteristics impacted the way they fought, the authors deliver a side-by-side analysis of the conflict's fleets, with each chapter covering a single navy. Parallel chapter structures assure consistent coverage of each fleet--history, training, organization, doctrine, materiel, and operations--and allow readers to easily compare information among the various navies. The book clearly demonstrates how the naval war was a collision of 19th century concepts with 20th century weapons that fostered unprecedented development within each navy and sparked the evolution of the submarine and aircraft carrier. The work is free from the national bias that infects so many other books on World War I navies. As they pioneer new ways of viewing the conflict, the authors provide insights and material that would otherwise require a massive library and mastery of multiple languages. Such a study has special relevance today as 20th-century navies struggle to adapt to 21st-century technologies.

Click here!






This post is also available in: Deutsch (German) Français (French) Italiano (Italian) 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified)) Русский (Russian) Español (Spanish) العربية (Arabic)

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!