Armored cruiser Bruix

The armoured cruiser Bruix belonged to the Amiral Charner 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 Étienne Eustache Bruix (1759 - 1805).

The launch of the Bruix then took place on 2 August 1894, the commissioning on 1 December 1896.



Admiral Étienne Eustache Bruix, namesake of the ship


Drawing of the Amiral Charner Class




History of the Bruix:

After the trial runs and the commissioning the Bruix was first assigned to the Atlantic squadron to accompany the visit of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his wife in Dunkirk. However, during the visit there were problems with the steering of the ship, so that it had to enter the shipyard of Rochefort for repair. After that the ship was officially assigned to the Atlantic squadron.

On 18 August 1897 the Bruix, together with the protected cruiser Surcouf and the armoured cruiser Pothuau, was to accompany the French President Félix Faure to Russia. On leaving the port, another accident occurred when one of the piston rods broke and the ship had to be towed back to the port for repair.

After the repair was completed in January 1898, the ship was assigned to the French Asian squadron. Until October it had its home port in Saigon from where it made visits to the Philippines. On the way back, the starboard propeller was damaged on 20 November when the ship sailed through the Suez Canal. The following reparations lasted until the end of January 1899 before she was assigned to the Atlantic squadron again in February.

In June some port visits in Spain and Portugal were planned. However, this had to be broken off, when on 7 June again one of the piston rods broke. The reparation was used afterwards immediately to convert the ship for the tasks as flagship of a cruiser division.

In 1901 several manoeuvres and exercises were carried out with this division. On June 27 a British steamer collided with the Bruix and damaged its bow. Until January 10, 1902, the ship lay again in the shipyard.

After the reparations had been completed, manoeuvres were carried out again. On 5 May 1902, the volcano erupted on Mount Pelée and the ship supported the civilian rescue operation. The support lasted until the end of August of the year.

In 1903 the crew of the ship was reduced to the hull crew and the ship itself was assigned to the reserve. It was not until the end of 1906 that it was reactivated to be ready for service in Asia. From 15 November 1906 to 26 April 1909 the Bruix travelled through Asia and visited ports in Japan, China and Russia. On the way back, the ship collided with an Italian steamship. The Bruix was only slightly damaged, but had to be returned to the shipyard when entering her home port. The reparation that had been applied was also used to have major maintenance work carried out. However, this was repeatedly postponed due to a shortage of manpower, so that the ship was not operational again until January 1912.

In May of 1912, the ship was first deployed as a guard ship for Crete, then from 9 July it was deployed in the Levant, from where the situation during the Italian-Turkish war was observed.

On 25 April 1914 the ship returned to Bizerta and was overhauled there in the shipyard.



The Sister Ship, Armored cruiser Amiral Charner




Use in war:

When World War I broke out in Europe, the Bruix, together with other French warships, was assigned to accompany and secure troop transports between North Africa and France.

After the transports had been completed, the ship was sent to Cameroon in September to support the allied troops in the fight against the German colonial troops. The ship fired at several coastal towns from the water.

At the end of the year 1914 several reconstruction measures began on the ship which were completed in February 1915. Afterwards the transfer took place into the squadron before the Dardanelles, whereby the Bruix was used only for safety tasks in the Aegean Sea.

Since at the beginning of 1918 the danger was classified as small that both the Ottoman and the Austrian-Hungarian navy would leave, the Bruix was assigned to the reserve at the end of January. The reactivation did not take place until 29 November, after the armistice between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies was signed and the occupation of Constantinople began.




Post-war deployment:

From March to May 1919 the Bruix supported the allied warships in the Black Sea in their fight against the Bolshevists during the Russian Civil War. The ship also excluded German and Allied troops who had to be evacuated from Nikolaev in Ukraine. The Bruix did not participate in the later mutiny of parts of the crews of other French warships.

The return to France began for the Bruix on 5 May. First the ship returned via Constantinople on the 2nd of May. May it returned to Toulon, where it was subsequently allocated to the reserve.





Since considerations to convert the Bruix into a residential or merchant ship were considered too impractical, the ship was removed from the list of warships on 21 June 1920 and sold for scrapping on 21 June 1921.




Ship data:





Type of ship:  

Armored cruiser


Amiral Charner-Classe

Building yard:  

Arsenal de Rochefort

Building costs:  



August 2nd, 1894


December 1st, 1896


Sold for scrapping on 21 June 1921


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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