Armored cruiser Chanzy

The armoured cruiser Chanzy 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 general Antoine Eugène Alfred Chanzy (1823 - 1883).

The launch of the Chanzy then took place on 24 January 1894, the commissioning on 20 July 1895.



General Antoine Eugène Alfred Chanzy, namesake of the ship


Drawing of the Amiral Charner Class




History of Chanzy:

The original commissioning of the Chanzy was planned for 6 February 1894. However, as the problem with the propulsion system was already accumulating a few days after the first test runs had begun, the ship had to be returned to the shipyard and the problems had to be solved at great expense, which meant that it could only be put into service on 20 July 1895.

At first the Chanzy was assigned to the 1st light division of the Mediterranean squadron, on 18 May 1896 the change to the 4th light division took place. After some exercises and manoeuvres the ship was assigned to the reserve in August to have some reparations and maintenance carried out in Toulon. From 28 December 1896 it was operational again.

From 16 February 1897 the Chanzy supported the international fleet from France, Great Britain, the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and Russia during the war between Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Thus among other things at the beginning of March allied troops were brought on land at the south coast of Crete in order to evacuate Ottoman troops. The Chanzy already left the squadron on 25 February 1898 and returned to France to be reassigned to the reserve.

On 1 January 1899 the Chanzy was assigned again to the 1st light division with which the annual manoeuvres should be taken part. Before it came however on 20 February to an accident as one of the main steam pipes broke and 3 crew members injured. After the following repair the ship could take part as planned in the manoeuvres and also carry out round trips on the Balearic Islands and in the Aegean Sea.

At the beginning of 1901 the ship was assigned to a mission in the Levant, which it interrupted in the meantime in order to be able to participate in the annual maneuvers.

On 1 February 1902, the Chanzy returned to Toulon, where it lay unused in the port and was only allocated to the reserve after the introduction of the new Marseillaise armoured cruiser in May 1904.

In order to be ready for service in Asia, the Chanzy was reactivated and made ready for service on 15 September 1906. On 15 November, the ship left France for French Indochina, Hong Kong, China and Japan.



The sister ship Armored cruiser Amiral Charner





On 20 May, the Chanzy left the port of Shanghai in thick fog when it ran aground off Ballard Island at the Chusan Islands and got stuck. Attempts by the sister ship Bruix and the protected cruisers D'Entrecasteaux and Alger to free the Chanzy again did not bring success, because the weather was too bad for a larger salvage.

On June 1st the ship started to sink and the crew could be evacuated without any losses. On 12 June the rest of the ship was destroyed by the French ships.




Ship data:





Type of ship:  

Armored cruiser


Amiral Charner-Classe

Building yard:  

Chantiers et Ateliers de la Gironde, Bordeaux

Building costs:  



January 24th, 1894


July 20th, 1895


Run aground on May 20th, 1907, sunk on June 1st.


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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