Armored cruiser Condé

The armoured cruiser Condé belonged to the Gloire class, which consisted of a total of 5 ships and was to form a larger and improved version of the ships of the Gueydon class.


Launch and design:

Since the beginning of the 90s of the 19th century, work has been underway on concepts to provide the French Navy with large protected cruisers to serve the colonies. In 1895 the naval architect Emile Bertin took over the management of the project. His first action was to transform the concept of the large protected cruiser Jeanne d'Arc into an armoured cruiser in order to build a class of ships that would block and disrupt the enemy's trade routes in a later war.

In addition to the Jeanne d'Arc, the ships of the Amiral Charner were also the first to build a class of armoured cruisers designed from the ground up. However, these were still too much based on the principle of the large protected cruisers, so that shortly afterwards Emile Bertin developed a smaller and cheaper variant of armoured cruisers with the ships of the Gueydon class.

However, the Gueydon class did not prove to be sufficient overall, so that shortly after its release by the French Ministry of the Navy a successor model was developed and which was to be somewhat larger and improved again.

The resulting Gloire class should consist of 5 ships with a length of 139,8 meters and a width of 20,2 meters. The displacement was 10.223 tons with a draught of 7,7 meters.

The armament remained with the main guns at 2 x 194 mm guns of the Modèle 1896. The caliber of the secondary armament was also taken over by the ships of the Gueydon class, only the number differed. This again consisted of 8 x 164 mm, the number of 100 mm guns was increased from 4 to 6. Also the number of the 47 mm guns was increased from 10 to 18, but the 37 mm guns were omitted.

The armour on the ship's belt was also significantly increased. This was reinforced from 150 to 170 mm, and the deck was also reinforced from 55 to 63 mm. The armour of the turrets remained at 173 mm.

Once again, three vertical triple expansion steam engines were used as propulsion, but these were driven by 28 Niclausse boilers. The output thus increased by only 500 to a total of 20.500 hp, which meant that the top speed only rose slightly to 21 knots.

The Condé was then launched on 12 March 1902 and put into service on 12 August 1904.



Armored cruiser Condé




History of the Condé:

The only significant deployment of the Condé before the First World War was the observation of the occupation of the Mexican port of Veracruz by the United States. After a bloody coup d'état in Mexico in 1913, Victoriano Huerta briefly took control of Mexico. Diplomatic relations between his country and the United States deteriorated after nine American sailors were arrested on April 9, 1914, after leaving their ship in port and going ashore. Although they were later released and Mexico formally apologized for the arrest, a cannon salute requested by the American captain was refused. Thereupon the US Navy began to occupy the port. The French ship Condé was sent to the vicinity of the port by France for reconnaissance and information gathering. An intervention in the conflict was however excluded.




Use in war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the Condé was assigned to the training squadron together with the sister ships of the Gloire class, which strengthened the 2nd light squadron of the Atlantic fleet in Brest.

Until 1915, the squadron patrolled the Western Channel to intercept merchant ships on their way to the German Empire.

After completion of the mission, the Gloire class ships were used as escorts for merchant ships and troop transports in the Caribbean and later from the United States to Europe.





After the war, the Condé was assigned to the reserve fleet and used as a barrackship in Lorient from 1933.

After France had to surrender to Germany on 22 June 1940, the German navy took over the ship and used it as a barrackship for the submarines in Lorient.

In 1944 the ship was so badly damaged in an allied bombing raid that it sank in the harbour. After the war the ship was lifted and scrapped.




Ship data:





Type of ship:  

Armored cruiser



Building yard:  

Arsenal de Lorient

Building costs:  



March 12th, 1902


August 12th, 1904


1944 sunk during bombing raid, 1945 lifted and scrapped


139,8 metres


20,2 metres


Maximum 7,7 metres


Maximum 10.223 tons


612 men




three vertical triple expansion steam engines

28 Niclausse boiler


20.500 HP (15.300 kW)

Maximum speed:  

21 knots (39 kilometres per hour)




2 × 194 mm guns

8 × 164 mm guns

6 × 100 mm guns

18 × 47 mm guns

5 × 450 mm torpedo tubes


Belt: 106 - 170 mm
Deck: 45 - 63 mm
Turrets: 173 mm
Bulkheads: 102 - 127 mm
Command tower: 152 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.

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.

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