Armored cruiser Latouche-Tréville

The armoured cruiser Latouche-Tréville 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 Vice Admiral Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville (1745 - 1804).

The launch of the Latouche-Tréville then took place on 5 November 1892, the commissioning on 6 May 1895.



Vice Admiral Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville, namesake of the ship


Drawing of the Amiral Charner Class




History of Latouche-Tréville:

After the commissioning the Latouche-Tréville was first assigned to the Atlantic squadron with which the ship participated on 6 August 1895 in a naval parade in honour of the French president Félix Faure. On 11 January 1896 she was transferred to the 2nd Light Division of the Mediterranean Squadron.

Together with the sister ship Amiral Charner and the protected cruiser Suchet, the Latouche-Tréville also served for a short time as a training ship for the École supérieure de guerre de la marine until it was assigned to the reserve on 20 October 1896.

Due to the Greek-Turkish war, the Latouche-Tréville was reactivated at the beginning of March 1897 and sent to Crete on 17 March to support the allied ships. The mission lasted until June 24 until the ship was withdrawn, allocated to the reserve and then on October 18 again allocated to the 2nd Light Division.

In the following years the ship took part in a naval parade in honour of King Umberto I of Italy and in manoeuvres and shooting exercises. The operations were interrupted only in the period from 1 February to 1 May 1901 when Latouche-Tréville had to go to the shipyard for repair after the front turret had been damaged during a shooting exercise.

From 7 May 1903, the ship lay in Syra as part of the eastern Mediterranean squadron. Together with the other ships, Naples was called in April 1904, followed by a round trip through the Mediterranean Sea before the ship was reassigned to the reserve on 22 July, when the new armoured cruiser Kléber replaced the Latouche-Tréville in the 2nd Light Division.

During the subsequent maintenance some modernizations were also carried out. Among other things, all 37 mm guns were removed and the number of 47 mm guns increased from 4 to 8. In addition, the electrical system of the gun turrets was replaced and minor changes were made.

The conversion was completed at the beginning of February 1907 and the Latouche-Tréville was assigned to the marksmen's school on 15 February 1907 for the training of the operating crews. An accident occurred on September 22, 1908, when the load of one of the guns misfired. The explosion killed 14 crew members and injured 5. The subsequent reparation lasted until the end of the year.

The re-allocation to the reserve took place on 1 January 1912 until 20 November. The ship was then reactivated and prepared for service in the Levant. On 16 December the ship reached Port Said in Egypt. The operation was interrupted in the period from 8 November 1913 to 26 December 1913 by the stay in Bizerta in Tunisia, when some maintenance work and conversions had to be carried out. On July 29, 1914, the Latouche-Tréville had to return to Bizerta in order to hand over superfluous equipment, since after the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne in Serbia the political tensions in Europe increased and the French navy prepared for a war.



Armored cruiser Latouche-Tréville




Use in war:

When World War I broke out in Europe, the Latouche-Tréville was classified as an escort for troop transports between North Africa and France, as the French naval leadership feared that the convoys could be attacked by German ships.

After the transports had been completed, the ship served to secure the Strait of Otranto in order to prevent German ships from breaking through from the eastern Mediterranean.

On 5 February 1915 the ship was transferred to the Dardanelles to support the squadron of British and French ships there. From there it was assigned to the Syrian squadron for a short time on 20 March and began bombarding Ottoman positions along the coast in Gaza and Palestine. From the 4th of June, the bombardment of positions by the Latouche-Tréville began at the Dardanelles. The rear turret was hit by an Ottoman grenade and 2 crew members died, 5 others were injured.

After a brief repair of the damage, the ship was deployed in the Aegean Sea from 17 June to 20 August to hunt submarines. After a further reparation in Toulon from 27 August to 21 September, the ship was again transferred to the Aegean to support the Allied fleet near Thessaloniki, Greece, which had already begun to exert pressure on Greece not to join Austria-Hungary and the German Reich in the war. This mission ended for Latouche-Tréville on 5 January 1916 to be overhauled and maintained in Toulon.

From 9 February 1916, the ship was transferred to the eastern Mediterranean to pursue mainly patrol tasks.

On 18 December 1917 the ship was transferred from the eastern Mediterranean back to Toulon where it was reassigned to the reserve and served as a training ship.





After the war, the Latouche-Tréville was decommissioned on 1 May 1919 and removed from the list of warships on 21 June 1920.

In the period from 4 September 1920 to 1925, the company that scrapped the wreck of the battleship Liberté used the ship as a barrackship and workshop. After completion of the work, it was sold in 1926 and also scrapped.




Ship data:





Type of ship:  

Armored cruiser


Amiral Charner-Classe

Building yard:  

Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, Granville

Building costs:  



November 5th, 1892


May 6th, 1895


1926 sold and scrapped


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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