Battleship Henri IV

The Henri IV battleship was designed by the naval architect Louis-Émile Bertin, who designed a small, hard to hit battleship to arm the French navy.


Launch and design:

After the beginning of the 90s of the 19th century in France with the extensive building of battleships in the course of the statute Naval was begun, the famous French naval architect Louis-Émile Bertin delivered a draft to the marine ministry, which planned a smaller, more compact battleship. The background was Bertin's calculation that a more compact design of the superstructure significantly reduced the height of the ship and thus the risk of getting a hit. The Ministry of the Navy was interested in the proposal, and the contract for the construction of this ship was finally awarded.

In order to make the ship more compact, the length was limited to 108 metres and the width to 22,2 metres. The weight was also reduced to only 8.807 tons due to the savings in superstructures, which meant that the draught was only 7,5 meters.

As armament, 2 x 274 mm guns were selected in a single turret at the front and rear. Further armament consisted of 7 x 138,6 mm, 12 x 47 mm guns and 2 x 450 mm torpedo tubes.

The armour on the ship's belt consisted only of up to 280 mm thick steel. In contrast to other battleships, this was only half the armour, which resulted in very little protection against torpedoes. Also the deck was only weakly armoured with 60 mm. Only the armour of the main guns with 305 mm and those of the middle artillery with up to 115 mm were relatively heavily armoured.

Three vertical triple expansion steam engines, each driving one screw, served as the drive. The required power of 11.500 hp was provided by 24 Niclausse boilers, which brought the ship up to a maximum speed of 17 knots.

The Henri IV was then launched on 23 August 1899 and commissioned in September 1903.




History of Henri IV:

After the commissioning and the test runs the ship was assigned to the Mediterranean squadron.

With this the annual maneuvers and exercises were accomplished and also adjacent ports were called.



Side view of the battleship Henri IV




Use in war:

At the beginning of the First World War, Henri IV was used to secure the port of Bizerte in Tunisia.

In November 1914, three of the 138.6 mm guns were dismantled to make them available to the allied troops in Serbia.

In February 1915 the allocation took place into the Syria squadron with the positions of the Ottoman Empire in Syria, in Lebanon and in Palestine should be bombarded.

After the Allies began to land troops at the Dardanelles and there were the first losses of warships by naval mines, the Henri IV was called in to replace the sunk Bouvet and the severely damaged Gaulois. During the operation, the ship took part in the firing of Ottoman positions on the Asian side of the Dardanelles from 18 March 1915. From 25 April 1915, the ship provided fire support to the French troops that had gone ashore, and was hit 8 times, but received only minor damage.

In the year 1916 the Henri IV was assigned first to the reserve squadron, afterwards to the French east division in Egypt, where the ship remained up to the end of the war.





After the war, the Henri IV served as a depot ship in Taranto. In 1920 it was finally removed from the list of warships, sold and scrapped in 1921.




Ship data:


Henri IV



Type of ship:  



Single ship

Building yard:  


Building costs:  

15.660.000 francs


August 23rd, 1899


September 1903


1920 sold and from 1921 scrapped


108 meters


22,2 meters


Max. 7,5 meters


Max. 8.807 tons


464 men


24 Niclausse water tube boiler

3 vertical triple expansion machines


11.500 HP (8.600 kW)

Maximum speed:  

17 knots (31 kilometres per hour)




2 × 274 mm guns

7 × 138,6 mm guns

12 × 47 mm guns

2 × 450 mm torpedo tubes


Belt: up to 280 mm
Deck: up to 60 mm
Main guns: 305 mm
Towers: 115 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!






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