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






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