Battleship Patrie

The battleship Patrie was the second and last ship of the République class, built in France at the beginning of the 20th century and one of the strongest battleships until the launch of the British HMS Dreadnought.


Launch and design:

In the wake of the French rearmament of the navy and the goal of having 24 battleships built and in service by the beginning of the 20th century, new criteria for the following ships were put out to tender by the French Ministry of the Navy after the construction of the battleship Suffren.

The new battleships were to be much more armoured and better armed than their predecessors. The ships already under construction by the designer Louis-Émile Bertin were taken as a basis, but adapted to the new requirements.

Thus the two planned ships of the République class had a length of 135,25 meters, a width of 24,25 meters and a displacement of 14.870 tons, which led to a draught of 8,2 meters.

The armament consisted of a total of 4 guns of the model Canon de 305 mm Modèle 1893/96 which lay in a twin turret in front and behind. Further armament consisted of 18 x 164 mm guns, 24 x 47 mm guns and 2 x 450 mm torpedo tubes.

The armour on the belt consisted of a 280 mm armour, the deck was newly constructed so that 2 armour decks were created. The upper deck had 54 mm armour, the lower deck 51 mm. The two twin turrets were armored with 360 mm steel, the turrets of the middle artillery with up to 138 mm.

Three vertical triple expansion engines with an output of 17.500 hp were installed as propulsion, which brought the ship to a maximum speed of 18 knots.

The Patrie was launched on 17 December 1903 and put into service on 1 July 1907.



Drawing of the République Class


Drawing of the battleship Patrie




History of Patrie:

Shortly before completion, the patrie for the remaining work was in the dry dock of Toulon when a heavy explosion occurred on the neighbouring battleship Iéna. The crew of the Patrie tried to flood the dry dock by firing at the gate, but the grenades bounced off the gate without destroying it.

During a subsequent test run in May 1907, an accident occurred on the Patrie itself when a condenser tube burst and the hot steam seriously injured several crew members. The ship had to go back to the shipyard of Toulon to repair the damage. After the repair it could be handed over to the French navy on July 1st, 1907.

The Patrie was assigned together with the sister ship République to the 1st squadron of the Mediterranean fleet. With this the ship undertook in the years 1907, 1908 and 1909 several maneuvers and exercises in the Mediterranean and in the Atlantic, among them also some journeys in the ports of the African colonies.

In 1910, exercises were carried out with other battleships, including a simulated attack on the port of Nice on 18 February. The Patrie shot down one of its torpedoes, which accidentally hit the République and severely damaged it.

On 29 March 1910, the ship took part in the opening of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco together with the destroyers Coutelas and Cognée. Afterwards, the annual manoeuvres in the Mediterranean were again carried out, which had to be interrupted in December when typhoid fever spread under the crew of the ships.

Further manoeuvres were carried out in 1911 until the new Danton class battleships were handed over to the French navy in August and assigned to the 1st squadron. The older battleships Patrie, République and the ships of the Liberté class were then assigned to the 2nd squadron.

Until June 1914 the annual manoeuvres and round trips to the Mediterranean ports were carried out with this squadron as well. After the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Serbia and the subsequent political tensions in Europe, the French battleships were ordered to remain close to their home ports and on alert.




Battleship Patrie




Use in war:

When the First World War broke out in Europe, the French warships in the Mediterranean were ordered to travel to Algeria and accompany the troop transports there to France, since the leadership of the French navy feared that German ships could attack these transports.

After this task was completed and both France and Great Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary on August 12, 1914, the French warships were sent to the southern Adriatic to force the Austrian-Hungarian fleet to leave the port and fight them. However, only the two ships Zenta and Ulan were tracked down, whereby in the following battle the Zenta could be sunk, but the Ulan escaped. The rest of the fleet remained in the safe harbours.

Until December 1914 the ships patrolled the coasts and shelled some fortifications. When the French battleship Jean Bart was attacked by a submarine, the French battleships retreated to the southern Mediterranean because they were insufficiently protected against torpedoes.

After Italy entered the war against Austria-Hungary in 1915, the Italian navy took over the tasks of security and the French warships withdrew mainly to the ports of Malta and Bizerte.

The Patrie was transferred to the Dardanelles in May 1916 to support the Allied ships and troops there. When shortly after the landing in Gallipoli had to be stopped and the allied troops withdrew, the Patrie also supported the retreat by firing at the Ottoman positions.

Afterwards the ships of the République and Liberté class were put together in the 3rd squadron and sent to Saloniki in Greece. There the ships should increase the pressure on the Greek government not to take part in the war at the side of the German Reich and Austria-Hungary, but to join the Allies. In August 1916, a group of putschists prepared the overthrow of the Greek monarch with the aim of joining the Allies in the war. This group was supported by French and British soldiers who went ashore in Athens on 1 December. However, the group was quickly pushed back by Greek soldiers and armed civilians. The Allied warships then blocked the Greek ports. After the abdication of the monarch in June 1917, the 3rd squadron was dissolved again and the Patrie was transferred to the eastern Mediterranean.

For the remainder of 1917, the French battleships remained mainly in the ports, including the Patrie, whose crew had to be deployed partly for the submarines.

The year 1918 was similar, but the time was used for repairs and maintenance. In July 1918, a virus also spread on the ship, killing 11 crew members and leaving another 475 unfit for service.

The Patrie remained in the port of Mudros until the end of the war, as neither the warships of Austria-Hungary nor those of the Ottoman Empire left for battle.




Post-war deployment:

Immediately after the end of the war the Patrie was sent to the Black Sea to support the allied troops in their intervention in the Russian civil war.

When the Ottoman Empire collapsed and was at war with Greece, the Patricians were ordered to Constantinople. Due to a lack of personnel, however, the ship could only be used as a depot and as a residential ship. It left Constantinople again on 5 June 1919 and arrived in Toulon on 15 June, where it replaced the armoured cruiser Victor Hugo as a training ship on 1 August.

On 19 February 1921 the ship was transferred to the school for torpedo crews and electricians. There it came on 20 May 1924 with an exercise to an explosion of a grenade, which killed 8 crew members and further 5 injured. There was another accident a little later on June 3rd, when a torpedo shot down turned and hit the fuselage of the Patrie. The subsequent repair lasted from 15 August to 15 September 1924.

When the ship was operational again, it was used as a stationary training ship in Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer, where it remained until 1936.





After its decommissioning, the Patrie was sold on 25 September 1937 and then scrapped.




Ship data:





Type of ship:  




Building yard:  

La Seyne

Building costs:  



December 17th, 1903


July 1st, 1907


Sold and scrapped on September 25, 1937


135,25 meters


24,25 meters


Max. 8,2 meters


Max. 14.870 tons


742 men


3 vertical triple expansion machines


17.500 HP

Maximum speed:  

18 knots (33 kilometres per hour)




4 × 305 mm guns

18 × 164 mm guns

24 × 47 mm guns

2 × 450 mm torpedo tubes


Belt: 280 mm
Upper deck: 54 mm
Lower deck: 51 mm
Main guns: 360 mm
Towers: 138 mm
Control tower: 266 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.

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