Battleship Vérité

The battleship Vérité was the third ship of the Liberté class, which consisted of a total of 4 ships and was built at the beginning of the 20th century for the French navy.


Launch and design:

Originally the 4 ships of the Liberté class were meant as ships of the République class, which should consist of 8 battleships instead of 4. Since at this time in Great Britain the ships of the King Edward VII class were built and had a clearly stronger middle artillery with 230 mm caliber guns, however, a revision and adjustment of the last 4 ships of the République class was demanded at short notice by the French marine ministry.

Ironically, the ships of the République class should already have a stronger middle artillery, but before construction this was rejected by the Navy Ministry, now it should be made up.

Thus the basic construction of the ships was retained, only the planned 164 mm guns were replaced by 194 mm guns. Thus the length of the ships remained with 135,25 meters, the width with 24,25 meters and the displacement with 14.900 tons.

The main guns of 4 x 305 mm in two twin turrets at the front and rear of the ship were also retained. The new 194 mm guns were housed in 6 individual turrets and 4 in casemates in the hull of the ship. Further 13 x 65 mm guns and 10 x 47 mm guns were added.

The main belt along the ship was equipped with 280 mm thick armour. The principle of the double deck was also adopted, with the upper deck retaining 54 mm armour and the lower deck 51 mm. The two twin turrets of the main guns were armoured with 360 mm, those of the middle artillery and casemates between 156 and 174 mm.

Three vertical triple expansion steam engines, driven by 22 Belleville boilers and with an output of 17.500 hp, served as propulsion. This enabled a maximum speed of 18 knots.

The Vérité was launched on 28 May 1907 and put into service on 11 September 1908.



Drawing of the Liberté Class





History of the Vérité:

After the commissioning and the test runs the Vérité was assigned to the 2nd squadron of the Mediterranean fleet where the sister ships Justice and Liberté were already deployed.

With this squadron a journey was undertaken in October to the port of Bizerte. At the end of December, the Vérité, together with the battleship Justice and the two destroyers Carquois and Fanfare, took part in the relief operation for civilians who were dependent on Sicily for relief supplies after an earthquake.

From February to April 1909, exercises were again carried out from Corsica in the Mediterranean, then some of the squadron's battleships, including the Vérité, were transferred to the Atlantic to carry out exercises with the warships there, which were also watched by the Russian tsar. In his honour, a large reception was also held on the Vérité on 12 September. Immediately afterwards, until 27 October, the Vérité was one of the French warships that participated in the 300th anniversary of the discovery of the Hudson River in the United States of America.



The battleship Vérité visiting the United States of America



In 1910 a simulated attack on the port of Nice began in cooperation with ships of the Atlantic squadron. In May a manoeuvre of the 1st squadron of the Mediterranean fleet followed, which was supplemented by the ships of the 2nd squadron in June. In the next months further exercises were accomplished, which had to be interrupted only in December for some time, when typhoid fever spread on the ships.

In April 1911, Vérité took part in the visit of the French Minister of the Navy and the Minister of Public Works, Posts and Telegraphs to Bizerte, during which a naval parade was held together with two British battleships, two Italian battleships and a Spanish cruiser. In May, together with the rest of the squadron, the ship made a tour of the Mediterranean, visiting the ports of Cagliari, Bizerte, Bône, Philippeville, Algiers and Bougie. In August 1911 the battleships of the Danton class were handed over to the French navy and assigned to the 1st squadron of the Mediterranean fleet. Manoeuvres of the new ships followed together with the battleships of the 2nd squadron. On the 25th of September a serious accident occurred in the drydoch in Toulon on the Liberté when the propellants of the grenades exploded and destroyed the ship. Flying parts also hit the adjacent Vérité and caused minimal damage to the ship. However, crew members were not injured. After a short repair, a round trip to the ports of southern France was undertaken by the end of the year.

On 22 January 1912, the Vérité was one of the French ships lying in the port of Valletta when British King George V and Queen Mary arrived from India on their voyage to visit the warships. For the rest of the year, the annual exercises and manoeuvres were again carried out in the Mediterranean.

1913 began from February with renewed manoeuvres. In May, the largest manoeuvre to date was carried out when 16 French battleships took part. On the night of 19 to 20 December 1913, the Vérité, Justice, République and Démocratie battleships lay in the port of Les Salins as a heavy storm raged. The démocratie was pushed from its berth and collided with the Justice, destroying its anchor chain and tearing off two of the armour plates from the bow. Both ships were then sent to Toulon for repair.

Until mid-1914, the annual manoeuvres in the Mediterranean were again carried out, until after the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the diplomatic situation in Serbia became more and more acute and the French warships were ordered to remain close to their home ports and on alert.



Battleship Vérité


Battleship Vérité


Battleship Vérité




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.

On September 24, the Vérité was transferred to the Dardanelles, when the Allies began to carry out a major invasion of the peninsula against the Ottoman Empire. The task of the British and French battleships was to attack the Ottoman warships as soon as they came out of their ports. When they did not leave, however, the ships were ordered to bombard and destroy the Ottoman positions and fortifications. The British ships took over the European side of the peninsula, the French ships the Asian side. The Vérité together with the battleship Suffren took over this task, as well as the later blockade of the trade routes into the Ottoman Empire and the control of merchant ships. On 18 December 1915, the Vérité was withdrawn from the Dardanelles.

At the beginning of 1916, the 3rd squadron was built, which was strengthened in June with the ships Vérité , 2 of their sister ships, the battleship Suffren and the ships of the République class. This was then sent to Greece to exert pressure on the monarch and prevent him from entering the war alongside the Ottoman Empire and the German Empire. In August 1916, a group of putschists prepared the overthrow of the Greek monarch with the aim of entering the war alongside the Allies. 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 Vérité was assigned to the 2nd squadron again in July.

The ships of the squadron spent the rest of 1917 and most of 1918 in the port of Corfu. On the one hand this was due to the continuing shortage of coal and on the other hand because neither the warships of Austria-Hungary nor those of the Ottoman Empire left their ports and therefore no battles took place.

After the negotiations about an armistice between the participating states began, a part of the squadron was sent to Constantinople to supervise the transfer of the warships of the Ottoman Empire, including the battleship Vérité, the other part was sent to the Black Sea to supervise the return of the Russian warships from Germany.





In contrast to the other ships of the Liberté class, the Vérité was neither used in the Black Sea to support the allied troops in the Russian Civil War nor to monitor the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Shortly after the end of the war, the Vérité returned to France, where the ship was assigned to the reserve on 1 August 1919.

On 18 May 1921 the ship was removed from the register of warships, sold and scrapped in Italy from 1922.




Ship data:





Type of ship:  




Building yard:  

Forges et Chantiers de la Gironde, Bordeaux

Building costs:  



May 28th, 1907


September 11th, 1908


1922 sold and scrapped in Italy


135,25 meters


24,25 meters


Max. 8,2 meters


Max. 14.900 tons


742 men

Drive: 22 Belleville steam boiler

3 Vertical triple expansion machines


17.500 HP

Maximum speed:  

18 knots (33 kilometres per hour)




4 × 305 mm guns

10 × 194 mm guns

13 × 65 mm guns

10 × 47 mm guns

2 × 450 mm torpedo tubes


Belt: 280 mm
Upper deck: 54 mm
Lower deck: 51 mm
Main guns: 360 mm
Towers: up to 174 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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