La Gloire

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Drawing of La Gloire
Drawing of La Gloire
Type Steam frigate , armored ship


Keel laying March 1858
Launch November 24, 1859
Namesake in German: "Der Ruhm"
1. Period of service flag
period of service

19 years

Commissioning August 1860
Decommissioning 1879
home port Cherbourg
Whereabouts Scrapped in 1883
Technical specifications
first sea-going ironclad

5630 t


77.9 m


17 m


8.5 m


front 7.03 m, rear 8.49 m




12.8 knots

  • 36 × 162 mm guns (rifled barrel)

after 1866:

  • 8 × 239 mm guns
  • 6 × 193 mm guns

Belt: 110–119 mm iron

The French steam frigate La Gloire ("The Glory") was the world's first deep-sea ironclad . The design comes from the French shipbuilding engineer Henri Dupuy de Lôme .



The La Gloire was built under the impression of the experience made by the French during the Crimean War that only armor could protect ships from the new high-explosive shells. The naval engineer Henri Dupuy de Lôme had already submitted a draft for an iron-built and armored warship in 1845, but the French government had rejected it. As Dupuy de Lôme in 1857, d. H. after the Crimean War , submitted plans again, the navy accepted the plans. Construction began in March 1858 in Toulon. Dupuy de Lôme constructed the ship in composite construction ; he had the keel and frames made of iron, but paneled the La Gloire with wood. Iron armor lay over the planking . Because of this construction but the life of the sister ships Normandie and Invincible was short; after ten years they were scrapped.

Consequences of the development of La Gloire

The development of the La Gloire represents an important turning point in warship construction. As early as 1860, the British decided to build such a ship as well. They called it the Warrior , and it was the first ironclad made entirely of iron. Other countries also recognized the advantages of reinforcement and the urgency of this, as every nation wanted to keep pace and upgraded. Germany's first ironclad, the SMS Arminius , appeared in 1864.


The La Gloire had a steam engine in addition to the rigging that was still common at that time with a sail area of ​​1100 m². The horizontal plunger piston engine was fired with eight boilers and made 2537 hp. The power was transferred to a propeller. The maximum speed of the ship was 12.8 knots.


The frigate was equipped with 36 162 mm guns . The decision was not made to use smoothbore guns as intended, but rather guns with rifled barrel. Two of the guns were on the upper deck, the rest in the battery . In 1866 the battery ship was converted into a central battery ship and the configuration was changed to eight 239 mm guns and six 192 mm guns.


The main innovation of the La Gloire , her tank , was a belt armor, which extended from 1.8 m below the waterline to the upper deck. It was 110–119 mm thick in the middle and thinner towards the ends of the ship. The type of armor plates they planned to use were tested by the French government. Armored plates from various companies were fired at with the most powerful gun at the time, a 68-pound smooth-barreled gun. In fact, the iron withstood the bullets. However, because of the heavy weight of the armor, 1 cm of iron had to be attached to reinforce the hull under the upper wooden deck. The armor plates themselves were relatively small at 1.76 × 0.5 m. The entire tank weighed 812 t.


  • Robert Gardiner (Ed.): Steam, steel and shellfire. The steam warship, 1815-1905 . Conway Maritime Press, London 1992, ISBN 0-85177-608-6 ( Conway's history of the ship ).
  • Tony Gibbons (Ed.): The world of ships. From the beginning to the present. Over 1500 civil and military ship types . Bassermann, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-8094-2186-3 .
  • Eberhard Urban : Ships . Naumann & Göbel Verlagsgesellschaft, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-625-11412-3 .
  • J. Rudloff: The introduction of armor in warship construction . In: Contributions to the history of technology and industry . Berlin 1910, 2, pp. 1-57.

Web links

Commons : La Gloire  - collection of images, videos and audio files