Dunois class Torpedo Cruisers

France (1897)
Dunois, La Hire

A strange mix of characteristics

The Torpedo Cruiser was a development of the controversial Jeune École (“Young school”) a strategic naval concept that argued that the large ironclad battleships then being built in Europe could be easily and cheaply defeated by small torpedo-armed warships. Most nations including UK would built some in the 1880-1890s but the concept proved ill-fated and most of these ships were used for other tasks in 1914.

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Dunois in 1914

The Dunois class

Dunois and La Hire, named after two famous knights who fought alongside with Joan of Arc, followed the class of d’Iberville, but differed in that they adopted reversed bridges in their design, bottom front and rear. They were lighter, but despite more power (hp 7500 against 5000), failed to exceed 22 knots. Wrongly classified as TB destroyers as being too slow, they were none the less neither really destroyers of cruisers, as they did not possessed Torpedo tubes.

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Lahire in 1914

Operational carrer

Dunois spend the most of the great war as a gunboat, offering an artillery support to the British troops from Dunkirk. She was removed from the lists in 1920. Lahire, assigned as a gunnery training ship in Toulon made patrols throughout the Mediterranean. In 1918, a short overhaul saw her equipped with two 100 mm Model 1917 guns and six recent QF 47 mm plus deep charge racks. She will be removed from service, stricken and paid off in 1922.

Links

List of French Torpedo Cruisers
French torpedo cruisers
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1860-1906.

Provence class specifications

Dimensions 166 x 26,9 x 9,8 m
Displacement 899 tonnes FL
Crew 137
Propulsion 2 screws, 4 Normand Sigaudy, boilers, 7500 hp
Speed 22 knots (40.7 km/h; 25.3 mph)
Armament 2 x 65 mm, 6 x 47 mm QF
Armor None

Gallery

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Dunois in 1914

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The Dunois in the 1890s

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Dunois and cruiser Gloire in the Mediterranean, 1900s