French battleship Patrie

Patrie at her mooring
Name: Patrie
Laid down: 1 April 1902
Launched: 17 December 1903
Commissioned: December 1906
Fate: Broken up for scrap, 1928
General characteristics
Class and type: République-class pre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement: 14,605 t (14,374 long tons; 16,099 short tons)
Length: 133.81 m (439.0 ft) pp
Beam: 24.26 m (79.6 ft)
Draft: 8.41 m (27.6 ft)
Propulsion: 3 triple-expansion steam engines, 18,000 shp (13,000 kW)
Speed: 19 knots (35 km/h)
Complement: 766825

Patrie was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the French Navy built in the early 1900s. She had one sister ship, République. Patrie was laid down at the La Seyne shipyard in April 1902, launched in December 1903, and completed three years later in December 1906, the same time as the revolutionary British battleship HMS Dreadnought. Armed with a main battery of four 305 mm (12.0 in) guns, she was outclassed by Dreadnought, which mounted ten guns of the same caliber, by the time she entered service.

Patrie served in the Mediterranean Fleet for the duration of her career. She accidentally torpedoed République during fleet maneuvers in 1910. After the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, she covered troop convoys from Algeria to France, and participated in the sinking of the Austro-Hungarian cruiser SMS Zenta later that month. She spent the majority of the war in Corfu at the mouth of the Adriatic Sea, to keep the Austro-Hungarian fleet bottled up in the Adriatic. In May 1916, she shot down a German zeppelin off Salonica. The ship was eventually stricken in 1921 and broken up for scrap thereafter.


Line-drawing of the République class

Patrie was laid down at the La Seyne shipyard on 1 April 1902, launched on 17 December 1903, and completed in December 1906,[1] at the same time as the revolutionary British battleship HMS Dreadnought, which rendered the pre-dreadnoughts like Patrie outdated.[2] The ship was 133.81 meters (439 ft 0 in) long between perpendiculars and had a beam of 24.26 m (79 ft 7 in) and a full-load draft of 8.41 m (27 ft 7 in). She displaced 14,900 metric tons (14,700 long tons; 16,400 short tons) at full load, slightly more than her sister République. She had a crew of between 766 and 825 officers and enlisted men. She was powered by three vertical triple expansion engines with twenty-four Niclausse boilers. They were rated at 18,000 indicated horsepower (13,000 kW) and provided a top speed of 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph). Coal storage amounted to 1,800 t (1,800 long tons; 2,000 short tons).[1]

Patrie's main battery consisted of four Canon de 305 mm Modèle 1893/96 guns mounted in two twin gun turrets, one forward and one aft. The secondary battery consisted of eighteen Canon de 164 mm Modèle 1893 guns; twelve were mounted in twin turrets, and six in casemates in the hull. She also carried twenty-five 3-pounder guns. The ship was also armed with two 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes submerged in the hull. The ship's main belt was 280 mm (11.0 in) thick and the main battery was protected by up to 350 mm (13.8 in) of armor. The conning tower had 305 mm (12.0 in) thick sides.[1]

Service history

While Patrie was still conducting sea trials on 29 May 1907, a condenser pipe in one of her boilers burst. Several stokers were scalded, and the ship had to return to Toulon to have the condenser pipe replaced.[3] After entering service, she was assigned to the 1st Division of the Mediterranean Fleet, along with her sister République and Suffren, the divisional flagship.[4] She was present for the annual summer maneuvers in JuneJuly of that year, where she acted with several other battleships as a hostile force.[5] While in a drydock on 3 July 1907, the battleship Iéna suffered a catastrophic magazine explosion that destroyed the ship; Patrie was moored nearby. Her commanding officer attempted to flood the dock to put out the inferno by firing one of Patrie's secondary guns at the dock gate, but the shell bounced off and did not penetrate it. The dock was finally flooded when Ensign de Vaisseau Roux (who was killed shortly afterward by fragments from the ship) managed to open the sluice gates.[6]

During the 1910 gunnery training exercises, Patrie suffered mechanical problems with her sighting equipment that disabled one of her main battery turrets.[7] In 1910 the battleship again was in an accident; while on maneuvers in the Gulf of Jouan, Patrie launched a torpedo that inadvertently struck her sister République. Her hull was damaged, and she was forced to put into Toulon for repairs.[8]

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Patrie was assigned to the 1st Division of the 2nd Squadron in the Mediterranean, along with République and the flagship, Vérité; this was the main battle fleet of the French Navy.[9] The French fleet was initially used to cover the movement of French troopsthe XIX Corpsfrom Algeria to metropolitan France. As a result, the fleet was far out of position to catch the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben.[10] For the majority of the war, the French used their main fleet to keep the Austro-Hungarian fleet bottled up in the Adriatic Sea. In 1914 she participated in the Battle of Antivari, where the battle line caught the Austro-Hungarian cruiser SMS Zenta by surprise and sank her. The French battleships then bombarded Austrian fortifications at Cattaro in an attempt to draw out the Austro-Hungarian fleet, which refused to take the bait.[11][12]

The French operations in the area were hampered by a lack of a suitable base close to the mouth of the Adriatic; the British had given the French free access to Malta, but it was hundreds of miles away. The Austrians also possessed several submarines, one of which torpedoed the dreadnought Jean Bart in December 1914. The threat from underwater weapons greatly limited French naval activities in the Adriatic.[13] As the war progressed, the French eventually settled on Corfu as their primary naval base in the area.[14] In 1916 the ships supported Allied operations in Salonica and also detached landing parties to support the Allied attempt to force Greek acquiescence for those operations in Athens on 1 December. They spent the rest of the war at Salonica and Athens. Patrie became flagship of the French squadron at Salonica in 1918.[15] During the war, four of Patrie's 3-pounder guns were converted into anti-aircraft guns with new high-angle mounts. The six casemate-mounted 164 mm guns were removed and landed at Salonica for use ashore.[1] While off Salonica on 5 May 1916, Patrie's anti-aircraft gunners shot down a German zeppelin.[16] Patrie was retained in the French Navy's inventory and served as a training ship in Toulon for mechanics and torpedomen until 1927.[15] The following year, she stricken from the naval register and sold for scrap.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Gardiner, p. 297
  2. Gardiner & Gray, p. 21
  3. "French warship damaged". The New York Times. 30 May 1907. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  4. Garbett, p. 729
  5. Brassey, pp. 6465
  6. Caresse, p. 130
  7. Alger, p. 899
  8. "Torpedoing report". The New York Times. 17 February 1910. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  9. Guernsey, p. 179
  10. Halpern (1995), pp. 5556
  11. Halpern (2004), p. 4
  12. Sondhaus, pp. 258259
  13. Halpern (2004), pp. 34
  14. Halpern (2004), p. 16
  15. 1 2 Gille, pp. 112–113
  16. Woodhouse, pp. 5557


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