French Cruisers

French Cruisers

French Cruisers : Amidst all the novelties of French warship design, some classes of ships stood out and caught the attention of foreign navies and amongst these were the Bruix class of ‘Colonial’ cruisers.

Sister ship Amiral Charner at anchor, c. 1897

Bruix and her sisters served the outposts of the French colonial empire as well as being slated for commerce raiding in the event of war.

With a displacement of under 5000 tons, Bruix mounted a very heavy armament of 7.6″ and 5.5” guns as well as torpedo tubes and with a speed of 19 knots she was a well respected warship albeit a rather strange looking one.

Bismarck Battleship Wreck : A Fallen Legend

On a relatively short hull Bruix had an extraordinary spoonbill bow which seemed to serve no useful purpose beyond being some kind of ram, a somewhat outdated device in the early 20th century.

Bruix served her country throughout the first world war in the Red Sea and the Aegean. She was broken up in 1920.


You have to wonder if the French naval architects were imbibing some powerful psychedelic substances before putting pen to paper or if they had ever actually seen a ship before?

Greatest Dreadnought Battleship : HMS Warspite
The Charles Martel was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the French Navy built in the 1890s. She was laid down in April 1891, launched in August 1893, and completed in June 1897. She was a member of a group of five broadly similar battleships, along with Carnot, Jauréguiberry, Bouvet, and Masséna, which were ordered in response to the British Royal Sovereign class.

France’s Navy has never been one to write home about and was largely nonexistent in both World War’s One and Two. We will revisit the French military in future pieces on Napoleon and The Maginot Line!