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WORLD WAR 1 at SEA
FRENCH NAVY, Part 1 of 2
Battleships, Cruisers, Seaplane Carriers
by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.NetFS Jauréguiberry, predreadnought battleship
(MaritimeQuest, click photographs for enlargements)
on to French Navy, Part 2
Naval War in Outline
French warship names
Warship numbers & losses, 1914-18
Losses by year
Key to main characteristics including French torpedo and gun calibres in inches
Louis Bechennec, Fireman, French Navy, including Serbian Evacuation
NAVAL WAR IN OUTLINE
Following the 1904 Anglo-French Entente Cordiale, French Navy policy was to concentrate its forces in the Mediterranean against a likely Italian-Austrian coalition, while maintaining a mainly defensive position in the north (North Sea, English Channel, Atlantic coast) where the Royal Navy would predominate. French forces in this area initially included seven cruisers and a number of destroyers, torpedo boats and submarines for patrol duty in the western English Channel. In the Mediterranean on the other hand was the 1st Armée Navale under the command of Adm de Lapeyrère with 21 battleships (including four newly-commissioned dreadnoughts and 6 "Danton" class pre-dreadnoughts), 15 cruisers, around 43 destroyers and 15 submarines.
The first task of the Mediterranean battle squadrons was to escort troop transports carrying North African divisions to France in time for the Battle of the Marne. By the end of August 1914, 14 battleships, 6 armoured cruisers, destroyers and submarines were based at Malta and patrolling the southern Adriatic Sea to prevent any attack by the Austrian Fleet. They also shelled Cattaro and Lissa. In September 1914, two French pre-dreadnoughts joined the British squadron watching the Turkish Dardanelles to prevent the German battlecruiser "Goeben" breaking out.
Once Italy entered the war on the Allied side in May 1915 the French moved to more forward bases at Brindisi on the Italian Adriatic coast and the Greek island of Corfu. By December 1915, the Serbs had been defeated and the Army retreated across the mountains to the Albanian coast. From here the French Navy evacuated the Serbs first to Corfu, then to Bizerta in northern Tunisia, and once reformed to Salonika in north east Greece. An eventual total of 270,000 men were evacuated by mainly French forces without loss.
In December 1916 the French played the major role in resolving the confused Greek situation. French warships arrived off Athens, and after landing sailors and bombarding, forced the pro-German Greek government to support Allied policies. A number of Greek warships were seized, commissioned into the French Navy and later made a valuable contribution to Allied anti-U-boat measures.
By 1918, the French had come to play an important part in the war against the U-boats - both on patrol and as convoy escorts. Apart from destroyers, anti-submarine forces were organised into nine patrol and escort commands with 111 torpedo boat's, 35 submarines, 63 sloops and gunboats, 153 submarine chasers and 734 armed trawlers.
Although the French nations' contribution to the Allied effort lay mainly with their vast Army on the Western Front, they also played their part in the war at sea and paid the price accordingly. Losses included one semi-dreadnought and three pre-dreadnought battleships, four armoured and one protected cruiser, twelve destroyers and fourteen submarines.
French Warship Names
Warship names are generally:
Capital ships & cruisers - kings, admirals, generals, politicians, men of letters, cities and provinces
Destroyers - weapons, soldiers, naval heroes
Submarines - sea creatures, precious stones, mythological characters, scientists, months of the First Republic calendar
WARSHIP NUMBERS and LOSSES - 1914-18Type
August 1914 Strength
3Coast defence ships
Note * Includes 11 seized Greek destroyers. One was lost, but is included in the Greek section
LOSSES BY YEAR - (In date order within each year)Year - Ships lost (All in Mediterranean unless otherwise stated) 1914 - destroyer 'Mousquet' (Far East), submarine 'Curie' 1915 - submarine 'Saphir', destroyer 'Dague', pre-dreadnought 'Bouvet', armoured cruiser 'Léon Gambetta', submarine 'Joule', ex-torpedo cruiser 'Casabianca', submarine 'Mariotte, destroyer 'Branlebas' (northern France), submarines 'Turquoise', 'Fresnel', 'Monge' 1916 - armoured cruiser 'Amiral Charner', destroyers 'Renaudin', 'Fantassin', 'Fourche', submarine 'Foucault', destroyer 'Yatagan' (northern France), pre-dreadnought 'Suffren' (Atlantic), pre-dreadnought 'Gaulois' 1917 - ex-torpedo cruiser 'Cassini', semi-dreadnought 'Danton', destroyers 'Etendard' (northern France), 'Boutefeu', submarine 'Ariane', armoured cruiser 'Kléber' (western France), protected cruiser 'Chateaurenault' 1918 - submarines 'Diane' (western France), 'Bernoulli', destroyer 'Faulx', submarine 'Prairial' (northern France), destroyer 'Catapulte', submarine 'Floréal', armoured cruiser 'Dupetit-Thouars' (Atlantic), submarine 'Circé', destroyer 'Carabinier'
Key to Main Characteristics
Tonnage - standard displacement; Speed - designed speed at standard displacement, rarely attained in service; Main armament - sometimes changed as the war progressed; secondary armament usually changed; Complement - normal peace time. Exceeded in war with consequent reduction in living space and higher battle casualties; Year - year or years class completed and normally entered service. Only includes ships completed up to war's end; Loss Positions - estimated from location unless available from reliable sources; Casualties - totals of men lost, or survivors plus saved, will often exceed peacetime complements.
French torpedo and gun calibres in inches:
Torpedoes: 45.7cm - 18in; 45cm - 17.7in; 38cm - 15in
Guns: 34cm - 13.4in; 30.5cm - 12in; 27.4cm - 10.8in; 24cm - 9.4in; 19.4cm - 7.5in; 16.47cm - 6.4in; 13.86cm - 5.4in; 12cm - 4.7in; 10.2cm - 4in; 10cm - 3.9in; 7.6cm - 3in; 7.5cm - 2.9in; 6.5cm - 2.5in; 4.7cm - 1.8in
August 1914 Strength (2 plus 2 on trials)
1. COURBET class, COURBET (19th cen Admiral), FRANCE, JEAN BART (17th cen Admiral), PARIS (capital of France), 4 ships - 22,200t, 20 knots, 12-30.5cm/22-13.86cm, c 1,100 crew, 1913-14
All Courbet class in the Mediterranean with 1st Armée Navale
Jean Bart, damaged 21st December 1914, southern Adriatic Sea in Strait of Otranto - torpedoed once by Austrian "U-12". As the French battlefleet was carrying out a sweep into the Adriatic covering the transport of supplies to Montenegro, they experienced the power of the submarine to influence surface ship strategy and tactics. Adm Lapeyrères unscreened flagship "Jean Bart" was hit in the bow by a torpedo, reportedly abreast the wine-store and just before the forward magazine which remained intact. Although she stayed afloat and reached Malta safely, the French blockade of the Adriatic was moved south of the Otranto Straits and thus became more distant. Some sources, even recently published ones, describe "Jean Bart" as sunk in this attack. In fact she survived, was demilitarised in 1936 and renamed "Océan", scuttled at Toulon on 27 November 1942 and finally scrapped after the war.
2. BRETAGNE class, BRETAGNE (the region of Brittany), LORRAINE (of Lorraine), PROVENCE (of Provence) (right), 3 ships - 23,200t, 20 knots, 10-34cm/22-13.86cm, c 1,130 crew, 1915-16
All Bretagne class joined 1st Armée Navale in the Mediterranean
August 1914 Strength (6)
3. DANTON class, CONDORCET (18th cen philosopher), DANTON (French Revolution leader), DIDEROT (18th cen philosopher), MIRABEAU (French Revolution leader), VERGNIAUD (French Revolution leader), VOLTAIRE (18th cen writer), 6 ships, 1 lost - 18,300t, 19 knots, 4-30.5cm/12-24cm/16-7.5cm, c 900 crew, 1911.
All Danton class in the Mediterranean with 1st Armée Navale.
Four of the Dantons plus dreadnought "Provence" appeared off Athens in December 1916 in a demonstration of power which led to the Greek government accepting Allied proposals for their conduct in the war
DANTON, 19th March 1917, Central Mediterranean, off SW Sardinia, 30 miles southwest of San Pietro island (c 38.45N, 07.45E) - torpedoed by German "U-64". Following a refit "Danton" was sailing from Toulon, southern France to the French base at Corfu off western Greece to join the blockade of the Strait of Otranto. Her normal complement was greatly exceeded and 1,102 men were on board. Zig-zagging at the time and apparently escorted by only one destroyer, "U-64" (Lt Cdr Robert Moraht) successfully fired her torpedoes but then lost trim, surfaced and was attacked with depth charges by the escorting "Massue". She escaped and "Massue" went to the rescue of the survivors. "Danton" took 45 minutes to founder and in that time 806 men were saved, but 296 were lost. Other sources place her loss around 20 miles from the Sardinian coast. They also vary on the number of torpedo hits - one or two.
Four of the surviving Dantons and three "Liberté" class battleships formed the main element of Allied forces in the Aegean Sea based at Mudros (Lemnos) in 1918
Voltaire, damaged night of 10th/11th October 1918, Eastern Mediterranean, off S coast of Greece, near Cerigotto island (or Antikythira) (c 36°00N, 23°00E) - torpedoed twice by German "UB-48". Sailing for the Allied northern Aegean base of Mudros, Lemnos island after refit, "Voltaire" was only lightly damaged by "UB-48" (Lt Cdr Steinbauer - presumably the same Steinbauer who sank "Gaulois" in "UB-47" two years earlier)
Voltaire and other "Dantons" of the Aegean Sea Squadron joined the Allied Fleet that anchored off Constantinople on the 13th November 1918
August 1914 Strength (15)
Nine in the Mediterranean with 1st Armée Navale
4. CHARLES MARTEL types, CARNOT (Napoleonic war general & politician), CHARLES MARTEL (8th cen Frankish king), JAURÉGUIBERRY, MASSÉNA (Napoleonic war marshall), BOUVET (18th cen explorer), 5 ships, 1 lost - c12,000t, c17 knots, 2-30.5cm/2-27.4cm/8-13.86cm, c 650 crew, 1897-98
Bouvet took part in the February and March 1915 naval attacks on the Dardanelles forts and defences
BOUVET, 18th March 1915, Turkish waters, some 7 miles inside the Dardanelles, Eren Keui Bay - one Turkish mine. "Bouvet" was third from left of the four French battleship squadron (Rear-Adm Emile Guépratte) taking part in the Main Naval Attack on the Dardanelles defences, this time far enough in to bombard the Narrows at Chanak. Around noon, as the Line A of British ships continued bombarding at long range, the French Line B was signalled to pass through for a more close-range attack on the Narrows defences. Two of the French ships ("Gaulois" and "Suffren" below; the fourth battleship was "Charlemagne") were badly damaged by return shellfire, but worse was to come. As "Bouvet" retired led by flagship "Suffren" turning south towards the Asia shore, she exploded, apparently hit in a magazine by a heavy shell at 13.54hrs and capsized and sank in two minutes taking most of her c 700 crew crew with her. Reportedly 640 men including the captain were killed and 21 saved. In fact she had been mined in an area believed cleared by the Allies. The small Turkish "Nusret" (365 tons) had laid a line of just 20 mines on the night of the 8th March in an area they noticed was used by the Allied warship for manoeuvring. Only three had been swept by the British minesweepers. Some sources, including modern ones still credit her loss to a shell hit in a magazine even though post-Great War research confirmed that a mine sank "Bouvet".
The 1919 "Janes Fighting Ships" reported her sunk by a shore torpedo fired from the White Cliffs in the Dardanelles. Sources also differ on the name of the commanding officer and include Capt Rageot and Capt R de la Touche
This same short line of mines also sank British battleship "Irresistible", finished off the shellfire-damaged "Ocean", and badly flooded battlecruiser "Inflexible". On that day, out of 16 Allied capital ships taking part, three were sunk and three heavily damaged in exchange for a few Turkish guns destroyed. As with the submarine, this was another example of how a small "weapon system" could change history. The small "Nusrets" feat led to the Gallipoli landings, the subsequent Allied failure to take Constantinople and relieve the Russians, and as some historians suggest the Russian Revolution and all that followed
Jauréguiberry took part in the Gallipoli campaign
Masséna was hulked in 1915 and scuttled off Cape Helles, Gallipoli in November 1915 as breakwater for the January 1916 evacuation
5. CHARLEMAGNE class, CHARLEMAGNE (9th cen Holy Roman emperor), GAULOIS (Gallic, of Gaul), ST LOUIS, 3 ships, 1 lost - 11,100t, 18 knots, 4-30.5cm/10-13.86cm/8-10cm, 695 crew, 1899-1900
Charlemagne, Gaulois both took part in the February and March 1915 naval attacks on the Dardanelles forts and defences
Gaulois, damaged 18th March 1915, Turkish waters, up to some 8 miles inside the Dardanelles - Turkish fixed and mobile land batteries. "Gaulois" was on the extreme left of the four French battleship squadron taking part in the Main Naval Attack on the Dardanelles defences which led to the loss of "Bouvet" (see above). Badly holed below the waterline in the early afternoon by the return fire, "Gaulois" flooded rapidly and had to be beached off the entrance to the Dardanelles on Rabbit Island, north of Tenedos. After pumping out, patching and refloating she went to Malta to be repaired. Casualties were reportedly light
GAULOIS, sunk 27th December 1916, Eastern Mediterranean, off S coast of Greece, 30 miles E of Cerigo island (or Kythira, Kithira, Cythera) (36°30N, 23°45E) - torpedoed once by German "UB-47". "Gaulois" was on passage from the French base at Corfu off the west coast of Greece around to the Allied enclave at Salonika in the NW Aegean. Rounding Greece on course for and 80 miles from the island of Milos, "UB-47" (Lt Wolfgang Steinbauer) penetrated her escort of one destroyer and two trawlers and sank her. The explosion killed four men, but she stayed afloat for 25 minutes before sinking on an even keel. The rest of the crew of 631 was taken off by the escorting vessels
6. HENRI IV - 8,950t, 17 knots, 2-27.4cm/7-13.86cm, 460 crew, 1903
Henri IV took part in the Gallipoli campaign
Suffren took part in the February and March 1915 naval attacks on the Dardanelles forts and defences
Suffren, damaged 18th March 1915, Turkish waters up to some 8 miles inside the Dardanelles - Turkish fixed and mobile land batteries. "Suffren" (flagship of Rear-Adm Emile Guépratte) was on the extreme right of the four French battleship squadron taking part in the Main Naval Attack on the Dardanelles defences which led to the loss of "Bouvet" (see above). She was damaged by the return fire. Hit around 14 times, a large plunging shell struck forward and flooded some compartments, and a 9.4in started a potentially disastrous ammunition fire. She returned to Malta for repairs with reportedly light casualties
SUFFREN, sunk night of the 25th/26th November 1916, North Atlantic, 90 miles W of Portugal at the longitude of the coastal Berlenga (or Burling) islands (c 39.30N, 11-00W) - torpedoed twice by German "U-52". Following service off Gallipoli and Salonika, "Suffren" (Capt Guepin) was sailing to Brest or Lorient (sources vary) on the French Biscay coast for a badly needed refit. Damaged at the Dardanelles and in a later collision her engines were incapable of pushing her at more than 10 knots. Steaming at 9 knots in a heavy sea and without escort, the torpedo is believed to have exploded her magazines and she went down instantly; there were no survivors from the crew of 648 men. "U-52" (Lt Cdr Walther Hans) was on passage south from Germany to Cattaro in the Adriatic for Mediterranean operations. Other sources place her loss around 50 miles northwest of Lisbon.
8. RÉPUBLIQUE class, RÉPUBLIQUE (republic), PATRIE (country), 2 ships - 14,600t, 19 knots, 4-30.5cm/18-16.47cm, 770 crew, 1906
9. LIBERTÉ class, DÉMOCRATIE (democracy), JUSTICE (justice), VERITÉ (truth), 3 ships - 14,850t, 19 knots, 4-30.5cm/10-19.4cm, 740 crew, 1908
Class nameship Liberté was sunk by internal explosion in 1911.
The three Libertés and four of the surviving "Dantons" formed the main element of Allied forces in the Aegean Sea based at Mudros (Lemnos) in 1918
COAST DEFENCE SHIPS
August 1914 Strength (2)
10. AMIRAL TRÉHOURT class, AMIRAL TRÉHOURT, BOUVINES (1214 Flanders battle), 2 ships - 6,680t, 17 knots, 230.5cm/8-10.2cm, launched 1892
Amiral Tréhourt spent the war as a submarine depot ship
August 1914 Strength (22)
Seven in the Mediterranean with 1st Armée Navale
11. AMIRAL CHARNER class, AMIRAL CHARNER (19th cen admiral), BRUIX, LATOUCHE-TRÉVILLE, 3 ships, 1 lost - c4,800t, 18 knots, 2-19.4cm/6-13.86cm, 390 crew, 1894/96
Amiral Charner & protected cruiser "DEntrecasteaux" spent 1914 patrolling and bombarding the Syrian coast, and in February 1915 took part in the defence of the Suez Canal against Turkish land attack with other British and French warships
AMIRAL CHARNER, 8th February 1916, Eastern Mediterranean, west of Beirut, Turkish Syria - torpedoed by German "U-21". "Amiral Charner" was on patrol off the Syrian (now Lebanese) coast when attacked by "U-21" (Lt Cdr Otto Hersing who sank British battleships "Triumph" and "Majestic" off Gallipoli ten months earlier). She went down in only four minutes with the loss of all her crew of 335 (or 374?) officers and men, except for one single survivor.
Latouche-Tréville took part in the Gallipoli campaign
Latouche-Tréville, damaged 1915, Turkish waters, off Gallipoli - Turkish gunfire
12. POTHUAU - 5,600t, 19 knots, 2-19.4cm/10-13.86cm, 460 crew, 1897
13. JEANNE DARC (St Joan of Arc, 15th cen) - 11,100t, 21 knots, 2-19.4cm/14-13.86cm, 650 crew, 1902
Jeanne DArc took part in the Gallipoli campaign
14. GUEYDON class, GUEYDON, DUPETIT-THOUARS (Napoleonic war admiral), MONTCALM (18th cen general), 3 ships, 1 lost - c 9,400t, 21 knots, 2-19.4cm/8-14.67cm/4-10cm, 570 crew, 1902-05
DUPETIT-THOUARS, 7th August 1918, North Atlantic, 400 miles from Brest, western France - torpedoed twice by German "U-62". "Dupetit-Thouars" had joined or was about to join (sources vary) the escort of a 28 ship convoy from New York for the last stage of its voyage to Brest when attacked at dusk by "U-62" (Lt Cdr Ernst Hashagen). She went down in about 20 minutes with small loss of life; most of her crew were picked up by escorting American destroyers
15. DUPLEIX class, DESAIX (18th cen general), DUPLEIX (18th cen French India governor), KLÉBER (Napoleonic war general), 3 ships, 1 lost - c 7,600t, 20 knots, 8-16.47cm/4-10cm, 530 crew, 1903-04
KLÉBER, 27th June 1917, off Pointe de St-Matthieu in the Iroise entrance to Brest, western France (c 48.15N, 04.45W) - mine laid by German "UC-61". After service off Gallipoli and in the Aegean, "Kléber" was refitted at Bordeaux in 1916 before sailing to Dakar, French West Africa as flagship of the 6th Squadron. Now returning to France, she was sunk with the loss of 42 (or 38?) men; most of her crew being saved by escorting destroyers
16. GLOIRE class, AMIRAL AUBE, CONDÉ (17th cen general), GLOIRE (glory), MARSEILLAISE (the national anthem), 4 ships - c 10,000t, 21 knots, 2-19.4cm/8-16.47cm/6-10cm, 615 crew, 1903-04
Amiral Aube took part in the July 1918 occupation of northern Russia to protect Allied stockpiles from Bolshevist forces. With two destroyers, she also represented the French Navy at the November 1918 surrender of the German High Seas Fleet
17. LÉON GAMBETTA class, LÉON GAMBETTA (19th cen politician), JULES FERRY (19th cen prime minister), VICTOR HUGO (19th cen poet & novelist), 3 ships, 1 lost - c12,400t, 22 knots, 4-19.4cm/16-16.47cm, 730 crew, 1905-07
LÉON GAMBETTA, night of 26th/27th April 1915, Central Mediterranean, 15 miles south of Cape Santa Maria di Leuca, SE tip of Italy in the Ionian Sea (c 39.30N, 18.15E) - torpedoed twice by Austrian "U-5". "Léon Gambetta" was part of the French Fleet based at Malta blockading the the Austrian Navy in the Adriatic, usually from a position south of the Strait of Otranto. At this time the blockade line was moved further north because of expected Austrian naval activity - the Allies were negotiating with the Italians which shortly led to them declaring war on Austria-Hungary. In spite of the growing threat from Austrian and now German U-boats in the Mediterranean, the armoured cruiser was patrolling unescorted at a reported seven knots on a clear, calm night just to the south of the Otranto Straits when she was hit by "U-5" (Lt Cdr Ritter von Trapp, later made famous when his story was partly told in the stage musical and film "The Sound of Music"). "Léon Gambetta" sank in just 10 minutes. Out of 821 men on board, 684 including Rear-Adm Sénès, commander of the 2nd Light Division were lost. There were 137 survivors. The French cruiser patrol line was moved south to the longitude of Cephalonia, western Greece. Other sources place her loss 20 miles off Cape Leuca.
19. ERNEST RENAN (19th cen philosopher) - 13,500t, 23 knots, 4-19.4cm/12-16.47cm, 820 crew, 1909
20. EDGAR QUINET class, EDGAR QUINET (19th cen philosopher) (right), WALDECK-ROUSSEAU (19th cen prime minister), 2 ships - 13,900t, 23 knots, 14-19.4cm, 860 crew, 1911
August 1914 Strength (9)
Up to 8 in Mediterranean with 1st Armée Navale
21. FRIANT - 3,980t, 18 knots, 6-16.47cm/4-10cm, 340 crew, 1895.
Served as repair ship
22. DESCARTES (17th cen philosopher & mathematician) - 3,960t, 19 knots, 4-16.47cm/10-10cm, 380 crew, 1896
23. DASSAS class, CASSARD, DU CHAYLA (Napoleonic war admiral), 2 ships - 3,900t, 20 knots, 6-16.47cm/4-10cm, 370 crew, 1898.
"DAssas" broken up in 1914
24. DENTRECASTEAUX (18th cen explorer) - 19 knots, 2-24cm/12-13.86cm, 560 crew,1899
DEntrecasteaux & armoured cruiser "Amiral Charner" spent 1914 patrolling and bombarding the Syrian coast, and in February 1915 took part in the defence of the Suez Canal against Turkish land attack with other British and French warships
25. GUICHEN - 8,150t, 23 knots, 2-16.47cm/6-13.86cm, 605 crew, 1899
26. CHÂTEAURENAULT (17th cent Admiral), lost - 7,900t, 24 knots, 2-16.47in/6-13.86cm, 605 crew, 1902
CHÂTEAURENAULT, 14th December 1917, off north Cephalonia, Ionian Sea (38°15N, 20°22E) - 2 torpedoes from German coastal minelayer 'UC-38'. Sailing as a fast transport carrying troops between Taranto and Itea in support of the Allied Army in Salonika, the old cruiser was sunk just before entering the passage through to the Corinth Canal. Escorting destroyers 'Mameluk' and 'Lansquenet' sink "UC-38", and saved 1,162 lives, most of the crew and troops
27. DESTRÉES (17th cent Admiral) - 2,430t, 20 knots, 2-13.86cm/4-10cm, 235 crew, 1899
28. JURIEN DE LA GRAVIERRE - 5,600t, 22 knots, 8-16.47cm, 460 crew, 1903
August 1914 Strength (5)
Converted to minelaying gunboats in 1913
CASABIANCA, night of the 3rd/4th June 1915, Turkey, off Smyrna - own mines. The Allies attempted to blockade Smyrna and close off the Gulf of Smyrna with minefields. During the operation, "Casabianca" blew up and sank on one of her own mines.
CASSINI, 28th February 1917, Central Mediterranean between Corsica and Sardinia in Straits of Bonificio - German mine laid by "UC-35". She was first thought to have been torpedoed by "UC-35", but was more likely lost on the U-boats mines. Some sources give the date as the 20th February 1917.
30. DUNOIS class, DUNOIS (15th cen count), LA HIRE (17th cen painter), 2 ships - 890t, 21 knots, 6-6.5cm, 140 crew, 1898/99
August 1914 Strength (1)
31. FOUDRE (lightning) - 5,970t, 19 knots, 8-10cm/4-6.5cm/4-8 seaplanes, 410 crew, completed 1986
Originally a torpedo cruiser (or torpedo boat carrier) eventually converted to seaplane carrier at Toulon in 1912 with 4 to 8 seaplanes. Served from August 1914 with the 1st Armée Navale based at Malta, but transferred to Suez where her Nieuport floatplanes played an important reconnaissance role during the early 1915 Turkish attack on the Canal. From March to May 1915, she was part of the French squadron including pre-dreadnoughts "Bouvet", "Charlemagne", "Gaulois" and "Suffren" that joined the Royal Navy in the naval attack on the Dardanelles. Later that year she was re-equipped with Franco-British Aviation (FBA) flying boats, but for the rest of the war served at various times mainly as submarine tender and command ship.
Wartime Additions (4)
32. CAMPINAS - 3,300grt, 11 knots, 1-10cm/6-10 seaplanes, completed 1897, ex-Chargeurs Reunis cargo liner.
Converted at Port Said in late 1915, and commissioned January 1916. Equipped with Nieuport floatplanes and later FBA flying boats. Served in the eastern Mediterranean area including the Aegean Sea and Levant, and took part in the mainly French Navy intervention off Athens in December 1916/January 1917
33. Channel Packets, NORD, PAS-DE-CALAIS (northern France départements) - 1,540grt, 21 knots, 2-3 flying boats, completed 1899, requisitioned Cie Chemins de Fer du Nord Channel paddle-steamers.
"Pas de Calais" was commissioned in July 1915 and based at Cherbourg; "Nord" in June 1916 and based at Dunkirk. Both were equipped with FBA flying boats and carried out Channel patrols until taken out of aviation service in 1917
34. ROUEN (city) - 1,650grt, 24 knots, launched 1912, ex-Channel packet requisitioned in 1914 as an auxiliary cruiser.
Equipped as a seaplane carrier with two FBA flying boats in 1916 or 1917. Served as a convoy escort in the Mediterranean in 1917, but then reverted to a transport.