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French cruiser Jules Michelet
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Franse pantserkruiser met aan boord de Gouverneur-Generaal van Frans Indo-China meert aan in de haven van Tandjong Priok TMnr 60047651.jpg
Jules Michelet at Tanjung Priok, Dutch East Indies, while serving as transport for the Governor-General of Indochina, 1929
Career (France)
Name: Jules Michelet
Namesake: Jules Michelet
Builder: Lorient
Laid down: June 1904
Launched: August 1908
Commissioned: November 1908
Fate: Sank as target 1937
General characteristics [1]
Displacement: 13,105 tonnes (12,898 long tons)
Length: 146.53 m (480 ft 9 in) overall
Beam: 21.41 m (70 ft 3 in)
Draught: 8.41 m (27 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 3 vertical triple expansion steam engines, 28 Guyot du Temple boilers, 30,000 ihp (22,371 kW)
Speed: 22.5 knots (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph)
Capacity: 2,070 tonnes of coal
Complement: 728
Armament: • 4 × 193 mm (7.6 in)/40 M1902 guns in twin turrets
• 12 × 164 mm (6.5 in)/45 M1893-96M guns in eight single turrets and four casemates
• 24 × 47 mm (3-pounder) guns in single mountings
• 2 × 18 in (460 mm) submerged torpedo tubes
Armour: Belt: 2.8–6 in (71–152 mm)
193 mm turrets: 8 in (200 mm)
164 mm turrets: 5.1–6.5 in (130–170 mm)
Casemates: 5.5 in (140 mm)
C.T.: 8 in (200 mm)

The Jules Michelet was an armoured cruiser of the French Navy, laid down in 1904 and completed in 1908. It was a development of the Léon Gambetta class of armoured cruisers, and was the sole representative of its type. It served during the First World War being eventually sank as a target in 1937.


The Jules Michelet was laid down in June 1904 as a modified version of the Leon Gambetta class of armoured cruisers. It was slightly longer and heavier than the previous class, and while it had a similar machinery layout, with 28 boilers supplying vertical triple expansion steam engines which drove three propeller shafts, the engines delivered 1,500 ihp (1,100 kW) more power, allowing the ship to reach a design speed of 22.5 knots (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph). The ship was fitted with four funnels.[1]

The main armament was four 193 mm (7.6 in) guns in twin turrets, one each fore and aft, while secondary armament was twelve 164 mm (6.5 in) guns, eight of which were in single turrets and the remaining four in casemates. Although Jules Michelet had four fewer 164 mm guns than the Leon Gambetta class, with single turrets instead of twin turrets, both the main and secondary guns were more powerful models than those carried in the earlier ships. A tertiary anti-torpedo-boat battery of twenty four 47 mm guns was mounted in casements, while the ship's armament was completed by two submerged 450 mm (18 in) torpedo tubes.[1]

The ship was launched in August 1905 and completed in November 1908,[1] reaching a speed of 22.9 knots (42.4 km/h; 26.4 mph) in trials.[2]


On 27 June 1912, Jules Michelet suffered two gun explosions during firing practice at Toulon, killing four and wounding 21.[3] These explosions were blamed on defective powder.[4] It undertook a tour of the West Indies in 1912–13.

On the outbreak of the First World War, Jules Michelet was part of the French Mediterranean Fleet, spending the whole of the war in the Mediterranean.[5] Jules Michelet took place in the blockade of the Strait of Otranto to stop the Austro-Hungarian Navy from venturing into the Mediterranean.

Twelve of Jules Michelet's 47 mm guns were removed during the war, replaced by four anti-aircraft guns of similar size.[1] She took place in the evacuation of the Serbian army from Corfu to Bizerta in 1915 and later supported Allied operations in the Salonika campaign.[6] Following the signing of the Armistice of Mudros, ending the participation of Turkey in the First World War, Jules Michelet was deployed through the Dardanelles into the Black Sea in November 1918.[7]

Jules Michelet entered reserve in 1929[5] and was disarmed in 1930 and used as a barracks ship at Toulon.[8] The ship was later used as a target ship for aircraft and submarines, being sunk by the French Circé class submarine Thetis in 1937.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Chesneau and Kolesnik 1979, p. 360.
  2. Moore 1990, p. 188.
  3. New York Times 28 June 1912, p. 8.
  4. "EXPLOSIONS ON FRENCH WARSHIPS". The Colonist, Nelson, New Zealand, Volume LIV, Issue 13458, 2 July 1912, p. 5.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Gardiner and Grey 1985, p. 193.
  6. Purnell's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Modern Weapons and Warfare, pp. 1643–1644.
  7. The Times History of the War: Volume XXI 1920, p. 15.
  8. Parkes 1931, p. 175.
  • Chesneau, Roger and Eugene M. Kolesnik. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press, 1979. ISBN 0-85177-133-5.
  • Gardiner, Robert and Randal Gray, (eds). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press, 1985. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
  • Purnell's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Modern Weapons and Warfare (Part work 1978–1979). London : Phoebus. pp. 1643–1644.
  • Moore, John. Jane's Fighting Ships of World War I. London:Studio, 1990. ISBN 1-85170-378-0.
  • Parkes, Oscar. Jane's Fighting Ships 1931. Newton Abbot, Devon, UK:Davis & Charles Reprints, 1931 (1973 reprint). ISBN 0-7153-5849-9.
  • The Times History of the War: Vol. XXI. London, 1920.
  • "Two Explosions on Warship Same Day". New York Times, 28 June 1912. p. 8.

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