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Troude-class cruiser
File:French cruiser Troude NH 88803.jpg
Troude early in her career
Class overview
Name: Troude class
Builders: Forges et Chantiers de la Gironde
Operators:  French Navy
Preceded by: Forbin class
Succeeded by: Alger class
Built: 1886–1891
In commission: 1891–1922
Completed: 3
Retired: 3
General characteristics
Class & type: Protected cruiser
Displacement: 1,923 to 1,994 long tons (1,954 to 2,026 t)
Length: 95 m (311 ft 8 in) lwl
Beam: 9 m (29 ft 6 in)
Draft: 5.18 m (17 ft)
Installed power:
  • 5 × fire-tube boilers
  • 5,800 ihp (4,300 kW)
  • 2 × compound steam engines
  • 2 × screw propellers
  • Speed: 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h; 23.6 mph)
    Complement: 201
  • Deck: 1.6 in (41 mm)
  • Conning tower: 25 mm (1 in)
  • The Troude class was a group of three protected cruisers built for the French Navy in the late 1880s and early 1890s. The class, which was very similar to the preceding Forbin class, comprised Troude, Cosmao and Lalande. They were ordered as part of a fleet program that accorded with the theories of the Jeune École, which proposed a fleet based on cruisers and torpedo boats to defend France. The Troude-class cruisers were intended to serve as flotilla leaders for the torpedo boats, and they were armed with a main battery of four 138 mm (5.4 in) guns.

    All three members of the class served in the Mediterranean Squadron in their early careers, where they took part in routine training exercises. In 1897, Troude became the flagship of the Levant Division and was later transferred to the North Atlantic Division in 1899. All three ships were in reserve by 1901. Troude was reactivated for a brief stint in the North Atlantic from 1904 to 1905, while Lalande returned to service in the Mediterranean in 1906. Troude was discarded in 1907 or 1908 and Lalande was broken up for scrap in 1912. Cosmao remained in reserve until the start of World War I in August 1914, when she was recommissioned to patrol the coast of French Morocco. She, too, was scrapped after the war in 1922.


    By the late 1870s, the unprotected cruisers and avisos the French Navy had built as fleet scouts were becoming obsolescent, particularly a result of their low speed of 12 to 14 knots (22 to 26 km/h; 14 to 16 mph), which rendered them too slow to be effective scouts. Beginning in 1879, the Conseil des Travaux (Council of Works) had requested designs for small but fast cruisers of about 2,000 long tons (2,032 t) displacement that could be used as scouts for the main battle fleet or to lead squadrons of torpedo boats. The naval engineer Louis-Émile Bertin had advocated for just such a vessel since 1875, and his design became the cruiser Milan. Bertin's design was developed into the Troude-type of protected cruisers after the Conseil requested light armor protection for the ships.[1][2]

    By 1886, Admiral Théophile Aube had become the French Minister of Marine. Aube was an ardent supporter of the Jeune École doctrine, which envisioned using a combination of cruisers and torpedo boats to defend France and attack enemy merchant shipping. By the time Aube had come to office, the French Navy had laid down three large protected cruisers that were intended to serve as commerce raiders: Sfax, Tage, and Amiral Cécille. His proposed budget called for another six large cruisers and ten smaller vessels, but by the time it was approved later in 1886, it had been modified to three large cruisers of the Alger class, along with the two medium cruisers Davout and Suchet, and six small cruisers, which became the Troude and Forbin classes, each with three members.[3][4]


    The ships of the Troude class were 95 m (311 ft 8 in) long at the waterline, with a beam of 9 m (29 ft 6 in) and a draft of 5.18 m (17 ft). They displaced 1,923 to 1,968 long tons (1,954 to 2,000 t). Their hulls had a pronounced ram bow and tumblehome shape that characterized most French warships of the period. They had a minimal superstructure that consisted primarily of a small conning tower with a bridge. Their crew amounted to 201 officers and enlisted men.[5]

    The ships' propulsion systems were manufactured by Schneider-Creusot and consisted of a pair of horizontal compound steam engines driving two 3-bladed, bronze screw propellers. Steam was provided by five coal-burning fire-tube boilers that were ducted into two funnels. The forward funnel was thin and the aft wider, though both were raked backward slightly. Their machinery was rated to produce 5,800 indicated horsepower (4,300 kW) for a top speed of 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h; 23.6 mph). The ships vibrated excessively at speeds in excess of 20 knots, however, and the hull and engines were reportedly unable to withstand prolonged steaming at top speed as a result. This was a result of the lightly-built hull and insufficiently strong scantlings, and was common to ships of the type. Coal storage amounted to 300 long tons (300 t). When steaming at a speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph), the ships had a cruising range of 1,621 nautical miles (3,002 km; 1,865 mi).[5][6]

    The ships were armed with a main battery of four 138 mm (5.4 in) 30-caliber guns in individual pivot mounts, all in sponsons located amidships with two guns per broadside.[5] According to Norman Friedman, the guns were likely the Modèle 1884 version of the gun, though he notes that a 30-caliber Modèle 1893 variant also existed, and may have replaced the 1884 gun during the ships' careers. They were supplied with a variety of shells, including solid cast iron projectiles and explosive armor-piercing shells, both of which weighed 30 kg (66 lb). The guns fired with a muzzle velocity of 590 m/s (1,900 ft/s).[7]

    For close-range defense against torpedo boats, they carried four 47 mm (1.9 in) 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns and four 37 mm (1.5 in) 1-pounder Hotchkiss revolver cannon. They were also armed with four 350 mm (14 in) torpedo tubes in their hull below the waterline, and they had provisions to carry up to 150 naval mines. Armor protection consisted of a curved armor deck that was 1.6 in (41 mm) thick, along with 25 mm (1 in) plating on the conning tower, though Cosmao lacked armor on her conning tower.[5]


    Name Shipyard[5] Laid down[5] Launched[8] Completed[5]
    Troude Forges et Chantiers de la Gironde, Lormont November 1886 22 October 1888 January 1891
    Lalande 1887 21 March 1889 October 1890
    Cosmao 1887 August 1889 1891

    Service history

    File:French cruiser Lalande NH 88821.jpg

    Lalande in the early 1890s

    All three members of the class spent their early careers in the Mediterranean Squadron. During this period, the ships were primarily occupied with peacetime training exercises.[9][10] In 1897, Troude was transferred to the Levant Division, becoming its flagship. She served there during the early stages of the Cretan Revolt of 1897–1898.[11] She was moved again to the North Atlantic Division in 1899.[12] All three ships were reduced to reserve by 1901.[13] Troude returned to the North Atlantic Division in 1904,[14] and remained there through 1905.[15] Lalande was reactivated in 1906 for service in the Mediterranean Squadron, while Cosmao remained out of service.[16] Troude was struck from the naval register in either 1907,[8] or 1908,[5] and was broken up for scrap that year.[8] Lalande remained in service in the Mediterranean through 1908.[17] Struck from the naval register in 1912, she was subsequently sold to ship-breakers.[8] Cosmao was recommissioned in August 1914 after the start of World War I and tasked with patrolling the Moroccan coast, though she saw no action.[18] She was struck in 1922 and scrapped thereafter.[8]


    1. Ropp, pp. 129–130.
    2. Gardiner, p. 320.
    3. Gardiner, pp. 308–310.
    4. Ropp, pp. 158–159, 172.
    5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Gardiner, p. 310.
    6. Ships: France, pp. 271–272.
    7. Friedman, p. 221.
    8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Gardiner & Gray, p. 193.
    9. Thursfield, pp. 61–67.
    10. Brassey 1893, p. 70.
    11. Robinson, p. 187.
    12. Garbett, p. 1026.
    13. Jordan & Caresse 2017, p. 219.
    14. Brassey 1903, pp. 58–60.
    15. Brassey 1905, p. 42.
    16. Brassey 1906, p. 39.
    17. Brassey 1908, p. 49.
    18. Jordan & Caresse 2019, pp. 219, 227.


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