French battleship Henri IV
Henri IV was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the French Navy
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...

 built to test some of the ideas of the prominent naval architect Louis-Émile Bertin
Louis-Émile Bertin
Louis-Émile Bertin was a French naval engineer, one of the foremost of his time, and a proponent of the "Jeune École" philosophy of using light, but powerfully armed warships instead of large battleships.-Early life:...

. She began World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 as guardship at Bizerte
Bizerte or Benzert , is the capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia and the northernmost city in Africa. It has a population of 230,879 .-History:...

. She was sent to reinforce the Allied naval force in the Dardanelles campaign of 1915, although some of her secondary armament had been removed for transfer to Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 in 1914. Afterwards, she was relegated to second-line roles before being sent to Taranto
Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base....

 as a depot ship in 1918. She was struck from the naval list in 1921.


She was designed by the famous French naval architect Louis-Émile Bertin to evaluate some of his ideas. She was designed to make her a small target and lacked most of the normal rear supersturcture common to ships of her period, other than that needed to keep her rear turret from being washed out. Her rear hull had only 4 feet (1.2 m) of freeboard, although she was built up to the normal upper deck height amidships and at the bow for better sea-keeping and to provide for her crew. Her superstructure was narrow and recessed from the hull above the main deck.

General characteristics

The Henri IV was smaller than her predecessors, at 108 m (354.3 ft) overall. She had a beam
Beam (nautical)
The beam of a ship is its width at the widest point. Generally speaking, the wider the beam of a ship , the more initial stability it has, at expense of reserve stability in the event of a capsize, where more energy is required to right the vessel from its inverted position...

 of 22.2 m (72.8 ft) and a draft of 6.98 m (22.9 ft). She was significantly lighter than the Charlemagne-class battleship
Charlemagne class battleship
The Charlemagne class was a class of pre-dreadnought battleships of the French Navy. It consisted of three ships, the Charlemagne, the St Louis and the Gaulois. Several other single ship classes were based on the Charlemagne class...

s and displaced only 8807 metric tons (8,667.9 LT) normally, some 2300 metric tons (2,263.7 LT) less than the earlier ships.


Henri IV used three vertical triple-expansion steam engines, one engine per shaft. The engines were powered by twelve Niclausse boilers. The engines were rated at 11000 ihp and gave a top speed of 17 knots. She carried a maximum of 1080 tonne of coal.


Henri IV carried her main armament of two 274 mm (10.8 in) 40-caliber Canon de 274 mm Modèle 1893/96s in two single-gun turrets, one forward on the upper deck and the other on the main deck at the rear. The guns could probably be depressed to −5° and elevated to 15°. The guns fired 262 kg (577.6 lb) armor-piercing
Armor-piercing shot and shell
An armor-piercing shell is a type of ammunition designed to penetrate armor. From the 1860s to 1950s, a major application of armor-piercing projectiles was to defeat the thick armor carried on many warships. From the 1920s onwards, armor-piercing weapons were required for anti-tank missions...

 projectiles at the rate of 1-2 rounds per minute at a muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity is the speed a projectile has at the moment it leaves the muzzle of the gun. Muzzle velocities range from approximately to in black powder muskets , to more than in modern rifles with high-performance cartridges such as the .220 Swift and .204 Ruger, all the way to for tank guns...

 of 815 metres per second (2,673.9 ft/s).

The ship's secondary armament consisted of seven 138.6 mm (5.5 in) 45 caliber Canon de 164 mm Modèle 1893
Canon de 164 mm Modèle 1893
The Canon de 164 mm Modèle 1893 was a medium-caliber naval gun used as the secondary armament of a number of French pre-dreadnoughts and armoured cruisers during World War I...

 guns. Four were mounted in individual casemate
A casemate, sometimes rendered casement, is a fortified gun emplacement or armored structure from which guns are fired. originally a vaulted chamber in a fortress.-Origin of the term:...

s on the main deck; two more were mounted on the shelter deck with gun shield
Gun shield
thumb|A [[United States Marine Corps|U.S. Marine]] manning an [[M240 machine gun]] equipped with a gun shieldA gun shield is a flat piece or section of armor designed to be mounted on a crew-served weapon such as a machine gun or artillery piece, or, more rarely, to be used with an assault rifle...

s and the last gun was mounted in a shelter deck turret superfiring
The idea of superfire is to locate two turrets in a row, one behind the other, but with the second turret located above the one in front so that the second turret could fire over the first...

 over the rear main gun turret. This was the first superfiring turret in naval history and was not very successful in this case because the barrel of the 138 mm gun was too short to clear the sighting hood of the turret below. These guns fired 36.5–31.5 kg (80.5–69.4 lb) shells at a muzzle velocity of 825–765 m/s (2,706.7–2,509.8 ft/s) to a maximum range of 15000 metres (16,404.2 yd) at 25°.

Twelve 47 mm (1.9 in) 40 caliber Canon de 47 mm Modèle 1885 Hotchkiss guns
QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss
The QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss was a light 47-mm naval gun introduced in 1886 to defend against new small fast vessels such as torpedo boats, and later submarines...

 were mounted as anti-torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

 guns. They were mounted in platforms in the foremast and mainmast and on the superstructure. They fired a 1.49 kilograms (3.3 lb) projectile at 610 metres per second (2,001.3 ft/s) to a maximum range of 4000 metres (4,374.5 yd). Their theoretical maximum rate of fire was fifteen rounds per minute, but only seven rounds per minute sustained. Two submerged 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedo tube
Torpedo tube
A torpedo tube is a device for launching torpedoes. There are two main types of torpedo tube: underwater tubes fitted to submarines and some surface ships, and deck-mounted units installed aboard surface vessels...

s were also carried.


Henri IV had a waterline armor belt of Harvey armor
Harvey armor
Harvey armor was a type of steel armor developed in the early 1890s in which the front surfaces of the plates were case hardened. The method for doing this was known as the Harvey process....

 that was 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high and tapered from the maximum thickness of 280 mm (11 in) that to 180 mm (7.1 in) at the ship's ends. The belt ended short of the stern in a 100 mm (3.9 in) traverse bulkhead. The lower edge of this belt tapered as well from 180 to 75 mm (7.1 to 3 in) in thickness. The upper armor belt was mostly 100 mm (3.9 in) thick and ran from the bow to 9.1 m (358.3 in) aft of the mid-section. It was generally 2 m (6.6 ft) high, but increased to 4 m (13.1 ft) forward and ended in a 75 mm (3 in) traverse bulkhead. The maximum thickness of the armored deck was 60 mm (2.4 in), but tapered to 30 mm (1.2 in) at the ship's ends. Below this was a thinner armored deck that tapered from 20 mm (0.78740157480315 in) on the centerline to 35 mm (1.4 in) at the edges. It curved down about 91 cm (35.8 in) to form a torpedo bulkhead before it met up with the inner bottom. This system was based on experiments conducted in 1894 and was more modern than that used in the Russian battleship Tsesarevich although it was still too close to the side of the ship. The main turret
In architecture, a turret is a small tower that projects vertically from the wall of a building such as a medieval castle. Turrets were used to provide a projecting defensive position allowing covering fire to the adjacent wall in the days of military fortification...

 armor was 305 mm (12 in) in thickness and the ammunition shafts were protected by 240 mm (9.4 in) of armor. The casemates for the 138 mm guns ranged from 75–115 mm (3–4.5 in) in thickness and their ammunition tubes had 164.7 mm (6.5 in) of armor.


Henri IV was laid down at Cherbourg 15 July 1897 and launched on 23 August 1899, but did not enter service until September 1903.


Henri IV spent the early part of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 as the guardship at Bizerte
Bizerte or Benzert , is the capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia and the northernmost city in Africa. It has a population of 230,879 .-History:...

, but she was sent to reinforce the French squadron in the Dardanelles campaign after Allies suffered heavily during their first attempt to force the Dardanelles on 18 March 1915. Her only known action was to bombard Kum Kale, on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles in support of the French diversionary landing on 25 April 1915.

Three of her 138.7 mm guns had been dismounted by November 1914 and sent to reinforce the French naval mission to Serbia, known as Mission D, by rail from Salonica. "In 1916 she joined the Complementary or Reserve Division of the 3rd Battle Squadron. Subsequently she was transferred to the French eastern division in Egypt and then in 1918 to Taranto as a depot ship. In company with almost all other predreadnoughts she went to the scrapyard after the war. At Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

, Henri IV, an unheeded prophet, was stricken in 1921."

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