Thursday, December 27, 2007
A radical change: the armoured cruiser Dupuy de Lôme
French armoured ship design took a radical turn with the armoured cruiser Dupuy de Lôme. Prior to this, the armouring scheme used for French ships consisted of a thick waterline belt, from stem to stern, with high, unprotected sides. In the Dupuy de Lôme, the sides were now protected by armour, although of only 4 inches in this case. The Dupuy de Lôme was a reaction to the threat of quick firing guns. The previous armour scheme was only protecting against armour piercing shot, not shell fire. The Dupuy de Lôme displaced 6,297 tons, had dimensions of 374ft x 51ft-6in x 23ft-6in. The ship was had three screws, including one on the centerline. The engines produced 14,000 IHP to achieve a 20 knot speed. For 1890, this was fast, at least for a large ship. The armament consisted of 2-7.6in and 6-6.4in guns. By modern standards, the Dupuy de Lôme had excessive upper works. Admiral Fournier considered this type of vessel as the basis for La Jeune École ("the Young School"). The idea was to concentrate on commerce raiding rather than building a battlefleet.