Ship Type Menu.
Screw Gunboats (2nd class)

POUDRE class (launched 1855)
DECIDEE class (launched 1862-63)
KENNEY class (launched 1863-64)
DILIGENTE (launched 1864)
ASPIC class (launched 1866)

POUDRE class screw gunboats (2nd class)

Displacement: 289t
Dimensions:116ft 1in wl, 119ft 3in deck x 22ft 1in x 6ft 9in mean and max. Depth 5ft 11in
Same, meters:35.38, 36.36 x 6.72 x 2.07m. 1.80m
Machinery:90nhp (Poudre and Redoute by Charbonnier, Tempête and Tourmente by Rochefort, others by Gouin). High pressure, 8.4kts.
Hull material:Wood
Armament:(1855) 2-50p SB. (1859) 2-16cm rifles.

Name          Builder    Laid downLaunched Commiss. Fate         
POUDREGuibert12.5430.4.5528.5.55Stk. 31.12.64
SAINTE BARBEGuibert12.5430.4.556.6.55Stk. 31.12.65
LANCEGuibert12.541.5.559.5.55Lost 22.1.63
REDOUTEGuibert12.541.5.556.6.55Stk. 25.11.62
ARQUEBUSEGuibert1.554.5.551.7.55Stk. 25.11.62
SALVEGuibert1.554.5.551.7.55Stk. 25.11.62
TEMPETERochefort7.12.544.5.5512.4.55Stk. 15.10.66
TOURMENTERochefort7.12.544.5.5521.4.55Stk. 2.3.68

Class. As part of the Anglo-French naval cooperation during the Crimean War, the French supplied the English with the plans of the Dévastation class floating batteries and the English gave the French the plans of the Pelter class gunboats. The French felt that the British plans did not have sufficient displacement for the armament or space for crew accomodations. The English had already lengthened the ships from 100ft to 106ft 2in, and the French lengthened them again. The armament originally proposed for Black Sea operations was 2-30p No.1 and 2-16cm shell. The machinery of the first six ships was installed between 5.55 and 7.55. These ships were modified around 1859 by the addition of a forecastle and poop and provision of false keels. The changes raised their tonnage to around 296t and draft to around 8ft 2in mean and 8ft 11in max.

Disposals. The engines of Poudre, Redoute, Arquebuse, and Salve were removed and sent to China for use in the Kenney class, below. Poudre became a paddle tug and was BU 1883. The other three became coal hulks and were BU respectively in 1878, 1907, and 1875. Lance grounded in the Bay of Tampico and was ordered burned on 24.1.63. The remaining three were BU when struck. The early demise of this class was blamed on poor supervision of the private shipbuilder.

DECIDEE class screw gunboats (2nd class)

Displacement: 359t
Dimensions:127ft 5in wl, 129ft 9in deck x 22ft 1in x 7ft 9in mean
Same, meters:38.84, 39.56 x 6.72 x 2.35m
Machinery:60nhp (Schneider). 2 cylinders, direct connecting rod, geared, trials (Décidée) 184ihp = 8.19kts. Coal 30t
Hull material:Wood
Armament:(1863) 2-16cm M1858 MLR. (c1874) 2-14cm rifles

Name          Builder    Laid downLaunched Commiss. Fate         
DECIDEEToulon9.6111.12.6212.2.63Stk. 8.11.84
PIQUEToulon186112.6227.1.63Stk. 13.11.86
SURPRISEToulon3.6219.2.631.10.63Stk. 5.11.85
TACTIQUEToulon18623.631.10.63Stk. 28.1.86

Class. Plans for the first French-designed second-class gunboats were completed by Aurous in 9.60. The type was defined as one with relatively powerful artillery, great mobility, restrained dimensions, and shallow draft. A flat bottom and two lateral false keels permitted the ships to beach themselves and remain high and dry for the duration of a low tide. The ships were intended for coastal operations in European waters, but were also to be useful for river operations in the colonies. The design was based on the Poudre class. They had three masts with square sails on the foremast.

Disposals. Décidée was used briefly as a service craft and was BU 1885. Pique was hulked at Madagascar and was BU 1895. Surprise became the hulk Kep at Saigon in 1885 and was BU 1887. Tactique was BU 1886.

KENNEY class screw gunboats (2nd class)

Displacement: 253t
Dimensions:116ft 1in wl, 118ft 3in deck x 22ft 1in x 6ft 4in mean, 7ft 0in max. Depth 6ft 2in
Same, meters:35.38, 36.04 x 6.72 x 1.94, 2.14m. 1.87m
Machinery:90nhp (from Poudre, Redoute, Salve, and Arquebuse respectively)
Hull material:Wood
Armament:(1864) 1-16cm rifle, 2-12cm bronze rifles

Name          Builder    Laid downLaunched Commiss. Fate         
KENNEYNingpo5.2.6331.10.631.12.63Stk. 7.7.68
BOURDAISNingpo25.4.6320.5.6418.6.64Stk. 7.7.68
LE BRETHONNingpo20.7.6317.9.649.11.64Stk. 19.4.69
TARDIFNingpo15.11.6314.12.6426.1.65Stk. 7.7.68

Class. These ships were built in a captured Chinese yard using engines of Crimean War-vintage gunboats with worn-out hulls (respectively, Poudre, Redoute, Salve, and Arquebuse). Their plans, by the French naval constructor in charge at Ningpo, Verny, were similar to other second-class gunboats but had lower upperworks as they were not intended to go to sea. The names of the last two were originally Aigrette and Aventure, renamed 9.63.

Disposals. All four were BU when struck.

DILIGENTE screw gunboat (2nd class)

Displacement: 257t
Dimensions:120ft 9in wl x 20ft 10in x 6ft 11in mean
Same, meters:36.80 x 6.36 x 2.10m
Machinery:50nhp (Schneider) 2 cylinders, direct connecting rod, geared, trials 135ihp = 9.03kts
Hull material:Wood
Armour:3.9in bulwark shielding gun
Armament:1-16cm M1858 MLR forward

Name          Builder    Laid downLaunched Commiss. Fate         
DILIGENTELorient5.612.9.641.12.64Stk. 15.11.78

Class. This ship was a second-class gunboat with a new feature--an armored "masque" around its single big gun. The original concept for the "masque" called for a vertical shield 16ft 5in (5 meters) aft of the stem, 3.9in thick at the top and 3.5in at the bottom, extending down to the keel. The hull forward of it was to be filled during wartime with cork to above the waterline. The armored bulwark was composed of nine plates of wrought iron and weighed 24 tons. She had two schooner masts with a square sail on the foremast. The design was completed by Lemoine in 5.61.

Disposal. Diligente served as "poste de la digue" for the Toulon breakwater until 1884 and was BU 1892.

ASPIC class screw gunboats (2nd class)

Displacement: 278t
Dimensions:128ft 7in wl, 130ft 8in deck x 21ft 2in wl, 21ft 7in max x 6ft 11in mean, 7ft 3in max.
Same, meters:39.20, 39.83 x 6.44, 6.58 x 2.10, 2.20m
Machinery:50nhp (Schneider). 2 cylinders, direct connecting rod, geared, trials (Couleuvre) 161ihp = 8.17kts. Coal 30t
Hull material:Wood
Armour:Similar to Diligente
Armament:1-16cm M1858 MLR

Name          Builder    Laid downLaunched Commiss. Fate         
ASPICLorient186611.8.6613.8.66Lost 1.3.77
COULEUVRELorient28.5.6611.8.6613.8.66Stk. 24.2.82
FRELONLorient28.5.6613.8.6613.8.66Stk. 15.11.78
SCORPIONLorient186613.8.6613.8.66Stk. 4.8.76

Class. Repeats of the Diligente enlarged to provide more coal and stores, these were also generally similar to the earlier Décidée class but a little longer and narrower, with less displacement, and 1 instead of 2 16cm guns. The plans were completed by Le Moine in 5.66. The following class, the Etendard class, was similar but larger due to a desire to increase speed and armament, and its ships were classified 1st class gunboats as a result of the increase. This class, in turn, prepared the way for the still more substantial gunboat classes of the 1870s.

Disposals. Aspic was wrecked at Dan Son in Tonkin. Couleuvre served as a lightship at the mouth of the Saigon River until 1887. Frelon became "poste de la digue" at Toulon and was BU 1889. Scorpion was reportedly transferred to Annam on 4.8.76 with the aviso D'Estaing.

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